Black Pine Pruning-Part 2:



When you have about three sizes of candles and at the time you can begin to see the needles about to begin to pop from the candles, you start the pinching sequence of removing candles.

You begin with the buds (candles) that are the SMALLEST. When pinching candles, do it by supporting the base of the branch below the candle with one hand. Then, with your other hand, grab the candle with your thumb and forefinger and pull the candle off with a slight twist. DO NOT USE SCISSORS.

After about 10-12 days, you will see the buds you pinched above start to sprout buds from their bases. That is when you are ready to pinch the MIDDLE size candles.

Again, in another 10 -12 days, you should notice buds sprouting from the medium size buds you pinched back. That is when you pinch back the LARGE buds.

Since Black Pines grow all season long, if you pinched the stronger candles first, the second set of buds would still continue to grow at a faster pace than the buds generated by the removal of the middle and weaker sets of buds, so that you will be unable to BALANCE the candle length and strength of the tree. By pinching the smaller candles first, you are enabled to both balance the length of all the candles (thus the length of the needles) and the overall strength of the tree. In addition, candle pruning results in shorter branch internodes.

NOTE: Do NOT remove the weakest buds on the tree. In addition, if you desire to have a shorter branch grow longer, do NOT remove the candle on that branch.


Once your second set of buds begin to push out, it is time to restart your fertilizing program.

Each branch should produce a second set of buds with about 2-5 buds on each tip. You need to reduce each tip to just TWO BUDS. If the tip has more than two buds, remove the largest and the smallest, until you have two buds remaining. Repeat this procedure for each branch.


Wiring should initially be done in March. Copper wire is preferred since it has better holding power and you will be able to use a thinner wire to achieve a similar strength than aluminum would require. Always wire the ends of the branches on pines so that they face upwards. Wire should be kept on for 6-7 months or until branch swelling occurs.


• Do NOT remove this years needles. You only remove second/third year needles. They are usually brown anyway.
• You Pinch Candles IN HALF starting with the STRONGEST FIRST. Since White Pines only grow in the Spring, once you pinch the stronger candles, they aren’t going to continue to lengthen very much, if any (as do Black Pines).

• The most vigorous part of the tree is the outer extremities of the tree, with the weakest part being the center of the tree.
• You do not FERTILIZE until the after the candles open.
• White Pines like to be drier than Black Pines.

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Black Pine Pruning - Part 1