Bird's Nest Spruce

Redwood Ryan

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Hey everyone! I was up at Lowes today and noticed this little Bird's Nest Spruce (Picea abies 'something') for a cheap price and I thought it looked good. It has a great trunk. The trunk is at least 1" thick. I couldn't really get a picture of it right now, but I will get one after I trim it up. Now I assume is not the right time to do that or repot it, correct? What do you all think? I'm not quite sure where to go with this guy just yet, so I'm asking for opinions to get away from the bush type look. Thanks any and all for any input!





Ryan
 

Klytus

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It is a bit of a thicket,i'm guessing they had no Hoopsii.

I would very much like to see one of those but will make do observing your initially subtractive design.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Yes it is indeed a major thicket. No they unfortunately didn'y have any Hoopsii, I wish they did though. But I suppose this will make do and I hopefully get some answers as to where to go with this one. Thanks,

Ryan
 

Redwood Ryan

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Haha. I don't think now is the season for it though, so we will see.
 

Redwood Ryan

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The roots are terribley rootbound. I'm afraid to repot now though.
 

Bob

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Check out www.bonsai4me.com and www.evergreengardenworks.com and look for spruce info. I have one of these spruce and have kept it going for about four years now by following the advice from these sites. I also lost two and I think it's because I messed around with them too much right about this time of the year.

Bob.
 

Redwood Ryan

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So, just so I'm correct, I shouldn't prune or repot right now?
 

Bob

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Sorry Ryan, because of my experience level I don't feel comfortable giving advice. I went back and looked at www.bonsai4me.com and reread the info on Picea and that is where you should start. Some branch removal at this time should be ok but any root work right now could cause you problems. Check out the above site.

Bob.
 

Vance Wood

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Don't prune out more than 60% at a time. When wiring be careful of the joints (the points where limbs meet trunk and branches meet limbs) these junctions tend to be prone to split so make sure you support them very well, especially if you plan on some extreme bends.

The first thing I think you need to do is to expose a trunk line so at least you know where you are going. After treatment of this kind this late in the season it would be wise to put the tree where it gets a little more shelter from the winter weather but still outdoors.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Don't prune out more than 60% at a time. When wiring be careful of the joints (the points where limbs meet trunk and branches meet limbs) these junctions tend to be prone to split so make sure you support them very well, especially if you plan on some extreme bends.

The first thing I think you need to do is to expose a trunk line so at least you know where you are going. After treatment of this kind this late in the season it would be wise to put the tree where it gets a little more shelter from the winter weather but still outdoors.


Thanks Vance. So you recommend me cutting the branches around the trunk right? I would be able to get a picture then. And I can get a picture of these horrid roots. THey run out of the top of the soil and wrap around several times.


Ryan
 

Vance Wood

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Thanks Vance. So you recommend me cutting the branches around the trunk right? I would be able to get a picture then. And I can get a picture of these horrid roots. THey run out of the top of the soil and wrap around several times.


Ryan

You should be OK as long as you don't get too carried away. Let me put it this way; I would do it and have done it. BN Spruce are not Mugo Pines but they should be able to take this treatment.
 

Redwood Ryan

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You should be OK as long as you don't get too carried away. Let me put it this way; I would do it and have done it. BN Spruce are not Mugo Pines but they should be able to take this treatment.

Okay thanks again Vance. I'm headed out now to clear the area so I can see the trunk. I'll post pics after I'm done.


Ryan
 

Redwood Ryan

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Okay so I went out and cleared the branches from the trunk and pulled lightly the tree from its pot to discover a mass of roots. Horribley rootbound. I cannot fix this now, I know, but in the fall. It is bad. In th picture of the trunk you can see some roots coming up through the soil and those are older looking than the rest. Advice is welcome!







Thanks,
Ryan
 

Tachigi

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With regards to the roots:
:eek::eek::eek::eek::eek::D:eek::eek::eek::eek: ;)
 

Vance Wood

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You have a challenge, give me a little time to think about what I would do with this guy. As it stands now the trunk is not so wonderful that it warrants a lot of special attention. In other words you might want to think about a learning experience with the hopes of finding a bonsai in there but run the risk of losing the tree in doing so.
 

Redwood Ryan

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You have a challenge, give me a little time to think about what I would do with this guy. As it stands now the trunk is not so wonderful that it warrants a lot of special attention. In other words you might want to think about a learning experience with the hopes of finding a bonsai in there but run the risk of losing the tree in doing so.


I can wait however long. I appreciate the help. The trunk looked better when I first saw it, but now I'm not so sure. It's still a big trunk, just not as big as I first thought.
 

Vance Wood

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I can wait however long. I appreciate the help. The trunk looked better when I first saw it, but now I'm not so sure. It's still a big trunk, just not as big as I first thought.

You really wont know for sure what you really have until you start reducing the soil ball from the top down to the point where lateral roots start emerging from the trunk. This will reveal the actual base of the tree. The problem with nursery trees in some cases, and this is one of them, there is a tendency for nurseries to up pot a tree by simply putting a smaller root bound tree into a larger container until it becomes root bound in that container and so on and so forth. There is no telling how often this might happen, but it does not matter to the nursery in the landscape trade. To make things worse every time the tree is potted up fresh soil is added into the new container usually from the top and up to the lowest branches. The tree then invades this new top soil with roots and you can see the result. Those large roots you see on the surface are likely to emerge from the actual trunk several inches below the surface and not in a configuration you will approve of.

I have found Mugo Pines, another tree treated in this manner, where the actual base of the tree was four or five inches below the soil surface. I would consider any tree grown as a bush or low growing tree is likely to be treated this way in a nursery setting. It is after all this bush form with no visiable or obvious trunk that sells for landscapes.

My usual method for dealing with nursery conifers is to remove soil from the bottom of the soil mass, but in this case you are going to have to start from the top and work it down to the actual base of the trunk before you can think about reducing the rest of the soil mass from the bottom up. If all those roots were not there, and obviously active, all you would have to do is to remove the top soil down to the root base and reduce from the bottom.
 
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