JBP multi flush species

I have been pontificating on whether or not it is possible to push 3 flushes in a single growing season or calendar year. I live in central Texas, San Antonio specifically and our growing season usually starts about March 1st-15th and can extend well into October-November for some species.

This is my JBP I want to begin branch refinement, the majority of the candles have elongated to 3-4 inches. They began to elongate in early February this year. at this time the needles are elongating and opening on this and my other JBPs. I have always treated my JBPs as a 2 flush species, however, I have heard that they can push 3 and even 4 flushes. I have been searching and looking everywhere books, internet forums, and a neighbor who has been doing bonsai for 30+ years. He said it might be possible but has never tried it and I havent found anything through my searches. Hopefully, someone in the community here can explain the timing and environmental specifics as to how to accomplish this if indeed it is possible. Maybe @ryan or @Sam can shed some light on this topic. Many thanks in advance. Hope to see some of you at the Houston exhibit.


It would be helpful to know what you are trying to accomplish.
Maybe JBP can push 3-4 flushes, but where do you want that to take you?

As I mentioned in my post, smaller needle and smaller internode, compaction of the foilage, branch reduction. This JBP and a few others I have will make for nice shohin if I can accomplish that specifically. Also if I can figure out best way to get 3 maybe 4 flushes, the resulting growth is the “what am I trying to accomplish.”

So, I think rather than trying to get this tree to push more flushes you’ll want to delay your decandling to give the second flush less time to elongate. This will give you shorter needles and finer ramification without the extra work and added stress on the tree.


The 2 part field grown pine stream really get’s into how to put a pine like yours into refinement and touches on timing for decandling shohin trees to get proportional needle size.
Right now it looks like you’ll want to encourage more back budding. This might be best served letting some candles elongate knowing that you’ll transition to interior growth in the next few years.


I agree with @ryan.marin said.
Asking the tree to push 3-4 flushes of growth will exhaust the trees energy and it might not make it through winter. Those definitely are some long needles!
You can fertilize less with small quantity “gas and brake pedals”
Also you could put in into a smaller pot in the future. With that said, you will need to definitely water it a lot more. You live Texas so that probably isn’t a great idea.


Thanks for the replies everyone, interesting to hear other ideas. I’ll probably delay even further the candle cutting and push it into early August. Maybe I’ll get the needle reduction that had been elusive and get more back budding from the elongation prior to pruning. Not going to change the fertilizer regimen, I use small quantities every 6-8 weeks from Feb thru June for pine tree in refinement. Since I’m going to cut later the fertilizer should definitely wash out or at least the nitrogen. I also use organic pellets 5-4-6.

I still feel that 3 flushes wouldn’t stress the tree given proper watering and aggressive fertilization with the long growing season that Texas provides. This would be probably be accomplished with cutting candles in May, then again in August assuming the tree has the indicators that would allow for this to be done. I might try this on a different piece of material.

Anyways, thanks for your input this far. Good luck with your bonsai!

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So just wanted to post an update. I removed candles on a different JBP in my collection that also had fully elongated spring flush by end of March/ early April. I removed them April 15th, and new buds have already set on all prune sites. Photo of prune site with newly developed buds.

Please excuse the photo quality.

As the goal is to obtain second and possibly third flush, I will continue to fertilize monthly. Future updates to be expected regardless of success or failure.

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Experimenting is the best way to further our knowledge. Good luck, and even if it doesn’t go as expected, please let us know. Where I grow (UK) we can hardly get JBP to make 2 flushes in a season. If you have the heat and light, you may get away with more and it will be interesting to see how the tree responds.


Quick update, approximately 4 wks ago I decandled a pine that had fully elongated and hardened needles in late February. April 15th it was decandled, today May 12th I went to check on its progress. It is backbudding and pushing its second flush of needles.


It’s not skipping a beat. I have around 2-3 maybe 4 months left in my pines growing season. I will continue to fertilize aggressively and water daily. I’m hoping this will be enough time for this growth to elongate, harden and form more buds around the time I would typically decandle.

Hoping for the best, I would really like to tighten up my pines. I will post another update as the tree progresses.


Interesting that you said the needles had elongated and hardened off if February? I’m not sure that I understand the concept behind this experiment and am not trying to critize you for trying.

But given that we know needle length and internode length is dictated by the amount of time the tree has to push after its decandled in the summer why not just delay your decandling until later as @ryan.marin suggested?

Also it appears that the tree is fairly young, makes sense that the tree is able to respond to this as it is full of energy. I’m not sure that this would be a sustainable technique on a more mature tree as it is constantly keeping the tree in an energy negative for the majority of the growing season. You may get the results your after at the end of the season but how will the tree react next season given that it expended a vast amount of resources this year?

@Fletch_173 Thank you for your comments and concerns. So this pine in the experiment is one of my youngest, its around maybe 10-20 years old I would guess. Its been in my possession for six years. So yes its still a young pine. All of my pines are young compared to many specimen trees the world over. I dont think this should be the determining factor on whether or not a tree may start refinement. Especially shohin size trees and if your happy with the current state of the tree (height, movement, nebari, etc).

So @Fletch_173, my pines start to elongate their fall candles as early as late December and January. Usually they dont start their vigourous spring push till first week of March. THIS year all my pines pushed candles in late December and 3 of them had needles emerge almost immediately. By the time I started this thread the elongation ceased, needles were no longer minty green, and they were firmly adhered to the branches. In short they had pushed their first flush of growth and hardened off.

Texas has mild winters with some intermittent cold snaps, this year and many years we have temps in mid 40-50s in late December and January with many days in 60 and 70s. To make this part short, some trees just slow down growth but dont go fully dormant.

The point of the experiement is to determine if 3 or more flushes could be obtained given the appropriate indicators. Which I mentioned in initial post and again this reply. This could be useful information to know as in my case I have another pine which I’m trying to refine (see original post). It despite my attempts it has continued to produce excessively long needles year after year. Last year I pushed my decandling to mid July. Still pushed long needles with long internodes also as pictured in origfinal post. I will try to push back to August 1st for that pine. Hopefully, I’ll still get what I’m after.

There is a point, as we are taught, when if you decandle too late in the summer/fall… That a second flush might not be produced. Buds might be set and nothing more; Due primarily to decreasing daylight length. One would lose the second flush that year, and then have to wait the following spring where again the growth would be rampant because of the extra accumulation of resources from the previous year where none were used for additional growth.

Basically, I’m trying to determine given the right indicators if this can be done without adversely affecting the tree while obtaining “what am I trying to accomplish” through candle pruning. This obviously is likely not something that could be done year after year.

I find it worth my efforts to know if given the particulars of the enviroment where these trees grow and their specific adaptations along with how they respond in the area they are being cultivated that a particular practice may be applied. Just another tool to be utilized under a specific set of conditions, by a bonsai practitioner looking to advance his knowledge and skill set.



I believe I’ve responded elsewhere to a post of yours about this. There aren’t many of us that have the growing season that you do. While there are safer ways to accomplish a nice tree that works for the majority of climates, I see no reason that you shouldn’t find out if its possible to increase the level of development that’s available to you in yours. I’ve gotten 3 flushes out of a native pine, but I’ve never attempted 3+ out of JBP.

Where it gets dicey is after you’re successful this year, will the tree be strong enough to survive the same treatment next year or should you go back to the normal timing, …or delay decandling at all? You should know before it comes time to 1st-of-3x decandle next year how strong the tree is.

I’d probably fertilize throughout the year instead of taking some time off to allow the needles to harden before resuming fertilizing in the fall. Whereas our only mechanism on 2-flush JBP to maintain shorter needles is the length of the season after decandling, you’ll necessarily have an extra decandling and an already-shorter length of season that will limit needle length… I don’t think there’s any need to limit fertilizer to limit needle-length in your circumstance.

I could see this be a shohin-mostly technique for the first year of refinement, …or the first year back in a smaller pot after a year off. I don’t suspect that a tree would be able to generate that much energy on a regular basis. I look forward to hearing about what you discover though.

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@bwaynef You are correct about the need to assess the strength of the :deciduous_tree:! My plan was to fertilize the entire year to facilitate resource accumulation and hardening off of the 3rd flush, if the indicators are present to suggest that a second decandling could be performed.

We are in agreement, in that this may be more of a shohin refinement technique to be utilized when a specific scenario exists. Furthermore, we see eye to eye, that this would almost certainly not be a technique that be performed annually and definitely without considering the risks vs benefits.

A quick run down of why I reduced needle count and length in this experiment. The vigor of this pine and two others have been difficult to reign in, long needles and long internodes, overly aggressive growth. Despite efforts to control via watering, fertilizer - dose, frequency, nutrient load, timing of summer decandling. I decided to pluck needles (a norm for me) and shorten needles (new practice) as a method to balance the energy. Again, to get shorter needle and shorter internode length… hopefully.

I believe if adequate needle reduction is achieved from this year, needle cutting in the future might not be needed.

Ultimately, the pine I REALLY wanted to try this on, may not be in the position in which this technique (if successful) could be applied next year. It may not flush 3-4" candles with needles elongated and hardening/ed by late February after a mild winter. This year I’ll push decandling it at the end of July/ first week of August, I hesitate to delay much further at this time. This is due to decreasing daylight hours which even though I’m in Texas with long growing season may inhibit a second flush. If this were to happen I’m fairly certain buds would set, but then I’m back to long needle and long internode. Without the second flush extra resources will be in the tank so to speak and the tree would still accumulate resources over the fall/winter. Then I might get to try this 3 flush technique if the results of this trial are promising.

In conclusion, this could be a hepful refinement technique to be utilized if a specific set of circumstances align. That is if the technique can be reliably reproduced with consistent results. A quote from Ryan Niel, " Stack a nuance, on top of a nuance and now you have a new way of doing things."

Thanks for everyone’s interest, cautionary warnings, opposing opinions, support and everything in between.

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Today July 1st, I completed the 2nd decandling of vigorous JBP. Before beginning I looked at all the candles and noted that all candles the late spring candles had elongated approximately 3 inches and all the needles had significant reduction in size! I also noted that there were a few shoots that had some immature growth at the base of the candles but that the terminus was mature.


After noting this, I began with removing the candles from the tree starting from the lowest branch and worked towards the apex. There were 2 weak candles emerging from small branches emerging from midway up the trunk. I did not cut those, as I plan to develop them and eventually attempt to incorporate them into this tree’s final design. I plucked a few of the oldest needles and left 8-12 needle pairs depending on location and strength of the growth.

A look of the tree after decandling.

A change of angle being contemplated for next year or possibly the year after.

Now it’s time to let it grow and give it some rest. I probably will not apply any fertilizer for the remainder of the growing season. This has been an extremely wet year and we have had copious amounts of rain, in fact so much that I havent needed to water most of my trees for the past month or so. The growth this year has been unreal! So I’ll control what I can and that’s fertilization.
Thats it for now, stay tuned.

Hello again, Mirai family! Posting a quick update on the two pines pictured in this thread. The original pine posted and the experimental pine. Today is Sept. 23rd and here is the pine Ive been attempting to reign in.

In the second pic the hand is for scale, tree is about 8.25 inches tall. I stopped fertilization in june with last application of 5-4-6 organic pellets being placed on May 2nd. It was decandled on July 30th and that is how it is today. Needles much smaller and internode smaller as well. It’s produced few interior buds, however, looks much better. I’m going to change its design and move apex left and remove branches on right or shorten them. Next year its back in development.

Here is the 3-flush pine today… Its actually producing and elongating a 4th flush!

I candle pruned this pine the same day on July 30th, it was previously pruned on April 15th, then May 12th. After the May 12th pruning it flushed out again, but in some ateas it had immature growth. I’ve done no further pruning, but have maintained the heavy fertilization regimen applied monthly.

Its now late September and today was a mild 94 degrees and it was overcast. I went for a mtb ride midday and it was great! Got home, and sat outside with my guard dogs in the back yard

I enjoyed a glass of :wine_glass: and decided to check on my neglected experiment. The update is what you see. The experiment pine has shorter needle, shorter internode length, more ramification, more interior buds that flushed and grew… and now another round of growth that is a surprise! I must say that the needles are shorter but not nearly as short as the traditionally handled pine. However, this pine went from 4 major branches with 8 laterals to 4 main + 8 lateral + 25 tertiary branches this year. So even though the needles aren’t as refined, I feel this was reasonably successful. Obviously this needs repeatability and all I can do is try this again next year. Happy Bonsai Fall Season to you all!

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The test pine has a new home! It came a long way last year and it still needs some work, however, I’m happy with it! This is a much better pot for it, not sure which side is the front. Just going to let do its thing and develop more branches. Heavy fertilization and plenty of water, this is going to be its year! Which side A or B?



  • A
  • B

0 voters

I have a feeling that continuing this course of action will starve and weaken your trees. You are using energy depletion to achieve finer growth rather than using time as a limiting factor, which allows the tree to retain energy at the end of the growing season. In the beginning you may achieve the same result. This may work for a few years maybe longer, but I expect the tree will start to weaken, wounds will not callous, vascular growth will be minimal, back budding will be less reliable.


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You may be correct in that it would not be something to be performed indefinitely without having a negative impact on the tree and perhaps it may not be detrimental.

I think that as the tree refines further maybe this year or the next that I should have enough ramification that 3 flushes would no longer be needed. I now have about 25 total tertiary branches as compared to the 8 or so it began with, so the standard method may be resumed this season.

Please keep in mind that 2 or 3 flush methods are still functionally depleting the tree of energy.

In 2 flush method the tree is allowed to grow until June-ish when the candle pruning is performed. Fertilization is halted 4-6 weeks prior to that. Once candles are cut no further fertilization is given in addition to needle plucking to achieve reduction. This limits resources and time for new growth to elongate and harden off. The tree may then be fertilized through the fall and perhaps the winter to some degree.

In the 3 flush method I utilized, fertilizer was applied the entire season, February thru Novemeber when the cold temperatures arrived. I still gave the tree dormancy period and rest. My pruning effectively occured in mid April and then again in late July. July would be an appropriate time for shohin pines to be decandled… usually. Ultimately I controlled vigor by giving the tree plenty of water and supplemental fertilizer to give it the resources that it desired to fuel more growth.

In both scenarios the tree is decandled, needle plucked and allowed to rest in the same time frame. In the prior season I pushed decandling into the first week of August and I did not get any growth, instead buds were set at the cut sites. This occured on 3 of my pines. The following year I had massive elongation almost immediately with needle eruption. This thread has documented the process I’ve gone through to rectify the needle elongation due to the accumulation of strength. The results I achieved were consistent for the pines I applied this method to.

Like I mentioned, the needles reduced quite well and more usually tertiary branches with smaller internodes were grown. The resulting ramification should aid in the reduction of the total length of the candle elongation and needle length. This is because the energy is going to be distributed across more the foliage leaving less energy to each growing tip.

Either way the strength of the tree is challenged. For better or worse.

As a side note 2 of the pines even established a very small 4th flush in late September through the second week of October when an unseasonal cold spell hit early and halted their growth. My opinion is that the pines had energy to sustain and add more foliage at that time unprompted.

Kind regards and a vigorous Spring to you all!