Pinus sylvestris nursery stock trunk bend

Hi all, I have a nursery stock Scot’s pine which is happily growing well in its plastic nursery pot, it is about 4’ tall at the moment and has put out 8” candles this year… I would like to put some big bends in the trunk, as Ryan says “it is never going to be any thinner than it is today” but I would like some advice on bending it.
Preferably method, whether to raffia or keep it visible to watch the bend.
Timing, either time of year or in line with a certain period of tree growth cycle.

Thanks for any advice forthcoming :+1:.

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What about cutting back hard to lower branches to create some serious movement if it is growing that strongly?

As far as bending, how big is the trunk? Ryan did wedge cuts in one a couple of years ago that was 3-4" (7.5 - 10 cm) in a stream which was very educational. Unfortunately, I think that one died.

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It’s only very young not even 1” across. The first branches are not that low so I was thinking of putting one or two big bends to bring the first branches down, keeping the remainder of the trunk growing as a sacrifice and putting more movement into one of the lower branches to take over as the trunk, starting on the tapper :man_shrugging:. It’s really the best timing I’m not sure on, and if I have to use raffia or not?

You should probably do the heavy bends in the mid fall as it starts to go dormant or the late winter as it starts to wake up.

Can you bend it at least close to your desired bends without wiring - i.e. how flexible is it? If so, you should be able to bend it without raffia. I would apply two spirals of fairly heavy copper wire (6 or 8 gauge) spaced apart to give more support (but not look as good) and then bend until you get where you want to be or start to see some cracking. If you get cracking you should be able to continue the bend after the tree relaxes for an hour or so. P. sylvestris is quite flexible in general.

If you can’t get close to the desired bends then a raffia wrap will help hold things together when you bend it. I would use two spirals of even heavier wire than above since you have an even stiffer trunk. I have seen some amazingly tight bends on bigger, older (and most likely stiffer) branches of P. sylvestris in the magazines (I don’t know if they lived, but hope they did).

Post a before and after picture so we can see what you did.

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Thanks MartyWeiser I will do the pictures. Thanks for the help :+1:. I’ll have to convert the 6 to 8 gauge to mm I was going to utilise cables and rebar etc to help. It will have to be aluminium wire I struggle to get larger copper wire in the UK.


Before shots, I tried flexing it and it looks quite flexible. I’ve watched a Scot’s pine demonstration with Ryan in Canberra and he said how flexible sylvestris are and not to use raffia as you can’t see the tare with the way they break you need to be able to see it.

Yeah, that trunk needs something. Like other folks said, I would wire it and twist and bend. Use a guy wire hold it in place. If i t doesn’t seem to bend enough you could try a wedge cut it seems like pretty low stakes material to practice with.
Good luck.

Thanks :+1:. Yes definitely starter stock £20 :grin:.