Some siblings from crosses here have been fairly uniform in bud
count/branching, others are variable. One cross produced seedlings that
ranged from about 6 up to more than 30.
I think that the really high bud counts and branching are usually
attributed to aphylla ancestry, which also is given credit for black
genes. So your dark seedlings should have a good (?) chance of
producing offspring with more of both. ?
east TN swamp, where the sun is shining for a day or two