In previous years, I candle pruned this pine in 3 stages, weak shoots, followed 7-10 days later with stronger shoots, and finishing 7-10 days after that by removing the strongest shoots. The results have become very predictable. This is a favorable outcome in bonsai!
As an experiment, this year, I removed all the shoots at the same time around July 1st. The tree was fairly well balanced, so I only left stubs on the strongest shoots.
Now, it will be interesting to compare how the tree responds to complete candle pruning at once, vs. in several phases. My initial hypothesis was that removing everything at once would slow down the comeback.
Here is the first left branch 30 days after candle pruning last year (phase 1 of 3):
Now, here is a close up shot of the tree from today, 30 days after candle pruning (all in one phase):
So far, it’s slightly behind last year, but we’ll keep tracking and see how it finishes the year.