I took a walk today and noticed my little eastern white pine with the
twirled needles lost its top foot - we had a bit of an ice storm earlier
this week, and I'm betting someone carelessly whacked it as they passed
walking down the sidewalk. It was only about 3 1/2 -4 feet before - now it's
about 2 1/2 feet tall. Can I tie up one of the side branches to create a new
leader? Has anyone else tried this on a small conifer? I've done it with a
deodar cedar, but they often have die back in the leader, which pines
normally do not.
Yes, this is a good idea. The leader is formed by "apical dominance"
which means the highest terminal bud gains control. If you can position
the end of one branch at least 3 to 4 inches above any other terminal
bud, it will gain dominance quickly and, after a couple years, your
white pine will look fairly normal again. Otherwise, if you do nothing
you risk having several branches seeking dominance and competing with
My experience is as a Christmas tree grower. We are constantly cutting
off terminal buds and inducing other buds to seek dominance. That is
the way we prevent large spaces between branches.
Pardon my spam deterrent; send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheers, Steve Henning in Reading, PA USA
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