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Plucking & Pinching Some Extraordinary Pines



Not only is this an extraordinary cascading bonsai, but there's a story being told by the way the candles are strongest on the bottom third of the tree. Normally on apically dominant trees (like pines), you would expect the most vigorous candles at and near the top of the tree. My guess is that some of the upper candles have been pinched (shortened) and/or some have been plucked (removed) in order to control growth.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on controlling and balancing energy on pines. I’ve done my best here based on what I’ve picked up over the years, but fear that I am oversimplifying what can be a complex process, with differences based on the type pine.  For a more thorough look at candle plucking and pinching and energy balancing in general (and much more, you might want to take a look at our Masters Series Pine Book.

All the pines shown here were posted by Luis Vallejo. I imagine that all reside at Luis’ Museo de Bonsai in Alcobendas, Spain. Because we’re focusing on the candles and how they are managed in order to control and balance energy, I don’t say much about just how powerful and beautiful these trees are. But then you’ve got eyes, so we’re not too concerned. No varieties are given by Luis.


In this photo, the strongest candles are at the top of the tree. This is what you might expect if the candles haven't been plucked and/or pinched (yet). Conversely, but much less likely, the candles on the lower reaches have been plucked and/or pinched and those on the upper reaches have been allowed to grown unrestrained in order to strengthen the apex. The reason this is much less likely is that the upper reaches are almost almost always the strongest and the lower reaches almost always need strengthening or they will eventually weaken and even die. Just like you see on old trees in nature with dead lower branches and their strongest growth near the top.



Later, after the candles have opened



It looks like most of the candles on this one have been pinched and/or plucked in order to maintain an already well-balanced tree.



It looks like Luis (or whoever is working this tree) wants to strengthen the lower right section



Another one after the candles have opened.

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