A Norway spruce Nidiformis

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I did this for training overnight. Live or die I will add a shari next Autumn. This is my first attempt at a twin trunk Shari. I figured a tourniquet would help so I added one. Any comments, tips welcome. I call it my lil devil 👹 Not all pruning was completed. I left out shaping its taper to save stress. Also left some potential Jin's in the back face for same reason.
 

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0soyoung

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A trifle is that this isn't 'nidiformis', which is also called 'birds nest spruce', a cultivar that has a dense, prostrate growth habit unlike your upright picea abies. It is a fun bonsai species. Like most spruce and fir, newly hardened foliage can be cut back to a bud/node and generally will cause some backbudding. Anything between the cut end and the bud/node will eventually die (i.e., it won't ever have a new bud and the leaves will eventually fall off). I cut back around August each year.
 

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I highly recommend you watch this video. It is spot on for styling this type of material.

With a spruce like this, you can take any of the side branches, cut off the main trunk above it, and wire that side branch up to become the new trunk. The easiest and fastest wat to get better taper and movement into the trunk.

On a side not your wiring is awful, so maybe do some more research on that. Try to maintain a 55 to 60 degree angle as you wire, this includes where the wire enters the branch. A lot of people want to really wrap that wire around the base of the branch at an almost 90 degree angle. This leads to ineffective wire with no holding power and often broken branches. Also it seems like you pulled the branches down somewhat with the wire, but you should try to put some movement in the branches as well.
 
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I think this'll be a hard one to turn in to bonsai. A classical mistake for beginners - myself included - is removing interior foliage on a spruce (or any conifer for that matter). The spruce family doesn't back bud reliably and over time you're going to be stuck with long empty branches with tufts of foliage on the ends. Unless you're extremely lucky.
In two of my alberta spruces, I had to cut back to the first branch and start building the tree from scratch again. Basically I had to turn a branch into a trunk to get that 'compacted design' back. I'm two years down that road now, five more and they might start looking like something.
I have learned from that mistake that sometimes it's better to keep the weak interior foliage even though the youtube videos and experts work on trees by removing 'weak interior foliage'. The point is that they are working on highly refined material and we're working with very rough stock material. Nowadays, when I see weak interior foliage, I see an opportunity to make it strong interior foliage. It has a much higher chance of working out in the end and it gives me a lot more options in the long run. The vascular transport system is there, the plant just needs the right trigger to make it stronger: good health, sunlight and auxin inhibition (removing the tips of branches to enforce auxin production in the buds further back, so they can grow and elongate).


Don't worry, we've all been there.
 
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A trifle is that this isn't 'nidiformis', which is also called 'birds nest spruce', a cultivar that has a dense, prostrate growth habit unlike your upright picea abies. It is a fun bonsai species. Like most spruce and fir, newly hardened foliage can be cut back to a bud/node and generally will cause some backbudding. Anything between the cut end and the bud/node will eventually die (i.e., it won't ever have a new bud and the leaves will eventually fall off). I cut back around August each year.
Sweet thanks for the info. Yeah I am not a horticulturist so I can only know what's on the tag. Any guesses?
 

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I think this'll be a hard one to turn in to bonsai. A classical mistake for beginners - myself included - is removing interior foliage on a spruce (or any conifer for that matter). The spruce family doesn't back bud reliably and over time you're going to be stuck with long empty branches with tufts of foliage on the ends. Unless you're extremely lucky.
In two of my alberta spruces, I had to cut back to the first branch and start building the tree from scratch again. Basically I had to turn a branch into a trunk to get that 'compacted design' back. I'm two years down that road now, five more and they might start looking like something.
I have learned from that mistake that sometimes it's better to keep the weak interior foliage even though the youtube videos and experts work on trees by removing 'weak interior foliage'. The point is that they are working on highly refined material and we're working with very rough stock material. Nowadays, when I see weak interior foliage, I see an opportunity to make it strong interior foliage. It has a much higher chance of working out in the end and it gives me a lot more options in the long run. The vascular transport system is there, the plant just needs the right trigger to make it stronger: good health, sunlight and auxin inhibition (removing the tips of branches to enforce auxin production in the buds further back, so they can grow and elongate).


Don't worry, we've all been there.
Honestly I had that in mind before I started, much of that bare stock was just chocked out at the Home Depot. I think my wiring looked a bit better before I started pulling. I need guy wires and will get em. I really tried to give a decent wide angle to the wraps but when I started molding the positions they kinked up. New to wiring small branches it was a bit depressing. I figured "ok well lets just make a few tie downs" 🤦🏼‍♂️. I felt like the limbs have character unlike Mike but idk I am newbie. I spent a good bit of time trying to give them some movement. Only so much you can do from raw stock in one night wouldn't you agree? I would love to get some thickening out of these limbs in the future and hopefully able to turn the ends next year and make pads. Most of the structure work I did was to plan for that and the chari. Thank you both for your input. Any thing else comes to mind please share 👍🏼
 

Mike Hennigan

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Honestly I had that in mind before I started, much of that bare stock was just chocked out at the Home Depot. I think my wiring looked a bit better before I started pulling. I need guy wires and will get em. I really tried to give a decent wide angle to the wraps but when I started molding the positions they kinked up. New to wiring small branches it was a bit depressing. I figured "ok well lets just make a few tie downs" 🤦🏼‍♂️. I felt like the limbs have character unlike Mike but idk I am newbie. I spent a good bit of time trying to give them some movement. Only so much you can do from raw stock in one night wouldn't you agree? I would love to get some thickening out of these limbs in the future and hopefully able to turn the ends next year and make pads. Most of the structure work I did was to plan for that and the chari. Thank you both for your input. Any thing else comes to mind please share 👍🏼
My first styling jobs looked pretty similar, just keep it up.
 

0soyoung

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My first styling jobs looked pretty similar, just keep it up.
Hopefully you mean this in the sense of 'keep trying'.
I think what has been done to the tree should not be done again --> learn the lesson.
There are years ahead learning how to recover from this mistake which I think is priceless experience. Even masters make mistakes. What makes them masters is how they recover from them.
 
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Hopefully you mean this in the sense of 'keep trying'.
I think what has been done to the tree should not be done again --> learn the lesson.
There are years ahead learning how to recover from this mistake which I think is priceless experience. Even masters make mistakes. What makes them masters is how they recover from them.
If I start a wire on a limb I want to bring forward and another separate one I want to push away, is there a preferred method as to which way that first wrap should be facing? Like towards me if I am pushing it away and on the back side if I am pulling it forward? Not expecting a class here, I promise to do my homework. Any wire specific books you would recommend?
 
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I highly recommend you watch this video. It is spot on for styling this type of material.

With a spruce like this, you can take any of the side branches, cut off the main trunk above it, and wire that side branch up to become the new trunk. The easiest and fastest wat to get better taper and movement into the trunk.

On a side not your wiring is awful, so maybe do some more research on that. Try to maintain a 55 to 60 degree angle as you wire, this includes where the wire enters the branch. A lot of people want to really wrap that wire around the base of the branch at an almost 90 degree angle. This leads to ineffective wire with no holding power and often broken branches. Also it seems like you pulled the branches down somewhat with the wire, but you should try to put some movement in the branches as well.
Thanks for the video, very helpful 👍🏼
 

0soyoung

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If I start a wire on a limb I want to bring forward and another separate one I want to push away, is there a preferred method as to which way that first wrap should be facing? Like towards me if I am pushing it away and on the back side if I am pulling it forward? Not expecting a class here, I promise to do my homework. Any wire specific books you would recommend?
I still struggle with wiring - only grafting seems to take more practice. I will first say that the two branches need separate anchors - you cannot do this with one wire applied to the two branches unless they are at least 1.5 turns away from each other OR one is already wired to a separate anchor.

Ryan Neil has a YouTube video on wiring. Of all that I've looked at, I think it was the best as it also discusses preparation of the tree to make wiring easy. I also found Mauro Stemburger's YouTube video worthwhile. Similar content but presented in a different way that may better get though to you that others. Graham Potter also made a good video on wiring that is on YouTube.

Adair M, sends people to Collin Lewis' wiring lectures that have also been discussed in a BNut thread, but I've never viewed it/them.
 
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I still struggle with wiring - only grafting seems to take more practice. I will first say that the two branches need separate anchors - you cannot do this with one wire applied to the two branches unless they are at least 1.5 turns away from each other OR one is already wired to a separate anchor.

Ryan Neil has a YouTube video on wiring. Of all that I've looked at, I think it was the best as it also discusses preparation of the tree to make wiring easy. I also found Mauro Stemburger's YouTube video worthwhile. Similar content but presented in a different way that may better get though to you that others. Graham Potter also made a good video on wiring that is on YouTube.

Adair M, sends people to Collin Lewis' wiring lectures that have also been discussed in a BNut thread, but I've never viewed it/them.
Thank you sir 🖖🏻
 

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A trifle is that this isn't 'nidiformis', which is also called 'birds nest spruce', a cultivar that has a dense, prostrate growth habit unlike your upright picea abies.
My very first thought when seeing this was "that's not a nidiformis". lol. I'm not familiar with tabuliformis so maybe?

If I start a wire on a limb I want to bring forward and another separate one I want to push away, is there a preferred method as to which way that first wrap should be facing? Like towards me if I am pushing it away and on the back side if I am pulling it forward? Not expecting a class here, I promise to do my homework. Any wire specific books you would recommend?
You want the wire to enter the branch from the opposite side you want to move it. So, if you want to move the branch up you enter from the bottom. A good trick is to wire the branch and then make sure when you're bending you bend the wire not the branch. The branch will follow the wire and the wire will put pressure on the branch the right way. But you still have to support the rest of the branch while bending. It's difficult to explain but those videos should help. If that Ryan Neil one is the one I'm thinking of it is quite good. I know I refer to two of them he has on his website quite often.
 
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My very first thought when seeing this was "that's not a nidiformis". lol. I'm not familiar with tabuliformis so maybe?



You want the wire to enter the branch from the opposite side you want to move it. So, if you want to move the branch up you enter from the bottom. A good trick is to wire the branch and then make sure when you're bending you bend the wire not the branch. The branch will follow the wire and the wire will put pressure on the branch the right way. But you still have to support the rest of the branch while bending. It's difficult to explain but those videos should help. If that Ryan Neil one is the one I'm thinking of it is quite good. I know I refer to two of them he has on his website quite often.
I had to un ignore to see your post. The only reason possible would be if you liked Cash's comment calling me a Nazi. Honestly you can take your help and shove it firmly where the sun won't shine. After that when you have time please ignore me.
 

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Not sure where you are in Massachusetts but John Romano is doing a wiring class at NE Bonsai Gardens next Saturday.
 
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Not sure where you are in Massachusetts but John Romano is doing a wiring class at NE Bonsai Gardens next Saturday.
Umm well dam I might have to jump some hoops to go but I would very much like to. I care for someone that has a rare disease, she can be fine one minute and critical within 40 minutes. I can get some help so I can go but I need a time to figure this out.
 
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Umm well dam I might have to jump some hoops to go but I would very much like to. I care for someone that has a rare disease, she can be fine one minute and critical within 40 minutes. I can get some help so I can go but I need a time to figure this out.
I would drive to the boonies any day for training. I am in the south shore.
 

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