Young JBP, Remove Vigorous Buds/Candles?

I have two “mikawa” JBPs that I purchased a few years ago (they are grafted interestingly) when they were quite small. Over the past couple years they have turned into very vigorous growers and this season are ripe with buds and candles all over.

In this image you can see this branch with 3 buds ready to extend, as this tree is still in “development” mode and I’m trying to thicken the trunk for the next several years, should I touch these? I’m worried about creating reverse taper at this junction, but I do not want to inhibit any growth for this tree. I’ve read about this reverse taper issue on Eric Shrader’s site (

There is another branch in the back with the same set of buds, and buds inside the mass of needles as well. Any thoughts on these vigorous clusters, or any other comments on the development of this tree thus far?

One other comment: I’ve wired the base of this tree in the past to create that slight bend there, should I try to introduce more at this point? I know younger-is-better, but it’s already quite hardened off!


The bend question is fairly straightforward. If you have a shape in mind for the final tree, you can bend - or not bend - the trunk to match the trunk shape you have in mind.

As for the thinning question, you’re likely fine either way. If you’re planning on letting the trunk get fairly thick, leaving the extra branches for a single season won’t get in the way. I often take this approach and remove the extra branches at the end of the growing season. Thinning the buds now avoids future taper issues at the intersection and redirects new growth to other parts of the tree.

You may have read the following from Eric - a very useful look at the journey:

Thanks for the information and that link is definitely worth a re-read for me!

I’ll leave these buds for this growing season and reevaluate in the fall.