The Q&A Archives: Shaping Black Pine

Question: We put in two beautiful black pine trees near our swimming pool that are shaped similar to bonsai trees. I was told to trim the candles off when they grow in order to maintain the tree's shape. However, the tree is producing large bunches of candles. What is the best way to trim so that the tree maintains its shape and remains full?

Answer: Snapping off the fresh, young shoots that appear in spring, called candles, is a good way to keep pines like yours in shape. If you allow the candles to grow, they'll become permanent branches. Pruning them will leave scars. But in spring, they young shoots break off easily. Remove them all, shortly after they appear, to maintain your tree's shape.

Good luck!

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