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Hi guys, my first post! I have been lurking for a while, but decided I could do with some advice. (not sure if this should be in the styling thread or what, but as It's my first post, I stuck it here.)
I have this dwarf Korean fir, which I bought back in April, around when I first got into bonsai. If I knew what I knew now, I wouldn't of bought it, especially after seeing the graft. Alas, I thought it was cute.
IMG20210504190157.jpg

With no knowledge on styling, training or care, I stuck it in a training pot anyway to see what would happen.
IMG20211126151717.jpg

Yesterday I styled it for the first time, and was glad I did buy it in the end, as it was fun.
IMG20211126193008.jpg

Ideally I would have not jinned the second right branch, but I accidentally broke it, so now I have a tough choice whether to lose the bottom left branch or just keep as bar branches, to not stress it out too much at once.
There is not much foliage left and I don't know much about these firs, but I assume they don't back bud easily.
-Any thoughts on this?

-Opinions if I have gone a bit over the top with the jins. I have ordered some lime sulphur too.

-Would the coming spring be too soon to down pot to a more artistically suitable bonsai pot?

Thanks,
Liam
 

RKMcGinnis

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Nice design! It did already look like a nice bonsai tree without the pot. I have never grown any fir. I think you are taking it too quickly. You just took 95% of the foliage off and root pruned. The tree’s need the foliage to produce energy for new root growth. Leave it in the pot and make sure to fertilize in spring time. I killed tree’s when I started because it’s easy to overwork a tree when learning. Specially without instruction. I wouldn’t touch it for a few years. You probably won’t get much growth this coming growing season if it lives. It takes time and practice to learn bonsai. You’ll want the tree to regain vigor before repotting.
 
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It was root pruned back in April when I bought it (realize I didn't make that very clear). I suppose that is still not much time to recover, especially for a slow grower.

I will leave it alone for now, I definitely got a bit carried away with this one, haha!

Thanks for your advice, very much appreciated!
 

ShadyStump

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The general rule is one insult per season.
With deciduous trees, there's often much more wiggle room there, but conifers especially need allot of recovery time.
I suck at keeping my collected trees and yamadori alive because it took me a while to wrap my head around this.

A thing to remember is trees store carbon like camels store fat and water.
With conifers, their foliage is their source of strength, which means they put less energy into root growth, which means their roots recover slowly. Because of that stored carbon, it can take a very long time for the signs of a tree's decline to show.

Give it a good year I'd say, and baby it some through that. It's surviving entirely on that stored carbon right now. It's often better to style conifers in stages because of this.
I wouldn't worry about that graft. A few years of the trunk thickening and it should be barely noticeable.
 
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That's some great info, thanks again!

Another question, if I was to share an update of this tree in a years time, would it be ok to post in this thread? Or is necroposting a thing here, what's the etiquette around this?
 

RKMcGinnis

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That's some great info, thanks again!

Another question, if I was to share an update of this tree in a years time, would it be ok to post in this thread? Or is necroposting a thing here, what's the etiquette around this?
Update on this thread it will be interesting.
 

sorce

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I like this tree...so I hope it dies.

Welcome to Crazy!

Only because having this live will seat this idea in you that it is OK to skin a tree so far right before winter. This has the capability then to go on and kill many more, possibly better trees over the years, leaving you to question and adjust a half a dozen other care practices in search of answers to why everything keeps dying.

That's a bad loop to get in.

It seems the remaining buds are healthy, so I think it will make it.

You gotta remember though, that going into winter is a pretty simple numbers game. A tree that goes into winter with 36 buds and six get eaten by squirrels, leaves a tree with 30 buds to live on in spring.
A tree with 6 buds going into winter, same hungry squirrel, dead tree.

It's always better to perform so much work, just before growth in spring, taking the possible days of squirrel attack down from 90 or so, to 2.

There is only risk doing this in fall, and only benefit doing it in spring.

More benefit in summer, during strong growth and "traffic" running up and down the branches sending signals. Interrupting those signals will lead to more backbudding, this is especially important in such tiny trees where they are required, but generally, more life is more life, more buds means more options and more options means better trees.

When these heavy cuts are made as the tree is dormant, it doesn't know to make more buds, so when it wakes in spring, it uses the available buds, but grows them stronger to compensate for the loss it then realizes, which leads to long internodes, too quick thickening, and mostly useless design options. Much time is lost here.

Sorce
 
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I like this tree...so I hope it dies.

Haha, thanks mate! I know what you mean though, I shouldn't get away with torture that easily.

I do have a decent amount of other material waiting to mature or the right time for hacking to bits. I must admit, this was purely lack of patience and curiosity, I went into this without much regard for the tree's wellbeing, I just assumed because it was small it would be alright haha! So this one will be on the list of experiments. At least it got me into this bonsai sphere, without it, I may have killed even more trees!

That's a great point about the budding in summer, I never thought of this.

I was always told to heavily prune actual trees in winter, but now I assume that was because they are in the ground and have enough energy stored to send vigorous shoots in the growing season, and it wouldn't matter about internode length in a garden, landscape or forest. And/or less sap loss...? But you have made very good points Sorce, so many thanks for this. I will aim for summer styling from now on, and take things slower and let the tree react.

I see you live in southern UK. If it freezes where you live, it will definitely need winter protection.

It very rarely gets below 0°C in the past 8 years of living here, as I am near the coast. It has got to -5°C on rare occasion though, but it does rain often, I have put this tree in my shed with some other trees, which has south-facing windows. Hopefully that would be alright until spring?
 

ShadyStump

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That's some great info, thanks again!

Another question, if I was to share an update of this tree in a years time, would it be ok to post in this thread? Or is necroposting a thing here, what's the etiquette around this?
Necroposting is an expectation in a bonsai forum. The routine long times between updates to a progression thread kinda makes it a requirement.
 

sorce

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I was always told to heavily prune actual trees in winter

There is certainly very specific times this would be preffered.
I do all my large branch removal any time during winter, but only with the correct math in place.
The removed branch being less than 20% of the tree.
And each remaining branch containing 20% over what is needed from it in spring.

That is a neutral situation situation for me.

A proactive situation, where winter cutting would be preferred, (always with the correct basic math in place)...
Removal of one branch of a pine whorl, where you do not wish to regenerate another bud in the same place.
Any chops of things prone to throw root suckers profusely, crabapples and such.
Any time backbuds will actually ruin a design.

So that notion isn't wrong at all.

Everything just becomes much more specific when aesthetic goals are involved, like say, a topiary, but then the next layer of difficulty, or why the specifics matter even greater in bonsai, is the miniature part.

That certainly is a miniature tree!

Amen to Keeping track in one thread! Just don't forget the name of it!

Sorce
 

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