Flowers on Pine Candles…Leave alone? Take off?

The first. Best to leave them alone.

It’s true that flowering weakens a tree a bit. But pine candles are also quite delicate when growing, and sometimes the shoots that flower can be smaller, and smaller means weaker. Taking the flower buds off can really damage that shoot. And any damage that we do to them is therefore rather a double drag, the first with the energy needed to make the flower, and the second to repair the damage in removing them.

Some years pines will flower more than others. Not much to do about that, trees often seem to agree which years they will flower.

Easy, right? Leave them alone. Better than a lot of work, by far…and there are quite a few other things we should be doing, instead.


Red Pine candle with flowers


Ponderosa Pine candle with old flowers, all done pollinating and making us sneeze, these are just about to fall off


  1. Mark says:

    I was wondering about that. One of my Black Pines had them all over it, letting off an orange cloud whenever I would shake the branch.

  2. Thank you for your info Michael. I have a japanese red pine that is flowering right now in early spring. The tree was repotted a couple of weeks back as it was in a horrible soil condition. Will leaving the flowers now pose danger to the health of the tree as is takes up too much energy? Is there a way to remove pine flowers without demanding the tree to spend too much energy on the recovery after flower removal?

    • crataegus says:

      Good question—I don’t find the flowers to take too much energy, I just fertilize a tad more that year. Removing them seems to create more problems than it solves.
      I assume you’re in the southern hemisphere!

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