Muranaka Pine 2013
This pine was planted from seed. It was planted by George’s Father, Kanemi Muranaka. It was planted about 30 years ago. recently I talked with George about a larger pine to work on for my future retirement and this is the tree I settled on.
The tree behind the plant stake is the tree in the ground last year. It was dug up and planted in the fall into a training container. I puchased the tree in the spring of this year and have begun grooming the tree for the future.
For now, I consider this a very good front view. There are many larger branches in the top of the tree that will need attention soon to keep the top in harmony with the bottom of the tree. Considering this tree has had no wire and has only been pruned for shape, it is an excellent example of the Classic Japanese Moyogi form.
Currently the tree is pushing its spring candles as it should. While the tree will not be pruned till late fall, the tree will undergo candle pruning and needle plucking this season as it always has.
Work resumes by starting the process of removing branches. The first to go is the large branch above the first branch on the left. They are close together and the bottom has more potential so for now that is the one that will be reserved. The branch above is removed and turned to jin.
More guy wires are added to pull the future branching down. May not keep all of them but for now pulling them down and breaking down tissue is whats needed so that wire will hold the branches later.
This is after the first removal of branches from the tree. That is a lot of branches to remove for a first thinning.
The red arrow is the branch from above that is too verticle and gives the sling shot appearance and the blue arrow is a branch that is just too heavy for where it is on the tree.
A few wires are placed for now to ease some of the branches into a new place simply because there is not a clean path for a guy wire.
This area is a really bad place in the tree. That big giant branch juts up from the main trunk and is seen from the front view. It gives the impression of two trunks and actually looks rather like a slingshot. It will have to be dealt with also.
Here is a side angle shot of its rather verticle line off the main trunk.
This is the bottom right branch. It is very low on the trunk and rather small and weak. It will never thicken enough to look good and so I have decided to remove it.
The branch removed and to be made into a jin.
Here is the tree just before bud break in Feb 2014. The branch marked in blue above has now been removed from the tree.
The top of the tree is also very heavy with small branches. There is already a large knob there due to so many branches there while it was in the field and probably only pruned once a year. The top of a pine can go really wild in just one year since they are so apical.
Budding was very strong for the 2014 season and I was very pleased with the growth I got.
This is hardened off growth in July from the spring candle push.
In this view of the above picture, three places have been identified with needing special work done to refine the tree. The apex is still really a mess with many small branches everywhere. The middle of the tree still has the verticle stub that needs to be worked over somehow. The first branch on the left side is very large and still very low on the tree.
Soon after the above picture the tree was plucked and candle pruned for its second flush.
Today was a Ted Matson Workshop and the perfect time to get some second opinions about my problem areas.
One, Ted agreed the bottom left branch was too large. He said in Japan, many times on white pine that the first branch is exaggerated and much longer or larger. Not so much on black pine.
Here are some close ups of the branch.
The branch was removed leaving a stub to reduce as jin. Ted liked the jins on the base of the tree and felt they added ruggedness to the trunk. Since the base of the tree has a large plate of rootage in the rear, he felt it maybe proper to keep the tree more rustic and not so Japanese groomed. Some smaller branches were also removed and the larger piece in the upper right corner below is the apex area of the tree. Ted said that it needed to be removed right away since it was only adding more girth to the already large knob there. He suggested to use knob cutters and remove theu pper bridge and lessen its look, making it not so large and softer.
Here is a close up of the branch removed from the bottom of the tree. It can be seen that the branch was never built correctly and had many long necks devoid of foliage.
In this view you can see how the apex was worked over to soften the mass of wood there. Also very visable is the long verticle neck bisecting an upper left branch. The verticle branch makes a perfect slingshot there.
Here is a shot taken from the left side of the tree into the branch sticking up. The main trunk is in the background and one can see that it is very much parallel to the trunk from the side as well as the front.
Here is a shot from the back of the tree. Ted said that there are two possibilities to fix this situation. Choice one, is to somehow bend this branch down and twist it forwards so as to not see it in the front view. The crossection of the stub as seen is a full 3/4 inch across. The branch is only 2 inches long. How can I bend it.
This is what I did.
I started by using a 12 inch Irwin woodworking clamp. I drilled a small hole at each end of the clamping portion of the tool. I did this so I could tie a safety wire to the tree. I have many squirrels in my back yard and this thing would snap off and possibly do other damage to surrounding branches as well as ruin the tree by continually bending the wood back and fourth reapplying the clamp and dislodge the cambium. These clamps have the ability to provide around 75 pounds of force. Thats the limit to squeezing the handle and that is also the limit of the excentric which does the holding in the handle area. Its all friction based. That 75 pounds was taken with my neighbors pull scale that he uses for removing and replacing bearings. On average the human hand can squeeze about 100 pounds per square inch for a few seconds. 75 pouinds is the limit of the tool but the thing is it is done incrimentally so it can be done very easy.
This is the front end of the tool tied to the jin I just made from the left branch I removed.
This is the top of the tool, the part with the handle you squeeze tied to the branch I wish to bend down. I removed the middle branch on that branch and leveled it offt o get a good bite with the clamp.
Here is the branch after bending with the clamp.
The red hash marks show about where the branch was, and where it is now. About 80 degrees of movement. No cuts, no stress reliefs, no notches.
Here is a front view of the tree now with a closeup of that area. The offending branch is gone and completely hiddden behind the trunk now.
Here is a whole shot of the tree with clamp in place and branch gone from sight. The small branch that was on the side of it was rebent to fill in the void there and now looks much better.
Ths is a close uo shot of the top of the tree before I took out giant mess up there. More to come on this area later.