Spruce Styling Challenge

Messages
1,773
Reaction score
12
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
I collected this blue spruce in 1999 at around 11,000 feet. That's me in the background with all the dark hair.





I immediately took it home and plopped it into my garden. Here is the tree first potted up in 2005.



Notice that the top had grown far too big for the tree. I wish I had removed the rest of that extra root at that time.

The next two pics are from 2007 when I began working on the tree.

 
Last edited:
Messages
2,776
Reaction score
15
Location
Michigan, USA
USDA Zone
5
Mr. Johnson,

Tne lack of nebari and that kink will indeed make this a challenge, it will require some thought.


Will
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
12
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
Mr. Johnson,

Tne lack of nebari and that kink will indeed make this a challenge, it will require some thought.


Will
ill,
My name is clearly spelled on every post. Thank you. And it was not a challenge to you or anyone else. The reference was the challenge to me.
 

irene_b

Omono
Messages
1,415
Reaction score
2
Chris,
I have no doubts that this tree will just sharpen your skills!
I also know that under your care it will be a great tree.
Mom
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
12
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
Chris,
I have no doubts that this tree will just sharpen your skills!
I also know that under your care it will be a great tree.
Mom
Thanks, Irene. I hope you don't mind if I quote you here!:D
 
Messages
2,776
Reaction score
15
Location
Michigan, USA
USDA Zone
5
I know a dozen people who think otherwise...
Good to hear, you can correct them then the next time you have a meeting.

Meanwhile, it is still clearly abbreviated "KoB" everywhere, most importantly at the source. But you have been told this before, so I will take your deliberate misuse as yet just another off-handed attempt to incite.


Will
 
Last edited:
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
12
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
...it was not a challenge to you or anyone else. The reference was the challenge to me.
I apologize, I didn't mean to imply that I didn't want feedback or suggestions. I'm not seeking advice, just showing the tree and what has been done to it so far.

Any styling ideas would be welcome even though I have settled on a course of action. Who knows, I may change course in the future.
 

tom tynan

Mame
Messages
144
Reaction score
0
Location
new york state
Chris: Anyone who has looked for a Spruce knows how difficult it is to find a tree with good movement in the lower third of the tree - so many times these trees are just too damn straight.

Discussions about this trees nebari or lack thereof are pointless - it is a collected tree and it is what it is - in terms of root base.

The lower branch that you have pointed out - with the curve and lack of foliage tight to the trunk - will be difficult to work with - have you covered it with a towel and thought about removing it and jinning that thick branch? The tree has such a good canopy that you should be able to pull and guy down some other branches. Creating a light and airy canopy that highlights the trunk movement should be alot of fun. Go for it - it is a great piece of material.

Tom
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
12
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
Chris: Anyone who has looked for a Spruce knows how difficult it is to find a tree with good movement in the lower third of the tree - so many times these trees are just too damn straight.

Discussions about this trees nebari or lack thereof are pointless - it is a collected tree and it is what it is - in terms of root base.

The lower branch that you have pointed out - with the curve and lack of foliage tight to the trunk - will be difficult to work with - have you covered it with a towel and thought about removing it and jinning that thick branch? The tree has such a good canopy that you should be able to pull and guy down some other branches. Creating a light and airy canopy that highlights the trunk movement should be alot of fun. Go for it - it is a great piece of material.

Tom
I did look at that, Tom, and thanks for your suggestion. The problem lay in that all the other growth is in the same plane as the bends in the trunk. This would be an excellent bad example of a two-dimensional tree, that way.
 

rlist

Shohin
Messages
294
Reaction score
4
Location
Portland, OR
USDA Zone
8a
Hey Chris. This is my vision of the future for this tree. Stand it up, remove the lower branch in question, turn it into a tree.

Note, this is not the place to debate the quality of my 15 minute virt, but I think you get the gist of my suggestion...
 

Attachments

Martin Sweeney

Chumono
Messages
687
Reaction score
158
Location
Waxhaw, NC
USDA Zone
8a
Chris,

Here is my smudgeual of your tree. I don't see much in the photo of the upper part of the tree. That could be the photo, could be the tree, could just be me. I don't know feasability, but I think you have the foundation of a good tree.
As you can actually see the tree, I am sure you will make the best use of it. Good luck with it!

Regards,
Martin
 

Attachments

JasonG

Chumono
Messages
786
Reaction score
15
Location
NW Oregon
Hey Chris,

I base what I am about to say based of 2d pictures so I could be way off base here....

Before I did anything major I would thin the foliage by about 50% everywhere and feed like crazy this spring to get backbudding. Spruce will back bud if healthy and fed well. I see it all the time so I know it can happen. Bonsai is about patience right? If you agree then you may be able to get that thick low branch that grew back on itself to back bud and in a few years you may be able to shorten it quite a bit.

As Tom pointed out, jinning that was my first thought as well..... but then I think you lose 1/2 the foliage and feed well you might be able to use it. I also agree with his thought about the nebari~ it is collected, you get what you get! Trust me, it is what it is.

While you are doing the above I would also guy wire the top portion of the trunk where it is pretty straight. That top 1/2 of the trunk really distracts my eye. I think with some wirring and gentle force it could gain some movement that would really change the apperance of the tree in a big way.

I like this tree and think that with some TLC it can be a very good tree.... Have you ever thought about trading it to me for something?????? Ahhhhhh, we could be onto something here :)

See Ya, Jason
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
12
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
Hey Chris,

I base what I am about to say based of 2d pictures so I could be way off base here....
Believe me, I am right with you on that one.

Before I did anything major I would thin the foliage by about 50% everywhere and feed like crazy this spring to get backbudding. Spruce will back bud if healthy and fed well. I see it all the time so I know it can happen. Bonsai is about patience right? If you agree then you may be able to get that thick low branch that grew back on itself to back bud and in a few years you may be able to shorten it quite a bit.
Excellent observation, thanks for pointing it out! When do you typically do your pruning on spruce?

As Tom pointed out, jinning that was my first thought as well..... but then I think you lose 1/2 the foliage and feed well you might be able to use it. I also agree with his thought about the nebari~ it is collected, you get what you get! Trust me, it is what it is.
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
12
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
While you are doing the above I would also guy wire the top portion of the trunk where it is pretty straight. That top 1/2 of the trunk really distracts my eye. I think with some wirring and gentle force it could gain some movement that would really change the apperance of the tree in a big way.
That is the biggest flaw on this tree, its ramrod straight upper trunk. It is entirely my fault for letting it grow unchecked for six years in my garden. On the other hand, that is probably what made the tree so healthy, so....

I hate to dismiss your suggestion out of hand but think the trunk is far too thick to be bending it much. I have looked at that option, and couldn't visualize any bend direction that would add to the tree.
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
12
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
I like this tree and think that with some TLC it can be a very good tree.... Have you ever thought about trading it to me for something?????? Ahhhhhh, we could be onto something here :)

See Ya, Jason
Ahhhh, now we may have something...but I really want to improve this tree before sending it out into the world LOL.
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
12
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
Chris,

Here is my smudgeual of your tree. I don't see much in the photo of the upper part of the tree. That could be the photo, could be the tree, could just be me. I don't know feasability, but I think you have the foundation of a good tree.
As you can actually see the tree, I am sure you will make the best use of it. Good luck with it!

Regards,
Martin
Wow Martin,
I had been considering keeping the whole trunk but could never get that to work for me. I am bowing to the superior knowledge and talent of Boon on this, and this was exactly his suggestion.
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
12
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
Hey Chris. This is my vision of the future for this tree. Stand it up, remove the lower branch in question, turn it into a tree.

Note, this is not the place to debate the quality of my 15 minute virt, but I think you get the gist of my suggestion...
Thanks for the suggestion, Rich. You know how I feel about virtuals, but it's never about the skill in producing them.

This is one suggestion and I have repositioned the tree many times to try to visualize a different tree. This particular planting angle is one I looked at but decided against.
 
Top Bottom