Removing the flower buds on a White Pine

When I returned from the Czech Republic I saw that my Chuhin white pine had a huge amount of flowers, it was obvious the tree was healthy but there were so many that it would suffer if they were not removed, I mostly work with native European trees and my experience with imports is limited.

This from my good friend Mark Cooper on EBF:  “One has to be very careful and gentle when removing the juvenile flowers buds though so as not to lose any new candle buds.

Pinching out the buds one at a time

Pinching out the buds one at a time

However, if the new candle emerges on such a long “leg” due to an abundance of large flower buds beneath it (rendering it of no use), what we do is let the candle fully open and ripen and then cut that shoot (and most of the leg) off nearly back to last year’s growth, and hopefully some back budding may occur. This assumes that the tree is healthy, well fed and vigorous. Usually only one flush of growth happens in one year here… it’s primarily about directing/ controlling the tree’s energy to where you want it, and then about shape/ pad profile.

Taking care not to damage new needles

So in weak/ inner areas prune lightly (say 25% reduction) or not at all, and harder in stronger areas/ apex. One also has to keep in mind pad shape whilst candle pruning in refined trees too.”

I could not have put it better.

I estimate that I removed over 1500 buds from this little tree. The tree is strong and well fed and it will be kept in the greenhouse if the weather turns inclement. I will be removing the candles in a few weeks time to maintain the pad profile, and if we have a better summer than the last three hopefully new needle buds will show themselves.

the buds that have been removed

The buds that have been removed