Let's see those dwarf Alberta spruce jams

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#1
I'm starting this thread to see what people are doing with these, Share photos, share techniques, show progressions, trade moves, seek advice, tell jokes, and maybe help to continue the bad rap these trees have as bonsai.

This was purchased winter 2015 and received about 30-35% top and branch removal, some guy wires put on, and some of the top soil removed. Sorry no pics of the original cut back. Here it is today before its second cut back IMG_20161005_140428709.jpg
And here it is now, more branches cut. New guy wires, this time further out as last year's wires set the branches and everything beyond them grew straight up. IMG_20161005_162427451.jpg if I can manage to leave it alone for a year it will get a repot, if I can't I will be removing material from the top for the third year running. I've found and read the top and middle growth is super important to keep these trees alive. So work it slow and do reductions over the course of a couple or more seasons. Let's see what you guys got
 
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#2
And here is a side by side of another one. In the left is the initial work and on the right is this summer untouched. This one bounced back really well and started to grow straight up again. And now is pushing a second flush this fall, it's kind of a mess so I'll wait to work this one til winter IMG_20161005_170302.jpg
 

M. Frary

Bonsai Godzilla
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#4
I don't have any. I tossed the only and last one I'll ever buy 2 years ago.
Funny thing. Being from Alberta you would think they are pretty cold hardy. Apparently my winters are meaner than the winters in their native range. Because even the ones planted in the ground get freezer burn unless wrapped in burlap here.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#5
I killed 2.

Both cut and extremely styled right after x-mas. Same red pot. Same nursery.

@aml1014 has debunked the "don't chop the top" theory, at least in his climate.

Last Xmas I bought another....my "Truce, that $5 Alberta".....
No tops chopped but gave it hell, and it came back bangin in spring.
It's putting out a second flush of growth now.

I water it everyday. I think a lot of water is key.

My other...from earlier this year.... 20160822_092402.jpg

Severely chopped and showing no signs of slowdown.

I know @base797 bareroot repotted one in spring.

I'm all for sharing info and finding the right schedule for these.

Sorce
 

wireme

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#7
And here is a side by side of another one. In the left is the initial work and on the right is this summer untouched. This one bounced back really well and started to grow straight up again. And now is pushing a second flush this fall, it's kind of a mess so I'll wait to work this one til winter View attachment 119132
Any back budding on that? I've read many times that they don't back bud well if at all but always wondered if that's really true or just one of those things that gets repeated enough that everyone thinks it's true. Haven't had one myself but I'd like to try one day.
 

Cypress187

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#8
I have one! I didn't know I could prune / work them in the winter. Mine is super boring is just a nursery plant slip-potted into something bigger and pruned like 3 branches (taking it slow) and threw some wire on it to open it up for maximum sunlight.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#13
they don't back bud
Mine has way too many buds.
It's young...and at least 80% healthy.

I think the term "backbud" should be better defined for each species.

How old is...."old wood"...
Trunk? Branch? Etc....

But I was thinking this morning about how ANY tree wants to live will keep growing in the right situation...

So I fully appreciate this...
always wondered if that's really true or just one of those things that gets repeated enough that everyone thinks it's true
I was wearing the same shoes...

Nice @0soyoung

Sorce
 
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#15
always wondered if that's really true or just one of those things that gets repeated enough that everyone thinks it's true..
I think once we spend enough time with them we can lift the stigma they have. Sure it's difficult material but that's half the fun. Most of my guy wires held the branches in less than a year, (and they say they won't hold shape) the point after the guy wire was applied grew straight up but I can fix that.
 
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#16
I have one! I didn't know I could prune / work them in the winter. Mine is super boring is just a nursery plant slip-potted into something bigger and pruned like 3 branches (taking it slow) and threw some wire on it to open it up for maximum sunlight.
get working that thing. I cant wait til after xmas when they literally give them away the box stores since no one needs a holiday tree anymore. Perhaps a winter showdown, red pot spruce challenge???
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#18
I'm with that....
Perhaps a winter showdown, red pot spruce challenge???

At $5 we should have a forest throwdown!

I waited to do a May pruning on mine to keep it healthy...
Now it's too healthy and getting away from me.

They do take a lot of vigilance...

Love it.

Sorce
 

0soyoung

Masterpiece
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#19
Very nice Oso, ... any wisdom to throw at this thread?
Nothing wise.

From this experiment I think dwarf Alberta spruce are best suited for a forest scene/penjing (picture rocky crags near timberline in the Sierras/Rockies with the central group of 4 trees on the crest). These things are common garden center stuff in sizes ranging from 4+feet tall down to 4-6 inches - just what one needs to fake perspective. The artistry would be in making the rock scene - kind of a @johng thing but with more shale-like rocks than he's into. I think it could be quite interesting.
 

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