Black Pine Development - Rookie Question

Hello, I was fortunate enough to win the following tree in a raffle. Initially everything I heard/read indicated to just let it grow to thicken the trunk (which is what I would like). Recently I have heard that where there are whorls I should thin those out to continue to direct the growth elsewhere and stay away from the trunk swelling where the whorl is located. Is this a concern even when this is part of the trunk that I expect will be chopped? I am open to any and all suggestions. The tree is located in the DFW area of Texas.



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You are correct in that the normal expectation is to prevent issues from developing on the trunk by reducing opposing branches on the whorls. As you have implied, it is not always necessary when they are part of a sacrifice branch or sacrifice leader that will not be part of the final design.
However, it can be a good way of balancing the foliage to keep even development underway throughout all zones of the tree. Along with a few other techniques. Actually there was a great post by Jonas on that this week. Check out the Bonsai Tonight posts.

Looks like you’re off to a great start Greg! It’s around this stage where I start pruning the sacrifice branch a bit to encourage the lower branches, one of which will become the next sacrifice branch. This is something you can do this winter.

The other thing to think about is what shape you want the tree to take without the sacrifice branch. If you have a good idea about what you’re going for, it’ll be easier to know what to do with the lower branches.

Good job, btw, keeping the tree so healthy in the DFW area - it can be a challenge with the summer heat!

Like Frank said, there are several photo sequences for JBP sacrifice branch and energy balance. They are excellent.

Thanks, for the feedback. I have been reading the articles and beginner section and have found it all quite beneficial. I was a little leery on timing and didn’t want my exuberance to set the tree back. I will wait until winter as suggested and start adjusting the top to direct a little more of the energy to the lower portion of the tree. Jonas, thanks for the advice and such a great resource!

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