Pine pruning books?

Dave_WA(8 WA)April 21, 2004

Does anyone know of a book with detailed instructions on how to cloud prune a pine? I have an interesting Japanese black pine which I've been working on for a couple of years. I have a booklet from Plant Amnesty which is about 4 pages and describes some of the techniques used and this has helped me, but I wish there were something more detailed and comprehensive.

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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Dave
even you find a perfect pine tree pruning book, you need to practice.
find a pine trees in vacant lot or buy any pine tree (s) you can make mistake. and a cotton glove cut 1/3 of glove's finger tip. Have a nice hand pruner and shear (a shear we use is look like flower arengement or bonsai shear but it is different from sonsai shear and flower arengement shear) each pruner and shear must have sheath and extra work velts to attach tools (and saw).

shear $ 80~ 120 pruner $50~ 60 , saw $40 belt $20 sheath for pruner without belt clip less than $10, sheath for hand shear $12~ 25. .............................mike

    Bookmark   April 22, 2004 at 12:20PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

more detailed in what way? What details? In what way more comprehensable, what is there a need to comprehend?

--how does one describe a hue of 'greener' (or 'whiter') that is perhaps 1/16th of a standard CMK color, or describe differentiating levels of transpiration in alluding to "one being 'cooler' than the other"... these would be some of the points that need a common language for it to be written.. photo's don't do it, infra-red might, but who takes it to a jobsite?

this is not to say it can not be done, it is just difficult to describe timing sequences to balance growth or to cover 'all pine used', then into regions, by growth pattern, etc.
it is just hard, without a specific question to place common knowledge/language into..
any advice to offer, in attaining a good answer for you?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2004 at 9:13PM
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I too don't know what to infer by "detailed instructions" - may I refer you to a resource on the web - though bonsai-centric - it may give you some pointers in the growth habits of pines in general, as well as some specific information on 2 needle and 5 needle species. Brent Walston is a horticulturist as well as a bonsai enthusiast/nurseryman, and has written several articles ranging from fertilizing to some fundamental information on training pines from their early development, to refining - definitely worth a read, if you're thinking about cloud pruning and so on. At least it may point you in the right direction ...
Hope this helps :)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2004 at 10:34PM
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gardenberry(z5 IL)

I, too, have struggled with this question. I came from absolutely no knowledge of Japanese Gardening techniques to be the caretaker of a 4+ acre Japanese Garden. I was very frustrated with the lack of practical information. I didn't even know where to start. Here's a synopsis of my experience:

For ideas and minimal information, I read through the Journal of Japanese Gardening. While I don't agree with a lot of their ideas, I did gain some useful insight in where to start. I also spoke to a number of professional Japanese Garden caretakers throughout the US to gain some of their personal insight and to learn some new techniques.

Knowing how the trees grow, what kind of problems I may encounter and having a solid background in the art of pruning also helps.

The first year, I was very tentative in my pruning. Now, after my third year, I feel more confident. But at times (most of the time) I still struggle to understand the goals I am trying to achieve with the style of pruning and maintenance. But I have 170 trees to practice on every year, so one day I may eventually understand it a little bit better.

Hope this helps. At least, know that others out there feel what you are going through!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2004 at 11:53AM
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edzard(3b Canada)

which to address first? the tree from scratch or the tree with shape? development stage or reduction stage
or address the constants? or design, where, which trees to address, ( Mike perhaps?)
1) first years growth is always based on the lower third's mass. The amount of the lower mass will be your guide to how much will grow in the upper regions the next year. By increasing the mass you promote growth. By reducing this mass you reduce growth.
(enter techniques, variables)
1a) notes (or experience) need to be taken to determine when a tree is experiencing needle shed which is approaching dormancy and storing energy. This happens late in the season towards end of summer, which is just before abscisson occurs in deciduous species. This is the time to remove growth to weaken the tree (when design requires the slowing of growth or in mature trees when reduced growth is needed)
(enter timing techniques)

1b) The less stored energy in the tree, plus a removal of the lowest third at this time weakens the tree, which is desireable, IF, you are reducing growth.

there is more to this, but these are examples only

Candling constants:
1) pine has two seasons of growth, in some regions three, which is noted by candle/bud production. The seasons are normally 1) in the fall, just after the needle drop and 2) when the tree 'buds out' in the spring and most important, after it has been candled.*

2) Pruning when the first candles enlarge, ie now, structural, should only be done to excess undesireably directioned growth, up or down, leaving horizontal growth. (unless a upward or downward branching is desired, directioned either up, then back, to the sides or to the front to fill gaps etc., depends on needed design)
pruning now strengthens the tree, by directed the remaining 100% of the pushing growth. (except red pine, Lodgepole [latifolia], Mountain [uncinata], etc, it weakens and 'sparses' the tree)
This can also be done in the late fall for less sap run, though some will still be evident.
(enter techniques of timing)

2a) do not remove buds at this time

2b) notes are needed or experience to know what the average FULL length of a candle will be. This measurement indicates when to candle.
This is because there is a 100% push on remaining buds, + [plus] the growth derived from what has been removed in structural pruning = 10%, 20%, 25%, 50% ___IF this has been taken only from the upper 2/3rd's of the tree... removing any growth from the bottom third will reduce the upper 2/3rd's growths yield -10%, -25%, etc.
(eneter techniques of timing)

2c) having measured the candles overall growth, the norm, candling is commenced when the remaining push of growth is the desired height of the next layer of growth. This means that if the candle norm is 10 inches that if you remove the candles at 4 inches, the remaining growth will be 6 inches... and this is where the next years buds will emerge, at the 6 inch height.
If you allow the candles to emerge to the 8 inch length then the remaining growth will be 2 inches, which is where the candles will emerge. (enter techniques of timing, entire mass grown, partial mass grown, loss leader, reduction of mass energy, production, pull through of additonal energy production)

3) *(from above) MOST IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER AS A CONSTANT IS THAT THE FIRST CANDLE CANDLED IS THE FIRST TO THROW NEW BUDS!! this is the control point of staggering the growth regions by noting uncoming excess energy.

3a) the best strategy for the starting tree is to determine the height of the desired foliage pad in relation to the horizontal of the branch structure placement. This determines the extent of the development of the candles and the pruning time. For starters allow the candles to enlongate2/3rd's, candle the foliage pad leaving ONE main or thickest** candle to enlongate and absorb the excess energy of the removed candles. Remove this at end of season flush with the branch.
This removes excess energy from the foliage mass per strata.
4) The highest point of the branch or tree, whatever has the highest elevation, will have apical growth dominance.
4a) the largest bud of a set has domiance
4b) the largest branch of a set has dominance
4c) the highest point has dominace (repeated for emphasis, add techniques/variables at this point)
4d) the greenest shade or white-ist, red-ist, or blackest, depending on species variables is the strongest growth and has __CURRENT dominance.

**5)NB: the strongest foliage is the first to be weakened, allowing the remaining growth to enter the remaining weaker foliage. However in doing so, the strongest branch has become stronger, by being the first one candled, throwing first buds, before the next layers and causes a problem in year 2.5, 3. This layer may require second removals to the weakest buds later in the season (experience, sorry no telltales, just gotta 'know' this one)

6) REMOVAL OF THE LOWEST BRANCHES WEAKENS THE TREE, for the next year, followed through in year 2 and 3.


(sorry to use 'shouting' for emphasis)
is this what people are looking for?? or??
... constants or techniques, how to use the constants at what stage in growth.. ?
p.s. Constants change by species, growth stage immature/mature, tree condition, latitude, daylength and temperature.
Or, should design be addressed since this is only done on one or two 'feature trees' in a garden that require attention in the view?


    Bookmark   April 25, 2004 at 1:22PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi gardenberry
I have question for you .
1) Do you practice knot ?
2)Do you use tripod ladder ?
3) Do you know how to reach and prune with extension ladder
which is not touching tree or leaning the trees ?

those thing are needed to know when you prune pine trees or any other trees.pinching, removal of pine candle , old needle removal are easy parts.

I saw photos of Japanese garden which some one posted on GW long time ago,I use it for my Japanese garden class as bad sample. ( I do not say which garden)
wisteria is planted too close to arbor post, wrong pruning tecnic . cameria,nandina, acuba, bamboos many of then surpose to be easy and simple. but .................
samll trees to shurbs, how we prune is slitly differrent than you do. most pruning we do are "thing out" leaf and branchs. most Japanse garden boos are for coffee table top , not writen for people like you ,you need to know "how to
do it" . when you can work with those who know how to do it much better. those day most japanese are working for Big company in office. and only few are working as professional gardener.

plese let's me if you need a help. you can send me e mail or call me. jando/june offered me to stay at her home, some day if I have a chance to visit june and jack I will visit your garden too........................mike

my writeing is bold, but no intention of insult you or anyone.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2004 at 1:40PM
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Dave_WA(8 WA)

Thank you all for your responses, they were very helpful - especially Edzard. I will probably have more questions after I reread and digest the information.

Here are a few more specifics on what Im working on:

Six years ago I bought an unusual Japanese black pine with a sprawling habit. It has three trunks, two being vertical and one mostly horizontal.The tree was probably at least 10 years old and 5 feet tall and wide when I bought it. For 3 or 4 years I did nothing to it, and I realized it was not going to look like those specimen trees in Japanese gardens unless I learned how to prune it in that manner. Uncontrolled it was going to grow 20-30 ft. tall and lose its special character.

The first thing I did was to try to control the height of the tree by pruning off the vertical shoots from the 2 vertical trunks and letting only the horizontal side branches grow. That was a priority because at 6-7 feet tall I didnÂt want the tree to grow a lot taller since it would become much harder to prune and out of scale with my garden.

The tree had nice curving trunks, but when I started it was difficult to see the trunks because they were hidden by foliage. So, my basic goal was to selectively prune off branches to expose the trunk and start creating foliage pads. I have done this gradually over the last 2 years and I can see that the tree is starting to look much better. I tried to follow some of the bonsai rules in Brent WalstonÂs article ( although when youÂre starting with an older tree and not a bonsai I realize it isnÂt always practical to follow all of them. For the main side branches emanating from the trunk, I kept only one branch in each node and where possible they alternate as you go up the trunk  left, right, back, etc.

My specific question now is how do you create and maintain the foliage pads or ÂcloudsÂ? All I have done so far is remove vertical candles so the growth in the pads is mostly in a horizontal plane. I have observed quite a few cloud pruned pines in public areas around here, and it looks like once the foliage pads are established, a lot of vertical new candles emerge and they are just pruned off in late spring or early summer along with some of the needles, perhaps with some kind of electric shear so that the cloud is more or less flat on top. From year to year the trees look more or less the same without adding much new growth. I actually prefer a less-poodled more natural appearance, but arenÂt all the old needles going to eventually fall off and leave the Âcloud without any foliage? Or will the cutting of the new candles every year produce enough back-budding and new candles to replace the old needles?


    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 2:57PM
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ScottReil_GD(z5 CT)

Sure, I put in a request for pine pruning stuff and phhhhht.
Dave gets chapter and verse...

E tu, Edzard?


    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 7:03PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

no, no, no,..
not so... Scott,.. 2 reasons,..
1) if any parts were posted earlier, in just a slightly different vein 'as you had asked for' in nitty gritty's, the possibility with warmer climes, would have been that 'many' people would have joyously following directions, far, far, too soon... before they found out the 'oh, shouldn't adda done that!' ie: dear Jando...
and selfishly, I'm not sure I want to live with the guilt...

2) I had to find a format that works, but no one really wants to play .. so I guess it doesn't work...
iow's no one wishes to absorb the basics of 'constants' rather everyone seems to wish to hear about finger exercises like plucking chicken feathers so they can decimate the vital, vital inner needles closest to the main trunk...

which is another very important piece I realized I omitted, much to my chagrin...
always, always, leave the innermost buds and needles, always have an alternative branch being grown from a nearby location to take over when the main one is lost...
which is why often 3 branches are left on the circle whorl... always have a backup that you can grow around the trunk, yup, it crosses the trunk, do NOT remove all the branches crossing trunks..

'kin always tell an amateur's bin at a tree when you don't find the backup branch and all the crossing branches are removed or all the feathers been plucked from that there bird...
where was I.. hmm, '91... National Arboretum in Washington.. walk through the Japanese garden on the way to the bonsai pavilion, only to see a wiggly thin tall pine, left with 5 branches -applying bonsai techniques... and from the pruning scars, that would have been the 3rd year in training...
there is amateur and one pays a risk, and then there is a professional risk with an inventory in the ground to absorb that type of pruning & used when they know for a certainty that the tree is vital and strong, in about year 6-9.. rarely before then.
Over confidence, bonsai pruning and a textbook has killed many a tree.
But then, everyone has their technique that works..

anyway. Scott, the parts for you are still coming up, since I've only written what to you are pre-basics... but it had to start somewhere sometime,.. and sigh, you havn't been around, how was I to know??? (whine snivel, nervously rub hands together..)
:), sorry, #2, really. comparing notes w. people and checking 3,4,5, - 7 and 10 year trials, 2/12's and a few 14's as they came out of the snow. And I missed going to Vancouver this week as planned, to get some questions answered about year 25, to 50+ from Junji.. ,research... before writing.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2004 at 10:46PM
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If you live in the Seattle area, pine pruning workshops are being offered Aug. 23rd and Nov. 8th at the Washington Park Japanese garden. The workshop costs $45.00.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 7:43AM
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Jando_1(Zone 5 IL)

Hi All!

Just returned from Texas and THANKS Edzard for taking the time to post. I made a copy of it and will read it more carefully.

When should you start shaping the branches. (staking them to create horizontal lines) They seam to be most pliable when young. Thought I had better check so I don't do something wrong again.

Wish we had classes in the Chicago Area for pruning, hey Edzard and Mike would you be interested in flyng or driving out and teach us all something on a weekend. What interest would there be???????? What would something like this be worth to area gardeners. Not to put you two on the spot. Just thinking out loud. This is the type of education needed and of course we would expect to pay for the time. If there was enough interest it could be a great opportunity for all. :) Probably just a silly idea.

Cheers Jando

    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 10:38AM
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FranVAz7(Alexandria VA)

Edzard, I was just at the National Arboretum yesterday, to check out the bonsai show and to examine things in general. One of the things I looked at carefully was the pruning of the landscape pines around the Bonsai/Penjing museum, which is all new, by the way. I wonder if you would find the new trees as bad as the old ones. Anyone else care to comment on the quality of the pruning of the present trees around the bonsai museum? I would be interested in experienced evaluations before I assume I should try to learn from what I saw and apply it at work.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 11:34AM
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Do you have additional info on the pine pruning workshops in Seattle?

I would be interested in a workshop. And I would expect to pay for the value given. I wonder if Anderson Gardens (Rockford, Illinois, due west of Chicago) would consider hosting any workshops? (more thinking out loud) :)


    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 11:52AM
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Jando_1(Zone 5 IL)

Greg, I can sure find out. But we need to hear from Edzard and Mike. And have a goodly amout of people wanting a class. But I bet we could come up with a location if we had the instructors. Come on Wisc. Ind. Ill. want some classes?????? This to me would be a chance in a lifetime!!!!!! You wouldn't even have to take off work if it was on a weekend.

Cheers Jando

    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 6:54PM
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Gregory, I have not attended any before, but plan to go to the upcoming ones. However, here are some phone numbers and websites for you. Garden: (206)684-4725. Head gardener: Jim Thomas (206)684-4760.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2004 at 9:29PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

welcome back.
when to start staking?... usually, I don't, most don't, some feel it is in bad taste, shrug, if you need it, do it...
however to add to the comment, I find that often staking, wiring etc., is working against the tree, which means you'll lose in some way.
If the tree is still in juvenile stage then all auxins/hormones are geared to grow the tree vertical. Normally the tree is allowed to grow until the bark in the lowest third is beginning to flake, which indicates that horizontal growth (scaffolding) has begun, -there is a cell structure change that takes place.

with this growing norm, there is enough weight on the branch to force the tree downward to stay, and in pruning, bearing in mind that the horizontal weakest bud chosen, has to be at the layer at which it will spring up to... then 2 years later, candling begins.

the comparison is in bonsai, since juvenile growth is constantly recurring, there is more often and more vigorous pruning taking place... this can not be carried over to the garden bonsai, to time costly and too much detail, un-needed detail ..
(however, normally also, as most people jump the start gun, the bonsai is allowed to grow for caliper and 'barking', in which this mentioned cell structure is beginning to take place.. then the main cuts to the inside Y splits take place which in garden = spruce pruning)

yet, jando, you could weigh the branch, or stake and wire it. Much depends on the growing habit of the tree, to which the extreme is removing a wedge from the bottom of the collar and in the bending, it grafts back together... having mentioned this,.. try Not to do this unless you know if the flow of sap runs up the underside of the branch or 'around' the branch..

on the other hand, be as a heavy snowfall. take the branches, if flexible, preferably when the tree is dry, before watering, and pull the branch down, rolling it so that the outer bark fissures a fraction. Do this several times.
Come back 3 or four days later, do it again, always to the bark split level, hold in place, hold below the ideal place -- but needs be in the angle of natural deflection and natural location... note after a few weeks the branch stays down and the small cracks have filled with sap to hold it in place.
FIRST... determine which way the branch naturally bends. If you grasp the branch and rotate it counterclockwise, it 'might' turn with difficulty, compared to the clockwise turn, which may allow you to turn it several times around itself.
Always turn with the natural turn, when exercising the branch...
---NB, naturally, you will Not have removed the needles before this time, because the locations of buds will change.. and it is taken for granted that people know that one pulls (damaging the sheath) needles out where one will Never want buds (ie top of branch)..
--and one cuts the needles when the needle is to die prematurely to create a bud... (yes? we all know this???)
--and this technique is used also for reducing the sugar production... not to mistake the two, since the needles are literally torn one bundle at a time..

as for presenting some of this stuff... we the Co. / I the individual, have twice a year, what is termed a 'return to community', in which we offer our time/services to gardens or groups that have need of skills and may not have the resources to compensate to our fees. This does a number of things, including opportunity for further education, understanding the expectancy that 'the boss' may expect of others = reverses roles, working for someone else, without comprehending the outcome is like not understanding how to prune... the outcome is not understood...
anyway, money is not the issue.. getting there is.

considering there will be several pruning courses in Seattle, in August, the only opportunity lost is the timing, since a lot may have to wait until the next year.. :. is it worth the loss of the spring pruning season.

on the otherhand, my mind and fingers are twitching to look at Fran's 'ugly' tree over the water, considering that Pittsburgh was still on the travel list for the beginning of August... and if being in Illinois and got to Champlain earlier in spring, then part of that expense is then business..... neh, it goes around and around... and Mike is very close to you..., closer than I.

....Anderson Gardens, i think one should speak with David Slawson about that.. Authors Intent, and so on,.. (Kraig, when were you there last? and you are in Wisc. you're closer...:) workshops is most ideal at Gardens, for best cost recovery, while enabling the gardens budget to balance by returning 'time' pruning maintenance to the garden, and often leads to docent positions, which help everybody.. (yes, occasionally time is also spent raising / developing cost recovery programs for gardens )

Fran... what about your garden? (and look into insurance waivers), is it too far away from most people interested?
..just some thoughts, I'm sure Mike will be around later in the week...
... before a class happens... should not gardeners know what to prune where, design context wise, before pruning 'all' pine one way?? ..shiver.. and first there where the twins, and along came the octuplets and then the ... aaaghh, oh no, they're all the same... its a giant potato stamp...aaaagg// arm flailing, other staked, head mashed ...
sorry.. long day in the nursery, heat n' all.
p.s. and the branch bending is originally for Scott, for whom there is also the heat transfer/branch snap and should not be tried at home... :))

    Bookmark   May 2, 2004 at 9:54PM
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Jando_1(Zone 5 IL)

Chuckling, What heat Edzard, are you above freezing??????

Thanks for the info, now I think I will just let nature take its course for a while and learn. In a few years I'll try my hand at it. I have seen the cuts done under the branches and how it heals. If the weight of the branch will produce the same effect, even if you plan to keep the growth slow in a few years, then I think I can afford to wait till I learn alot more. I guess I just want to see rewards to quickly and must be patient.

About the classes, I have heard it is hard to find instruction for pruning Japanese Gardens. And Yes I am going to Seattle in Aug. but it would be nice to have a class locally for those that may be interested and learn from their questions and problems.

Thanks again for sharing the wisdom from your years of training.

Cheers, Jando

    Bookmark   May 2, 2004 at 11:45PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Fran

pruning of pine tree is easy part.
pine trees in the garden are different than bonsai pine trees.removeing old pine needle, pinching pine candle are similar to bonsai.but pine trees in garden , you have to reach 20 ~ 30 feet up, you can not put your feet on the branch/ can not climb into trees often . some pine tree branch you can climb. working on pine trees Or any other trees you need to know more than pruning.

able to reach top of pine tree branch, you can not reach with tripod ladder. you have to use alluminu extension ladder, and alluminum extension ladder can not, should not lean to the branch. To able to set up allminum extension ladder properly, you have know how to use rope and knots.

To suport alluminum ladder without leaning to the tree, and you are working of top of ladder to prune that need skills.

let's say, you need to have 12 feet long bamboo, not any bamboo it must be "Hachiku" of "madake" popular yellow groove bamboo is not strong enough, moso is to heavy, bottom and top diameter is too big different, not easy to use.
makeing T shape on top of bamboo , short piece of bamboo about 2 feet wider than width of ladder attach to long bamboo pole. tieing two round bamboo togather , you must to know so called "kaku shibari" no other knots can provide to secure two round bamboo togather. and this big T shape bambboo serve same porpose of midle leg of tripod ladder. you need have two long rope attached to top of ladder to secure ladder, few long bamboos or hichory logs to tie to trunk or strong branch and ladder.
some time tripod ladder's midle leg is tie to branch or trunk of pine tree. with out knowing how to set up exention ladder, how to use it, mastrering pruning skill is useless.

to shape branch, you need to have 5~7 feet long of bamboo to pull down good size of branch. you have to know where to tie, how to tie. we some time make flat bascket of bamboo to train branch and twigs. to make those flat basket , you have to know how to tie too.
if you have only 5 to 12 feet tall pine trees on flat ground. you can only think about pruning. but once pine tree or any other trees out of reach of tripod ladder 's hight . you have to think to learn how to tie/knots.

IQ does not make any different to learn knots.
practice , practice ,practice,and patience :):):)

June : if you can find few other peoples togather,and able to provide my travel expence .I am happy to visit you.:):):)
mike y

    Bookmark   May 3, 2004 at 3:24PM
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Jando_1(Zone 5 IL)

Thanks Mike, that sounds like a wonderful offer. Anyone interested can e-mail me. And Greg I will put you on the list.

Cheers Jando

    Bookmark   May 3, 2004 at 7:28PM
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gardenberry(z5 IL)

Hi Yama

Sorry it took me so long to reply - been very busy with spring cleanup, spring planting, training new workers....

To answer your questions:
1) we train some trees with tying branches - use nylon twine and plastic tubing to protect branches from rubbing, duckbill anchors in the ground. If the knots are done neatly and the ties all line up it doesn't look too bad. I'm trying to get away from this practice, but it takes time and a lot of effort to bring trees back from years of neglect. We don't have anything else that requires ties, like fences or anything.

2) We have tripod aluminum orchard ladders that we get from AM Leonard. They are not the kind with the adjustable leg, but we can reach almost anything we need to.

3) We only have about a dozen trees that we cannot reach with our ladders. We generally climb the trees and if we can't reach, we use the somewhat imperfect method of extension pruners to prune what we cannot reach very well. Safety is our # 1 concern in some cases and the pruning is second.

To all: If there is enough interest in the Midwest for a pruning workshop, I can get some wheels in motion to coordinate with Chicago Botanic Garden, Anderson, others in the area to host a pruning workshop. Can't promise anything though. The problem is finding a location to do the pruning - Chicago Botanic Garden will not allow classes to prune in the Japanese Garden. I don't know Anderson's policy.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2004 at 1:27PM
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ScottReil_GD(z5 CT)


I jest, my erudite friend. My new job necessitates more lurking than typing (and Watanabe's lurking puts me off my feed), but I'm still around and gathering nuggets of info like the ones on this thread.

As usual you give me more credit than I'm worthy of and I have taken away some great stuff from here. It's good to "hear" you at it again; I'll be around now and then so you're all warned...


    Bookmark   May 10, 2004 at 7:37PM
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Good you can try to stop tying branches. Looks like some one who is not pro. pro niwashi can do good pruning without bamboo and no tie. Amatur trys for quick way by using bamboo brace. In america I see rope and hanging stones. Looks hen. I think serious Japanese pro is ashamed to do that things.

Workshop without pruning with own hands is no good. Many years ago I saw some pruning demonstlation in Los Angeles. People only watch, no pruning with own hands. Maybe nobody can learn that kind of demonstlations. In Japan way to learn is work for garden company but that system is no good in america. No good in Japan too.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2004 at 2:47AM
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gardenberry(z5 IL)

The problem with organizing a pruning workshop is finding someone who will let you prune their pines. Unfortunately, these people/gardens are few and far between. We are working on organizing something in Chicago region, just preliminary sketches to present to the decision makers at Chicago Botanic Garden. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2004 at 3:40PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi miss watanabe
It is nice to here from you. I am going to subscribe JOJG and try to find old copys of JOJG which are stored in box in mini warehose. I let's you know my findings .

other posting in past, you have said you have attended Okayayam ken Zoen kumiai semminor while you are in high school and you uncle is member of it , he is also gardener , right ? like I said before I do run way nor hide. I do not use fake name to hide identitiy. after I read and save youe posting to figure out who is watanabe is.I know who you are now . if you are asking to make enemy , you got one. I am ready. I will fight hard and make you regret. you had opputinity to let's it go. but din't. Think hard who is going to get hurt more . your magazene or me ? no reader of the magazine will not spent so much of time and effort to defend article of the magazine or the magazine it's self.
mike yamakami

    Bookmark   May 26, 2004 at 4:36PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Miss Watanabe .
what kind of pro japaneaes gardeners you are talking about ?
traning we had in past, first few years of apprentice year we could not toucth pine trees, even can not stand and watch while older gardner or Oyakata is working on pine tree. I am suporse to be working not wacthing and lean. I take some of pine tree branch back to home and figured out how to prune pine tree by well trained gardeners.

next time when you go to Japan visit nurseies and wacth how to train pine tree or any other trees in nusery feild and lean how to train and shape of trees. visiting temples , estabilshed private home gareden , most of traing of tree had been done at feild . that the why you do not see hinoki cypres or sugi logs and bamboo pole to train large trees.

many of pine tree in feild start to train some where 8 to 12 yeras old pine tree tree and takes another 5 to 8 years to be ready for sale. you have not seen those proses and making buxx shxt coments . you are only see tree in estabilished garden.
what make you think pine tree or any other garden trees without small diameter logs and bamboo can be bent ?
if you give me any name of so called pro gardener , just give me name of those who can work /shape tree without bamboo pole, twine . we do not use bamboo pole or twine to shape those shurbs azlea, nandina , akuba etc.
you are making groundless opinins much like previuos posting about death of seno rikyu .

I have a friend who is borad member of Japan nusery association / Nihon ueki kyokai in saitama and I am going to see him this augst at SNA/ southern nuserserymen association, when he speaks even DR micheal Dirr listen to him. I do not know know how long you have been working this nusery trade or landscape trade , if you have self
confident , tell me where you have been working and when. all information you have writeing dose not indicate professional knolege at all. are you a artist ? are you a one of those gaijin who can not speak, nor understand japanse but wachted how to prune pine trees few occations ?
or takeing tourists to temples or home garden and takeing few japanaese garden class ? you have not worked as gardener everyday.

we can go back Nobedan/chiri arttilces, Hoju/ giboju artikles, or bamboo pruning 2~ 3years back issue.
perhaps relationship between buddism and Japanese gardens tea cermony flower arrengement, or tsukugai articles. Miss watanabe you pick any of past topic of jojg , we can test each others knowlege about japanese gardens. I let's you pick one you like. or we start with sen no rikyu's death, how why he had to die. do you want to rewrite? or change stories ? ........ or you can beg to spike to remove my posting... if spike remove my posting , I write other web site about jojg article without any limits.

Do you want to keep this subject of pruning with or whithout bamboo poles and tieng ? should we go back some of your previuos posting ? I let's you pick topick you like to debate.

you had chance to let't this die down .but you have been keep asking me back to this. now you have it. mike yamakami

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 1:32AM
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yama(7b Ga)

Miss Watanabe .
Do you remember this ?

"Most opinionnated man in Japanese garden history is Sennorikyuu. He is high standard. He was killed because he had too many opinion. Now every one appleciate he tryed to teach about good and bad. "

you have never answered question others are asked you before .
I ask you again and I beg you to answer for me and for others.

  1. what kind of the opinions Sen no Rikyu had?
    2) where did you get this informations ? I like to read it myself so , please help me
    3) what he was trying to teach ? what is "bad' and "good"

should we start new posting ?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 2:03AM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi gardenberry

tripod ladder:
it is perfectly okay to use non ajustable mide leg tri pod ladder. most of us using not ajustable midle leg tripod ladders in hundread years , I never felt need to have ajustable midle legg tri pod ladder.
if you need it , it is can be done if you know how to tie it togather onto middle legg of the ladder to extend lenght of middle leg. it is piece of cake.... lot's easer than you think.

most of hand made tripod ladder has high clearance from ground. all of my tripod ladder's lowest steps are 16" to 20" from ground. A shape frame are wider than those factory made ladder for stability . I use hichory log diameter of 2" to 3 plus inch at bottom.

if you know how to tie no matter what type of garden is , rope can be very usefull tool. once settle in selam ,Ma . I am going to make tri pod ladder 6' 8' 10' 12' 14' two set each.

extention ladder : we use extention ladder where tripod ladder can not reach. we set extension ladder useing two long ropes . bamboo poles to suport our weight top of extention ladder. again you must know how to tie two round bamboo to gather. when you can reach to top of pine tree with tripod ladder or clibm into tree any one can do it. but when you have to use extention ladder, and extension ladder is not leaning onto any part of pine tree , able to work safly, that separate between pro and amature .

not allow to garden class at J garden:
It is very good policy . pine tree should be pruned only expericencd gardener. and it is very reasonable policy.
The garden should have dozen of pine tree out side of garden to train it's stuff or have pruning class to teach.

since japanese gardening skill can be apply to any style gardens , and we make some of tools our self, those basic J garden skill can be added to your skill you have now.

many thing can be learned quickly if you can see it your own eye. some day I am going to visit June and jack in Chicago , if June have me few extra day I will vist you.

but I have to remember that "guest is like fish story". first day ,it is nice and fresh . second day it start smell. third day, it stink ..... hehehehe.

you can send me E amil to me if you have other questions. mike y

    Bookmark   May 27, 2004 at 8:00PM
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kobold(Vancouver BC)

This is I was looking for!


    Bookmark   November 11, 2004 at 6:31PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Andrea.
some time we use called "hizaori" technic. when young pine tree branch growing too first and straight, make "bow " shape in the midle of pine tree branch, using twine, not copper wire. tie branch close to main trunk first, between first tie and second tie , make branch arched like "bow" carefuly, and secure second tie. once brach is forced to bent, the barch will slow down to grow. It is something to do with plants hormon.It is simlar to cooper wire on bansai tree. A branch forced to bent slow down growth, produce smaller twigs which helps to makes old look of pine tree. I can not explain well in text. (I am happy to make drawing for you.) Cooking is much harder than pine tree pruning. ................. yama .

    Bookmark   November 20, 2004 at 12:58AM
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crashboxsus(6 Pgh/PA)


Perhaps you can say that pine tree pruning is easy because you've been doing it for so long, and you can take one look and figure out the state of the tree, its needs and potential. There's the saying that someone can't see the forest for the trees. Perhaps we novices can't see the tree for the branches, or the branch for the needles. It's all a mish-mashed jumble of green and brown and black until we can learn the alphabet, then the words, then the grammar of trees.

I'm still working on the alphabet, and I'm very very glad to have you and Edzard and other fluent tree pruners here.


PS-I hope I don't come across as too familiar...I've been reading your posts for quite a while and feel like we've already been introduced. :)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2004 at 4:58PM
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kobold(Vancouver BC)

Thank you Susan, you said it!! When I read all the discussios from Yama-san, Don, Edzard and others, I just wonder, what I'm doing here? Learning, even with obstacles, is a very enjoyable path , plus at the end there is your revard.

Mike, I will try "hizaori", thanks for the idea. I made an offer for you on the other posting!Check it out!


    Bookmark   November 21, 2004 at 4:57PM
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kobold(Vancouver BC)

I have more room now in the front yard, facing N, but good drainage and light. What would be a good pine to start to experiment with the pruning ?

    Bookmark   January 17, 2007 at 10:24PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Andrea
Any pine tree. pitch pine/verginia pine do good job, Black pine . red pine, white pine, yellow pine( ^^ joking ) Since we have Black pine, white pine, red pine, why not have yellow pine ( Home Depot have yellow pine as lumber)....... Hehehe.
Beside how to prune pine tree, you need to know how to make knots, how to use extention ladder, trypod ladder properly.

Remove old needles, remove new growth/candle is only portion of pruning pine tree. Knowing how to make tie suporting log/staking , 2 1/2 inch diameter bamboo is tie to trunk of pine tree and branch to pull down branchs is importamt part of pruning pine tree. When you work pine tree taller than your trypod ladder can reach, you have to know how to use alluminum extention ladder. The extiontion ladder can not lean to brach. often, top of extention ladder is in air. It is hard to explain only by text. you have to see it and get your hand dirty. suport extention ladder with two long ropes, log(s) or bamboos have to tie to the extention ladder and to trunk or branch of the tree.
You have to know knots.
If you start to traine tree which is/are 8~ 12 years old, 8 ~ 12 feet tree, you have to know how to bent pine tree or make base frame.

When you work your self, you will know what to ask and what have to be done.When you know what you don't know, then you will know what to askt.
Buy few pine trees and practice how to prune. Writing or talking won't help any. ^^ .^^
When you find out your self what to ask, then some one or good book tell how to do it , You will learn quickly and won't forget it.
Old people used to say that to become a mature gardener
( professional gardener , not hoby gardener)it will take 10 years. I am old now. so I can say it same hehehehe ....finaly my turne come.

Start saving money to come to my future class ^^.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 11:53PM
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kobold(Vancouver BC)

I will, Mike, looking forward to it!!


    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 12:43PM
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