Fraser Fir - Xmas tree’s future.

Brad in GR

Shohin
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Nursery stock Fraser fir (abies fraseri) purchased after the girlfriend convinced me to purchase a butchered-for-capitalism version as our Xmas tree. Felt guilty, and have previously posted a picea abies styling attempt that was suboptimal at best. Wanted to get my weak styling muscles pumping again on another nursery stock conifer.

My Christmas present to myself was principles of Bonsai design. I am through it once and starting to read a second time.

I have taken the time to study the tree and have removed hardly any foliage. It appears to have been dug up from a field versus grown in a pot; sandy soil, healthy, and has a significant natural slanting movement when considering the base. I picked it out specifically after noticing the significant root flare. Further inspection shows a spread widerthan previously thought, yay!

while the base supplies a natural slant, and the nebari has excellent flare for a conifer, the slanting motion really is ramrod straight once it leaves the base.

I am reading up on proportion, balance, styles (and reasoning behind choosing) etc. in my new book, but I’m struggling with the very straight trunk direction ... I don’t seem to recall seeing many examples of finished trees that are able to pull off this few changes of direction with slanting.

plan would be to style this spring, and leave in pot despite it being massive and incredibly heavy. I think the soil being sand-based and likely from the field will serve it well while it recovers.

would be grateful for any thoughts. Happy new year.
 

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River's Edge

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Nursery stock Fraser fir (abies fraseri) purchased after the girlfriend convinced me to purchase a butchered-for-capitalism version as our Xmas tree. Felt guilty, and have previously posted a picea abies styling attempt that was suboptimal at best. Wanted to get my weak styling muscles pumping again on another nursery stock conifer.

My Christmas present to myself was principles of Bonsai design. I am through it once and starting to read a second time.

I have taken the time to study the tree and have removed hardly any foliage. It appears to have been dug up from a field versus grown in a pot; sandy soil, healthy, and has a significant natural slanting movement when considering the base. I picked it out specifically after noticing the significant root flare. Further inspection shows a spread widerthan previously thought, yay!

while the base supplies a natural slant, and the nebari has excellent flare for a conifer, the slanting motion really is ramrod straight once it leaves the base.

I am reading up on proportion, balance, styles (and reasoning behind choosing) etc. in my new book, but I’m struggling with the very straight trunk direction ... I don’t seem to recall seeing many examples of finished trees that are able to pull off this few changes of direction with slanting.

plan would be to style this spring, and leave in pot despite it being massive and incredibly heavy. I think the soil being sand-based and likely from the field will serve it well while it recovers.

would be grateful for any thoughts. Happy new year.
I would use a different approach. I agree that straight sections are not as interesting to develop.
Because you have lots of lower foliage remaining, i would look for a suitable change of direction and develop a new leader to create movement and taper. This would involve severe shortening over time so i would change the order of development.
First i would repot ( this spring) to establish the tree in free draining bonsai mix, in a suitable maintenance or grow pot. I would retain all the branching and foliage to help the roots recover before beginning the reduction.
I consider the flare and slant a great starting point to develop the tree from before attempting to style! You could end up with flare slant movement and taper with branches where you want them.
I understand it will take a lot longer if you choose this route!
 

Maloghurst

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This looks like as good as you could hope for with a tree like this. I like the slant and it looks like the root base allows the slant to happen the way they are grasping the earth on opposite side. I think it would look better though with the longest branch’s moving right. Something like this.
B868AD39-F292-4421-B928-6024C6A39921.jpeg
 

Underdog

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I'll be following your progress as I am kind of in the same boat. I bought a Cannan Fur last year burlapped in it's original heavy clay. I trimmed (a bit too much) and threw it in a pot last spring. I plan to just let it grow this year and gain needed vigor.
I hope to make this our Forever Christmas Tree
 

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Brad in GR

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I would use a different approach. I agree that straight sections are not as interesting to develop.
Because you have lots of lower foliage remaining, i would look for a suitable change of direction and develop a new leader to create movement and taper. This would involve severe shortening over time so i would change the order of development.
First i would repot ( this spring) to establish the tree in free draining bonsai mix, in a suitable maintenance or grow pot. I would retain all the branching and foliage to help the roots recover before beginning the reduction.
I consider the flare and slant a great starting point to develop the tree from before attempting to style! You could end up with flare slant movement and taper with branches where you want them.
I understand it will take a lot longer if you choose this route!
Thanks for the notes; by repot, do you also suggest a significant root prune into a training container, or purely for a more suitable substrate and leave the roots alone to increase health? I am happy to play the long(er) game with this tree. Can you expand on "flare slant" movement? My gut is to take a future leader off to the left to begin developing movement.

I would plan to do the rootwork in early spring. I am observing my other conifers for post-solstice repots this summer but do not have enough direct experience to speak to whether summer is preferred to a spring repot.
 

River's Edge

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The repot will depend on what you find. The key is to set the tree up for the future with improved nebari, more compact rootball and better substrate! This will likely happen in stages, the number depending on what you find during the first repot.
I was commenting on flare at the base and how it flows with the slant. Once you are clear on the nebari then a decision could be made with respect to a new apex to introduce movement and also improve taper! It may very well be to the left if the tree's position remains similar after the repot. Hope that helps.
 

Brad in GR

Shohin
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The repot will depend on what you find. The key is to set the tree up for the future with improved nebari, more compact rootball and better substrate! This will likely happen in stages, the number depending on what you find during the first repot.
I was commenting on flare at the base and how it flows with the slant. Once you are clear on the nebari then a decision could be made with respect to a new apex to introduce movement and also improve taper! It may very well be to the left if the tree's position remains similar after the repot. Hope that helps.
It does, thank you! Will report (repot) back. Cheers.
 

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