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Ontario, Canada Ca

I have 2 white pines, that as they have grown in height, are looking very spindly. Am wondering if I should start pruning them to make them grow 'bushier'. If so, when is the best time? Also any other tips would be appreciated.
The 1st pic shows the bushiness which I am trying to achieve.
The 2nd and 3rd are pics from today showing how spindly they have become.


White_pines_3 White_pine_1 White_pine_2



Pines can be made bushier by 'candling' which is similar to pinching out. The new growth on pines is in the form of finger-like brown buds that are the start of new branches. These can be pinched off halfway down or removed entirely to suit. This needs to be started early on as once a tree has become leggy it's a battle to rectify. I'm trying to see on my phone, are they before and after pics of the same specimens? The size and shape of the ones in pic 1 is when I would begin candling. The other pictures you show might also be an environmental result where previous years needles have been shed leaving the branches looking bare. Possible causes are drought or too much water and some others. Difficult to bring them back to bushy even with remedial action. I'll have a better look when I get home Lil...

9 Mar, 2012


Oh crikey 7, put the phone down and concentrate on driving! :)))

Yes, the 1st photo is the 1st year they were planted, 7 years ago. I did try cutting off the new growth last spring and wondered if I should continue this year, or whether it is just too late.
Thanks and I will look for your advice once you have gotten HOME :))))

9 Mar, 2012


Were they perhaps originally Living Christmas trees, Lil? If so, they probably were sheared frequently in their youth to get them that full.

9 Mar, 2012


I don't think so Tug. I did buy them from a tree farm though...thanks.

9 Mar, 2012


Hi Lil, I'm home!

With pines it's not possible to prune to old wood (the branch) as you can with a yew. This is also the case with hedging conifers such as Thuja but it just feels more natural to trim just the fresh growth on those.

First watch this nice guy explaining candling.

He removes the candles completely but you can break them in half or slightly further down to allow some growth in the current season. Branching will occur on the remaining part of the candle.

Then watch this one on shearing Pinus strobus (White Pine)

Essentially the same method but later in the growing season, June / July as stated when the candles are extending into branches. Again he isn't touching the old wood.

10 Mar, 2012


As far as yours are concerned, it's worth a shot doing it this year and seeing if it makes some difference. If it's too late in the game then you will have to accept them as they are with maybe some year on year improvement or replace them with younger ones again. Replacement isn't the end of the world as there are many fast growing conifers that would be very nice and dense, and manageable.

10 Mar, 2012


Thanks so much 7!!! These videos are very helpful!! I definitely won't be replacing them though :)))

10 Mar, 2012

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