Blue Atlas Cedar

JudyB

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I hope that you do get back into it and you find a wonderful cedar out there. Keep your eyes peeled at the box stores, sometimes they have 1 gallon pots, a good place to start with these. And yes, I'm lucky this one is soooooo blue. It makes me want to try for a western white fir. Some of them have that same color cast to them, I've never seen one as a bonsai, but I have several huge ones in my landscape. Some are bluer than others.
 

Ang3lfir3

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Judy .... very much improved.... I personally like you back as the front from a movement standpoint .... (not sure why) ... in the coming years it might be interesting to build the scar tissue up into an interesting layer design and possibly bring it up into some shari into the tree ...
 

JudyB

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Thanks Eric!
I'm holding on to that back as a possibility, cause there is something there...
Do you know what the pink color within that graft is? The layer of it was way thicker than cambium, but it was in the right layer to be cambium. Maybe scar tissue? Yeah, I hope the callus turns out to look nice, at least I don't have to look at that horrible graft lump anymore.
 

QuintinBonsai

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Hi Judy,

Where did you acquire this beauty? I also have a blue atlas cedar (also grafted), but it's a long ways off from becoming anywhere close to size of where yours is. What kind of soil mix do you use, and as far as yearly maintenance, are they about the same as pines? As if with candle trimming and such?

Thanks,
Quintin
 

JudyB

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I got this from New England Bonsai Gardens in 2009. It has come a ways... post #2 shows it in its early stages. This is not a large tree by any means, it's only around 15" tall.
These do not have candles like pines, they put out new clusters of needles along the lengths of the branches, and send out shoots from some of them that can elongate at the tips. I wait till they extend around an inch and then cut them back by about a third. This will lead to new shoots, and ramification.

The thing that seems important for this specie, is proper timing on repotting. If you do them too early, then don't protect them from cold snaps, they can easily die. I read somewhere to do it before the new root tips turn white... but I can't find that article now. They do not like root disturbance in any event, try not to take too much off at once. The one thing they might do is to shed all the needles off. They'll put out new ones shortly, if they're not too traumatized, but it's pretty stressful... Mine did that one spring, since I had to get some old soil off the roots, and it didn't like it. Keeping newly potted trees on a heat mat if the weather is cold seems to be helpful.

The old needles will turn silvery tan, and you can basically brush them off when they're ready. Try to prune the clusters to allow light to get inside to keep any inner buds happy, I take off clusters that are on top or under branches, leaving mostly just the side ones.

I wire during summer, as that's usually when the old needles drop (mine just finished), and it takes a while to get the wiring job to "take". They're springy, and need multiple times to set usually. Just watch that the wire doesn't dig in, as the bark scars are VERY slow to disappear if they ever do.

I have this in 80/20 turface/composted pine bark. They seem to like a bit of organic material.
Hope this helps!
 

Smoke

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Looks like a green atlas to me. Blue are blue at even a young stage. Even cuttings are blue. Green atlas are faster growers.

While I like the shape of this tree I have reservations about where it might be going. I mean in the plans stage. For me,.... steady....(wait for it) It either needs to be cut down drastically or in the ground for about 7 years for some girth and some taper. As it is, its a little spindly. Not a bad thing, but cedars are regal trees and should be powerful. This tree is not powerful.


EDIT: Looks blue compared to Green atlas on second and third looks.
 

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TheSteve

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or in the ground for about 7 years for some girth and some taper.

I must be lucky because I planted a 3/4inch thick blue atlas for a landscaping project 5 years ago and it's trunk is well over 6 inches now and it's 4 feet tall (I chopped it) and 10 feet wide. It's got some branches close to 3 inches or more in diameter. I've got a deodar that went into the ground for some thickening maybe four years ago and it's pushing 6 inches at the soil line too. I'm not bragging here just wondering if this is atypical as I constantly hear about how slow they grow. I'd say (going by my experiences) that two years tops in the ground would be more than enough.
 

Smoke

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I must be lucky because I planted a 3/4inch thick blue atlas for a landscaping project 5 years ago and it's trunk is well over 6 inches now and it's 4 feet tall (I chopped it) and 10 feet wide. It's got some branches close to 3 inches or more in diameter. I've got a deodar that went into the ground for some thickening maybe four years ago and it's pushing 6 inches at the soil line too. I'm not bragging here just wondering if this is atypical as I constantly hear about how slow they grow. I'd say (going by my experiences) that two years tops in the ground would be more than enough.

That would be about right for allowing a plant to become a yard tree. Of course one would surly not allow a plant put into the ground to be bonsai get a canopy ten foot across or branches 3 inches in diameter. Keeping it bonsai like would be a longer process being done with two or three sacrifices and keeping everything else in proportion. I could get the same kind of growth on a blackpine also but who wants a bonsai ten feet wide with 3 inch branches?

Most atlas are grown on deodar root stock.
 

JudyB

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Looks like a green atlas to me. Blue are blue at even a young stage. Even cuttings are blue. Green atlas are faster growers.

While I like the shape of this tree I have reservations about where it might be going. I mean in the plans stage. For me,.... steady....(wait for it) It either needs to be cut down drastically or in the ground for about 7 years for some girth and some taper. As it is, its a little spindly. Not a bad thing, but cedars are regal trees and should be powerful. This tree is not powerful.


EDIT: Looks blue compared to Green atlas on second and third looks.

Hmmm, well it is certainly blue, don't know if the pics on your monitor look green, but it has very blue needles. Always has... It's as blue as my Colorado Blue spruces...
and as blue as my eyes...

I agree that this tree is not powerful. I'm going for graceful as a model for this tree, as it does not have a strong trunk. It does have taper,(better in person than a 2d photo shows) not as much as it would with a larger base, but there is some believability in the taper it does have. I'm decidedly not going for spindly, I don't think that's ever a good thing...

Blue Atlas Cedar are listed as zones 6 as the lowest hardiness zone. Perhaps now that the zones have shifted a bit, I might be able to get away with ground planting, but we still get some pretty localized frigid weather here, that keeps us solidly in zone 5. I wouldn't want to chance that with this tree. I could do a grow box, but would that really be much different?

I'm open to ideas, but I don't want to loose this to a harsh winter...
 

TheSteve

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That would be about right for allowing a plant to become a yard tree. Of course one would surly not allow a plant put into the ground to be bonsai get a canopy ten foot across or branches 3 inches in diameter. Keeping it bonsai like would be a longer process being done with two or three sacrifices and keeping everything else in proportion. I could get the same kind of growth on a blackpine also but who wants a bonsai ten feet wide with 3 inch branches?

Most atlas are grown on deodar root stock.

Agreed Al,
But surely just a sacrificial leader would produce the needed girth fairly quickly right? It's not like she would be growing the tree from scratch. (and since she isn't shooting for power here it's all hypothetical anyway). But since it's hypothetical if this was your tree, and you just wanted to plump up the trunk a bit wouldn't you maintain all branching while letting a single leader run wild for a couple of years? Rather than chop to a new leader and start over?
 

TheSteve

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Not trying to hijack this Judy, just hoping to gain a little insight on something I've been thinking about and this is a good example to work from.
 

JudyB

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No worries thesteve, I'm interested in Smokes thoughts as much as you are. Hoping he checks back into the thread....
 

Smoke

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Not trying to hijack this Judy, just hoping to gain a little insight on something I've been thinking about and this is a good example to work from.

No worries thesteve, I'm interested in Smokes thoughts as much as you are. Hoping he checks back into the thread....

My feelings about a tree are always from my perspective. Whether Judy tries to fatten this or not from my point of view is moot, since we are seperated by 2700 miles. My point is to show another perspective of this type of tree from a more powerful point of view. It does not diminish what this tree has going for it either since maybe Judy wishes this tree to be less powerful and more feminine which is OK as well. I just feel the proportion is off a little. Maybe just being a shorter tree would bring it into proportion.

Here are two trident shohin I have done. Both are exactly the same height...6.5 inches tall. One has a thin trunk and one is 8 times larger. One is very feminine and the other more powerful and masculine yet both are well proportioned for their distinctive imagery.
 

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JudyB

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Thanks Smoke, I understand that you have opinions that may differ from mine, and that's a good thing. Other opinions and perspectives are the reason I post things here, to get a different ideas than I have on my own. I respect your work, and your opinion. And I value your input and help on things that I post.

I do think the proportion could be better, I just am not sure how to get there just yet. I'll stare at it for another year, work is over for this one for the season, maybe I'll look at shortening next year. Or try a grow box, but I don't know how much that would net me.

thanks again all.
 

RogueFJ

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Hi Judy
Any ideas on how to winterize my BAC? I purchased it in May and did a lot of work to it as far as wiring and pruning. I may pot it next spring if it survives our zone 5 winter. Any thought or ideas?

BAC01.jpg
 

JudyB

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Ooohhh nice one! Have you posted this one before?

Do you get a lot of winds there? I make sure mine is totally wind shielded. I place mine in the cold greenhouse after the temps dip to freezing for more than a day or so. They are really not too tolerant of cold, but I think that wind with cold are probably the killer. Do you have a cold frame, or somewhere you could overwinter it that it would stay right around freezing out of the wind? Maybe an unheated garage with a bit of outside light? I would think about a cold frame with a simple heater cable to keep it from getting too cold if that is the only option.

Remember that potting time with these is crucial to time correctly. And then make sure you protect from freezing temps after the potting. They don't like their roots being messed with too much.

Let me know if you have any questions about heat cables or mats, I do have lots of experience there.
 

dinh

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Here's my blue atlas cedar with all it's new needles puffing out for the year. I'm starting to see a future for this tree, too bad the graft will always be an issue. I think the back may be the new front eventually. It's filling out nicely, time to start to find a real direction for it. I've been working on getting it to go back to the left instead of just being a curved trunk.

I just love the new needles.

I just wonder whether it is a blue or green atlas cedar? I have a blue atlas cedar, but has different color.

Best,
--Dinh
 

JudyB

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Dinh, Smoke also wondered about this. All I can tell you is that in person, it is pretty darn blue. The needles are the same color as my colorado blue spruces... But I looked back thru the pics, and I can see why there is some doubt, as it does look greener in the photos. I don't have very good camera skills. (or a very good camera, just a point and shoot)
 

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