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Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:03 pm
Location: California

How best to backbud a Scots pine?

I had this Scots pine years ago and after twisting the trunk, I sorta lost interest in it and gave it to some friends just to plant in their yard.
They neglected it and the pot fell over and exposed the roots and turned it into something really NEAT!
I potted the tree for them and they kept it on their patio but after about 10 years of no feeding and strange watering, they didn't want it any more because it frankly looked awful. Chlorotic and dull.

The needles are FIRMLY stuck in so the tree is healthy now that I have repotted it in Akadama soil.

NEW needles are green and vigorous, but no one in the local area even SELLS Scots pine.

Are they tough to backbud and when should pruning take place?

I prune my black pine in the spring.


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Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 12:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A


I'm still learning about Pines myself so I'm not sure how much help I can be. My only real success so far is with a group of 4 year old Scots Pines I started from seed. The young ones are pushing new buds low on their trunks. I give them good sun and fertilize regularly, I assume you do the same. These are doing good but most everything else I touch turns brown and dies.

I do have one Scots Pine I collected this year and so far it looks promising but time will tell. This tree was pruned in place (nothing fancy just hacked back) a year before I dug it and it did push some new buds so I would say you have reason to be optimistic.

I have read so much about Pines from so many sources that I am more confused than when I started. Pluck the needles, don't pluck the needles. Stagger your candle pruning, prune all at once. Add to all this that your climate is so much different than mine.

If you prune the candles, like you do for the JBP, you should get new buds on last years growth but how far back you can push it I don't know. Consider how long it has 'been in recovery' before you rush into anything. If it looks good next spring (when you do your JBP) then why not try treating it like that for one year and see how it responds.

What technique do you follow? I assume you remove the new candles at some point in order to set a second smaller crop of candles.

I would be interested in seeing photos when you get the opportunity to post them.


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