A discarded Colorado Blue Spruce


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In the early spring of 2019, I was making purchases of nursery stock for bonsai and noticed a wall lined with half dead Colorado Blue Spruce off to the side and with no price tags. I asked the owner how much and, perhaps because I was spending over $100 on other trees, he told me they might be beyond saving, but I could help myself to one for free.


Some of the other ones had more foliage, but this one had the thickest trunk, so I took it home. Thanks to friendly people on reddit, I was told it was most likely suffering from "rhizospherae needle cast". So I did a lot of research and found that I needed to apply a systemic fungicide once when new spring growth is 1/2 extended and apply again 30 days later. I've cleaned away all the dead branches and applied my fungicide for 2 years now and it's grown considerably.


Now that it's fall, I decided it's time to style the tree. Of course, it's not ready for much foliage removal, but I figured I can wire and bend it into shape, then let it grow out for another few years to continue recovering and to set the bends. My challenge was that all the foliage is way at the top and I needed to shorten the tree to make the trunk look more impactful.


These are the most drastic bends I've ever done on a branch before, but I heard Spruce can handle big bends, so I wrapped in self adhesive bandages and bent them as far as I could muscle them into place. I like the effect a lot, but it's perhaps a bit too symmetrical. I will probably shorten or remove some of the right side and let the new apex on the left thicken up. I will probably also remove most of the deadwood of the old apex, since it creates some crossing branches right now. But it's currently being used as an anchor to hold the new apex in place. So it'll stay for now.

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Showing from another angle how the bends brought foliage closer to the trunk.

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