How few of needles needed to keep a branch alive? (Cedrus lebani)

I have a large broad Cedrus lebani that was storm damaged nursery stock and has lovely taper and strong growth over all. However it has long branches with little to no growth tight in from some of the harder years in its past. I am in process of bending and looping many of the branches around this year in preparation to use them as self donated approach grafts next year. Meanwhile trimming back the top to allow as much sun down into the core and even hope for the small possibility of a tiny amount of back-budding. (I’m not holding my breath with a lebani)
Most importantly any trimming needs to keep these branches healthy to receive the approach grafts next year.
So i was wondering if there is some ballpark guide for how few needles are too few and risk branch dieback? (It doesn’t need them for general fuel since the looped branches have tons of buds left on them)
In my image thqt i marked up,
Blue is the donor limb looped and secured for the season
Red is where it will eventually be approach grafted
And yellow are examples of limbs that will be receiving grafts over the years and then ultimately chopped back to the graft. So for now i need it alive and health, but not shading anything out and if at all possible, encouraged to backbudding, hence i would like it trimmed down to minimal needles.

hope that made any sense.

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Hi Rivka, welcome to the forum. I apologise for the lack of response from the members.
I think its a case of only pruning back to the next buds or branch junction and waiting for more back buds to develop further back. It might take a couple of years to achieve this. I wouldn’t take off too many needles as that could weaken the tree. Plus they bleed heavily if pruned during the growing season. Best to prune in autumn to midwinter to be safe.
Most wild lebanese cedars only have foliage on the end third to half of the branch.
It’s a great looking tree. You could style it in the natural style. Lebanese cedars are majestic, multi trunked trees which I reckon yours would suit greatly.
Hope this helps


yeah for the most part I’m setting up to do a bunch of aproach grafts from longer lanky branches back onto thinker close in branches. it will be interesting to see it progress, I’m in no hurry and happily learning about this true cedar and how it differs in some significant ways from the rest of its group.

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