Partial decandling

I have what I believe is a pinus nigra that I got from a friend that I am growing it out to develop it into a shohin sized bonsai. It has some low movement and a lot of small low branches currently but I would like the trunk thicker. I have it growing in perlite/coco coir mix in a pond colander pot. My question is should I decandle the small branches low on the trunk that I will want to be keeping for the final design (in order to keep them small and ramified) while leaving the sacrifice leader untouched? See pictures below. I’m hoping someone with experience developing pines can offer some advice. Thanks!

Your lower shoots are good, but not nearly as a strong as the upper ones this year. I would leave them and strip most of the needles on the long sacrifice branch. That will ensure the lower candles get light and allow the sacrifice shoots to grow and push girth. That is the general approach taken at Telperion to develop pines. Next year I would break off the lower candles as they start to elongate to control their growth and encourage back budding. They normally set buds at the break location as well. That approach has worked well for me on P. nigra.

Thank you Marty, I appreciate the advice!

I would definitely trim the lower branches if you want to maintain those for future development.

Once they grow out to a certain length, it’s very difficult to get short branches back.

You need to keep them short from the beginning in order to not have long, thin branches at the bottom.

From your description I’m almost guessing you follow Eric Schrader on YouTube “bonsify”. If not then check his videos on decanting.

He describes the process really well including when to cut at the bud or behind the bud ( to shorten branches)
Once last years needs are gone you will not be able to cut back as far unless you stimulate back budding, that is possible but it’s better to keep the branches short to start with. Think ahead. What distance from the trunk do you want your first division in your final composition? That should help dictate where you cut among other things.

Your thinking is correct. If you really want to learn how to develop shohin pines consider buying Eric’s online course. I think it’s excellent.

P nigra should behave like jbp. They back bud even more from aggressive pruning,

Good luck with your tree!!!
Mats H

Thanks Mats! I appreciate it

Check out these 2 streams on ABP… ABP are Outlier pines and have to be treated differently from multi-flush, short or long leaf single flush pines.

Austrian Black Pine Shoot Selection | Bonsai Mirai Live

Austrian Black Pine Decandling | Bonsai Mirai Live