Managing lower branches while developing shohin black pines

Bonsai Tonight,

I have a few 4-5 year old black pines that I hope to develop into shohin trees. This is my first foray into shohin and I’m curious how to manage the lower branches while working to develop a thick trunk. I understand branch development should be pursued only after adequate trunk development has been accomplished, but how do I avoid lower branches from getting too large while at the same time maintaining them for future development? Should I avoid decandling altogether? I’m enamored by the 10-11 year old trees I see in the blog that have such fine branch structure so close to the trunk.

Thanks in advance,


In general, I try to leave extra branches on the tree throughout the development process. Some will get big and become sacrifice branches, while the others remain small. I keep these smaller branches around until the sacrifice branches are removed at which point I select the primary and secondary branches.

I use decandling sparingly during the development phase. It can be used to slow down individual branches or sections of the tree which in turn allows other branches or areas to gain vigor. It can also be used to generate ramification.

I don’t know that I can point to posts that address this directly, but will aim to make some as I do work that relates to this going forward.