bonsai tree care

Decandling black pine bonsai – a detailed guide

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decandling Now that the season is coming to an end, I thought I’d share an overview of the process taken from previous entries. Let’s start with the obvious question:

What is Decandling?

There is much to say about decandling bonsai pine. There are many methods for decandling because they are not professional bonsai, and many of these approaches have merit. We finished the season decandling this year, I would like to make some comments on the subject in the simplest way possible.

My starting point for this information is of many years of study with Boon Manakitivipart and discussions with Japanese bonsai professionals, including Daisaku Nomoto, Akio Kondo and Junichiro Tanaka. Connecting the various approaches used by this group are a few points in common, and it is with these threads I’ll start.

A definition

Decandling refers to a set of cultivation techniques that focus on eliminating spring growth red or black pines to stimulate a second wave of growth in summer.

Decandling Japanese black pine

Removing a spring session of a Japanese black pine – the main act of decandling

The term usually refers to more than the simple act of eliminating candles spring as the time of practice and various techniques related to the care after having a great effect on the results of practice.

The Decandling is not

The following techniques are similar to decandling that focus on improving balance and vigor bonsai pine, but remain outside the practices commonly known by the term “decandling.”

  1. cut, break or remove spring growth before spring needles emerge. A technique to balance the force of bonsai pine involves reducing spring candles as they are elongating. These techniques produce very different results decandling and will be considered separately.
  2. The removal of part, but not all, of spring session. Decandling involves complete removal of spring buds given. Reduce growth by spring or some other percentage it can be used to treat force in bonsai pine, but produces different results decandling.

A note on the term “Decandling”

As spring growth develops in red and black pines, emerging outbreaks can be said to resemble candles. As used here, however, the term refers to decandling removing spring buds having arisen new needles. I do not know how the term “decandling” became associated with the elimination of growth after the session no longer resemble the sails, but I’m reluctant to introduce a new term as the community in which I participate uses the term consistently and decandling successfully.

The Japanese phrase for me-kiri decandling is :. “Budget” or “pull cut” (芽 切 り, if you were curious)

Why we Decandle

Sometimes the reasons why decandle pine bonsai can get lost in the discussion of how decandle. In short, decandling technique is the most important one used to develop beautiful black and red pine bonsai.

Black pine

Black Pine exhibited in 2011 Taikan-ten

Why Decandle Red and Black Pine Bonsai?

  1. again to stimulate budding . The stress caused by the removal of spring growth can activate dormant buds or adventitious in woody species. Back sprouts – buds do not develop at the ends of the branches, but from within the interior of the tree – allow us to maintain the size and shape of our trees. Without them, bonsai grow bigger and bigger every year.
  2. To increase the density of offices . Decandling adds density by replacing a single spring sprouts summer with multiple shoots. Decandling higher density increases by stimulating adventitious buds at the base of candles spring – arid areas that normally do not produce outbreaks. And as the summer outbreaks are usually smaller than the spring buds, entrenudos even more refined performance branching reduced.
  3. To regulate the force . Decandling is a useful technique to maintain the new growth pine bonsai under control.
  4. To promote balance . Decandling Several techniques can be used to reduce the force in the solid areas and increase the strength in weak areas to improve the overall balance.
  5. To reduce the size of the needle . bonsai red and black pine are at their most beautiful when the needle size is a good fit for the tree. Decandling can leave short needles produce smaller trees and larger needles in larger trees.

Selecting Trees for Decandling

While decandling is a great technique to refine bonsai red and black pine, know when decandle is as important as knowing when not decandle.

When Decandling is not suitable for Red and Black Pine Bonsai?

  1. When the goal of training is to increase the size of the trunk. Let these trees grow until the trunk reaches the desired size before decandling.
  2. When a tree is sick. Decandling is stressful for the pines -. Decandle only trees that are healthy, vigorous and free from insects
  3. When a tree is weak or underfed. If bonsai pine otherwise healthy have not received adequate fertilizer in spring or have been weakened by stress and transplantation or inclement weather, take a break this year and decandle the following year when the tree is stronger.

Feel free decandle when your bonsai red or black pine are under refinement, they are healthy, well fed, and grows in well-drained soil. The following are some examples of when decandle and when to hold off.

Black pine

The trunk has to develop – not decandle (3 years)

Black pine

The trunk has reached the desired size – decandling start (9 years)

Black pine

The tree is entering phase training – decandle (15-20 years)

Black pine

The tree is being perfected – decandle (19)

Black pine

The tree is entering phase training – decandle (20-25 years old)

Black pine

The tree is less vigorous than normal after transplant – not decandle (35-40 years)

Black pine

pine black cork bark is less vigorous than normal after transplant – not decandle (40-50 + years)

trees preparing for Decandling

Preparation of red pine bonsai or black for decandling is simple – keep healthy trees, give them plenty of sunlight, and feed heavily. If the tree grows in poor soil, replant in soil that drains well and decandle when the tree begins to grow vigorously.

How much should I feed Black Pine Bonsai Decandle plan?

A lot. Start fertilizer application as soon as the roots become active. In warmer areas, this may be in early February -. In areas with winters longer this can be as late as March or April

If dango or dry fertilizer like is used, start by placing a few pellets on the soil surface and adding more each week until the soil surface it is almost covered with fertilizers. If the use of liquid fertilizer, which are applied consistently throughout the spring. Combinations of liquid and solid fertilizers are also acceptable.

Fertilizing black pine

Black Pine – week 0

Fertilizing black pine

Week 1

Fertilizing black pine

Week 2

Fertilizing black pine

Week 3

Fertilizing black pine

Week 4

Fertilizing black pine

Week 5

When Decandle

depending on our approach, we can decandle all new buds of a tree in a single day or extend the process over a weeks (more on this later). This time period is defined mainly by the weather.


Generally, decandle earlier in cold and warm climates later climates. Below is a rough guide Super climates when we can start decandling in different parts of the US .:

  • (Seattle, Pacifica) is provided – In late May
  • moderate climates (San Francisco Bay Area) – early June
  • warm climates (Los Angeles, much of the Midwest) – in mid to late June
  • hot climates (much of the South) – early to mid-July

If you are not sure where to start, seek the help of an enthusiastic bonsai with experience in your area and, if possible, ask to see their trees to get an idea of ​​how they respond to decandling pines in your area.

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Size Tree

The decision of when decandle also depends on the size of the tree. The longer summer outbreaks have to develop new longer needles will become. In other words, if decandle on the early side, new shoots will have more time to develop than the shoots decandled few weeks later. Let us pause for a moment ….

Sea of pine candles

Black pine foliage

In general, we try to encourage large needles in large trees and small needles into small trees. very small needles in a large pine look out of place – more like a white pine, in effect – and could make us wonder about the health of the tree. Large tree needles in a small pad definition are rebellious and obscure branch. The development of the needles in proportion to the overall size of the tree tends to produce pleasing results.

By decandling large trees decandling early season, summer shoots give enough time to properly develop long needles time. For small trees decandling later in decandling season, summer shoots give less time to develop, thus producing shorter needles. Let us pause for a moment again ….

Still with me?

If so, great – you just internalized one of the most important aspects of decandling. It may seem picky to make as small as a few weeks here or there distinctions, but pines respond well to these subtle adjustments, and it is with these subtleties that some of the most beautiful bonsai pine have been created, and for which some of the best pines of the future will be created.

Making the Cut

After many years of bonsai decandling red and black pine, I think I still have to pay close attention as work. It is easy to cut too high or too low, angled cut, cut or accidental needle nearby. If you can avoid these mistakes cutting, you’re off to a great start.

Making the Cut

There are only a few things to consider when making cuts to eliminate spring growth, but each is important.

  • Making square cut – angled cuts can cause uneven growth of summer
  • leave some new tissue – adventitious buds sprout new tissue; the cut in last year’s growth will reduce the vigor and stimulate outbreaks of needles
  • Do not cut around needles – it is easy to cut accidentally surrounding needles; make cuts carefully

Don't make angles cuts

bad angle

Don't make angles cuts

bad angle

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good angle

Decandled shoots and stubs
lots of new tissues

Don't cut nearby needles

careful not to cut the needles surrounding

approach with scissors closed

shoot Focus with closed scissors

open scissors at shoot

Open scissors when it comes to the session

make careful cut

Cut carefully

I’ll say more about the amount of new tissue to get ahead.

Techniques for controlling the Vigor

techniques So far we have covered to control the strip summer vigor for all bonsai. Now let’s look at three techniques to control the force shoot shoot. One of the biggest benefits is the ability to decandling weaken strong branches and improve the strength of the weak branches. It is through the successful application of these techniques to develop well-balanced pines.

How I can control the force of the individual branches?

There are three main techniques for controlling the force of the individual branches:

  • needles pulling
  • heels Leaving
  • Decandling different branches at different times

having determined that decandle a given branch, first remove the spring buds.


spring buds


spring shoots removed

To further reduce the effect of this branch, we can take the first approach noted above and remove some of the needles of last year.


Before needle pulling


After needle pulling

How many needles can throw or license depends on the number of needles started, the relative strength of the industry, and the general approach to decandling. The frequency range is between three and twelve pairs per branch. I’ll say more about the needle pulling ahead.

The second approach involves reducing the force leaving a piece in the base of the candle. Leaving a stub preserves the tissue produces auxins, hormones shoot apices used to slow the development of adventitious and lateral buds. The longer the heel, the auxin, and slower adventitious buds are developing. In short, the long pieces slow the development of sprouts summer.

Using Stubs for control of force

A common approach to the pieces that leave is to leave long pieces in the strong shoots, small pieces of weak shoots, and sized pieces effective medium-medium strip.

  • strong shoots – length is about 2x diameter end of filming, often between 1/4 “- 1/2”
  • Medium shoots – heel length is about 1 x diameter of filming, often between 1/8 “- 1/4”
  • weak shoots – stub length is about 1 / 2x diameter shooting, often between 1/16 “- 1 / 8 “


long piece


piece medium


Small piece

the use of time to control the force

the third approach to reduce the vigor of the individual branches is decandle weak shoots early and more vigorous shoots later. We know that one, the longest summer outbreaks will have to grow decandle tree as soon as possible. By eliminating the growth of the weakest spring buds first summer we outbreaks in these industries an advantage over branches which decandled later.

Putting it all together – Approaches Decandling

There are many ways of bonsai decandle red and black pine. I do not think that some techniques are better or worse than others as I have seen many techniques used with great success by professionals and amateurs alike. Rather, each technique has its advantages and disadvantages. I tend to use several approaches decandling station during any given depending on the needs of the tree and my time available.

A Day Approaches

A simple distinction between technical decandling can be made based on the number of days required to complete the removal of spring buds in a given season. The most effective approach is to eliminate all the candles on a given day. This approach makes more sense when time is limited. traveling professionals, for example, often take this approach when return visits to the home of a client are not practical.

The elimination of all spring buds of a tree on a summer day shoot gives an equal amount of time to develop. Thus, the act of removing the growth base recently spring to balance the strong and weak points of the tree. The two most common ways to balance the force when removing all spring buds of a tree on a given day are pulling needle and leaving bits techniques. For these techniques to work properly, it is necessary to identify the strong and weak areas of the tree.

In general, the upper branches are stronger than the lower branches, and foreign branches are stronger than the inner branches, but the most obvious indicator of force is the size of the spring session.


small, medium and large outbreaks

Reducing the force in the strongest areas can help balance the general vigor of the tree. By taking the approach needle plucking, this means that we fewer needles in strong areas and weak areas needles.

  • strengths – let 3-7 pairs
  • Medium areas – leaving 5-9 pairs
  • weak areas – let 7-12 pairs

The weakest areas – shoot with 1-3 pairs of needles -., is often left alone

The approach is similar heel. Let the longest pieces in strengths and shorter pieces in weak areas.

  • strengths – leave much piece
  • areas Medium – out piece medium
  • – Weak areas make it very short splicing

multi-day approaches

in the preparation of a pine for the exhibit, I often decandle the tree over a period of several weeks, removing groups of spring buds every 10-14 days. We begin with the elimination of the weakest buds to give summer outbreaks in these branches longer to develop. After splitting a tree in groups of force relative, we can decandle as follows:

  1. Remove all small outbreaks
  2. Wait 10 days
  3. Remove all medium outbreaks
  4. Wait 10 days
  5. Remove all outbreaks
Read also:   Perfecting a black pine

In practice, this might look like the following.


Zero Day – before decandling


Zero Day – after removing small outbreaks


Day 10 – after removal of outbreaks medium


Day 20 – after removal of large outbreaks

Uniting all the pieces

Decandling can become interesting when we started combining techniques. For example, after removing all spring buds Pine above, I pulled the needles of the strongest areas to further reduce its force.


Day 20 – after pulling needles

As an alternative to needles traction that could have left the pieces on strong areas. Or it could have combined all three approaches. In short, we can combine any number of approaches to decandling bonsai red and black pine.

Given the number of options that this leaves us with, can be difficult to know where to start. Experience is our best guide here. But hiring a professional to work on our bonsai trees or take our workshop with an experienced teacher is not always an option, we can be browsing this fixed value. Which is right. Simply starting with a best estimate and learn from the results is a great way to learn how our trees respond to decandling.

Decandling postoperative

reiterate a common theme: decandling is very stressful for bonsai pine. In some cases, trees can lose up to 60% or 70% of their foliage during decandling. needles a year old that have been growing in the shadow of new outbreaks have been recently exposed to the sun. Scores or even hundreds of small wounds have been opened from a tree sap can be lost. It is important to be careful at this point to maintain healthy bonsai pine decandled.

How to care for the trees after Decandling?

Be kind to them. decandled newly pines are gathering forces to send a new growth at this stage – that growth will not be as strong as it was in the spring. The areas where you can make a difference is.

  • irrigation – the removal of significant amounts of foliage of a tree reduces perspiration and the need tree water, however, decandling passes near the summer solstice and the decandled even trees can dry quickly at this time of year. As always, be careful not to over or under water and reach of the hose before the soil dries out completely.
  • Sunlight – keep decandled pines in full sun. last year needles may yellow slightly, but the sunlight is needed to help stimulate sprouting.
  • fertilization – in general, stop fertilizing when decandle. If using dry fertilizer, remove it when spring buds removed. If you use liquid fertilizer, stop applying when decandle. After four weeks, start fertilizing again following the same incremental approach used in spring. Exception – If the tree is on the weak side, continue fertilization throughout the summer

After decandling
Decandled pine -. 9 years old

Everything else ?

Yes! Just after decandling is a good time to pine bonsai wire. Some moderation is necessary as the biggest cuts and curves perform better when the tree is less active, usually in the fall or spring. Wiring pine after decandling that can be easily broken needles or injure the freshly cut areas so proceed with caution. And as new shoots may begin to appear after just one week, the window of opportunity is narrow wire. pines wiring buds appear once summer is possible, but not recommended as new growth breaks easily.

I’m not sure if this is the right time for you to cable? No problem, no rush – feel free threads in fall with the rest of us

Let summer Buds Grow

In general, we want two new outbreaks at the end of each branch to develop in black and red pine bonsai.

Pine buds

red pine – two outbreaks summer

nature, however, do not always give you what you are looking for.

Pine buds

Black Pine – three outbreaks

Pine buds

Four outbreaks summer

Pine buds

outbreaks continue what I have

A session can be acceptable – especially when that’s all we have – but three outbreaks are not so. It is easy to fill a silhouette with branches that have three, four, five or more sessions each, but this is not always desirable. What are the benefits of the branches with two sessions each?

  • More attractive branch structure
  • No unsightly knuckles
  • Easy to maintain balanced branch density
  • Easy to wire

are there exceptions? Insurance. Okay, for example, to leave more than two outbreaks in the preparation of a tree display if additional foliage is needed to improve the silhouette. Occasionally also I left three or more branches of trees in the development knowing that I’m going out additional thin branches in the future.

What do I do when more than two buds appear after decandling summer? Usually, no. Some doctors recommend outbreaks slimming summer two we defend the fall and cut work to prevent inflammation resulting from a large number of shoots that emerge from the same place. Removing additional outbreaks in summer, however, do not always produce the desired effect.

The appearance of two outbreaks in more than one branch is an indication that the industry is quite strong. In general, the summer trips are, the stronger the branch. As a problem in terms of strength, resolve the problem is not the number of outbreaks, but the best way to deal with excess force.

Why not eliminate additional outbreaks? Reducing the number of outbreaks can channel the remaining force in fewer branches, thereby producing an even more vigorous growth in the remaining shoots. It is often better to let additional outbreaks are developed through summer and remove when cured off in autumn or winter.

What if there are five or more outbreaks – Do not you think that a large knuckles? My main concern in these cases is no scarring or unsightly branch unions that can be developed, but the overall effect of the branch. Unless it is important to preserve the branch, I’m more likely to eliminate completely because there is too much energy to be useful in a refined tree.

much information – Where to start

So what if I’m a bit new to bonsai and I think I have a tree that could benefit from decandling but do not know where to start? Easy – it simple. If you are having trouble finding a starting point and no pros decandling in the area, try the following:

  • Remove all new outbreaks on June 15
  • do not leave pieces
  • leave no more than 10 pairs of needles branch

That’s it – for now. By taking a simple approach, you can learn your tree responds to the decandling and you can start making adjustments to the following year. It is the summer growth too weak? Try to feed more, decandling above, or wait until the tree is healthier before new decandling. Summer is growing too strong?

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Decandling black pine bonsai – a detailed guide

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