My favorite is the Bungeana...the Lace Bark Pine. When I say my favorite - I mean my favorite ANYTHING having to do with trees and plants.
I have a beautiful, young, Bungeana - a couple actually. Nursery stock - VERY hard to find in my area.
Here's the catch: They were grown from grafts -?- I assume? They're pretty leggy. Didn't care. (Like I said - FAVORITE!)
Some have decent back budding already... some do not. ALL have somewhat developed buds LOWER on the trunk - which it's exactly what they need to develop a solid base. Fair roots and healthy - but that's my PRIMARY focus right now for development. However, as a secondary goal I need those small, underdeveloped buds to ELONGATE if I'm going to do anything but field plant them in the future.
Here's what I'm seeing: EXTREMELY strong candles higher up in the tree. EVERYWHERE higher up in the tree. I need to refocus that energy to fill out and balance the tree.
AUXIN - suppresses bud development. But, according to R.N. it encourages additional budding... which I'll need, certainly, but which may also stifle the development of the existing smaller buds? Apparently?
I have watched his Willowbog lecture on pines so many times I could almost recite it... but I'm confused on the one point I most need right now. Do I cut the candles to ELONGATE the smaller, weaker buds lower in the tree - or just fertilize to encourage rampant growth?
Wheel it back?
Or let it run?
Get as much energy as I can following through the tree and THEN refocus that energy via management of the needles? OR try to bottle up that energy and redirect with removal of higher areas?
On one, I tried the latter - the lower buds aren't really moving. On another I tried the former... the lower buds aren't moving. On a third (... again - FAVORITE!) I did nothing, lower buds aren't moving.
How do I get them to move?
Photos attached. Colorado, US.
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I think first of all you need to decide the vision for this trees.
If you are happy with the thickness of the trunk you could start prunning and designing. If you are not, its better to let them grow.
However, in my small experience, I dont see any reason to keep more than two buds at any growing point. Trimming excess buds can help you balance the tree. Taking the strongest ones in the top and weakest ones below.
Thank you Trop. Appreciate that you're always so forthcoming with information - even at this crazy hour!
As for my vision for the trees... that's still taking shape. But they ALL need growth in the trunk (very thing! Poorly developed NIBARI... I guess because they were grafted onto very young base or grown from cuttings - if you can imagine!)
I certainly am not happy with the "legginess" of the trunk... granted, it's in the growth pattern for the species...BUT.... it would take forever for it to catch up and fill out in the lower portion - and it is a notoriously slow growing tree my research has shown. (Just my luck...)
VISION: I need to lower the canopy and improve the taper and the NIBARI.
Currently that's the furthest my vision for the trees has developed. one might turn into a nice cascade... one has the angles for a lovely windswept, one would make a terrific formal upright... another looks to be leaning towards a slant... but as far as styling goes, it all depends on the most basic fundamentals of development:
1) STRONGER ROOTS
2) More developed NIBARI
3) Improved Taper...
...all of which would be benefited by:
4) Elongation of the lower interior buds.
The gap in strength is SO severe though between the top and the bottom. 4 inch candles (in some cases) vs. Half a centimeter or so of new growth if any at all.
If I cut back those candles do I risk the branches? Will it even help the lower buds develop? Or do I just let it run and hope some stronger back budding emerges?
As to your advice, I'll be paring down from three to 2 at the end of the season where I have that scenario. (Complete removal of the third... not just 'pinching'.)
Thanks again! Just trying to figure out if decandling will help those lower buds move.
Oh... one correction.... when I say Auxin "encourages back budding" - that's not at all what I mean.... what I mean is: "When you have strong budding you have LOTS of energy flowing through the tree - which encourages back budding (per R.N.)... but the Auxin of that string nud does the development of buds below it... but if you hit the candles too hard you can kill the branch...
That is what I would do. Keep 2 low branches short but healthy. This will eventually make your tree. But you let the top extend, let the plant grow to a metre or two all. Remove lower side branches on the leader so they do not shade out the future tree branches you keep at the bottom. You create a strong tall trunk, with only side-branches high up. Once you get near to the size of the trunk you want, you can reduce the top to near the keeper branches down low. They will then be boosted to grow and you can start developing the tree.
Each phase in development asks for different treatment.
Yes. These are GREAT lectures! This is the very one I mentioned in the OP. Thanks for the response! But...
In the second part, when Ryan is taking about the decision to cut or not to cut... that's the part that confuses me. He talks about developing back budding in year 3 (5:45)... then in his discussion of the difference between Development and Refinement (12 min~) he notes that you have to pinch to get the weaker buds to develop.
I still need back budding...lateral budding on the branches would really help... BUT.... It is a priority to get budding to ELONGATE lower on the trunk.
This is my conundrum...
The back buds I'm trying to develop on thiese trees are at the base - not lateral budding on the branches.
He notes if there isn't a back bud on the branch, "it would be counterproductive to sit here and pinch this," - which makes sense.
But - what if the bud you are trying to develop isn't on the branch but lower on the trunk?
Are the strong candles producing an Auxin effect suppressing those buds towards the base (A)? Or only in their own branches ( B )?
If I cut them will I get development? If I don't will the tree give up on the lower buds in favor of those higher? ...leaving me with a skinny, leggy tree.
I need those lower buds to develop. How can I balance that much difference in energy?
What do I lose if I just let the higher buds go? Will those lower still get resources and continue?
What is the most efficient way to get the lower buds to elongate?
Oh...btw... when we talk about back budding in pines...do we just mean the needle shoots (faciole?... what's the word... the needle clusters 2 3 5 depending on the species...or the kind of growth seen in these pictures in the lower trunk where we've got concentration of needle clusters and the beginnings of a candle? Or is that more than back budding...back budding that's starting to move? Still a tad unclear on that.)
P.S. No. I'm not keeping them inside. Brought them in because they'd already started putting on new growth and bad weather hit - snow, freezing temps etc... basically, Colorado weather screwed us up bad this year.
Really good advice on achieving my main objective! Thankyou! Sacrificial leader then? A tough approach which requires a lot of patience. I'll try it with one or two of them. Thank you!
Any other approaches that might achieve the same result? Seems like that would leave me with a LOT of pruned back branches in the future if I let those lower "keeper" branches grow. In this approach, would you decandle or pinch those lower branches? Still need to figure out how to develop those branches as nd balance Auxin levels so the lower buds towards the base of the trunk can elongate.
Just keep the lower branches short. Reduce into bifurbications if too many buds appear. Cut candles if they are too long.
Point being is: Do not worry too much about developing future branches (BUT keeping them alive & as short as healthily reasonable) when you develop the trunk. you spend 3 years growing out the trunk (A healthy pine can put out 50+cm easily in a year). After that you develop branches.
I think you are overthinking it. Do you want a thicker trunk, then you need length so let it grow. Do you want ramification/backbudding/redistribution of energy to weaker buds, start piching of removing buds.
Do not bring trees inside because you think its cold. They have evolved to cope with changing temperatures. Nothing kills a conifer faster than bringing it inside.