Decandle or not

I have two JPBs. One has opened it’s candles and they are green and flush. The second has long candles but they are reluctant to open. The tree seemed root bound and not taking water well or draining well. I realize that could be due to their root conditions, lack of water or several other possibilities. I have slip potted it and submerged it for about 20 min. That has helped a little.
My question is, Should the first flush of candles on a Black pine be removed to encourage more vigor in a second flush , or should they be left alone ? I would like to see more ramification. What, at this point will encourage more ramification ? Thanks.

If the tree isn’t fully healthy, I’d skip decandling this year. Once the tree is growing well a combination of pruning and decandling can help to improve the ramification.

Feel free to post a photo and we can see if other suggestions come to mind.

Thanks Jonas,
I didn’t expect a response, forgive my impatience. The tree seems very healthy. I tried an experiment and
Clipped about 2/3 off of some of the candles, which were pretty well opened. Some of the weaker, or shorter candles I removed less. And on the shortest candles I removed nothing. Hopefully that will balance vigor and I will be able to see the results of what each will do. I did not remove any candles entirely. I figured I could always do that later.

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You’ll have to let us know how it goes - trimming the candles mid-shoot is a special technique that’s slightly less effective than decandling, but it can be a good way to go when the tree isn’t fully healthy. It can also help with back buds.

If the tree responds well, you’ll have plenty of growth to work with in fall. The transitions from last year’s needles to the spring needles to the summer needles may look awkward, but can set you up well for next year.

There are a number of YouTube videos on decandling Japanese black pine. The question, technique, and reasons for decandling are too involved to address in a forum. Also, just about any other questions you may have on just about any other bonsai.