Candle-cutting is done at the latter stages of development, to shorten internodes and keep needle length short.
This tree is candle-pruned each summer, for the reasons above…
The pine in today’s post was candle cut last summer, when it really needed to be allowed to continue growing. Short internodes are good, but when developing the primary branch structure, ramification and short needles are secondary. This pine was not candle-cut this summer, but rather, pruned and wired in the fall. Maybe next year candle-cutting will become necessary.
So after the season’s flush of growth hardened off, the old needles were removed, new growth was balanced through selective pruning (prune to leave shoots emerging in pairs) and needle-pulling.
Before the work started: