Help with the designs of these two plants.

TeKmInIbI

Sapling
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
USDA Zone
3b
Hi,
I purchased the Colorado Blue Spruce about 2 years ago, and immediately put into this pot (that i drilled holes in everywhere) into a mix of Akamada, peat moss, bark chips, and river rocks.
I purchased the Snowrose Serissa about a year and a half ago from my local garden centre, and honestly didn't think it would make it through the winter (even though i kept this one inside)

Anyways, they both seem to be quite happy or atleast alive lol... and i'm trying to figure out what i should do next, now that they are both healthy.

I figured i would let nature takes it's course for both of them, and since i repotted when i bought them they have grown with little fertilizer and very little pruning.
The CBS has a lovely trunk and an awesome surface root that has sprung out since i bought it, and i want to take full advantage of that... also, when i purchased it i wanted to keep it in the formal upright or upright position, but honeslty it has this huge bend in the trunk and it looks out of place :(

Anyways here are the pics, and i would like some ideas of what i could with them.


CBS:





Honestly, i don't like it's look atall right now, f i knew where to chop it and how i wanted to place it in the next pot i would have done it by now.

Snowrose Serissa:




This one seems to be growing quite stringy, and i can't set myself on how to make the gowth closer to the trunk and/or the heavier branches. Also, iv heard this is supposed to flower almost all year around, but it hasn't flowered since the day i brought it home (it cames with tiny white flowers all over it, until i repotted and kept inside)


I just want to show you guys these, and see if you guys had any ideas on what i could do to fix my trees. I have some extremely nice Japanese Bonsai pots that i would eventually like to put them into.

Thanks for having a look,
 

october

Masterpiece
Messages
3,444
Reaction score
298
Location
Massachusetts
Hello TeKmInIbI,

It is can be very difficult to accurately say where to chop when looking at a picture. Generally, things like this are almost always better assessed in person. However, here is a pic of what might be a good place to chop on the spruce.

I chose that area because it looks like you may have some nice, workable low branches. Which would be perfect for a nice bonsai. However, I cannot see the whole picture. You will have to assess, one, the front/ best view of the tree. You will have to look for the best view that shows good taper, good branch placement and a side where there will be minimal scaring.

Also, you will have to assess the health of those branches. If all those bottom branches are half dead and you chop it, you may be left with nothing but fire wood...lol..Also, be prepared to spend several years developing this after the chop... Probably about 5-7 years to get decent ramification and a nice bonsai look to the material....

I will say that this particular tree seems to have quite a few low branches, which is a very good thing...Also, it seems to have a slight curve to the trunk. Which, you may want to try utilize when chosing your front. I wish you lots of luck with this tree.

I hope this was helpful.

Rob
 

Attachments

  • DSCF0042.jpg
    DSCF0042.jpg
    86.7 KB · Views: 45

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
9,211
Reaction score
16,864
Location
Charlotte area, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7B
I would chop the trunk exactly where Rob suggested, and I would also cut the top strong branch on the left, and wire up the top branch on the right to be my new leader.

As far as the serissa goes, it is not getting enough light (as you pointed out with the leggy growth). Put it in full sunlight, and it will bloom. Be careful about the soil - it needs free-draining soil or the roots will rot. Once it gets stronger, you can trim it back pretty aggressively and it will bud back well. However you need to strengthen the tree (and roots) first. Good luck!
 

TeKmInIbI

Sapling
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
USDA Zone
3b
I would chop the trunk exactly where Rob suggested, and I would also cut the top strong branch on the left, and wire up the top branch on the right to be my new leader.

As far as the serissa goes, it is not getting enough light (as you pointed out with the leggy growth). Put it in full sunlight, and it will bloom. Be careful about the soil - it needs free-draining soil or the roots will rot. Once it gets stronger, you can trim it back pretty aggressively and it will bud back well. However you need to strengthen the tree (and roots) first. Good luck!


Does the a straight cut or an angled cut change direction of the trunk? I'm asking because i'm not sure how i should cut it haha
Also, by wiring it do you mean straight up or angled?

The soil mix for my Serissa is 50%river rock, 50%akamada and it seems to drain quite well.
Like i said in my other post it's still kind of cold here (10+Degrees C mid day), will my serissa be ok outside? I'v found very little information with this plant, and didn't think it would survive outside during the winter here - or even in my garage...
Thanks for the input!!

Hello TeKmInIbI,

It is can be very difficult to accurately say where to chop when looking at a picture. Generally, things like this are almost always better assessed in person. However, here is a pic of what might be a good place to chop on the spruce.

I chose that area because it looks like you may have some nice, workable low branches. Which would be perfect for a nice bonsai. However, I cannot see the whole picture. You will have to assess, one, the front/ best view of the tree. You will have to look for the best view that shows good taper, good branch placement and a side where there will be minimal scaring.

Also, you will have to assess the health of those branches. If all those bottom branches are half dead and you chop it, you may be left with nothing but fire wood...lol..Also, be prepared to spend several years developing this after the chop... Probably about 5-7 years to get decent ramification and a nice bonsai look to the material....

I will say that this particular tree seems to have quite a few low branches, which is a very good thing...Also, it seems to have a slight curve to the trunk. Which, you may want to try utilize when chosing your front. I wish you lots of luck with this tree.

I hope this was helpful.

Rob

Rob,
The bottom branches seem to be quite alive, when i scratch it's bark it is green underneath ;)
I'm wondering about the chopping aswell, it's still cold here (6Degrees Celcius) would i be able to do it now?
The problem i guess i'm having most, i can't see this being much more than a tiny christmas tree lol...
It has a huge root that is surfacing, and i would love to maybe lean the tree itself to expose more root - when i repot.
Thank-you very much for your input, i appreciate it very much.
 
Last edited:

Bill S

Masterpiece
Messages
2,494
Reaction score
20
Location
Western Massachusetts
USDA Zone
5a
As to the serrissa no it won't like winter in Alberta, but in the fall give it a couple of light frosts before you bring it in. They are often called tropicals, or subtropical, but I find that in Massachusetts they border on hardy. I have had some winter on my 3 season enclosed breezway and they came thru with flying colors, and the temps usually were between 30 and 38 F., they didn't even drop the leaves, so I know for sure most of what is out there is myths about them being tempremental.

Water well, you will find them forgiving so don't baby them, do NOT let it dry out, that is when you will loose it. When repotting try not to do major reductions, reduce over time.

Cuttings root like crazy so stick em in some sand or any thing really, but they prefer something more moisture retentive than our typical really fast draining bonsai soil, as mentioned though don't let them stay wet.

Over winter them in the brightest window you have, if possible add a florescent fixture over it with 12-14 hrs of on time.

Good luck
Bill
 

october

Masterpiece
Messages
3,444
Reaction score
298
Location
Massachusetts
Hello TeKmInIbI

Spring is genrally the best time to do most tree work. There are some exceptions with some species. I am not really that familiar with the spruce species. however, i am pretty sure that chopping it in Spring would be the best time. I will say thta after the chop and any other work, such as repotting, just protect the tree from very cold temps. I usually do most of my tree work in Spring. It is still cold around here, so I protect the tree. Generally, I keep newly repotted trees or trees that have had heavy work done in temps of low 50's - low 60's F.After this protection period of a month or so, the weather is already in those ranges and I don't worry about it.

As far as the chop. An angled chop is usually the best bet. You would need to angle it so that your new apex branch can be wired up. Also, if the trunk is young enough, you can bend the so the scar is on the side of the tree. However, this is not really necessary..

Here is a virt..I hope it is helpful

Rob
 

Attachments

  • virt.jpg
    virt.jpg
    59.5 KB · Views: 19

TeKmInIbI

Sapling
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
USDA Zone
3b
Hello TeKmInIbI

Spring is genrally the best time to do most tree work. There are some exceptions with some species. I am not really that familiar with the spruce species. however, i am pretty sure that chopping it in Spring would be the best time. I will say thta after the chop and any other work, such as repotting, just protect the tree from very cold temps. I usually do most of my tree work in Spring. It is still cold around here, so I protect the tree. Generally, I keep newly repotted trees or trees that have had heavy work done in temps of low 50's - low 60's F.After this protection period of a month or so, the weather is already in those ranges and I don't worry about it.

As far as the chop. An angled chop is usually the best bet. You would need to angle it so that your new apex branch can be wired up. Also, if the trunk is young enough, you can bend the so the scar is on the side of the tree. However, this is not really necessary..

Here is a virt..I hope it is helpful

Rob

Thanks again October, for your input!
I chopped it as you recommended and made as clean cup as possible, i then put a sealer on it.
I'm horrible at wiring, but i did wire that one branch up (ill try and grab a picture of it tomorrow to show) but i have another question, should i let all of the mid-low branches just grow for the time being? The extremely low two branches i have decided if they should stay or go, i'm curious to hear what you will say ;)
I had also recently bought a Amely Crabapple and have been toying with the idea to chop it.. i guess i can do that tomorrow after work ;)
I look forward to your next post, the virtual you posted is great.. getting to that point im thinking is going to take a while haha - more to learn, and that's why i love it.

As to the serrissa no it won't like winter in Alberta, but in the fall give it a couple of light frosts before you bring it in. They are often called tropicals, or subtropical, but I find that in Massachusetts they border on hardy. I have had some winter on my 3 season enclosed breezway and they came thru with flying colors, and the temps usually were between 30 and 38 F., they didn't even drop the leaves, so I know for sure most of what is out there is myths about them being tempremental.

Water well, you will find them forgiving so don't baby them, do NOT let it dry out, that is when you will loose it. When repotting try not to do major reductions, reduce over time.

Cuttings root like crazy so stick em in some sand or any thing really, but they prefer something more moisture retentive than our typical really fast draining bonsai soil, as mentioned though don't let them stay wet.

Over winter them in the brightest window you have, if possible add a florescent fixture over it with 12-14 hrs of on time.

Good luck
Bill

Hi Bill,
Thanks for the input, appreciate any knowledge that can be passed on!
My serissa has been sitting in my family room in the light all winter, i didn't know what else to do except keep it inside.. regardless, it seems to be alive, and i have since moved it outside.
The root ball on it is already quite small, and when i put it into this pot (which was bought alongside the tree) i reduced it a bit.
However, the way it was cut (as October is helping me with) left a really really nasty scar.. tbh, it looks like the wood is dead, and has a split in it. I'll try and throw a picture up of it so you can see.... i'm scared it might break my camera O_O lol
 

october

Masterpiece
Messages
3,444
Reaction score
298
Location
Massachusetts
Hello again TeKmInIbI,

As far as your question, I really cannot say with certainty because I have, personally, not really worked with the spruce species...I do know that spruces grow by the interior dying back.The branch keeps pushing new growth on the ends, while the interior dies back..

I know that Vance Wood has a spruce that he trained from a christmas tree that is very nice. However, he has been training it for like 17 years or more. He could provide you with some good direction.

I will say that you do want this tree's branches to mature and the fastest and best way to do it, is to just let them grow. This is true for most species. Personally, I would let it grow a bit. Maybe one new genration of buds, then decide what you want to do.

I look forward to seeing a pic of this tree. For now, I would decide what are going to be your main branches and prune or jin the rest. Also, wire the remaining branches in place.

Rob
 

october

Masterpiece
Messages
3,444
Reaction score
298
Location
Massachusetts
p.s.
How you shape the branches depends on your trunk. Tree one, in the virt, is a straight trunk, formal upright tree. Notice, straight trunk means that the branches should be somewhat straight. Tree two, notice the curved trunk, informal upright, the branches should have a slight bend in them. Not only should the bottom branches be angled down slightly, but notice the branches almost flow or kind of wind slightly from you and then toward you. It may be tough to distinguish from my virt though.

Rob
 

Attachments

  • Copy of virt.jpg
    Copy of virt.jpg
    36.9 KB · Views: 7

TeKmInIbI

Sapling
Messages
30
Reaction score
0
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
USDA Zone
3b
Hello again TeKmInIbI,

As far as your question, I really cannot say with certainty because I have, personally, not really worked with the spruce species...I do know that spruces grow by the interior dying back.The branch keeps pushing new growth on the ends, while the interior dies back..

I know that Vance Wood has a spruce that he trained from a christmas tree that is very nice. However, he has been training it for like 17 years or more. He could provide you with some good direction.

I will say that you do want this tree's branches to mature and the fastest and best way to do it, is to just let them grow. This is true for most species. Personally, I would let it grow a bit. Maybe one new genration of buds, then decide what you want to do.

I look forward to seeing a pic of this tree. For now, I would decide what are going to be your main branches and prune or jin the rest. Also, wire the remaining branches in place.

Rob

Here are some new pics, it'll be a long time til it recovers... but i do see some new growth (although it are in the garage atm, it's been crazy +20 -> -10 in one day..)







I recently (when i cut it down) repotted into some new mix and a different pot.
I think i'll just let it grow for now, the new mix drains alot better than the old stuff so i hope that'll help..
 
Last edited:

october

Masterpiece
Messages
3,444
Reaction score
298
Location
Massachusetts
Hello TeKmInIbI..Given all the work done, including a repot. You will need to protect this tree. It should be kept in an area that is at least in the 50's and it should not be exposed to cold or wind.. Also, after a week or so, you can start giving it some sun. Right now, indirect sun or and hour or 2 of morning sun is fine as well.

I commend you on the fact that you are willing to wait for this tree to become something. You will probably have to get other trees in the meantime. Simply to practice and have fun on. This spruce should probably be left completely alone for at least a year or so. Then maybe do some wiring. I would lkek to tell you that you are looking at a good 7-8 years, minimum before this tree ramifies and starts taking on its bonsai look. Also, with the shape of the trunk, you may start to think that after a few more years, that the tree may not become as nice as you originally thought it might....

Rob
 

Similar threads

Top