Post flush harder pruning question (Pinus radiata)

Hi team,

I have a couple questions for you, I have been waiting to prune my Monterey pines, Just wondering about timing as all the shoots on one of my trees have flushed out, hardened off and set buds at the tip of those shoots. Have I missed the window if buds have already appeared at the tips of those candles? Will those buds likely push again this year seeing as we are only just about to enter summer here in NZ?

The reason I ask is that I bought a tree earlier in the year that currently has some shoots with buds at the tip and others that have a cluster of shorter needles at the very tip with no buds (comparison below). Are these shorter needles likely to be a second push of growth from these tip buds present elsewhere on the tree or have they maybe just not set buds at those tips yet? I’m a bit confused as my only other Monterey pine has buds at the tip of every shoot, albeit still in the development phase where as this tree should be transitioning to refinement this year. In either case, I need to keep a closer eye on the new tree to delineate exactly what the growth habit is.

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I do not believe you are too late to post harden prune. It seems if you are just entering summer and the flush is just hardened. I think you are ok…

I live in Monterey and have several Monterey Pine Bonsai. These trees can be pruned almost year round. I would just avoid the middle of winter. They grow really fast and can be pruned back hard. They readily back bud and you can sometimes get multiple flush of buds in a season if you prune late spring and then in the late fall. Good Luck! Monterey Pines are great Bonsai material to work with, very underrated trees.

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I agree, they are my favourite pine species, there are so many here. I grew up surrounded by them and used to climb the big Monterey cypress that also feature heavily in the landscape here. Going to give this guy a prune tomorrow and wire some primary structure. Will post progress.