How to handle needles on a ponderosa pine

I have a ponderosa pine in refinement and am puzzled as to bud removal, needle thinning and decandling and would like to get timing suggestions for each of these. I know this is a single flush pine, but have no experience with these.

Right now it has three needle sets of different length - the longest are 3 year needles with yellowing tips and some banding, the second year are next longest and last year’s growth is even shorter still - about 1 1/4".

I would like to show the tree and am concerned about the yellowing tips and banding on the oldest needles. One club I am a member of declined to accept it for their show. Cutting off the needles seems like a no-no, but they are too attached to pull off.

I would welcome any info.


On a ponderosa you never remove buds, you never decandle and you do not thin needles. In the fall you can remove the three year needles that are about to fall off, and you can remove bottom growing needles while still leaving a full 360 deg. of needles at the tips. If your existing three year needles are a little long and not looking so good you may need to wait another year before you show the tree. There are a number of good videos in the library that discuss ponderosa techniques.


Thanks, Roger. That’s what I thought and I appreciate your confirming it.