Engelmann Spruce (Picea engelmannii) progression

PiñonJ

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I collected this spruce in the Jemez mountains of New Mexico at the end of May 2017. I styled it this week.
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It has done very well and last year put out cones. I left some of them on because they were so beautiful:
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It is 41-3/4" (106 cm) to the top of the jin.
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PiñonJ

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I like the image you're creating, but I don't care for the prominent jin you've made up top. IMHO, it would be much better as a short stub (of a long dead branch), more like what you've done lower on the tree
Cool, thanks for the feedback! We’ll see what the future holds.
 

Hartinez

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very well done J. I think once the foliage pads increase in density the jin up top will feel less prominent. You can always take away, but you can't stretch it back out!!

there is one branch that crosses right in front of the trunk on your first image that bothers me a bit. But once again, with time i think you've made a winner!!
 

PiñonJ

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very well done J. I think once the foliage pads increase in density the jin up top will feel less prominent. You can always take away, but you can't stretch it back out!!

there is one branch that crosses right in front of the trunk on your first image that bothers me a bit. But once again, with time i think you've made a winner!!
Actually, none of the branches cross near the trunk. I have a couple of foliage pads coming across to break up the long expanse of bare trunk and to distribute needle mass for photosynthetic efficiency.
 

Hartinez

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Actually, none of the branches cross near the trunk. I have a couple of foliage pads coming across to break up the long expanse of bare trunk and to distribute needle mass for photosynthetic efficiency.
Well there you have it!! Beautiful work!
 

PiñonJ

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So, as noted above, I styled this tree at the end of April. I thought I would do some quick Fall shoot selection, but by mid-September, many of the wires had bitten in too much to leave on, so I un-wired almost the whole tree. The primary and most secondary branches held their positions well, but the shoots sprung up, so I re-wired the whole tree... much more Fall work than I had bargained on!
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Next spring, it will go into the Giorgi pot and @0soyoung, I do plan on dealing with that top jin!
 

coh

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Really nice tree and those cones are beautiful! Hope to get some on my Engelmann someday.

Speaking of which...I was working on mine today, observing how it's been responding to various techniques. Wanted to ask you how yours responds to pinching. With mine, I've found that if I pinch the new shoots as they are extending in the spring, those shoots essentially wind up "dead" - they rarely if ever throw buds anywhere along that new section of growth. Instead, I'll get one or more buds at the base of that shoot and sometimes further back (note the new shoot doesn't die immediately but never grows any more, and eventually dies back after a year or two if I don't remove it). This makes styling...interesting. I remember discussing this with Mr Neil a year or so ago and he said that was what he found with his as well so wondering if yours behaves the same. Maybe you don't do any pinching? My tree is smaller and more compact so I need to figure out the best way to keep that growth as compact as possible.

BTW, I like the top jin long as it is, but the problem to me is there are no other deadwood features anywhere - so it looks kind of lonely.
 

parhamr

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With mine, I've found that if I pinch the new shoots as they are extending in the spring, those shoots essentially wind up "dead" - they rarely if ever throw buds anywhere along that new section of growth. Instead, I'll get one or more buds at the base of that shoot and sometimes further back (note the new shoot doesn't die immediately but never grows any more, and eventually dies back after a year or two if I don't remove it). This makes styling...interesting. I remember discussing this with Mr Neil a year or so ago and he said that was what he found with his as well so wondering if yours behaves the same. Maybe you don't do any pinching?
I’ve had success waiting for juvenile buds to be visible on new growth before trimming back to those buds. This ends up similar to the work I do on larch, Douglas-fir, and Hemlock.
 

coh

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I’ve had success waiting for juvenile buds to be visible on new growth before trimming back to those buds. This ends up similar to the work I do on larch, Douglas-fir, and Hemlock.
So are you saying you let the new growth extend without pinching, wait to see where/if buds form along that new shoot, then cut back to that location? That might work better than the pinching I've been doing.
 

River's Edge

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I’ve had success waiting for juvenile buds to be visible on new growth before trimming back to those buds. This ends up similar to the work I do on larch, Douglas-fir, and Hemlock.
This is how i treat the Ezo and Sub Alpine Fir, both similar to the Englemann.
 

PiñonJ

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Really nice tree and those cones are beautiful! Hope to get some on my Engelmann someday.

Speaking of which...I was working on mine today, observing how it's been responding to various techniques. Wanted to ask you how yours responds to pinching. With mine, I've found that if I pinch the new shoots as they are extending in the spring, those shoots essentially wind up "dead" - they rarely if ever throw buds anywhere along that new section of growth. Instead, I'll get one or more buds at the base of that shoot and sometimes further back (note the new shoot doesn't die immediately but never grows any more, and eventually dies back after a year or two if I don't remove it). This makes styling...interesting. I remember discussing this with Mr Neil a year or so ago and he said that was what he found with his as well so wondering if yours behaves the same. Maybe you don't do any pinching? My tree is smaller and more compact so I need to figure out the best way to keep that growth as compact as possible.

BTW, I like the top jin long as it is, but the problem to me is there are no other deadwood features anywhere - so it looks kind of lonely.
I haven't pinched this one, yet, because it's been in development. Now that it's heading toward refinement, I'll start pinching next year to stimulate back buds to open and gain strength. As @parhamr suggested, one option is to wait until you can identify nascent buds in the new, still-soft shoot. Another is to wait until the shoot has hardened off and you can identify a definite bud, then prune to the bud. The earlier you prune, the less coarse the growth will be, but if you want more back budding, wait as long as possible to prune. Ryan has observed that on Engelmanns, pinching blindly tends to result in a whorl of buds at the base of the shoot, rather than budding at the pinch site. @MACH5, this is a nuance to Engelmanns that I didn't mention in our discussion on your Subalpine Fir thread.
@coh, the length of the top jin doesn't bother me, but I don't like the smooth, tubular curve as it emerges from the trunk, so I plan to work it a little more and extend it down the trunk a little (still need to remove the collar of tissue at its base, anyway). BTW, if you look at the detail photos (post 2), you'll see other jins, and there will be more in the future.
 

coh

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Ryan has observed that on Engelmanns, pinching blindly tends to result in a whorl of buds at the base of the shoot, rather than budding at the pinch site. @MACH5, this is a nuance to Engelmanns that I didn't mention in our discussion on your Subalpine Fir thread.
Yep, it was his (Ryan's) recommendation (a year or two ago) to pinch which yields the bud or buds at the base. I'm not thrilled with that approach so will look at the methods discussed here. Thanks!
 
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