Sub Alpine Fir Development Progress (collected spring 2017)

River's Edge

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This tree was previously posted on collection and recently as it showed signs of recovery. This thread will be to document the development process as it proceeds over the years. In summary, collected spring of 2017, placed in grow box with pure pumice. basically a very gentle bare root with chopstick and water flushing to remove native soil, rocks, dead roots etc.
Today was moving day, used the rings in the box to attach rope and lift onto two wheel dolly. Then used the dolly to stabilise and tip the grow box and tree onto the edge of the hydraulic cart. Then the ropes to slide the rest of the way onto the hydraulic cart and rolled into the workshop. This is my first opportunity to look at all aspects of the tree since collection. The only work since repotting was to remove dead foliage, unwanted branches, administer preventative treatments for fungal and insect issues that could be expected with collected fir.
The basics are as follows: Main trunk has a 4 1/2 inch base and is 48 inches tall, secondary trunk is 36 inches tall with a 2 1/2 inch base, third trunk is 30 inches tall and has a 1 1/2 inch base. The trunks are closely connected and the combined base spread is approximately 8 inches.
I have included six pictures to show the four sides and dimensions. I believe the front is fairly easy to determine. I like the view with the larger tree to the right front, the secondary tree is slightly behind and to the left of the main one. The third trunk is a bit further to the front and left of the secondary trunk but still behind the main trunk. I have used that view to include the tape measure for dimensions. I will post progress as decisions and work proceeds.IMG_9508.JPGIMG_9509.JPGIMG_9510.JPGIMG_9511.JPGIMG_9512.JPGIMG_9513.JPG
 

BobbyLane

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Amazing material! great movement in the trunks and some nice harmony. is there much more you can do apart from wire a few branches here n there?! are these similar to spruce in regards to poor memory after branch wiring? not that you'll need to do much extreme bending on this one. it really doesnt look too far off from being a complete, natural image
 

River's Edge

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Amazing material! great movement in the trunks and some nice harmony. is there much more you can do apart from wire a few branches here n there?! are these similar to spruce in regards to poor memory after branch wiring? not that you'll need to do much extreme bending on this one. it really doesnt look too far off from being a complete, natural image
Thanks, i feel very fortunate to have found and collected this one. Initially i will look at a couple of small changes to trunk three and trunk two that will improve the view from all sides. From one point of view in particular they have a great set of cowboy legs:eek:. ( lower portion picture 1)
The branches do require a bit more set with the wiring to hold position. Similar to our Mountain Hemlock. They have a tendency to return to original form and grow upwards to the light. One approach is to wire a bit tighter and bend the tree a bit more to create a bit more scar tissue and rigidity when the small breaks heal in the key bends. Also helps to re-apply the wire and plan on training the tree for longer periods.
I may look for slight improvements in apical height relationships and movement in the upper portion of the main trunk. These trees back bud very well so branches should not pose a problem in the long run.
 

BobbyLane

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Thanks, i feel very fortunate to have found and collected this one. Initially i will look at a couple of small changes to trunk three and trunk two that will improve the view from all sides. From one point of view in particular they have a great set of cowboy legs:eek:. ( lower portion picture 1)
The branches do require a bit more set with the wiring to hold position. Similar to our Mountain Hemlock. They have a tendency to return to original form and grow upwards to the light. One approach is to wire a bit tighter and bend the tree a bit more to create a bit more scar tissue and rigidity when the small breaks heal in the key bends. Also helps to re-apply the wire and plan on training the tree for longer periods.
I may look for slight improvements in apical height relationships and movement in the upper portion of the main trunk. These trees back bud very well so branches should not pose a problem in the long run.
ah ok i see, pretty much the same techniques documented for spruce. im tempted to pick one up now. ill be watching this thread with interest.
 

Nybonsai12

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Wonderful piece of material!
 

River's Edge

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Wonderful tree. I'm jealous. Can't wait to see what you do with it. :)
Me Too. Hope i have the patience to wait for the branching to come in properly. that will be the key. patience, patience and more patience. Buds are popping all over. The question is are they in the right places or will it be next year or the year after the right ones appear! I see a turntable and schedule in the future of this tree.
 

River's Edge

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What a cracker!!!
Exactly, glad i found it before i got any older! Pack loads like that are meant for young people, at least it was mostly down hill to the truck.
 

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River's Edge

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ah ok i see, pretty much the same techniques documented for spruce. im tempted to pick one up now. ill be watching this thread with interest.
If you look closely at the third trunk, the one on the left, you should see the difference a bit of wire can make. I used two pieces of #6 copper to create a better sense of balance between the upper portions of the three trunks. Now to wait for a couple of years for it to set;)
 

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Djtommy

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What’s the length of those needles actually ?
 

BobbyLane

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If you look closely at the third trunk, the one on the left, you should see the difference a bit of wire can make. I used two pieces of #6 copper to create a better sense of balance between the upper portions of the three trunks. Now to wait for a couple of years for it to set;)
good stuff. i look forward to the full styling job. although i doubt i'd wire out every single branch if it was mine, many of them already have that downward flow, common for the species. be good to keep a lot of that natural movement and character. only needs a few bits of wire here n there imo
i like how the trunks seems to be competing with each other, the varied heights, while remaining in harmony, adds to the natural character.
 
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River's Edge

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good stuff. i look forward to the full styling job. although i doubt i'd wire out every single branch if it was mine, many of them already have that downward flow, common for the species. be good to keep a lot of that natural movement and character. only needs a few bits of wire here n there imo
i like how the trunks seems to be competing with each other, the varied heights, while remaining in harmony, adds to the natural character.
I will bide my time on the rest of the wiring. Priority now is to produce foliage in the spring and ensure full recovery. Last year it rested in the greenhouse ( unheated over the three coldest months) , this year it will sit out on the ground for normal dormancy. Will move it up onto the bench in the sun but protected from wind in the late winter early spring. I have added some organic fertiliser to the top layer to gently provide some extra nutrients before winter and be available in the early spring. Very low numbers, Neem Meal, Alaska Fish Fertiliser, Blood Meal, and Bone Meal. In this case it was dried in crumble form and buried just below the surface to gradually breakdown and infuse through the pumice down to the roots. When it goes up on the bench it will need to be on a turntable for regular rotation. In its natural setting growth was not evenly distributed for branching. It rarely is in our Mountain terrain. The second sub-alpine fir that i collected late summer early fall the same year is still struggling and will spend some time in the greenhouse this winter. There is no indication of new buds set for spring on the trunk or bare parts of the branches. A few on the outer tips of newer branches. The protection is to protect the new roots from freezing in case we have a colder than usual winter.
 

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What’s the length of those needles actually ?
Great Question, I just measured some for you. The largest ones are 1 inch or 2.5 cm the average would be 3/4 inch or 1.8 cm. They can be reduced down with refinement to 1/2 inch or 1.25 cm. This is one of the features that make these trees excellent Bonsai candidates. That and their ability to back bud readily.
 

Djtommy

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Great Question, I just measured some for you. The largest ones are 1 inch or 2.5 cm the average would be 3/4 inch or 1.8 cm. They can be reduced down with refinement to 1/2 inch or 1.25 cm. This is one of the features that make these trees excellent Bonsai candidates. That and their ability to back bud readily.
That’s not too bad really, the firs here might be a little longer on average. But I have never seen one as bonsai in japan. (Worthy to be called bonsai anyway)
The species just isn’t used , one reason for this is the needle length .
 

Vance Wood

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That’s not too bad really, the firs here might be a little longer on average. But I have never seen one as bonsai in japan. (Worthy to be called bonsai anyway)
The species just isn’t used , one reason for this is the needle length .
I don't consider the needle length too long on Alpine Firs, in fact I find them very proportional.
 

River's Edge

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That’s not too bad really, the firs here might be a little longer on average. But I have never seen one as bonsai in japan. (Worthy to be called bonsai anyway)
The species just isn’t used , one reason for this is the needle length .
The fir in Japan Abies Firma usually have 2 inch needles and a very different arrangement from my recollection. The Korean Fir has shorter needles, similar length to the Sub Alpine Fir which grow in a relatively limited range in North West North America. It is not commonly used for Bonsai and i am just experimenting with the species. It grows in sites that also suit Engleman Spruce, a close relative of your Ezo Spruce. The Engleman has the very short needles but bluer in color than the Ezo.
 

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