I am looking for a little horticulture 101 info. I have a Japanese Red Pine and I am trying to understand what are potential buds. I have attached a picture below with some commentary on it. Please educate me.
The needles themselves will not turn into a branch but if you leave the needle on, there is a good chance that a bud will form there.
At the base of every needle (or former needle, like marked in the picture) is the potential for a future bud but it is not guaranteed at this point.
The arrows are pointing to back buds on 2-3 year old growth where needles were present. All of those needles were stripped last year for the first candle pruning this tree has ever had. The other bumps along that section are leftover needle sheaths. I’m not going to brush those off at this time though, because there could be more buds hiding underneath. Those will become more obvious in another month or two.
Leaving older needles at strategic points (laterals, outside of bends, etc.) can “encourage” a bud to be activated there, but it isn’t a guarantee. Only one of the three older needle pairs here has an activating bud, but at least it’s in a lateral position instead of the photo above that are both on top. (neither of those on top are a problem though)