GSBF Workshop - Michael Hagedorn - Engelmann Spruce

Brian Underwood

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Over the GSBF weekend, I took a workshop with Michael Hagedorn. The engelmann spruce material was fantastic! All old bark, nice natural trunks, and mine in particular had an incredible amount of buds all over the branches. Michael is a great teacher, and very friendly with a contagious, quite unique laugh. It was an enjoyable workshop to say the least. He did the usual spiel about where the material was collected (Washington near mt. Hood or something...), aftercare, and pruning techniques, as well as helping the beginners with wiring. He flitted between tables, working as fast as he could, making me re-wire about half of all my work, but I think everything turned out great.

If anyone has any pictures of the workshop, feel free to post them here.

Also, all the wiring was done by me, so please don't think Michael is an amateur, though feel free to think I am a professional ;)
 

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Brian Underwood

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Shohin Coast Redwood

I got bored on Friday waiting for the festivities to start, so I bought a little redwood from the Shimons and styled it. When I was done styling, I decided it needed a nice pot. Jim Barrett was the next table down, so I picked up this little handmade piece which in my opinion fits the tree nicely. Finally, a shohin redwood I like! And all for the low, low price of $83 including the pot. I think I like conventions...
 

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Smoke

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I got bored on Friday waiting for the festivities to start, so I bought a little redwood from the Shimons and styled it. When I was done styling, I decided it needed a nice pot. Jim Barrett was the next table down, so I picked up this little handmade piece which in my opinion fits the tree nicely. Finally, a shohin redwood I like! And all for the low, low price of $83 including the pot. I think I like conventions...
Cute little redwood. That would last about a week in Fresno.
 

Smoke

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Over the GSBF weekend, I took a workshop with Michael Hagedorn. The engelmann spruce material was fantastic! All old bark, nice natural trunks, and mine in particular had an incredible amount of buds all over the branches. Michael is a great teacher, and very friendly with a contagious, quite unique laugh. It was an enjoyable workshop to say the least. He did the usual spiel about where the material was collected (Washington near mt. Hood or something...), aftercare, and pruning techniques, as well as helping the beginners with wiring. He flitted between tables, working as fast as he could, making me re-wire about half of all my work, but I think everything turned out great.

If anyone has any pictures of the workshop, feel free to post them here.

Also, all the wiring was done by me, so please don't think Michael is an amateur, though feel free to think I am a professional ;)
This was some awesome material. Looks like you used every branch! You gonna open that sucker up later? The one thing that I liked about them was the unique open spaces in the branching and foliage distribution. You before photo bears this out, as well of some of the more sparse trees in the workshop. Some were absolutely ready for a pot just the way they were dug. It seems now you have evenly spaced the branches up the trunk and taken all the wildness out of the material?

This material should do well for you where you live. Not cold enough where I live. Heck, I repot in a t-shirt in February.
 

Brian Underwood

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Thanks Al! Yeah, we definitely tamed this one down quite a bit compared to the other trees, which were mostly still quite sparse. Considering the number of buds this one has, it is going to completely fill in, creating the traditional foliage pads. I think I will stick with this plan for now, and see how I like it next year. I may decide to thin it out and keep the wild look in the future, we'll see.
 

chrisbotero

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Here is something you may look into, jinning the top of the tree. I collected these tree from the Mt. Hood area (possibly the same area as your material) and many of the mature trees had this same dead top portion. In fact, many of the smaller trees had this look.

Just a thought...
 

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Brian Underwood

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Nice material! I thought about jinning the top, and I may still do it in the future. I asked Michael his opinion on the matter, and he just said since its alive, we'll keep it that way. Do you have any of those guys wired or finished? I would love to see some pictures.
 

satsuki

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Very nice!

About a month ago I got the incredible opportunity to work with him, and he also made me rewire half of my work.




Satsuki
 

Brian Underwood

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Quick update;

The tree has exploded with new growth, which for a while I was pinching back, but soon found that those branches looked less healthy so I stopped and just let it grow. I'll cut back to new buds when they form to thin her out a little. Next year it should get a new pot, maybe a nanban.
 

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mcpesq817

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Nice development Brian. I've taken a few Larry Jackel workshops and he's brought over some Engelmann Spruces for workshop material, and I've always liked the look of these trees. Too bad they aren't used more extensively for bonsai.
 

chrisbotero

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Hey Brian,

Sorry I missed this reply back in November.

To answer your question, no I havent done any work on these trees. They were collected last fall and spent the winter in the greenhouse under mist. Buds are pushing this spring so I think they will be fine, but they will sit and recover for the year. I might begin styling next spring but it depends on their vigor.
 

Brian Underwood

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Well they look awesome. I hope they are strong enough to begin styling soon, though they really don't need much work, it seems the snow did most of that for you. Spruce should be styled in fall/winter not spring. In spring the branches can be damaged during wiring and will likely die back. Michael has lots of experience with them from his apprenticeship in Japan and gave great advice.
 

chrisbotero

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I did a little digging around in the pumice this afternoon and the little guy (second pic) is putting out quite a few roots. I didnt find any white-tiped roots on the bigger one but buds are moving on both of these guys. They are very hardy and Im pretty cofident in their recovery. Ill updated when I do a little work to them. If they grow strongly this summer I may clean up/begin to wire them. Like you said, its more of a matter of removing some dead branches, jinning others and fine wiring. The bigger one (first pic) should be a nice tree in a few years.

Thanks for the input on wiring during the fall. Ill have to run this guy by Michael this fall and see if we can whip it into shape!
 

Brian Underwood

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UPDATE!!! Spruce re-pot and future plans

I re-potted the spruce yesterday into an unglazed namban from Jim Gremel. The tree had almost FILLED the box with fine roots, which I reduced by about 1/2, and was able to cram into the small pot (safely I hope). The soil is a pre-mixed japanese brand with equal parts pumice, lava, and akadama. I had to use two chopsticks and four wires to anchor the tree safely in the small pot.

The tree will require some adjustment with planting angle in the future, I don't like how the trunk shoots vertical out of the pot. I will also be jinning the top section of the tree to create a little more interest and keep the foliage and the viewer's eye a little lower. Comments/suggestions welcome.
 

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Smoke

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Pot ratio looks good.

Tree looks super healthy.

Just a couple critiques.

1. For me... Still too much hair on this one. I don't get a spruce feel nor a bunjin feel. Just too much green.

2. For me... I think in the future maybe just a slight tilt of the trunk to get a less than perfectly verticle start on that trunk. While I know that bend in the trunk is not probably a branch start from a trunk break, the verticle start with abrupt veeroff gives the illusion of man. Maybe a small lean "subtle" in the direction of the veer would make an improvement.

Edit; Sorry just read more carefully about your need for improving the planting angle. I see we agree.

Carry on.
 
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Brian Underwood

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Thanks Al. I agree it is too bushy and could use a trim, it's just so darn aggressive with backbudding it's hard to keep up with. I think I am also going to jin it above the red line, as that seems a logical place for the green to end. It feels a bit too tall to me... Still has a great future, as long as my repotting didn't kill it...
 

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JudyB

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Really good work.

I think I would keep the lowest right branch above the red line....

But it's very very nice. great pot combo.
 

fore

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Very nice tree and progression Brian! I too like the tree/pot combo. I also agree it has too much green, and imho, jinned tops have been overdone a bit here in the US. I don't like the straight up growth of the apex either, just thinking of maybe just reducing it using the backbuds you say it produces? That, and showing more trunk would do it for me....but that's just me lol

I plan at some point on getting an Engelmann Spruce, and an Ezo Spruce. I think we'll be seeing many more of these in the coming years used as bonsai. I feel we're just on the cusp of discovering and using our native materials. Exciting times!

Chris
 

Ang3lfir3

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Very nice Brian .... I know Michael is working with Engelmann often .... so he knows them very very well... :) jining to top sounds good but wire those branches first and give them some shape.... jinned tops may seem common place but then again that is what ancient conifers look like! :)

I think we'll be seeing many more of these in the coming years used as bonsai. I feel we're just on the cusp of discovering and using our native materials. Exciting times!
Englemann are actually a pretty common bonsai subject....you don't see a lot of them shown off because of the effort it takes to get them to peek condition and their need to constantly be wired ... I and many others have them as bonsai ....
 
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