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Hello from France

Started by jcc, December 06, 2012, 01:04:56 PM

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I'm Jean-Claude from Belfort  in the east of France, a little town very close to Switzerland border.

I am very glad to have discovered this forum because I am looking for informations, experiences and skills
about pines pruning.

I have an austrian pine (pinus nigra) 6 Years old, 6/7 feet tall. I want to allow it to go up 12 feet before topping it.

I bought the Jake Hobson's book "Niwaki" but I think this forum will help me since some seem very experimented.



Welcome to the forum Jean-Claude!

Jake's book, as you mentioned helped me better understand pine pruning concepts. You'll see that he posts here from time to time, along with other knowledgeable and helpful people. You can also read some good info here within the Japanese Gardening Organization forum and in the Japanese Gardening Organization website. Although you may not find a lot of specific info for Austrian Pine (Pinus nigra), you'll find the general info about pruning pines will relate to your situation. Japanese aesthetic pruning techniques are often written about Black Pine (Pinus thunbergii) for example.

Here's a few links to get you started:

- Mark


Thank you Mark for  your good suggestions. I think I will spend a lot of time reading all these topics (due to my bad english) but I am sure they will bring me a great help.


Jean-Claude welcome to the forum..
if you open the forum in the Google Chrome browser, then you can set the browser to automatically translate to French.  ;)  of course, as I discovered, this does not help to practice the language you are translating from... and the translation is not perfect but it works to get ideas across.         edzard


Thank you Edzard for your advice. But I think I will try working myself because, when I have a translation problem , it's always about subtilities for which I think an automatic translator don't help. And as you said, it's good for improving my english.


I come back to this post to talk about a problem regarding how to get shorter needles. My pine is now 3,5 m tall.
So far every year in May I reduced the candles to 1/3 but without result on the sizes of the needles that remained long.
This year towards the end of May I removed the candles entirely on some parts of the pine hoping to get new buds and a new regrowth of needles shorter.
New buds appeared fairly quickly in a few weeks but unfortunately they did not develop into new candles and so I did not get the short needles I was hoping for.
I wonder if this behavior is normal on the Austrian black pines or if another technique makes it possible to obtain these famous short needles.
Thank you


I live in Portland, Oregon, USA.  My garden has two Austrian Black pines (Pinus nigra). They were both planted 17 years ago, one was pretrained in the Japanese style, the other a balled and burlaped tree about 5 ft tall.  We initially were going to let this tree grow naturally, but changed after the first year. First removed 1/2 of each candle at May pine pruning time.  Later we changed to removing some select branches and all candles growing straight up.  This has altered the growth habits of the tree, but it is still large for a Japanese Garden, but it sits at the lower margin of the garden space so serves as backdrop to the garden.  The other tree is maintained more as a specimen tree.
The Austrian black pine is a very aggressive grower so we shorten the new candles about 3/4 and remove completely the lead candle, the upright grower and the downward grower to leave just two short horizontal candles on each branchlet.  The needle do not become shorter and the long needles maybe detract form the Japanese Garden ideal.  I also have two Red pines and 3 Japanese  black pines and 3 Pinus contorta (shore pine) and 1 pinus parviflora (5 needle Japanese white pine all maintained in strict Japanese Garden style.  The Austrian black pines shaggy look is a good contrast.  I will take new photos of these two trees when the snow and ice melts that we have on this day.
From your photo, I think I would try to remove some of the upward growth in your cloud branches to try to make them thiner.  I also remove all needles that are two years old in fall pine pruning as well as most downward needles below the branch profile. This results in a more open look to the tree.  Your climate may not allow this.


Thank you  Terry for your advice. I will wait until February / March next year to remove the needles of two years and those that are on the undersides of the branches and make a selection of the buds to leave only two as you do on your trees.
I will also remove shoots too vertical to thin the clouds.

Regarding the possibility of producing short needles I discovered in the forum a discussion you had with Jake Hobson ("Candling pinus nigra") where he describes a method that works  in England but apparently not in Oregon  nor in my country . This may be due to the hardiness zone. Here we are in zone 6B. What about you in Oregon?

I am curious to see the photos of your pines.


December 18, 2016, 07:26:59 AM #8 Last Edit: December 18, 2016, 07:39:30 AM by jcc
Hi Terry, I have an idea maybe silly to get shorter needles. In the spring apply your method, ie only keep and pinch the two horizontal candles and temporarily and completely leave the lead candle so that it consumes a lot of energy that will miss the other two horizontal candles and maybe produce shorter needles. And finally in the autumn to completely remove the lead candle.
I hope you understand my explanation (sorry for my bad English) !


Jean Claude,
Here are current photos of my Austrian Black Pines


Thanks Terry. We can see the two approaches of pruning and shaping. I think I should orient mine as the tallest of your two pines.

Do you think my idea of temporarily letting the lead candles grow to absorb energy to the detriment of horizontal candles could produce short needles? I will try this method next year.