Working at the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum has provided me so many opportunities to develop and practice my bonsai skills. Last week, I got the chance to learn and practice a bonsai technique that had read about but had not yet performed in my bonsai career: decandling on Japanese Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii). In the decandling process, we remove the first flush of strong new growth (candles) to redirect the energy into multiple smaller buds that will emerge in response. The resulting shoots will both be shorter and have smaller needles than the original flush, thereby supporting the desired aesthetic of bonsai.
In the next week, I’ll continue working on the black pines throughout the collection.
The weather here in DC has been a sporadic mix of sun, heat, and rain, making great conditions for continued growth on the trees. The trident maples are still growing quite rapidly and require frequent clean-ups to keep them in shape.