This little white pine is progressing with this year with healthy candle growth and vital back budding. In the last few years I have not been removing old needles but have let them fall naturally. Although this tends to make the trees look bushier than I would want it does seem to help the overall health of the tree.
In addition to this I did not feed this year until early June to try to keep needle length shorter. This seems to have worked on this tree. It still has much to do but I think is beginning to show potential as a pleasing image.