Styling a Corkbark Black Pine, ‘Taihei’ part 2

About the cultivar:

Part 1 is here:

Which covered the time of purchase in 2009, through the first couple styling attempts through 2012. During that time, I learned that this Taihei despises summer candle-cutting. Here is what happened:

So Part 2 picks up here, after pruning and wiring in fall 2012:

Repotted in 2013:

Frustrated with a styling effort in late 2013, it was planted in the ground to be forgotten for the next 18 months. Neither of us minded the break at all.

it’s a love/hate tree. I love the bark, it hates the work. We’ve battled it out several times over the years, pruning and wiring one year, resulting in the tree sulking for the next two years. Summer decandling resulted in no new candles, only buds setting for the next year.

March 2015, the last time we fought to a draw, it ended up potted in this 13″ round pot, only because we were moving, and I had extra soil. Potted in March 2015, and ignored for the rest of the year:

Ignored it in 2016:

Continued to ignore it for a 3rd year in 2017. Have you heard that saying about freshly potted trees? Year 1 they sleep, year 2 they creep, year 3 they leap.

This was year 4, and it bulked up noticeably in 2018, through little more than my neglect:

But I could ignore it no longer in that 13″ pot. And after 4 years in that pot, it was time to repot. It took a few minutes to get it loose…

…but I managed, and the pot survived:

Armed with my new training strategy, I am preparing to neglect it in this pot for at least another 5 years. I used pumice, lava, and medium akadama, 2:1:2. Pumice and lava don’t break down, so this should allow for good watering and air movement for many years. The pot is also 17″ wide. Spacious.

Since I’m planning to neglect it for a while, it needed to be pruned back. I pruned conservatively, by removing last year’s strong candles, back to buds which were set at the base of last year’s candles. Here:

to here:

which, by May, looks like this:

But, back to March…the pruning resulted in this tidier look:

Some light wiring closed a bit of the gap between the first and the rest of the branches:

Late May 2019:

A fun shot of 10 years gone by, 2009 and 2019:

And a late summer 2019 shot:

I think we have found a good arrangement of neglect and response…

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