New to forum + Collected Alpine Fir

ben_sai

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Hello all, my name is Ben and I have not had a proper introduction here. I will be brief seeing as it is late. I have been doing bonsai for around 6 years. Most things I have learned have been through reading and hanging out and talking with Masa Furukawa. Other than that its most been something I have learned mostly by trial and error, especially with soils here in the NW. I just joined BSOP this last month. I have been working my way up to my first real collecting trip and just went on Saturday. Here's what I found thought I would share it and get some feedback.

I am fairly certain this is Alpine fir - this tree looks to have lots of carving/jin potential.
 

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Dav4

Drop Branch Murphy
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looks like a great find...good luck with it. By the way, is it safe to be collecting this late in the spring? It's hard to tell from the pics but it seems the tree has new growth that's already extended out and I would have thought that would mean it was too late to collect this particular tree. Just wondering...

Dave
 

Bill S

Masterpiece
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Nice find, I agree.

He he would that be a cabinet drawer grow box by chance? Maybe I'm not the only one.
 

rlist

Shohin
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With the weather we have had this year, the tree should be fine. Lots of morning sun, keep it out of the hot afternoon sun this summer, lots of water, moderate organic fertilizer, free draining soil (pumice & lava is fine) and don't touch it for at least a year. Don't even carve on it because you will disturb the new roots.

Alpine firs are tough. If you got even the smallest amount of roots, this one should pull through just fine.
 

ben_sai

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I had to hike through the snow to get to this tree and the only reason I was able to dig it was because the snow had melted around the rock outcropping it was growing in. Our weather has been very late this year, the vine maples that were growing around the collection area had not even leafed out yet, I actually do not think this tree has even started pushing growth yet.

I got a nice pad of surface feeder roots, overall most roots were all growing to one side so I had to build this box to fit the roots. It is planted in mostly pumice and a bit of lava. Thanks for the tips Rich, I will be leaving this tree alone for at least a year while it gets healthy
 

ghues

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Hello,
Being from the NW also, I've got a couple of Balsam (Abies - true firs) in my collection. Without seeing it in person I can't tell if its a true subalpine fir/Rocky Mountain Fir (Abies Lasiocarpa), but it does look like it could be Abies amabalis (amabalis fir) and depending on where you collected it the other option is Abies procera (noble fir).
Cheers Graham
 

Tiberious

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I attempted a trunk chop on my alpine in early spring. I thought I had left a generous amount of foliage as I probably only removed 1/3. Needless-to-say and sprouted a bunch of new green buds after shedding all of the old needles and then slowly slipped into oblivion. I dont know what I did wrong or how I could have done it differently, but just wanted to post this is a precautionary measure if one is thinking of chopping. Maybe you have had success with this, but I wont try it again since the tree was cost me $120. Oh and welcome, your alpine looks really good and has alot of character.
 

JTGJr25

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It could be that you started work too early. Its best after you collect a tree to let it rest and regain its health for a year or two before you do work.


Tom
 

Tiberious

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Thanks Tom, although I forgot to mention it was a nursery tree. It didnt play around with the roots either but who knows some trees are just weaker than others :(
 

ghues

Omono
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True firs

Hi Folks,
This is about an abies (amabilis) "Little Menzies", so named after the mountain I collected it from. It was my first yamidori that I collected some 10 years ago although at the time I just collected it (after an introductory lesson into Bonsai) ......and because I liked it, it was close to the truck and came up very easily.
After adding some regular "bargin store potting mix" I left it in the landscape cloth/chicken wire "wrap" I had collected it in, placed it on the slab of rock and put it into a semi shaded area of the garden to grow.
Over the next few years all I did was perform some minor shoot trimming, dead branch removal and weighted down some of the branches with a real bonsai technique (salmon fishing weigths);)

This spring (March ) I decided to try and style it. I wanted to keep the long low branches as I think that it reflected its struggle to survive.......and was its niche for survival on the local microsite and from the extreme environmental conditions it was exposed to (the cold harsh and somewhat long winters at 1100m).....keeping its main branches below the snow.:rolleyes:
I didn't have to cut too many roots off of the root ball and placed it into the only pot that I had that fit. I think like it better on a slab so I might change it back in a couple more years after its shown that it's fully recovered....so far so good, this years growth was to be expected, for it lost a few more older needles and its buds grew about 1/2"-1" on most branches.
I know that the foliage is a little thin on most branches but I hope that it will back bud for me with a little fert, but not too much ....as that tends to give them bigger needles.....that's the difficulty I find....balancing fertilizer.:confused:
Thoughts, comments?
Cheers Graham
 

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tom tynan

Mame
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Hey Graham...Your Fir tree has that common trait of having two trunks with the same movement echoed in each other. This is a common trait unfortunately of Alpine Firs. If you rotate the tree and put one trunk slightly ahead of the other that can help as well. This will reduce that "in your face symmetry." 10 years is a long time to keep an Alpine Fir alive - but I would have hoped that you would have fuller branches by now. See Rich L.'s post above and elsewhere concerning Firs - with the right soil mix (Pumice and Lava) plus good sun and lots of water and fertilizer - you should get back buds everywhere - even from the bare trunk. Once you get a fuller tree, ie. fuller branches with buds popping everywhere - then you start to prune back the branches and make them shorter.

The other thing I would do is rewire the tree and get more movement in the branches, yes ...the low branch look is good ie. snow loads - but the straightness makes the tree look young- even for a tree that could be 75 plus years old....

Don't worry too much about needle length for now - just get the tree stronger and popping more buds - that's my advice...good luck ....Tom
 

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