Cloud pruning Ornamental Scots Pine

picaroon(z5b)May 8, 2007


I've been researching pruning online and in books but I'm getting conflicting (and vague) advice everywhere I look.

I have an ornamental Scots Pine, 7 or 8 feet tall (see below) that was pruned/shaped by the nursery nicely, and I want to keep it healthy and ideally the same size and shape for as long as possible. This is the second year I've had it- last year out of ignorance I let the candles grow out and then heavily trimmed the cloud pads. Fortunately the tree still looks healthy this year.

Anyway, some resouces tell me to leave the candles until they grow out, others tell me to remove the middle candle, some say to pinch, others to cut. Others say pinch then cut later, its ridiculous. I'm hoping someone with a lot of experience here can tell me exactly what to do to my tree this year so that I don't mess anything up. I spent a lot of money on it and I'm really afraid of killing it..

Below are some photos I took this morning showing how the candles currently look. They're several inches long but no new needles yet.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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I am no expert but
I have been training my Pinus Parviflora or Japanese White Pine for over 25 years and I finger prune all the candles that are not required to help to shape it further.the link below is this years photo of it before the candles started to grow ,they are growing well now so I shall be finger prunning all of them out in the next few days.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pinus Parviflora

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 8:31AM
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Hi George,

Thanks for the reply, I looked at your site- that is a very nice looking tree! So I think I might be confusing candles and buds. If I finger prune ALL the candles on my tree now, I won't actually be preventing the tree from replacing its needles will I? At some point in time will buds appear that I should be leaving on to thicken the pads?

I do want to keep the tree the same size overall, but I wouldn't mind making some of the pads a little larger and thicker..

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 10:06AM
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The candles if left untouched will become branches so if you require a branch don't pinch all the candles , also the new buds grow on the candles that is where expertise comes into it by pinching some candles BUT leaving the ones you want untouched ,you can also just pinch a half or a third or a quarter of any doing this it helps to thicken up the pad or cloud shape.
hope this helps you.

Here is a link that might be useful: George's Japanese Garden

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 3:58PM
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Hi George,

Thanks for the reply. Everything is finally clear now :)

Great garden by the way, I was looking over your site some more. But you don't need me to tell you that :). I had a problem with Heron's too around my koi pond last. I bought a motion-sensing sprayer from my pond supply store. If you haven't tried that, its something to consider. Better than putting the unsightly netting over the pond..

Anyway thanks again for replying.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2007 at 5:28PM
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