Japanese black pine candles bud no needles

Hi everyone

I bought this black pine in 2017…in 2018 it grow very strong. 2019 spring lots of pollen cones after they were gone the candles extended but almost no needles.

Unable to load the picture so it is difficult to match your thoughts with the picture. Please repost the picture.

There would not be any needles until the candles had hardened off surely, or am I misunderstanding what you mean? You also say Pollen cones so it flowered. The candles should have been cut after hardening, then you should have another flush of growth.

It made candles but no needles on the new candles. The roots are in a very good condition …I’m spraying fungicides regularly…my question is can this be because of the pollen flowers? If so do I go forward normally with decandling?

This makes sense to me. When a tree is stressed it produces lots of pollen cones. Needles don’t form where the pollen cones develop so it’s natural that there would only be a few needles at the ends of the last growth extension.

If there aren’t many needles and the current buds are small, I’d hold off on decandling until the tree produces more vigorous growth.

Looking closer at the photo, it looks like the tree is young and the trunk is slender. What’s the goal of decandling at this stage?

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I wanted to decandle some of the branches before they get to thick and let the 2 sacrifice branches grow freely…

Ah, that can work. It slows the tree down but can help if you need shorter internodes.

Hi, I repoted my shohin JBP this year and although doesn’t have ‘’ flowers cones’’ it has produced many short candles (about 1 cm/ 0.4 inch) pinched the longest (about 2cm/0.8 inch) in early May but still hasn’t opened needles by the beginning of June, meanwhile, my shohin sylvestris/Scots pine has opened all new needles nicely. I’m not decandling this year but I do wonder if there is something wrong? also recently needles are a bit yellow, could it be overwatering? dark rings on needles I think is physical (my fault) damage.



When did you repot this spring and what area or climatic zone do you live in? Used on the pictures alone it would appear the tree is having difficulty with taking in water. Perhaps the damage from repotting slowing uptake, too dry or even too wet right after repotting when roots were adjusting. It may seem weird but the overall effect on the tree can be from either condition after a recent repotting.
The needles appear to have had brown tips and removed or broken. The candles appear dry and stalled in opening. Any chance your repot was later spring and the candles were beginning to open when the roots were worked on? There are a couple of bands on a few needles mid way indication of needle cast but very minor!
I am more inclined to feel it is a delayed result of repotting and follow up care.
I would soak the tree in a basin of water for 1/2 hour, allow to drain. Resume watering carefully and ensure that it drys out a bit between waterings. When watering, water thoroughly at least twice until water runs clearly through the bottom. Then do not water again until partially drying out!

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Sorry! I’m in south UK zone 9, repoted 10 of april, it was decandled a bit late in july 8 last year (2019) and the new buds didn’t have enough time to grow… certenatly the candles ‘‘appear dry and stalled’’ which is worrying. Unfortunately I can’t remenber about the candles when repoting (can’t find pictures), I do remember the candles elongating fast not long afterwards though. I did cut some very long or damaged needles. I though I was over watering but at the same time I was leaving to dry quiet a bit between watering, how to know if underwater or over water? Thank you.

I though pines repoting it’s best in mid spring, after deciduous trees? :confused: after repoting care was in full sun.

Thank you for the additional information. It helps. Not suggesting you did anything wrong just wanting to understand the full background.
On the basis of your response I would monitor the watering as suggested in my first response and you should see improvement in two or three weeks!
Repotting guidelines for pines are normally late winter early spring prior to buds elongating.
Our weather patterns vary and some springs are warmer, some cooler. If your spring was warmer and sunnier the tree may have been more active than normal.
Zone 9 may have a pine growing throughout the winter, albeit a bit slower. We can adapt our practices to the circumstances we encounter.
With proper watering the tree should recover nicely, if you wish to use some liquid fish fertilizer bi-weekly at this point it will likely benefit the recovery! I would avoid any strong fertilizers or heavy applications at this time.
Best of luck

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Would you still soak it for 1/2 hour? Thank you very much for your help.

Yes I would, as I feel that after repotting the core may have dried out and the new soil around the core drains more freely, creating a possible hydrophobic situation in the core. If you changed out one side or more with fresh soil than it may not be necessary!
If the soil drains well, one soaking to ensure proper uptake with watering will be safe!
Then as suggested water well but wait until it needs watering to re-water!
As an aside, check the weight before soaking and after. That will give you an indication wether the core was dry! As well as a base point for telling if the tree has been well watered by the methods you are using.

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Frank’s advice is great. Stalled needles are usually a sign of removing too many roots and/or repotting too late in the season. If the mature needles are healthy, the tree can stay like this until it can produce new shoots either later this year or even next year.

It’s also worth checking to make sure there isn’t a block of old soil that’s repelling water when you water. To check, I set the tree in a basin filled with water and perforate the rootball. If bubbles appear, there’s a dry area in the rootball.

Thank you, Frank and Jonas. Quick update, I did submerge the tree up to the nebari next day! 9 of June in rainwater for 30 minutes, after a few hours while it was wet I sprayed with anti-fungus… Unfortunately, I forgot to take the weight :frowning: and I do not remember seen bubbles, but already the new needles are starting to come out :slight_smile: I’m worried about the old needles been healthy enough or 'block of old soil repelling water! at the moment I’m extra careful with watering but in this case, I found particularly tricky.

PS. I forgot to mention that the new soil used (due to UK rainy water) was a mix of 30% akadama 30% kiryu 40% lava, another issue could be the lava used has a bigger grain size than the rest.

Wow, that’s great to see such a fast turnaround! I’ll have try the soak method on some of my trees to see if I get the same results.

As for the larger lava particles, I haven’t seen that lead to poor drainage so I wouldn’t expect that to be a problem. If anything, it would lead to more air in the soil which would necessitate more frequent waterings rather than hydrophobic conditions.

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I do realize that the first pictures were downsized before post, so for a better comparison, here is a full-size picture taken the 8 of June (same day as first pictures) from a similar angle… I’m still keeping my fingers crossed!

I only just noticed what a small pot the tree is in. Was it in this small a pot last year?

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Yes! Thank you for mentioning, I’m afraid not just last year but for a number of years (got it last year). I thought about it but didn’t manage to get the right pot on time this year, so we should be ready for next year ‘slip potting’.

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