Sacrifice branches, black pine

Nebari Bonsai

Last week we looked at chopping back deciduous trees in the ground to create taper and movement. This week, we will take a look at the same technique, but on a black pine…where the method is somewhat different. This tree is a 10-year old, purchased a few years ago from Brussel’s, in a 5-gallon nursery can. Last year I stuck it in the ground to experiment with the growth rate. It grew pretty well, and the number of buds set for this year suggests its pretty happy where it is.

With pines growing out, we need to identify each shoot as a “final” branch, or a “sacrifice branch. They’re treated in nearly opposite manners. This is the key concept for this article, which is essentially a pictorial version of Brent’s excellent article written a few years ago on the subject. Throughout the photos, final branches are circled in yellow, sacrifice…

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