Blue Spruce New Growth

WesternGrower

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So I have a blue spruce I am attempting to turn into a bonsai, and it currently has its first flush of new growth. I have read that I should be pinching off this new growth, and others say to leave it be.
I have attached some picture of it, the new growth is about an inch and a half long now, tree is brought indoors for picture taking.
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jriddell88

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Look up post growth management Bonsai Mirai on you tube ,

And then read read read , experiment

This tree would probably not be a candidate for pinchy pinchy......yet
 

WesternGrower

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I've been doing alot of reading over the past few months, I also have a live oak that I'm working on as well.
The reading and researching is whats been confusing me most, I only seem to find contradictory information.

Im assuming if I just let this growth go I can always lop it off later right?
 

jriddell88

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You can always cut it off , takes a bit longer to put it back on , if you are unsure don’t jump the gun

Ask here you will receive valuable feedback
Again watch that video some good info there on one who works and collects spruce, who is a respected figure in the game
 

WesternGrower

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Alright, thanks. I've done alot of work to get this spruce to where it is from the 3 dollar walmart stock I bought it from.
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jriddell88

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I’d dedicate my time to getting it into good soil and build a strong root system , first priority, what is you plan/goals for this tree

A colander or training box to build the trunk up, taper
 

WesternGrower

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My main goal with this tree is to learn all the basics I'll need for future projects.
When I bought the tree, it was literally just roots in a 6" pot, there was next to zero dirt in there. I trimmed off a large majority of the root system since it was simply too much. Since then I've been researching and practicing wiring, pruning, and general styling (Im very science oriented, not so much artsy, so this is all new to me). Even if this tree ends up failing, I can always get a near identical one around Christmas time from walmart again. Ideally though, I would like it to survive and thrive. Even if it does not make it to a "true" bonsai form, having a miniature spruce tree sounds fun.

Currently, its in a decent size pot, but by no means anywhere near a true bonsai pot.
 

jriddell88

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Well your in the uh guardian state , the land of Bonsai oz look around there are folks and clubs all around you I’m sure , join up and make some buddies , I sure would take advantage of it if I was there California is full of em
 

WesternGrower

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Id love to do that, but as a moderately broke college student with no way off campus (I cant afford the 900 dollar parking pass) I have to rely on help online lol.

I have plenty more pictures/can take more if anyone needs them.
 

PiñonJ

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If you want to keep the tree at its current size, let the new growth open and harden off, then prune the newly hardened shoots back to an immature bud. This will stimulate more back-budding. And use a heavy fertilizing regimen while its growing. I'm just not sure how this tree will do long-term in your mild climate. It may end up exhausting its carbohydrate supply due to insufficient winter dormancy.
 

WesternGrower

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The tree was in cold conditions for quite a long time before I got it (It is not from Santa Cruz, its from Tollhouse California).
Would 10-10-10 fertilizer be okay for a tree like this? (I think its 10-10-10, its a little 8oz box of miracle grow)

When you say prune to an immature bud, what exactly do you mean? Because all the buds on the tree are open.
 
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PiñonJ

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The tree was in cold conditions for quite a long time before I got it (It is not from Santa Cruz, its from Tollhouse California).
Would 10-10-10 fertilizer be okay for a tree like this? (I think its 10-10-10, its a little 8oz box of miracle grow)

When you say prune to an immature bud, what exactly do you mean? Because all the buds on the tree are open.
I'm using organics, but that fertilizer will work fine (that's a whole other discussion). After the new shoots open, you should be able to identify tiny buds on their stems. If you prune back to one of them, it will improve the chances of the branch surviving at the length you've pruned to (rather than getting die-back, or losing vigor) and the pruning will stimulate back-budding, which will start the ramification process and give you options later for branch selection for your design.
 

WesternGrower

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Ah I see. At this point in time I will probably let the tree do its thing.
A week ago there were no open buds, now all of them are almost an inch long, interested to see how it matures.
Same for my oak tree, a week ago there were just light green nubs, now two shoots are 3" long with several sets of leaves, with more buds developing elsewhere.
 

PiñonJ

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If you do prune for back-budding, remember to wait until the new growth hardens off (needles darken and get stiff and sharp). Next year, if you have a good crop of buds, you can pinch terminal buds as they're opening to stimulate growth in the back buds. But, again, this is crazy early for a Blue Spruce to be in full spring growth. I don't think your winter will be cold enough to keep it healthy more than four years.
 

WesternGrower

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Its an oddly warm year, it really shouldnt be growing right now, but it is. Its January and it was 70F today. This time the past 2 years it was a high of 40-50 this time of year.
Normally this tree would have temps of around or below 45F for at least 3 months straight during the winter (Day and night).
I am very familiar with this aspect of trees, so come time for the winter period I will make arrangements for it to get its proper winter dormancy.
 
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PiñonJ

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Its an oddly warm year, it really shouldnt be growing right now, but it is. Its January and it was 70F today. This time the past 2 years it was a high of 40-50 this time of year.
Normally this tree would have temps of around or below 45F for at least 3 months straight during the winter (Day and night).
I am very familiar with this aspect of trees, so come time for the winter period I will make arrangements for it to get its proper winter dormancy.
45 will still be way too warm for it, so hopefully you can overwinter it in a cold climate.
 

WesternGrower

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I mean a irregular high of 45, where I spend my time during the winter we get nighttime lows of 10s.
Its Hardiness zone 7-8, which is right on the edge of the spruces range (I can keep it at lower temperatures during the day as well)

If it really comes down to it, I can arrange to have it winter at my brothers cabin up in hardiness zone 4-5.
 

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