Jonas’s 2016 Post about Decandling Black Pines-

Now and then words deserve to be repeated.

The Bonsai Tonight blog post by Jonas Dupuich about decandling Japanese Black Pine—of which this is the primary work season—is head and shoulders above nearly anything else you could read (or write) about the subject, in a concise, digestible form.

Even if you’ve already read this, try it again:

A few of my own observations:

  1. The vast majority of black pines on your benches are most easily managed with the ‘one day’ technique, the three step technique being mostly useful for very unbalanced trees.
  2. If you’ve very senile black pines that have been a bonsai a long time, you may notice that the lower branches develop many small buds along the branches, but the branches are weak, and continue to weaken. Removing a lot of those small buds will allow the branch to regain its vigor, and allow you to decandle those areas again.
  3. Be very alert to where you are in latitude, as this will determine when you should cut your candles. Do not read the energy of the candle to determine the timing of when to cut, read the calendar. Candles may be fully hardened off in the south when decandling is done, whereas in the north the needles are barely showing.

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  1. Jenna says:

    Boy is that true with latitude, moving from the Northwest down to South Phoenix area, has been very challenging regarding decandling! A lot of confusion for those of us that can keep pines alive, every bit of info for the southwest is appreciated. Let us not forget those of us that don’t live in the perfect bonsai environment. I have alot of appreciation after moving from the Washington area, and I very much appreciated Jonas’ article.

  2. Ray says:

    Yes i see that Michael, the candles are huge this year but the needles have not yet opened very much

  3. paolo macchi says:

    Hi Michael, I live in south UK (50.9* N) similar to your latitude. Next week I should receive a nice healthy but dense shohin black pine from south Spain, decandling was done last year. Can I decandle this late? should I needle plug (balance energy) ? or wait for until fall to cut back? I have seen some comments stating that it should be treated as single flush, any comments?
    Hoping I’m not bombarding you too much I thank you in advance.

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