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Candle cutting by Nebari Bonsai
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Candle cutting by Nebari Bonsai

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Japanese …

Black Pine
Brian Van Fleet [ Nebari Bonsai ]

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  • 1. JapaneseBlack PineCandle-CuttingBrian Van Fleet2007-2011
  • 2. The Tree as purchased… 3/13/07Japanese Black Pine,Height 30”
  • 3. Initial Styling, 3/13/07Main Branchesand SacrificeBranches wereselected, prunedand wired.
  • 4. September, 2007, after candle-cutting in 3 stages. New needleshave emerged from 2nd flush ofcandles. Most of the wires appliedin March have been removed; guywires pull down main branches
  • 5. Calendar of Work on a Pine• Spring:– When candles elongate, break off part of thestrong candles so all candles appear thesame length.– Reduce the number of candles on eachbranch tip so they emerge in pairs.
  • 6. Candles elongating afterfirst transplanting into abonsai pot.April 2008
  • 7. After pinching candles sothey are the same length.
  • 8. • Summer:– When candles are open, remove themcompletely. Do this in 3 phases at 2-weekintervals. Remove weak candles first,medium candles second, strong candles last.– Remove some of last year‟s needles fromstrong areas to allow sunlight to penetrate tothe interior of the treeCalendar of Work on a Pine
  • 9. Removing This Year‟s CandlesThis Year‟s CandleLast Year‟s GrowthThis year‟s candleis green incolor…last year‟sshoot is tan.
  • 10. Removing This Year‟s CandlesRemove ThisYear‟s Candle atthe base. CUTPERPINDICULARto the branch(Straight Across)!
  • 11. Removing This Year‟s CandlesOne Down…Oneto Go
  • 12. Removing This Year‟s CandlesDone. If this cutisn‟t perpendicularto the branch, theside with less stubremaining will growa stronger candleand the branch willgrow unbalanced.
  • 13. Removing This Year‟s Candles15 days later, 7/1.New buds areappearing from thepruned branches.Reduce to 2opposed buds ofequal size(creating forkedramification)Now that the weakbranches have ahead start onforming newbuds…Time toprune Medium-strength areas.
  • 14. Removing This Year‟s Candles30 days later, 7/16.New buds arebecoming candles.Feed well and letthem grow.
  • 15. Phase 1: 6/15/08Remove this year‟s candles from the weakareas of the tree, and some of last year‟sneedles from the strong areas of the tree.
  • 16. Phase 1…6/15/08. Justbefore cutting weakcandles first (watch lowerright branch)
  • 17. After Candle-cutting lower-right branch.
  • 18. Continuing to remove weakcandles from right side.
  • 19. Removing weak candlesfrom lower-left branch(interior)
  • 20. After thinning out 1-year-old needles in apex
  • 21. Phase 2: 7/1/08New buds have formed on recently-prunedweak branches. Now, remove this year‟scandles from medium-strength areas of tree.
  • 22. After removing candlesfrom main left branch, andsecondary left and rightbranches.
  • 23. After removing uppercandles. Only this year‟sstrong candles at the apexremain. In 2 weeks, theywill be removed.
  • 24. Phase 3: 7/16/08New buds are opening on recently-prunedweak branches, and medium-strengthcandles have been removed. Finally, removethe strong candles from the tree.Before removing this year‟sstrong candles at the apex.
  • 25. After removing this year‟sstrong candles at the apex.
  • 26. After thinning out the apex.Whorls of shoots weretrimmed back to pairs;some needles werethinned out to balance thestrength of the tree.
  • 27. As new buds emerge, pinchexcess buds so they remainin pairs. In the fall, removelast year‟s needles (all of theneedles that are showing inthis photo), and leave onlythe ones that will growbetween now and fall.
  • 28. 9/24/08, 70 days afterremoving strong candles, and100 days after beginning thecandle-cutting process.Weak areas have candlesbearing short needles,medium areas are bearingcandles, and strong areasare budding. In October,Remove old needles.
  • 29. 10/14/08, 4 months afterbeginning the candle-cuttingprocess. Remove last year‟sneedles. Due to candle-cutting, this year‟s needlesare 1” long, a 65-75%reduction in size.
  • 30. October 18, 2008, slightlymore than 4 months after thefirst candle-cutting phase. Allold needles are removed andbranches are wired intoplace. The work is done forthis year.
  • 31. 3/1/09…March, in like aLION!
  • 32. 3/28/09, before equalizing thelength of emerging candles.
  • 33. 5/13/09, as candles areopening. Note relativelyequal size throughout thetree
  • 34. 6/1/09, candles are open.This tree took 100 days toopen new candles aftercandle-cutting in 2008.Counting backwards to givethem just enough time toopen, candle-cutting starts7/1/09
  • 35. Phase 1: 7/1/09Candle-cutting begins. Remove weakcandles from tree. Wait 2 weeks and removethe rest.
  • 36. 7/1/09. Candles are open,and it is time to begin candle-cutting. It is important not todo it too early in the summer.Begin the process so that thetree has just enough time togrow new candles, but notlong needles.
  • 37. Start with lower branches
  • 38. Move to inside branches.
  • 39. Finally, move to interior,upper branches. This year,candle cutting will be done intwo phases. In two weeks,the rest of the candles will beremoved.
  • 40. Phase 2: 7/15/09Candle-cutting resumes. Remove remainingstronger candles from tree.
  • 41. Before completing 2nd phase.
  • 42. Removing stronger candlesfrom left side of tree.
  • 43. Finally, remaining uppercandles are removed.
  • 44. 8/15/09. New candles aregrowing strongly, and equally.
  • 45. 9/15/09. New candles arenearly open.
  • 46. 11/15/09, recently unwired,rewired, needle-plucked andpruned. Needle work for thisyear is complete. Next year,shoots will be grafted to theright branches.
  • 47. Moving the apex upAttaching a bar tothe apex to serve asa leverThe apex movedAfter guy-wiringapex to a lowerbranch
  • 48. 11/27/09, after moving theapex up. The change ismore noticeable from theside, it created a bettertriangular profile.
  • 49. 4/15/10. Candles elongating.
  • 50. 5/15/10, one month later andcandles are opening.
  • 51. 6/15/10: Phase 1 Candle-Cutting
  • 52. 6/15/10, candles are openand it‟s time to remove themfrom the lower and interiorbranches. Phase 1 of 3.
  • 53. Candles removed from lower-left branch.
  • 54. Candles removed from lower-right branch.
  • 55. 6/25/10: Phase 2 Candle-Cutting
  • 56. 7/5/10: Phase 3 Candle-Cutting
  • 57. 12/5/10 after growing season.Winter work can begin.
  • 58. 12/29/10 after thinning needles
  • 59. 12/30/10 after wiring branches and moving crown to the right
  • 60. Change of Plan…• Great tree, but extremely “textbook” and predictable• From the front, the tree looks great; from the sidesseveral flaws become apparent– Upper branches protrude from the profile– Lower branches are pulled around to fill voids– Trunk has awkward and artificial bend– Base is OK at best• Over the last couple years, another front started tobecome intriguing; one off the back-left corner of thepot…and one that would solve every one of theseissues, and with very minor “tweaks”• SO…
  • 61. The new front
  • 62. Towel covers the area toremoveNew Front Old Front
  • 63. Apex removed, along withseveral upper branches;shown at right
  • 64. The former front, with the top removed
  • 65. The new front
  • 66. 2nd Repotting, 3/11Protect bark with a towel, remove tree from pot, remove old soil,and remove downward-facing roots
  • 67. 2nd Repotting, 3/11Place a coarse drainage layer, secure tree into pot, and work innew soil, large-grained lava and akadama (2:1).This new pot is 5” smaller than previous pot.
  • 68. Repotted 3/15/11
  • 69. 6/19/11
  • 70. 7/1/11 Candle-cut weak shoots
  • 71. 7/1/11 weak shoots removed
  • 72. 7/10/11 Medium shoots removed
  • 73. 7/20/11 Strong shoots removed. The crown needs to be worked this winter
  • 74. Lowest-left branch budding well 40 days after candle-cutting was performed
  • 75. Early October „11
  • 76. December 2011, after thinning and wiring. It will take another growing season toimprove the profile.
  • 77. Using Sacrifice BranchesLower-Rightbranch.Candle-Cutand createramificationwith thebrancheslabeled with“O”OO
  • 78. Sacrifice branchPrune at red lineWire outward to train as newleadersUsing Sacrifice BranchesOnce the newleaders (in bluecircles) havegoodramificationand size, prunesacrificebranch at redline.
  • 79. Sacrifice Branch Removed, 7/11