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Is it safe to decandle a Japanese black pine? 3 months 2 weeks ago #69995

  • Wes V.
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My Japanese black pine is still in its nursery container. I was hoping to cut its candles to prevent overgrowth. I’m just not too sure how to do that. The tree is healthy and growing pretty well this summer. Do you have instructions as to how I should cut its candles? Would it remain healthy after doing so?

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Is it safe to decandle a Japanese black pine? 3 months 2 weeks ago #70006

  • Tropfrog
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Easier to look at the process than read a text about it. Youtube is your friend here. Its not that hard.

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Is it safe to decandle a Japanese black pine? 3 months 2 weeks ago #70021

  • BofhSkull
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Wes V. wrote: My Japanese black pine is still in its nursery container. I was hoping to cut its candles to prevent overgrowth. I’m just not too sure how to do that. The tree is healthy and growing pretty well this summer. Do you have instructions as to how I should cut its candles? Would it remain healthy after doing so?


Depends: decandling can be stressful and one usually heavily fertilizes the tree throughout the growing season before doing it, to make sure the tree is in its best condition.

That said, I may be wrong but it seems to me at this stage what you’re lacking is not the knowledge about how to decandle, but rather on why you should do it.

“Overgrowth” for a tree in early development stage doesn’t mean too much: actually you want it in place in some of the branches in order to thicken the trunk as part of the initial styling. How and what to decandle in these early stages is therefore a strategic decision, and you should IMO pay way more attention to that than just on how to hold the scissors…

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Is it safe to decandle a Japanese black pine? 3 months 1 week ago #70045

  • Wes V.
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BofhSkull wrote:

Wes V. wrote: My Japanese black pine is still in its nursery container. I was hoping to cut its candles to prevent overgrowth. I’m just not too sure how to do that. The tree is healthy and growing pretty well this summer. Do you have instructions as to how I should cut its candles? Would it remain healthy after doing so?


Depends: decandling can be stressful and one usually heavily fertilizes the tree throughout the growing season before doing it, to make sure the tree is in its best condition.

That said, I may be wrong but it seems to me at this stage what you’re lacking is not the knowledge about how to decandle, but rather on why you should do it.

“Overgrowth” for a tree in early development stage doesn’t mean too much: actually you want it in place in some of the branches in order to thicken the trunk as part of the initial styling. How and what to decandle in these early stages is therefore a strategic decision, and you should IMO pay way more attention to that than just on how to hold the scissors…


I haven't fertilized it at all, but it's doing very well.

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Is it safe to decandle a Japanese black pine? 3 months 1 week ago #70067

  • Homegrown Bonsai
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How old is the tree?
If the awnser is its not that old, just let it grow and do its thing maybe prune it back next summer but for now focus on making it healthy as possible so it survives winter.

research why decandleing is done in the first place
I'm not a expert in pines nor do I claim to be but if your branches are looking a bit bear cutting the tips off your pine helps too promote it too bud back and grow more needles I'm sure there are other reasons such as avoiding pinecone, retaining style, and just making it look a bit prettier if it's a main feature.

But if your too busy to re search just decandle a random branch and watch how the tree reacts.


Pines are very hearty trees cutting the tips won't damage or hurt the tree at all

You won't hurt your tree cutting the tips the only way I can imagine a tree being pruned too hard and it dying is if your hacking away at the roots too much when you re pot it and even then I'd imagine you'd have too try really hard too kill a pine that way

Finally, big pot or small pot?

Pines are beautiful trees, re pot that bad boy just before next spring into a bigger pot to promote the trees root system to get very healthy and more "natural" looking depending on the style / look your going for, just remember small pot = small tree, Big pot = big tree.
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Is it safe to decandle a Japanese black pine? 3 months 1 week ago #70072

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I can’t tell how old the tree is. It’s about two feet (60 cm) high. I bought it at a nursery in May 2021. It has quite a few branches and it has been growing well since the purchase. It’s indeed a very beautiful pine and very healthy. It should definitely survive a Southern California winter. It’s only zone 10 here!
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Is it safe to decandle a Japanese black pine? 3 months 1 week ago #70080

  • Rorror
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Can you post a picture, of how it looks now?

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Is it safe to decandle a Japanese black pine? 3 months 1 week ago #70137

  • Wes V.
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Rorror wrote: Can you post a picture, of how it looks now?


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Is it safe to decandle a Japanese black pine? 3 months 1 week ago #70140

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I see no reason to decandle. Also I dont see much of candles at all.

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Is it safe to decandle a Japanese black pine? 3 months 1 week ago #70141

  • Wes V.
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Tropfrog wrote: I see no reason to decandle. Also I dont see much of candles at all.


It's because it's a relatively young tree. There are candles in each branch. It's hard to see from the side because the needles are long.

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