Can I chop this Black Pine in May?

I just bought a beautiful piece of nursery stock, a 6’ tall JBP in a 15gal. container. Beautiful nebari, good movement. I want to cut off the current leader, probably about 5’ of material, and start to bring it down to a workable size by removing some other larger pieces. Is it okay to take away so much material at this time of year (I’m in Southern California)? The candles are very long, looks like a very healthy tree.


Could you post some pics?

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Take a listen to the Asymmetry podcast with Telperion farms. They talk about how they work their trees.

Well, I just went for it!

@MtBakerBonsai Thank You, I listened to that episode, and it was very enlightening! @Cjlopez4 below are some pictures…

I chopped off the main leader and I am left with a new leader and about 4 main branches. I have determined a pretty good front, but got a bit stuck. My plan is to keep this tree in a shaded area throughout the rest of spring and summer and watch for a new flush of growth/budding.

I eventually want to get it in the wooden box pictured, but don’t want to work the roots until I see the tree produce some new growth. On one hand, I want to balance the energy of the new foliage and the roots, but on the other hand I don’t want to overwork the tree.

Hopefully by keeping the new leader tall, I can direct a lot of resources that way and get some thickening.

Eventually, I think I will cut off even more, maybe even halfway down the new leader. I am realizing that this tree may become a long, slow construction process, but I’m starting with a great nebari.

Anyway, any ideas or criticism is more than welcome and appreciated!
Sorry for the long winded post!


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Hopefully it thrives for you. I have never had good luck with plywood for a container for more than one season though. I’ve used it for collected material a few times and luckily the plan was to repot after a year in pumice because they ply was done by then. I never sealed it or anything though so you might have better luck.