A little late is better than never. Ideally, needle pulling is a late fall to winter activity. On JBP that grow slower (corkers), or are weak (recently repotted, underpotted, constantly candle-cut for ramification and small needles), it is ok to wait longer to pull needles.
The reason why is that green needles contribute to photosynthesis and therefore, the longer they remain on the tree, the stronger that tree can get.
So here are a few examples of early May needle-pulling.
First up is this corkbark JBP, ‘Taihei’, which is a slow-growing tree that I do not decandle. I repotted it last year, and wired it, so I waited until now to pull needles. I will prune, wire and pull more needles this fall.
Next is also a corkbark JBP, ‘Hachi Gen’ on its own roots. It is under potted, and…
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