Candle-cutting black pines

Here are a few black pines before and after candle cutting. Candle cutting is a technique used in the summer; removing all of this year’s new growth, forcing the tree to put on a second flush of growth later in the season. This keeps the branch-forking (ramification) tight, and needles shorter. More on that in the book.

First up, a nursery black pine that’s been in the ground for a couple years now, with a good sized sacrifice branch growing to thicken the trunk, the sacrifice branch is allowed to grow freely until fall, when it will have most of the needles removed so the lower part of the tree gets plenty of sun. Lower portions are candle-pruned to keep growth in close to the trunk:
Before:

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Left side done:

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Complete:

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Next, an Awaji black pine growing to become a sumo-shohin; although the sacrifice branch is over 7′ tall right now!
Before:

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After:

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Finally, a corkbark black pine, “Hachi-Gen”. This cultivar is a strong grower, and doesn’t form the deep ridges of some nishiki cultivars. It gets candle-pruned every 2-3 years and always responds about as fast as the species.
Before:

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After:

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More on this one next week…

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