Bending old scarred branch (Scots Pine)

Hello all,

I am getting prepared to do a bend on my Scots Pine Bunjin style tree. The branch I am hoping to bend significantly has a big scar with no live tissue on it. What would be the best method to approach a bend such as this? Raffia and wire and slowly maneuver the branch, as I would if the damage was not there? and will it ever set given the already dead area?
The branch is old and not very flexible and I really don’t want to break it.
Thank you for the help

Here is a pic of the scarred section of the branch.

This will be tricky to bend 4 sure.
What I’d suggest is to carve out the dead portions of the branches, the deadwood down to live parts, cuz those parts will def snap, break and/ or the live portion of the bark will slip.

Then you got 2 options use raffia, to give it support or go without raffia so you can see what’s going on during the bend. In this case I’d use raffia.
Additionally you can tie wires along the branch based on the bend directions to give it some extra support.
Whatever you do take it slow, listen to the crackling and try to avoid bending those damaged parts as much as possible.
Here are some videos on similar situations.

Hope this helps, good luck!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to reply, that really helps me!

I’ve seen videos of people carving a shari, and then hollowing it out and inserting a wire into the trunk or branch. Another option might be to try a wedge cut, depending on which way you want to move the branch. If you can protect the rest of the tree, wrap it in wet raffia and then use a heat gun or torch to heat the wet branch before bending. Basically like a woodworker steam bending something.
I’ve seen all of these done, but personally haven’t tried any. I do like the comments made above by Kenez. Good luck!

Thanks fort the advice, after further probing (I was reluctant to remove any bark), but it turns out the dead area extends 1/2 way down the trunk too, so I am just gonna run with it and make it a shari feature!

I ended up using a wooden stake to support the bend above the dead area so only live section bent along with raffia. This worked out well and after a little messing around actually removed the stake and the deadwood stayed in tact.

Still a long way to go and I think I will remove the un-styled section on the right when the other branched have shown viability.

Thanks again fore the help, this is a good resource.


Something to consider, the unstyled / unwired part of the tree might become more vigorous as a result of being intact. This could weaken the part you want to keep.

Hi Robert, That is a very interesting and poignant thought. I am in 2 minds to cut it off now.

  1. If I remove it I will have removed around 50% foliar mass in one go. I was under the impression I shouldn’t push it much more than 40% removal in one go.
  2. If I loose the apex for some reason, at least I have a branch to try and do something with (albeit far from ideal).

Saying that I have very little experience with Sylvestris!

Pine need foliage to recover,I’d leave it for now especially with winter coming. Next spring if I see buds moving on the bent branch I’d cut half the foliage off the unwired part, and maybe pinch the rest of the growth to redirect energy to the stiled part and come next fall if all goes as planned I’d remove the rest. Better safe then sorry.

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Valid points as an alternative you could also style the remaining part even though it would be sacrificial. That way energy would be equally distributed.

Both good points, thank you.
It may be good to style the sacrificial part a bit so it fits in better for the winter.

Appreciate the insight.

I would second the wiring/styling of the potential sacrifice branch to allow for the foilage mass to help recover but the wiring will attempt to equal ( reduce in this case) out the strength .

Thank you, I may well do this. I see it having a couple of different benefits.