Spruce styling

Ugo

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Hi!

Hope everyone is doing well.

I would like to have your opinion for the styling of my spruce.

This is a tree I got from his previous owner last year.
It was neglected with basicly no foliage, a broken pot (still there!), wires marks and so on.
I decided to give it a try and bring this tree back to an acceptable level with my limited experience.

I had good advises on the forum, I guess I also did the right things at the right time and now the tree seems in good health with new buds everywhere, even on old wood.

I did try to style the tree a little bit, following the basics of what I learned here and mostly youtube!
I followed the old wire marks on the bark as I didnt want to get problems if the wires bites again.

My goal with the wiring was to style the tree but keep as much foliage possible, not damage any buds on old wood and give space to the branches.
The real prunning work will probably happen in August next year.

I plan to add Jin here and there on the tree one day as the tree doesnt have a branche on top.

I would also like to change the pot one day.
So far so good I didnt lose perfcolation and the substrate drain well so repotting might be for style reason only.
If you have suggestion fir the next pot you are welcome!

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Deep Sea Diver

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Good effort!

Yet none of the photos do your design justice. It’s really hard to see the depth of the design on these images, which make the branches look like rungs on a primitive ladder, which I believe isn’t reality. That said, you’ve got a tree that looks healthy at this point, sound and gaining strength.

My thought is that you need to grow out the tree more to gain more momentum…. and here’s the interesting part… you need to do this while forcing the energy down the tree so the lower branches get much stronger and thicker.

So it’s a bit of a tight rope to follow from here on.

You’ll have to prune on top to divert energy downward to grow out those lower branches, but keep the top branches growing strong enough to stay healthy while doing so. … AND manage the energy on each separate branch individually as you travel upwards so each branch grows out to be smaller in diameter then the one below. This will take quite some time.

To help, I’d slip pot this tree in a two times larger (wider and slightly deeper pot so the roots have room to grow out and strong. As the roots grow stronger, they will provide more energy to push the branch growth and trunk growth (which could use more taper.). You could do this by stages, using an intermediate size pot first then the largest pot in the next year

Finally one technique hint… there are more details to this but this is the gist… you can check a reference for the rest: When wiring branches one wants to avoid wiring branches opposite of each other… wiring this way allows the opposing branches to “seesaw” and doesn’t allow one maximum bending strength. Instead, when wiring branches off the trunk one wants to wire a lower branch to an upper branch with 1.5 - 2.5 wraps on the trunk between branches . These wraps will give one the maximum amount of anchoring strength for bending each branch, assuming one uses the proper wire gauge.

Finally at some point down the line you may want to, by stages over a year or two, remove that top overlapping root cluster by slowly cutting into the root more and more. This will allow the other roots to take up the slack until, finally, you’ll sever the root cluster completely.

Looking forward to seeing your future progress!

Cheers
DSD sends
 
Last edited:

Ugo

Mame
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Good effort!

Yet none of the photos do your design justice. It’s really hard to see the depth of the design on these images, which make the branches look like rungs on a primitive ladder, which I believe isn’t reality. That said, you’ve got a tree that looks healthy at this point, sound and gaining strength.

My thought is that you need to grow out the tree more to gain more momentum…. and here’s the interesting part… you need to do this while forcing the energy down the tree so the lower branches get much stronger and thicker.

So it’s a bit of a tight rope to follow from here on.

You’ll have to prune on top to divert energy downward to grow out those lower branches, but keep the top branches growing strong enough to stay healthy while doing so. … AND manage the energy on each separate branch individually as you travel upwards so each branch grows out to be smaller in diameter then the one below. This will take quite some time.

To help, I’d slip pot this tree in a two times larger (wider and slightly deeper pot so the roots have room to grow out and strong. As the roots grow stronger, they will provide more energy to push the branch growth and trunk growth (which could use more taper.). You could do this by stages, using an intermediate size pot first then the largest pot in the next year

Finally one technique hint… there are more details to this but this is the gist… you can check a reference for the rest: When wiring branches one wants to avoid wiring branches opposite of each other… wiring this way allows the opposing branches to “seesaw” and doesn’t allow one maximum bending strength. Instead, when wiring branches off the trunk one wants to wire a lower branch to an upper branch with 1.5 - 2.5 wraps on the trunk between branches . These wraps will give one the maximum amount of anchoring strength for bending each branch, assuming one uses the proper wire gauge.

Finally at some point down the line you may want to, by stages over a year or two, remove that top overlapping root cluster by slowly cutting into the root more and more. This will allow the other roots to take up the slack until, finally, you’ll sever the root cluster completely.

Looking forward to seeing your future progress!

Cheers
DSD sends

Hi!

Thanks for your time and advises.

Looking again at the pictures, you're right, they do not give the tree justice.
It looks a bit better in person!

I understand the technique you mention about diverting energy and hope Ill be able to use it correctly.
Next year I will start to control the growth on top branches. There is two branches growing strong and I think I will be able to use pinching technique to manage the growth on part of theses branches.

To give you a better idea of the health of the tree this picture show what it look like when I got it last March:
20210327_143334.jpg
20210327_143219.jpg

The tree was weaker with basicly no foliage and no back buds.
After a bit of care, new buds started showing pretty much everywhere.

I still do have a question or 2 about repoting.
You suggest to slip pot in a bigger container and it totally make sense.
But I would like to have more informations on how to reduce the root mass after the tree is well established in a bigger pot.
I read that Spruce doesnt like to have their roots reduced so Im wondering if after the tree is well established in a larger pot is it possible to reduce the root mass slightly and repot the tree in a smaller pot until the desired pot size is reached or there is no possibility of reducing the roots and the final pot should be chosen accordingly?

On a side note I understand exactly what you mean about wiring...
I must admit its one of my first hands on experience and I still have a lot to learn!
But Ive seen the technique and I think I will be able to apply it on my future wiring work.

What you mention about the top overlapping root is interresting!
I didnt think about doing anything to it just yet as I was impressed at first and found it almost "exceptional".
The root is not visually appealing but its the first time in my short experience that I see a spruce with "aerial roots".
Theses trees grows everywhere here in Zone 5b and its not something you see often in nature.
Im still unsure of what I will do with it!

Thanks again for you help!
 
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Deep Sea Diver

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Very nicely done. Looks like your spruce horticultural technique is solid. The foliage mass is accelerating, so the roots are gaining strength.

The answer on reducing the roots is it depends… on what condition the roots actually are in, how much root mass there is after combing or washing the roots out, the condition of your foliage mass, on how viable your media is.…etc…

Rather then going on and on about the different situations, it might be fruitful for you to do a bit of guided research to get you going so you might appreciate some of the nuances involved that you haven’t encountered and to “meet” some of the really knowledgeable folks on site and pros doing actual work on spruces.

Here’s a thread with some of our experienced members discussing Spruce repotting

…and another thread

Bonsai Miral Sculptural Spruce repotting.

If you haven’t viewed this Bonsai Mirai video on energy management, pruning and creating spruce pads.

Also Bonsai Empire - Designing spruce bonsai

Repotting on a slab by Walter Pall

cheers
DSD sends
 
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Very nicely done. Looks like your spruce horticultural technique is solid. The foliage mass is accelerating, so the roots are gaining strength.

The answer on reducing the roots is it depends… on what condition the roots actually are in, how much root mass there is after combing or washing the roots out, the condition of your foliage mass, on how viable your media is.…etc…

Rather then going on and on about the different situations, it might be fruitful for you to do a bit of guided research to get you going so you might appreciate some of the nuances involved that you haven’t encountered and to “meet” some of the really knowledgeable folks on site and pros doing actual work on spruces.

Here’s a thread with some of our experienced members discussing Spruce repotting

…and another thread

Bonsai Miral Sculptural Spruce repotting.

If you haven’t viewed this Bonsai Mirai video on energy management, pruning and creating spruce pads.

Also Bonsai Empire - Designing spruce bonsai

Repotting on a slab by Walter Pall

cheers
DSD sends
There is some good info in those links thanks.

You reminded me I need to go digging through the forums looking for anything spruce.
 

Ugo

Mame
Messages
143
Reaction score
181
Location
Qc, Canada
USDA Zone
5A
Very nicely done. Looks like your spruce horticultural technique is solid. The foliage mass is accelerating, so the roots are gaining strength.

The answer on reducing the roots is it depends… on what condition the roots actually are in, how much root mass there is after combing or washing the roots out, the condition of your foliage mass, on how viable your media is.…etc…

Rather then going on and on about the different situations, it might be fruitful for you to do a bit of guided research to get you going so you might appreciate some of the nuances involved that you haven’t encountered and to “meet” some of the really knowledgeable folks on site and pros doing actual work on spruces.

Here’s a thread with some of our experienced members discussing Spruce repotting

…and another thread

Bonsai Miral Sculptural Spruce repotting.

If you haven’t viewed this Bonsai Mirai video on energy management, pruning and creating spruce pads.

Also Bonsai Empire - Designing spruce bonsai

Repotting on a slab by Walter Pall

cheers
DSD sends

Hi!

As berzerkules mention it, very good infos and wake-up call on the research function!
There is treasures of knowledge on this site, knowledge from others is invaluable and allow beginners like me to acquire notions way faster.
No magic here, my spruce got better because I got precise advises from another experienced member here, I got the easy work as I just had to apply and understand the reasons behind the suggestions.
Thanks for sharing!

On a side note I really like bonsai Mirai videos , Ryan Neil explain things in a way I can easily understand.
Another member suggested that I should get a membership but I didnt see the point at that time, now I think Im ready to pay myself a gift.

For now Im hoping my trees will be alright during winter as I absolutely want to see the future of this little spruce.
Its my first winter with bonsai so winterizing was a big part of my reading.
Winter shelter is ready, temperatures are getting colder so this will be a good test for me.
During this waiting time I will make sure Im ready for next spring.

Thanks again
Ugo
 

Deep Sea Diver

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Good luck on your first winter over. It can be worrisome the first time. It was a bit for me. Yet Spruce are pretty hardy trees and a cold frame in zone 5A wouldn’t hurt. One might open it when the weather is above freezing and shut when below to keep good circulation.

I’m in zone 8b so I simply bury all my conifers outside under the trees out of the wind to just below the pot rim, with sifted bark nuggets added below the pot for drainage and 2” more spread around the on top and sides. Haven't lost a tree due to weather yet when treated this way.

best of luck!
DSD sends
 
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