Twisted and exposed root Black Pines such as this are not overly common in Europe, so it was a pleasure to do a little work on this one, especially as it appeared to be a black pine grafted onto white pine root stock,something I have never seen before. I may be mistaken but there is a definite change of bark texture half way along the contorted trunk of this tree belong to a client. I had seen it a few years back and liked the unusual nature and so this time I got permission to work on it as it was getting a little out of control. Not massively, but on the verge of becoming a serious problem with some weak areas which would be beyond saving if not looked at soon.
As usual when working on a tree that isn't mine, I began with asking what the owner saw in it, then made some suggestions based on what I saw, what they saw and any other valid options there may have been.
With this tree, the lowest branch was weaker because of a lack of sun and aggressive needle reduction and candle cutting in previous years.
The discussion process revolved around what the objective was, and how quickly it would be ready to show. Such a tree is ideal for the kifu size category and would be a certain head turner at the Noelanders trophy. With size considerations not much of a problem, as it fit easily in 35cm, it would be a case of do we make it small, compact and dare I say, Japanese-y, or do we go for a little bit more dynamic, stretched out and less compact. I refrain from saying European or Western, because the opposite of the Japanese compactness is not by default Western, as there are plenty of ridiculously compacted trees in this part of the world. For true dynamic trees, look to China and some of the funky stuff they are creating now. Anyway, I digress.
This side would give a more dynamic, tree, especially if tipped up like so.
The problem of the competing sides and apexes (apices?) was solved with some pruning, and the branches rearranged and tweaked with minimal wiring. All of the branches were weakened due to candle cutting and lack of bud selection, so there were three of four small buds at one node across most of the tree and so I refrained from over wiring the tree. Given time schedule for it, there was no need. A year or two to set main structure, first year selective candle cutting on strong areas only, second year complete candle cutting and then refinement wiring
So in short...erm, think long term.