Throughout this tree’s 12 years of training, I have photographed and documented every step in detail, to study the cause-effect response of each technique applied, as well as the timing of that response. One thing I have learned is that candle-cutting in summer should be done about 100 days before your area’s average first frost. This gives new growth time to grow and harden off before winter, but not so much time that needles get too long.
Summer candle-cutting is the removal of this year’s growth, right down to the base. It leaves last year’s growth in place, so basically it makes the tree look like it did in March before it started growing.
Why summer candle-cut? It is a refinement technique which forces the tree to produce multiple shoots from the point where a single shoot was. This increases ramification and density. It also results in shorter internodes and shorter needles.
Here is a progression of this year’s growth.
This tree was candle-cut just a bit early this year because it was accepted into the 7th U.S. National Bonsai Exhibition in New York this September. My timing is to have new shoots just open in time for the show, so the shoots will be full, but needles will be short. Most of last year’s needles will be removed just prior to the show.
For more on the process of training this tree, check out my book, 100+ pages of photographs showing a virtual time-lapse training of a JBP.: