Sub Alpine Fir

JasonG

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Hello Everyone,

Here is a sub alpine fir that was collected from Southern Oregon about 5 yrs ago. I bought it in the shape it was in during the first photo, the one with the smokes when I use to smoke! I have bare rooted it a few years ago and thought now is the time to style it. My eye and skills got much better over the past few years and now I am able to see something much more than before.

I was pleased with the way it came out. I added a picture from the side so one could actually see the trunk movement that is not so visiable in pictures.

Well, what do ya think, good or bad? I think trunk splitting was the way to go with this one.

Next will be to find the right pot for this one then it will look much better than it does now :)

Thanks, Jason
 

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Walter Pall

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You could think of removing the long lowest branch on the left. Thus the tree has more movement to the right.
 
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You could think of removing the long lowest branch on the left. Thus the tree has more movement to the right.
I kind of like that branch but defer to higher authority. Jason, a second very nice post. Good stuff!
 

JasonG

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You could think of removing the long lowest branch on the left. Thus the tree has more movement to the right.
Hi Walter, Yes, I thought of that but since this was my first trunk split I thought I would leave it just incase something bad happened! I am sure it will be fine and will be gone once I see the buds open. Thanks for the input!

I kind of like that branch but defer to higher authority. Jason, a second very nice post. Good stuff!
Thanks Chris, in the pictures it doesn't look that bad but in person that branch will need to go eventually. Thanks for the good words!

I like this one a lot, good find!
Will
Thanks Will!!!! Is this a good transformation in your opinion?

See Ya, Jason
 

grog

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I think this and the double trunk one Rich posted are the only two I've seen pics of. Nice looking trees!

Any pics from during the splitting process?
 

rlist

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After seeing this tree in the yard for many years, and never really liking it, I will say this is the most drastic improvement of any tree I have seen of Jason's. It may not be the best treee or the most impressive tree, but it appears to be very well done and in a couple years this will phantastic.
 

johng

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Hello Jason... very nice work! You have been able to add a very graceful and natural feel to this tree. I realize there are not really any rules when it comes to where shari is located on a trunk, and perhaps what you have created could be explained as a lightning strike, but for me it seems a little unnatural to have deadwood on the top of a trunk and not the bottom. Are you considering creating any deadwood on the lower half of the trunk in the future?

Just curious:)
John
 

JasonG

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I think this and the double trunk one Rich posted are the only two I've seen pics of. Nice looking trees!

Any pics from during the splitting process?
Hi Grog,

Sub Alpine fir make very good bonsai and are rarely seen outside the NW. Rich and I have some good ones that have yet to hit the 'net.....I will wait till I give them the intital styling before posting.
Sorry, but no pictures during the splitting process. I will tell you though that is was easy as long as I paid attention to making sure I was in the middle of the trunk at all times and watch for branching and live viens for the branches. Other than that it was painless!! Oh, and the raffia is never fun to apply! haha

After seeing this tree in the yard for many years, and never really liking it, I will say this is the most drastic improvement of any tree I have seen of Jason's. It may not be the best treee or the most impressive tree, but it appears to be very well done and in a couple years this will phantastic.
Thanks Rich! Yes, this was a major transformation and I am very happy with the results.

Hello Jason... very nice work! You have been able to add a very graceful and natural feel to this tree. I realize there are not really any rules when it comes to where shari is located on a trunk, and perhaps what you have created could be explained as a lightning strike, but for me it seems a little unnatural to have deadwood on the top of a trunk and not the bottom. Are you considering creating any deadwood on the lower half of the trunk in the future?

Just curious:)
John

Hi John,

Next year this tree will see some shari on the lower part of the trunk. The first trunk or branch on the right did not get any detail wirring this time around so that and some shari are on the menu. I don't want to go overboard with the shari but just enough to add to the image. Thanks for the good words John, I appreciate it!

Jason
 

Vance Wood

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I like this tree a lot and I like where you are going with it.

Can I offer some criticizms/comparisons to nursery trees or will somone think I am starting an argument?
 

JasonG

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I like this tree a lot and I like where you are going with it.

Can I offer some criticizms/comparisons to nursery trees or will somone think I am starting an argument?
Hi Vance, Thanks for the good words!

I would not be offended if you offer some criticizms or comparisons..... fire away! :) :D

Thanks, Jason
 

Vance Wood

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Hi Vance, Thanks for the good words!

I would not be offended if you offer some criticizms or comparisons..... fire away! :) :D

Thanks, Jason
This is a very nice tree and the species is not available except rarely in the nursery trade outside California and the West Coast. Not meaning to stir a debate but there is nothing spectacular about this tree that I cannot find in a well chosen nursery tree. The trunk is not particularly tapered, the nebari is not that good and the bark is nothing to droll over. It is a good tree, a tree I would gobble up without a second breath, but I can and do find trees that are at least this caliber in the nurseries I frequent. You have shown in the past trees that I cannot find in the nursery trade to be honest, but you found this tree in the mountains and considered it worth collecting. If you had found it in a nursery would you have rejected it just because of the source? Honest answer?
 

JasonG

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This is a very nice tree and the species is not available except rarely in the nursery trade outside California and the West Coast. Not meaning to stir a debate but there is nothing spectacular about this tree that I cannot find in a well chosen nursery tree. The trunk is not particularly tapered, the nebari is not that good and the bark is nothing to droll over. It is a good tree, a tree I would gobble up without a second breath, but I can and do find trees that are at least this caliber in the nurseries I frequent. You have shown in the past trees that I cannot find in the nursery trade to be honest, but you found this tree in the mountains and considered it worth collecting. If you had found it in a nursery would you have rejected it just because of the source? Honest answer?
Hi Vance,

Thanks for your thoughts on this.....

I should have said this earlier.... I bought this tree about 5 years ago when I first got into bonsai. It was collected by a friend in S. Oregon. There is an area that I collect where I can find this type of tree and in the past few years I would walk by them. Now I will probably get a few to have on hand and sell them knowing what can be done with them. That is just me getting better.
You are right this isn't that special of a tree. Fir trees typically don't develop that heavy bark found on pines until they are very tall and very old. The tree here, is a young tree that was stunted due to its climate. I think that the taper is kind of a non issue here with this tree since it is a tall elegant tree and is not meant to follow the rules.
I think the best part about this tree was the future that I finally seen this past winter. Splitting the trunks like this. Not many people are willing to do such a thing, and I have never seen it in a forum yet. It was a learning experience for me and the tree just went from an ok little fir to a really cool and good fir. I have some spruce I collected that I am looking at now...lol!

This type of tree can easily be bought in some of our better nurseries in the NW. Many of them sell collected landscape trees and I could find these available very easy.

This tree will never be a masterpeice tree but it can and will be a very cool tree that is unique, had some advanced techniques applied to it and would look good on any bench in America (atleast once its in a good pot).

I am glad you liked it, or atleast my work :D

Thanks, Jason
 

tom tynan

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Hey Jason..

I like where you are going with this one; cool how you went ahead and went for the trunk split. It will be interesting to see how the tree reacts over the next year...perhaps it may drop a few branches due to the trunk split ? I think playing it safe and keeping that lower left was a good idea for now.

When you potted it up and tilted it to the right you got that aerial root thing going. Maybe you can pull it down with some wire over time.

The bark on these sub-alpine firs is interesting on very old trees; it takes on a deep gray and gets that "socks-around the ankles" look esp. at the trunk bends. Even this tree with a 1" to 1 1/2" diameter at the base could be well over 100 years old; at roughly 1/8" diameter growth per 10 years at elev. 5000 ft, and 1/8" diameter growth per 15 years at elev. above 5000 ft.

What I really like is the subtle movement; side to side and then front-back. Anyone who has ever taken a whip and tried to create this kind of movement knows often how fake it can look. As the branches fill out a bit it should look even better.

Regards and best wishes from NY...Tom
 
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JasonG

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Hey Jason..

I like where you are going with this one; cool how you went ahead and went for the trunk split. It will be interesting to see how the tree reacts over the next year...perhaps it may drop a few branches due to the trunk split ? I think playing it safe and keeping that lower left was a good idea for now.

When you potted it up and tilted it to the right you got that aerial root thing going. Maybe you can pull it down with some wire over time.
Hi Tom,

I think the split was done pretty good and shouldn't drop any branches..... or if it does it will be a bunch of them that go at once..... but I am very confident that all is well. The root can and will be dealt with when I repot it. For now it was either repot or style, I chose style and repot later. So, when I do repot it will be dealt with either by wire or cut off.


The bark on these sub-alpine firs is interesting on very old trees; it takes on a deep gray and gets that "socks-around the ankles" look esp. at the trunk bends. Even this tree with a 1" to 1 1/2" diameter at the base could be well over 100 years old; at roughly 1/8" diameter growth per 10 years at elev. 5000 ft, and 1/8" diameter growth per 15 years at elev. above 5000 ft.
Very good analogy!!! Yes, fir doesn't relly bark up but rather sags like you say. This tree could be older that I think, I will try to count growth extensions on a branch to get an estimate of age. I have seen good bark on suba lpine before but they were not collectable. I am sure at some point I will run across some.....


What I really like is the subtle movement; side to side and then front-back. Anyone who has ever taken a whip and tried to create this kind of movement knows often how fake it can look. As the branches fill out a bit it should look even better.

Regards and best wishes from NY...Tom
Thanks, yeah the movement on this trunk is really pretty good. Better than can be found on nursery stock that is for sure. When you come to visit you will see that this is a pretty good tree and I will take you to an area that we can get you trees like this and better. It will only cost you pizza and beer money!!! hahah

Thanks for the reply Tom, I appreciate it!

Jason
 

rlist

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It is a shame that Tom can't keep Sub Alpine Fir alive - they are actually very hardy and tough trees. I have no doubt that this tree will survive and flourish - and I would be surprised if any branches are actually lost.
 

Hans van Meer

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Hi Jason,
this tree would not look to bad on a bench in Holland as well!!:D
You used a bold and not often seen technique to great a very elegant and believable tree! This show's advance knowledge of special bonsai techniques and even more important the courage to use them if it makes a tree better! Your tree all ready evokes a good feeling with me, I like to look at it and analyse it, looking at the branches and the empty spaces, that for me is a sign I like it! Cool tree! Well don Jason!!!:D
Regards,
Hans.
 

JasonG

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Hi Jason,
this tree would not look to bad on a bench in Holland as well!!:D
You used a bold and not often seen technique to great a very elegant and believable tree! This show's advance knowledge of special bonsai techniques and even more important the courage to use them if it makes a tree better! Your tree all ready evokes a good feeling with me, I like to look at it and analyse it, looking at the branches and the empty spaces, that for me is a sign I like it! Cool tree! Well don Jason!!!:D
Regards,
Hans.
Hi Hans,

Well it won't be too much longer and you will be here in my yard and able to see it in person!! Thanks for the good words, getting complimants from guys like you and Walter is a huge confidence builder for me! Thanks again and see you soon!

yep i love ya work and the guts to do it. very inspiring.
Thank you Antonio....! Hope all is well!

Jason
 
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