Black Pine Collecting

Where I live in Delaware, there were Japanese Black Pines planted along the coast in WW2. I was given permission to remove the young trees at my father’s work because they consider them “weeds”. Long story short, a few of them are 4 to 5 feet tall and I’m not sure how to collect them. I’ve read that when collecting pines, you want to keep as many roots and foliage as possible. Since these are taller, I was wondering if I should airlayer them and then dig up the remaining tree. Or would it be advisable to remove the tree and then chop the tree to the first primary branch? Any guidance is greatly appreciated.


Hi @lbranner,
Yes, get as much root as you can.
It sounds like you may have to saw off the top. Leave as much as you can to help the recovery, and think about leaving a leader for the new top.
I have not heard of an effective method for air layering pines. Apparently it can be done, but it can take a long time and success if low. Better technique for deciduous trees.


Hello @lbranner, just a reply to welcome you in the Mirai community. I am sure that the Mirai aficionados will guide you!


If you have time, you could chop them now then leave them in the ground to recover for a year before digging. I’ve done this with other large pines to good effect. You can also excavate one half of the tree, wait a year, then finish the job. If the root systems of these trees aren’t confined by shallow rocks, you might need to follow this two step process to avoid killing the tree.


Thanks for your answers. I certainly will avoid the air layering. One of the trees is too large to dig up in one shot so I’ll chop and excavate half this year.

Wow. What a dilema to have. Wild tree collecting…
Photo of the trees as they are now , maybe something to help size perspective?
Can’t do much until early spring.