More Work on the Big Pine   3 comments

Through the years a person works on many trees. They style them from nothing, work them thru the years and finally get them to a point of exhibition. The trees are well recieved and the artist can take stock in thier accomplishments as successful.

Sooner or later one will be challenged with a piece of material that will push the srtist to their boundries. They will have to cross the Rubicon and step into uncharted waters. They will have to dig deep and take the plunge in doing what they know to be the right course of action, but may not really possess the ability to really know if what they are about to do is really the right thing.

That is the decision I have been challenged to conquer.

When I last left off with this pine it was in the fall. It was needle plucked and a few branches had been cut back hard. The tree still contained many branches that would otherwise ruin a great tree. removing them would make an even better tree. Would I be able to cut them off?

In this view the tree is well proportioned. The problem is it is very symmetrical. It is a perfect triangle. I need some asymmetry. The first branch on the left is a good branch. It emerges from the trunk in a good position, and is at the right height for a first branch.


The first branch on the right while lower on the trunk is uninteresting and has a very straight portion. It also is smaller in size than the branch of the left. It is not well forked and is only about 1/2 ionch from the soil. It is much too low for a first branch.


This is a close up of the branch on the left. It is well forked and much more ramified. It is a little long, but that can be shortened with pruning and bud stimulation.


A better view of the branch on the right.


This is the fourth branch up on the tree and well at the half way point if not in the upper half of the tree. It is very large and moves off the trunk in an upward angle making branching alway looking contrived. It is a well placed branch and would be a keep due to it emerging right off the outside of a directionnal change in the trunk.


Here is a better view of the branch. The size of the branch actually makes the trunk look as if it has a wye midway up.

Now the dilemma.

If I were asked to look at this tree from a club member or someone at a workshop I was giving, both of the branches would be an issue for me. It would be very easy for me to tell someone that “if you wish the tree to be better you will have to deal with them at some time. No better time than the present”. Then I would feel some sort of gratification that the person thought enough of my expertise by lopping them off in front of me while I swallowed very hard. Once it is done I would be able to see that of course it was the right thing to do.


So…with that in mind I took the concave cutters and whacked it right off. I left it long for a jin that I can always remove later if I don’t like it.


Here you can see the scar from sawing off the large branch in the upper portion of the tree. Some heavy copper wire was used and many of the guy wires repositioned and tightened again. Some as much as a full inch. Slowly the wood gives up and they come down. I will have all of the branches I wish to pull down weakened and down by the end of this season. The trunk now shows more mevement and when I get the left one shortened a little and all the branches wired, it should improve overall.

I think it was the right thing to do.


The remnents of this session. This was done at a club meeting and I will be doing more work over the next few days.



3 responses to “More Work on the Big Pine

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  1. Nice stock, thanks for the update. I still think by the time you’re done, the first branch will be the one on the left that emerges just below the uro. Pull it down sharply by dislocating it slightly from the trunk on the top side, build up a few pads on it over time and it will look ancient.

  2. I find it interesting that you took that branch off, yet left the bottom left branch. I’m still learning so much about styling, but I think that if it were my tree I would have taken off that bottom left branch and not even thought about removing that large branch. It just seems like with it gone the branches would start after 1/3 of the trees height. Maybe I’m just oblivious.

  3. There is one thing that I preach to people that ask me for help, and that is, “work in the future and not in the present. Working in the present means you are working five years behind”….

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