JBP pruning/clean up questions

A couple of weeks ago I got a Japanese black pine that’s really nice- a bit weak in color (yellowish needles) but this is likely due to lack of regular fertilizing ( I think ).

  1. This black pine was repotted this year, early spring. Should I go ahead and trim back the candles it has put out? Or leave them? I’ve read some of the blog posts about this, but am not sure what to do here because it was repotted.

  2. I know that it needs some work (wiring, etc) but I’d like to get it healthy first. I’ve put it on the same feeding schedule as my other pines ( I feed with neptunes harvest once a week, and fertilize with sumo cakes in the soil, as well as some extra ecto mychorrizae every couple of weeks) hopefully this will aid in darkening up the needles a bit.

  3. Should I go ahead and cut/pluck some of the older/longer needles so It can get some more sunlight? Or do I just let it grow until the needles darken up a bit in color.

Here’s a pic of it:

i would let the tree grow if it was just repotted this year. just feed it real good and maybe decandle it next year

Some of the candles have good size but the needles are really short. That can happen when the tree was stronger the year before than it is now, and is common after a severe repot.

What most concerns me is the color of the foliage. It appears dull in hue and somewhat yellow - is that the case or just the photo? Also curious if you’ve checked for spider mites.

In short, I’m with Justin - I’d hold off on decandling until the tree is really healthy. Some cutback and needle thinning would be good in fall or when the new needles harden off.

Hey Jonas,

Thanks for the answer here.

The foliage is a really light color…I have in the past used bayer insecticide. Is this what you would recommend in this case, even if there’s no spider mites? (I’ve checked for eggs/other signs but not finding anything)

Hey Justin,

Thanks for the info! I might just leave it until next year.

i would feed it with Down To Earth’s Neem Seed Meal, that stuff works really good. it’s a nitrogen booster and aid in keeping pest away. just mix it in some water and let it sit for a day, then water the tree. this stuff works wonders. i had Scales on a sliver leaf maple, fed the tree the mix and 2 days later the scales all dried up…

I wouldn’t spray if you don’t see signs of infestation. (Here’s how I check for mites, btw: https://bonsaitonight.com/2014/12/19/spider-mites-arent-insects/)

Watching the watering - not too wet or dry - and good sunshine are the top things for getting the tree back into health at this point.

Hey Jonas.

Thanks again- I appreciate your input.


Listen to Jonas. Here’s some additional info:

Bayers will not kill mites (if there are mites). You need a miticide which is very expensive. you can also use insecticidal soap or an oil based solution (I use neem with dish soap).

Caution about oil based solutions - do not use in hot temps or spray and allow your tree to be in the sun. Wait for a cool day and put it in full shade/cool place if you’re spraying anything with oil.