A pleasant walking route to our local bus station and railway line is through the Kennin-ji temple complex. It is not large, just a few acres, and has several dozen mature pine trees on the property. The first time we passed through, some gardeners were working up in the trees and we paused to observe them for awhile and watch their technique. In this photo, note the difference in the nature of the tree above the man and below him.
One man, working alone on a single tree, can transform it in — I estimate — at least a full day from a bushy mass dense with springtime growth into an airy and graceful form that provides filtered shade below. Here you see three recently pruned trees on the right and one unpruned tree on the left.
Those trees are about 50 ft tall. In our front yard we have a single 8 ft tall Japanese black pine that each year I prune twice, in spring and summer. That takes me at least 5 hours in total. Seeing the expertly pruned pines at the Kennin-ji temple, I realize that I need to be more aggressive in how much I thin the branches.
Here is the same tree shown in the first photo on this page, but two days later.
Up close, a nicely thinned pine looks like this: airy and delicate.
Next post about our Kyoto trip >>> Rocks, Sand, and Moss: Ginkaku-ji