Managing leader

(Keith T) #1

I typically see just one leader on pines being developed. Is it best to only allow one leader/sacrifice branch to run or can multiple be used at once? For example, if top leader is healing a chop scar, is it bad to have a strong low sacrifice branch to pump up the trunk.
Also, leaders tend to be long single straight stems. At what point are the other buds removed from the leader to allow a single bud to keep pushing skyward?



(Jonas Dupuich) #2

Multiple escape branches is definitely OK.

As for when/which buds to remove from the leaders, different people have different approaches. I don’t know that it makes a big difference either way.

I tend to keep the center buds on escape branches as these grow with the most vigor. I remove them when I want a change in direction of the branch. Beyond that, my guiding principal is to remove foliage and branches that shade off the lower growth I want to keep. I also like keeping the overall density down as it can make the tree less hospitable for insects.

(Frank Corrigan) #3

There are several advantages to multiple sacrifice branches. If one is damaged then a replacement is at hand. Also, as Jonas mentioned it allows for change of direction if needed. Another advantage to retaining multiple sacrifice branches is that one can remove a sacrifice branch before it becomes too large and leaves a difficult scar to deal with. Having another option is often an advantage.
I find when growing pines the options allow me to prune judiciously and manage the space requirements of trees growing in the ground in close proximity to each other. Keeping air flow and light exposure to the maximum. So i often trim the largest sacrifice branch only to allow a smaller one to run free. The one disadvantage i notice is that i retain more branches than needed for the final design quite a bit longer until i am satisfied with trunk and branch sizes in most areas.

(Jonas Dupuich) #4

Well said Frank. One of the biggest problems of keeping too many sacrifice branches is that you end up with more scars than necessary to achieve the desired size.