Any pictures of Dwarf Alberta Spruce?

Kevster

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I was given one in a 2 gallon pot that was decorated and put on a door step for Christmas. Not sure what to do with it. I know some trees are best not to bother with. But I'm curious if anyone has seen these made into nice bonsai.
Google brought up some images but most are forest or group plantings and a couple that looked like they were trimmed with a weed wacker.

Since I am FINALLY getting Internet here today I will post a couple pictures once I clean it up a little and see what everyone thinks but from a quick glance it has 2 trunks and looks like all the growth is on the outer branches. Nothing in close to the trunks.
 

Vance Wood

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I was given one in a 2 gallon pot that was decorated and put on a door step for Christmas. Not sure what to do with it. I know some trees are best not to bother with. But I'm curious if anyone has seen these made into nice bonsai.
Google brought up some images but most are forest or group plantings and a couple that looked like they were trimmed with a weed wacker.

Since I am FINALLY getting Internet here today I will post a couple pictures once I clean it up a little and see what everyone thinks but from a quick glance it has 2 trunks and looks like all the growth is on the outer branches. Nothing in close to the trunks.

Alberta Spruce is a genetic anomaly of White Spruce. I have a couple I am working with, they have for the most part really great trunks but the foliage is difficult to work with. They also have a tendency to revert to species, White Spruce, so you have to watch if it throws what you could call a sucker shoot of White Spruce and remove this quickly. I have not seen a good Alberta so I have my doubts.
 

JudyB

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Have you seen Harry Harrington's forest grouping with Alberta Spruce? Take a look at those...there is a good development thread on Bonsai4me site.
 

Kevster

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Dwarf Alberta.jpgThis is really the only thing I have found as a single tree
 

Kevster

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JudyB that's what i was saying. There really aren't any potted as a single tree. Have found many as a group planting including the one you speak of but only 1-2 single trees that look ok.
 

plant_dr

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One of the hardest things with Albertas is the wiring. One thing I have read about is that no matter how long you leave the wire on, the branches will spring right back into their old positions as soon as you take it off. You can see in the picture above that there are guy wires all over holding the branches at a downward angle. Maybe if you can start with a young enough tree, you can find a secondary branch that is pointing downward from a main branch. Then prune back to that branch and treat it as the new primary branch and grow it out from there at the downward angle you need to achieve the aged, sloping look you want. Kind of a hassle, maybe that's why they're not more popular as a bonsai subject.
 

Vance Wood

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One of the hardest things with Albertas is the wiring. One thing I have read about is that no matter how long you leave the wire on, the branches will spring right back into their old positions as soon as you take it off. You can see in the picture above that there are guy wires all over holding the branches at a downward angle. Maybe if you can start with a young enough tree, you can find a secondary branch that is pointing downward from a main branch. Then prune back to that branch and treat it as the new primary branch and grow it out from there at the downward angle you need to achieve the aged, sloping look you want. Kind of a hassle, maybe that's why they're not more popular as a bonsai subject.

This pretty much describes most species of Spruce. That's why most Spruce spend most of their time as bonsai wired up and pulled down. Colorado Blue Spruce is particularly obstinate about doing what you want them to do.
 

JudyB

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JudyB that's what i was saying. There really aren't any potted as a single tree. Have found many as a group planting including the one you speak of but only 1-2 single trees that look ok.

Yes, but this does give you an idea of what you can do with these trees. The central tree in the planting could easily stand on it's own. I actually did a 3 tree grouping in this same vein, and found that what plant dr says is very true. I wired, and wired, and each time, it would be back to square one. I gave these 3 trees to my sister at Christmas, I tired of the process, maybe she'll have better luck.
 

Ang3lfir3

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This pretty much describes most species of Spruce. That's why most Spruce spend most of their time as bonsai wired up and pulled down. Colorado Blue Spruce is particularly obstinate about doing what you want them to do.


True that!!! I have found that sideways movement does tend to stay a little however there is a strong upward movement in the branching over time... they are so easy to bend and shape tho that there is a lot of benefit to constantly wiring the smaller branchlets .... We'll see how I feel about that in a few more years but so far me and my Engleman are still friends :)

there is just something about a spruce as bonsai that is special and captivating....
 
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I've been growing and training Dwarf Alberta Spruce for bonsai for several decades now. Beginners really like this tree, but as they get more experience they realize that it's a high maintenance variety. They require dedicated hand pinching in spring which is quite time consuming. Also, Dwarf Alberta Spruce tend to have a poor memory and wired and shaped branches quickly return to their original locations. I have discovered that guy wires work great to lower branches.

Attached are three photos of Dwarf Alberta Spruce in my garden.

Bill
Formal upright- displayed in 2nd US National Bonsai Exhibition
Large informal upright- container grown for over 60 years
Forest- trained for over 30 years

DWARF-ALBERTA-SPRUCE.jpg
 

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Umeboshi

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Does this tendency to spring back after wiring is removed also tend to be the case with Ezo spruce?
 

Vance Wood

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Does this tendency to spring back after wiring is removed also tend to be the case with Ezo spruce?

There are not too many people in The USA that have a great deal of experience with Ezo Spruce. First of all you have to define what Spruce you really are talking about when you say Ezo Spruce. The Ezo Spruce you have probably drooled over from the books printed in Japan is actually Sahkalin Spruce; Picea Gelhennii. The actual Ezo Spruce is Picea Ezoensis, the black Ezo Spruce; not the same tree. However there is one thing I do remember from my early years with my mentor. He told me that Ezo Spruce was difficult to wire because you could kill a branch by bending it too much in various directions. You kind of have one shot without the option of "I don't like it hear, I think I'll move it there". Move it once or lose it. I am not sure of the accuracy of this concept.

Incidentally Sahkalin Spruce cannot be imported, there seems to be some sort of ban on the tree.
 

Umeboshi

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The Ezo Spruce you have probably drooled over from the books printed in Japan is actually Sahkalin Spruce; Picea Gelhennii.

This is probably what I am envisioning when I think of Ezo spruce. I remember from Brent Walston's plant catalog reading of the controversy/confusion regarding what exactly is Ezo spruce. I think Picea glehnii is the Ezo spruce that I have, as you correctly predicted, been drooling over.

He told me that Ezo Spruce was difficult to wire because you could kill a branch by bending it too much in various directions. You kind of have one shot without the option of "I don't like it hear, I think I'll move it there". Move it once or lose it.

I unfortunately do not have a tree to test this theory on. Is anyone here more experienced with this species that can weigh in?
 

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