Autumn is the time to needle pluck and wire pines. The Japanese White Pines and Black Pines Seedling Cuttings I started two years ago, are now ready for their initial needle pluck, and styling. In total, I have around twenty trees to work through.
I started with the strongest among all the seedlings. It has put out a lot of needles this season.
Plucking the needles on the tree will promote back buds where the needles were plucked. Also, with all those needles, it’ll be difficult to wire the trunk. So, I proceeded to pluck all the needles on the trunk, except leaving some at the top of the tree. After plucking the needles, I need to find the front of the tree. The wiring and styling of the tree will depend greatly on the front of the tree. The front shall be the side for which the roots look most impressive. I’ll be looking for the side with the most roots emerging from it, and the roots should not be protruding directly to the viewer. I had to remove some of the top layers of soil, to find the roots.
After a close inspection around the nebari, I’ve decided this will be the front of the tree.
Now that I’ve found the front of the tree, I can have a good feeling how the tree will look like in the future. To wire the tree, I secured the wire to the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Since the trunk is relatively thick, the one wire wasn’t sufficient in holding its shape. It turned out well, since I needed another wire to shape the first branch anyway.
When wiring, I ensure the wire was on snug, but not too tight. It’s okay for the wire to bite in a bit, it’ll help the tree hold its shape, and also help it thicken faster.
After two days of work, I’ve finally finished wiring all twenty or so trees. In retrospect, I might have taken off too many needles on the white pine. Since they’re less vigorous than the black pines, they would’ve done better if I left more needles on. On the other hand, the needles on the white pines were so dense, I wouldn’t be able to do any wiring if I didn’t remove sufficient needles. Only time will tell whether I’ve set the trees back by over-plucking.