My other DAS ist gut (dwarf Alberta spruce #2)

Atom#28

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I have this thing in my brain that never allows me to buy just one. So I got two! Here’s the other dwarf Alberta Spruce I have been working on. First bought in winter of 2019/2020. Here’s my progress up to today, with a lot of inspiration from Mr Pall’s work, via recent advice from @BobbyLane. Just did the first wiring last night.

It’s rough. It’s sparse. That apex is whack. It may just die, but I’ve been having a ton of fun, and I will now let him hang out with his friends on the bench for a nice long recovery.




6EA6E203-C962-447D-9184-58CD89271411.jpegD1277584-4B00-4A62-8334-43433281C3B3.jpeg003D92E1-1FB0-4B78-A87B-6D9CFC33CB15.jpeg847995D4-934D-4E6F-9568-9CF249DFAB99.jpegCCEBBF04-EB62-4A1E-85DB-643D71613BF6.jpeg1A8849D0-8493-4D20-8FDD-C9B21480393B.jpeg2E4AFB23-E556-45B1-9EE1-84C23E0C3199.jpegBD6DA4EC-D184-4E30-9A8A-EA7990A24463.jpeg408AB7A4-DB59-4169-ABE8-792F7ECA80CF.jpeg218D53EE-2EB0-4985-9D33-C4B5B7362549.jpeg
 

canoeguide

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I came here to write several observations:

1. You are WAY better or luckier at finding decent DAS in nurseries. I need to spend more time digging around.
2. You've got branches going every which way that don't tell a consistent story. Maybe it's just that one that is wired up.
3. F it though, after a few more minutes of looking at your pictures I like it.
 

Atom#28

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2. You've got branches going every which way that don't tell a consistent story. Maybe it's just that one that is wired up.

I agree, it doesn’t feel congruent right now.... So, that upward branch is eventually supposed to represent a new leader growing after the original apex was destroyed by alien lasers 600 years ago. This is a long-term project, for sure, but I was hoping that leader, as it thickens and develops branches, will fill in the left side.

Also, these MFers always look so much cooler in person than I can seem to capture in a photo! O swear it looks at least 4% better in person
 

Atom#28

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The problem, as I see it, is that a tree in nature probably would have started a new apex from one of the highest branches, rather the the one I chose. I may have to kill the uppermost right-side branches one day. Or maybe I severely fucked up?
 

canoeguide

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It's all subjective. My comment was meant more as a chronology of my thoughts, in the order they occurred. So, it was more of a "wait, what's happening with these branches? Oh, I see. Ohh!" In any case, you've got a lot of time to look at this since DAS branches take forever to set!
 

YamadoriFL

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Nice Fattie MaGee you got there! Sweet base.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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You picked a nice trunk there. It has got good taper. Well done.

'Dwarf Alberta Spruce' is a cultivar, of Picea glauca, the white spruce. What distinguishes it from the normal form of the spruce is the vertical rising branches. The normal form of Picea glabra the branches leave the trunk more horizontal, and will descend with the age and weight as they mature. Black Hills spruce is a different geographic race of Picea glauca and also has branches that are fairly horizontal. Black Hills spruce is more heat and drought tolerant than the White Spruce and DAS, though all spruce like fairly consistent moisture at the roots.

Point of this is, going for downward, below horizontal branches with a DAS is locking you into a constant fight with the natural habits of the tree. You would have a much easier time of it long term if you chose to allow the branches to be at least a little bit above horizontal.

If you look, many species of pines, the branches really do rise above horizontal. You can have a very nice conifer, using your spruce to stand in for any of the many species of pine, and others that tend to have rising branches. You won't have to fight the natural habit of 'Dwarf Alberta Spruce' as much if you go with a rising style to the branch arrangement.

The way a branch exits a trunk is usually a uniform pattern for a tree. You have some that rise up, then "rainbow arc" down, you have some that leave the trunk heading down right away. This makes for an incongruous pattern.

You have 2 branches that arc upwards, candelabra style, in the spruce. One of the will become the new apex and one will become a secondary trunk. This actually is very "spruce like" in your design, looks like once they fill out they will be fine. They don't need to be changed. You can probably have up to 3 of these, and it won't look congested. At least at this point. Years later, they can also be jinned when they get too heavy, and new ones can be created.

So if it were mine, I would bring the branches to horizontal or slightly above. And work to bring uniformity for all the angles that branches other than the "Candelabra apex' branches should have the same repeating pattern of angle of insertion to the trunk.

But if you do decide to keep the "below horizontal" design to your branches, you will be locked into having a fully wired tree for all time. Even fairly thick inch in diameter branches will keep creeping upwards the minute you take wire or guy wires off them.

But I do like what you have done. You picked out a good tree. You were pretty successful at creating an image. The jin and shari are fine. And will take refinement well in the future. All you need to do is "clean up" the issue with consistent angle of insertion for the branches, and you have a tree well on its way to becoming a decent bonsai.

And it doesn't matter what angle you decide for the branches, above horizontal is the way I would go, but if you want to keep the below horizontal trend, just cleaning up the angle of insertion of the branches will greatly improve the look.

If some of the branches are too thick, resistant to bending, to fix the angle of insertion, you can wait for back budding, and then replace them with younger branches over time.
 

Atom#28

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I reoriented most of the branches, but was forced indoors due to “extremely hazardous” air conditions. Man, I swear I felt the tree breathe a sigh of relief when those branches were lifted. Looks better, too :) so much easier to bring the silhouette in tighter when I’m not fighting to keep them low. Thank you158C90E8-E52A-40EC-846E-6482398E3895.jpeg
 

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Trenthany

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You picked a nice trunk there. It has got good taper. Well done.

'Dwarf Alberta Spruce' is a cultivar, of Picea glauca, the white spruce. What distinguishes it from the normal form of the spruce is the vertical rising branches. The normal form of Picea glabra the branches leave the trunk more horizontal, and will descend with the age and weight as they mature. Black Hills spruce is a different geographic race of Picea glauca and also has branches that are fairly horizontal. Black Hills spruce is more heat and drought tolerant than the White Spruce and DAS, though all spruce like fairly consistent moisture at the roots.

Point of this is, going for downward, below horizontal branches with a DAS is locking you into a constant fight with the natural habits of the tree. You would have a much easier time of it long term if you chose to allow the branches to be at least a little bit above horizontal.

If you look, many species of pines, the branches really do rise above horizontal. You can have a very nice conifer, using your spruce to stand in for any of the many species of pine, and others that tend to have rising branches. You won't have to fight the natural habit of 'Dwarf Alberta Spruce' as much if you go with a rising style to the branch arrangement.

The way a branch exits a trunk is usually a uniform pattern for a tree. You have some that rise up, then "rainbow arc" down, you have some that leave the trunk heading down right away. This makes for an incongruous pattern.

You have 2 branches that arc upwards, candelabra style, in the spruce. One of the will become the new apex and one will become a secondary trunk. This actually is very "spruce like" in your design, looks like once they fill out they will be fine. They don't need to be changed. You can probably have up to 3 of these, and it won't look congested. At least at this point. Years later, they can also be jinned when they get too heavy, and new ones can be created.

So if it were mine, I would bring the branches to horizontal or slightly above. And work to bring uniformity for all the angles that branches other than the "Candelabra apex' branches should have the same repeating pattern of angle of insertion to the trunk.

But if you do decide to keep the "below horizontal" design to your branches, you will be locked into having a fully wired tree for all time. Even fairly thick inch in diameter branches will keep creeping upwards the minute you take wire or guy wires off them.

But I do like what you have done. You picked out a good tree. You were pretty successful at creating an image. The jin and shari are fine. And will take refinement well in the future. All you need to do is "clean up" the issue with consistent angle of insertion for the branches, and you have a tree well on its way to becoming a decent bonsai.

And it doesn't matter what angle you decide for the branches, above horizontal is the way I would go, but if you want to keep the below horizontal trend, just cleaning up the angle of insertion of the branches will greatly improve the look.

If some of the branches are too thick, resistant to bending, to fix the angle of insertion, you can wait for back budding, and then replace them with younger branches over time.
I am not a conifer person (yet, plus I’m in FL lol) but this kind of advice in a post is why I keep coming back here reading every new post I can. Thank you.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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I reoriented most of the branches, but was forced indoors due to “extremely hazardous” air conditions. Man, I swear I felt the tree breathe a sigh of relief when those branches were lifted. Looks better, too :) so much easier to bring the silhouette in tighter when I’m not fighting to keep them low. Thank youView attachment 328813


I like it, though you went a little bit further up than I was thinking. I was thinking, maybe 15 to 30 degrees above flat horizontal. It seems some you raised to 45 to 60 degrees above horizontal. I like the look. Use your judgement. Kick around different angles. Just being 15 degrees above horizontal will make the horticulture easier, 30 easier still, and 60 degrees will be no "fight" at all.

So play with different angles, then unify the design, so all the branches are at roughly the same angle, except the new apex(s) to replace the one you jinned. Which of course will be 90 degrees above horizontal. (or a little off 90, as you do want the apex to lean towards the viewer}

.
 

canoeguide

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Point of this is, going for downward, below horizontal branches with a DAS is locking you into a constant fight with the natural habits of the tree. You would have a much easier time of it long term if you chose to allow the branches to be at least a little bit above horizontal.

If you look, many species of pines, the branches really do rise above horizontal. You can have a very nice conifer, using your spruce to stand in for any of the many species of pine, and others that tend to have rising branches. You won't have to fight the natural habit of 'Dwarf Alberta Spruce' as much if you go with a rising style to the branch arrangement.

I've been thinking a lot about this recently. I think part of the reason that you see so few nice DAS as bonsai (yes, I know there are some) is that fighting the upward growth habit either kills the tree or kills the owner's motivation.

I'm sure I could find better examples but here are two spruces and a pine from the Internet that show horizontal and upward growth.

Norway Spruce (Picea abies)
Norway-Spruce.jpeg

Black Spruce (Picea mariana)
unnamed.jpg

Gray Pine (Pinus sabiniana)
gray-pine.jpg

I really like the idea of styling a DAS more like the Gray Pine above. I've seen other pine species (especially in the US south) with upward similar growth, and some of those were pretty old trees.

Finally, I think this is a forest planting that @William N. Valavanis may have been involved in at some point. With apologies to the original poster for not being able to give credit, this image is saved in my "inspiration" folder and I believe originally came from somewhere on b-nut. Although it is a forest planting of DAS, you can see that every branch ascends, sometimes near vertical.

IMG_7646.JPG
 
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Leo in N E Illinois

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You got the idea.
And the "inspiration example" is certainly one way to go. Little or no fight to keep the branches growing up. See, it does work.

Yes, many spruce are naturally upright. They pine example is another good way to go.

Its your tree, choose your angle. (LOL).
 

Atom#28

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I'm gonna have to just let her rest where she is for a while (years). I moved the branches more times than I wanted to, already, and I'm afraid she's in shock now.
 

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