Help - Hemlock / Fir ID and Styling

Ambientone

Seedling
Messages
16
Reaction score
2
I’ve had this for a few years now. Thought it was a balsam fir, but now I’m wondering if it’s a hemlock. I don’t see suction cups like Douglas fir. Anyway, this tree grows lanky branches straight out and gets buds on the end of those branches. It’s very leggy. I’d like to find out how to ramify the branches, possibly to promote back buds and also just get an ID on what exact species it is.
 

Attachments

  • BDA7794D-F02D-4D32-99DC-933AADA7BD28.jpeg
    BDA7794D-F02D-4D32-99DC-933AADA7BD28.jpeg
    266.8 KB · Views: 77
  • 906F6150-C480-4B35-A90B-3C1976D10809.jpeg
    906F6150-C480-4B35-A90B-3C1976D10809.jpeg
    206.2 KB · Views: 67
  • 5C39C916-1B6A-405F-9D86-DB016E730031.jpeg
    5C39C916-1B6A-405F-9D86-DB016E730031.jpeg
    132.5 KB · Views: 57
  • CC46BB54-11E9-4510-9C73-6A0BDCB94267.jpeg
    CC46BB54-11E9-4510-9C73-6A0BDCB94267.jpeg
    191.2 KB · Views: 61

0soyoung

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
7,251
Reaction score
12,200
Location
Anacortes, WA (AHS heat zone 1)
USDA Zone
8b
Looks like a Douglas fir to me, which is psedotsuga = a fake hemlock, not a fir and not really a hemlock.

I've got a ton of them and they continue to confound me, but I'll tell you what I think I know. When they are going strong, they will pop buds on 'bare wood' and sometimes even on the trunk! So, my primary 'advice' is to focus first on getting it growing vigorously. They tolerate a lot of water, compared to pines. You should expect two flushes per growing season, unless you are not keeping it adequately watered.

Regarding pruning/trimming, cut no further back than to a bud or to a node because any branch(let) without a bud on the tip will inevitably die. In some circumstances you may want to keep a 'good as dead' chunk of foliage just for photosynthetic purposes (e.g. thicken a branch, canopy balance).

One or three buds 'always' appear at the tip of new growth and often a bud will also appear at the base of one or more leaves. If you look closely, you can see sort of an eye-shaped lesion on the branch-tip (distal) side of a leaf. A new bud will sometimes also appear from one or more of these and when it does, the spot will acquire a reddish color. This seems to be a good time to cut back to a bud as you need/desire as it seems to do the most to stimulate back budding. Trimming the second flush, on the other hand seems to be mostly affecting a shoot length adjustment, but, as I said, they continue to confound me.


I suppose it might turn out that you don't have a Douglas fir. I live in the midst of a Douglas fir forest. There are also tsuga marginata and abies grandis in abundance as well as a few picea sitchenesis. So I have an easy time identifying what pops up in my yard or what I might be collecting from the local forest. It would easier to be sure about what you've got if I/we had some idea of where you are and/or where you got this tree. Updating your profile with location and zone info. would be helpful.

If I've got the ID wrong :mad: , nevermind.
 

Cruiser

Mame
Messages
174
Reaction score
238
Location
Skagit Valley, Washington
USDA Zone
8a
Hi Ambienstone.

Your tree does not appear to be a hemlock. The needles look too long and buds too large. Additionally, hemlocks are a very shade tolerant genus which means they’re able to retain inner needles and lower branches for much longer. So you’d see less ‘legginess’ than what you’d see in most pines.

The needle appearance and arrangement look more like a true fir or Doug fir.
Where are you located? And was the tree purchased from a nursery or dug up locally?
 
Last edited:

Cruiser

Mame
Messages
174
Reaction score
238
Location
Skagit Valley, Washington
USDA Zone
8a
Doug fir photos for reference. The buds are markedly similar.
 

Attachments

  • EE05D3EB-42AF-419D-9BA0-0385C34E2A57.jpeg
    EE05D3EB-42AF-419D-9BA0-0385C34E2A57.jpeg
    197.4 KB · Views: 40
  • 0CFD2DEF-FA52-4328-B29B-78CFDB9A29E2.jpeg
    0CFD2DEF-FA52-4328-B29B-78CFDB9A29E2.jpeg
    153.2 KB · Views: 39
  • E99B5FA7-1F94-4B3A-81EB-B03DB80AE968.jpeg
    E99B5FA7-1F94-4B3A-81EB-B03DB80AE968.jpeg
    133.2 KB · Views: 45
Messages
102
Reaction score
155
Location
Idaho
USDA Zone
7-8
Definitely not a Hemlock they have really find soft foliage. I agree that it looks like a Douglas fir.
 

penumbra

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
6,914
Reaction score
11,094
Location
Front Royal, VA
USDA Zone
6
Douglas Fir^^^^^
They grow almost continuously for me during the growing season with new buds popping up everywhere on the branches. I am thrilled with mine and I feel it is much underused and appreciated in bonsai. I have a Douglas Fir forest that I allowed to just grow wild this entire past two years. I am looking forward to spring training.
 

penumbra

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
6,914
Reaction score
11,094
Location
Front Royal, VA
USDA Zone
6
A member here wanted to see my Douglas Fir forest so I thought I would show it here for all. It has been allowed to pretty much go wild and I think its first really serious styling is coming up. There are 9 trees in the planting. I may cut back to 7 but it will not be right away if I do. Your comments are welcome and appreciated.
My general inclination is to work several rocks into the composition and through root clusters to suggest a cluster of trees on a rocky knoll.
IMG_6281.JPGIMG_6282.JPGIMG_6283.JPGIMG_6284.JPG
 

Cruiser

Mame
Messages
174
Reaction score
238
Location
Skagit Valley, Washington
USDA Zone
8a
I’ve had this for a few years now. Thought it was a balsam fir, but now I’m wondering if it’s a hemlock. I don’t see suction cups like Douglas fir. Anyway, this tree grows lanky branches straight out and gets buds on the end of those branches. It’s very leggy. I’d like to find out how to ramify the branches, possibly to promote back buds and also just get an ID on what exact species it is.
In regards to the back budding question. Douglas-fir stands in later stages of development reliably develop epicormic branching in response to better light conditions. In other words, they’ll sprout right from the trunk. (Like 0so mentioned). The branching tends to be more gnarly, different than the initial whorled branches, and probably better looking aesthetically for bonsai.
 

Attachments

  • A6E776DF-79B4-45B5-A769-1F48AB7F1662.jpeg
    A6E776DF-79B4-45B5-A769-1F48AB7F1662.jpeg
    196.9 KB · Views: 43

Ambientone

Seedling
Messages
16
Reaction score
2
Thanks for the info. Now I’m worried. The tree has a bunch of sap filled bumps on the main branches and top portion of trunk. When I thought it was a balsam fir, I figured this was normal, as they get similar bumps naturally. If this is a Douglas fir, is that some kind of infection?
 

penumbra

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
6,914
Reaction score
11,094
Location
Front Royal, VA
USDA Zone
6
Thanks for the info. Now I’m worried. The tree has a bunch of sap filled bumps on the main branches and top portion of trunk. When I thought it was a balsam fir, I figured this was normal, as they get similar bumps naturally. If this is a Douglas fir, is that some kind of infection?
I doubt it is anything bad. I see nothing in your pictures.
 

0soyoung

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
7,251
Reaction score
12,200
Location
Anacortes, WA (AHS heat zone 1)
USDA Zone
8b
Thanks for the info. Now I’m worried. The tree has a bunch of sap filled bumps on the main branches and top portion of trunk. When I thought it was a balsam fir, I figured this was normal, as they get similar bumps naturally. If this is a Douglas fir, is that some kind of infection?
Those are normal 'resin blisters'. Something that Douglas firs have in common with true firs.
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom