Subalpine Fir (Abies lasiocarpa) progression

PiñonJ

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I collected this Subalpine Fir two years ago in New Mexico. It has thrived in its grow box and the time came to do the first styling / structural setting.
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At first, I thought this would be the front, because of the features:
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However, after evaluating it for best combination of base, trunk line and features, I settled on the opposite side:
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The height is 35" from soil to apex.
 

Hartinez

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Great work @PiñonJ ! Well balanced layout. Do the crossing trunks, live and dead, bother you at all. It doesn’t for me, I’m just curious, as I’m no pro and I also think some others on here may be bothered by it. None the less, great start to a long term project!

What part of NM did you collect?
 

PiñonJ

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Great work @PiñonJ ! Well balanced layout. Do the crossing trunks, live and dead, bother you at all. It doesn’t for me, I’m just curious, as I’m no pro and I also think some others on here may be bothered by it. None the less, great start to a long term project!

What part of NM did you collect?
I think it adds interest to the tree. Since one is deadwood, I don’t feel it’s an issue. Certainly it’s a naturalistic style. I collected it in the Jemez.
 

Hartinez

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What caharacteristics define a sub alpine vs a dougie, out of curiosity?
 

PiñonJ

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What caharacteristics define a sub alpine vs a dougie, out of curiosity?
As you may know, Dougies are not true firs. In fact, their scientific name means false hemlock (Pseudotsuga), which suggests one difference: Dougies have slightly shorter, lighter green needles compared to Subalpine Firs. From what I've seen locally, the latter have darker blue-green needles forming a more acute angle with the stem, especially in more mature specimens. The bark on mine is almost white in places, which suggests it may be the cork bark variety, whose bark can end up being spongy. The dead giveaway is the buds. Douglas Fir buds are elongated and very pointy. True fir buds are rounded, knobby.
 

Hartinez

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As you may know, Dougies are not true firs.
I did not know! But thank you for the detailed response! If you ever get the opportunity to collect up north near hopewell lake, there are a ridiculous amount of stunted, matured and weathered Douglas fir and engleman spruce.
 

Potawatomi13

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As you may know, Dougies are not true firs. In fact, their scientific name means false hemlock (Pseudotsuga), which suggests one difference: Dougies have slightly shorter, lighter green needles compared to Subalpine Firs. From what I've seen locally, the latter have darker blue-green needles forming a more acute angle with the stem, especially in more mature specimens. The bark on mine is almost white in places, which suggests it may be the cork bark variety, whose bark can end up being spongy. The dead giveaway is the buds. Douglas Fir buds are elongated and very pointy. True fir buds are rounded, knobby.
In truth many/most of our Douglas Fir have very dark green needles. Maybe some lighter on bottom side;).
 

Potawatomi13

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Really great job so far. Good instinct. Carried away with needle removal? Exercise restraint please, Needle mass feeds roots/grows trunk/strength/health;).
 

PiñonJ

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Really great job so far. Good instinct. Carried away with needle removal? Exercise restraint please, Needle mass feeds roots/grows trunk/strength/health;).
Thanks for the input, but it shouldn't be an issue. This in the group Ryan classifies as elongating species, meaning they store a tremendous amount of resources in the vascular system over the winter. This particular tree has had an insane amount of back budding and most of them are opening right now. There will be plenty of needle mass to drive continued development.:)
 

PiñonJ

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Hey, @Potawatomi13 , I thought you might be interested in seeing the color difference I had mentioned between young specimens of our local variety of Dougies and the Subalpine Firs. The first photo is a Dougie I collected this year, about 5-1/2’ tall with a 4” base. The second is the tree from this thread. The dark needles at the center of the photo are last year’s needles F3E21062-6D41-4DB0-AF64-1D825103D843.jpeg45105CF6-06F4-4E85-9AB0-28F3351EECEC.jpeg
 

Potawatomi13

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Indeed! Thank you. Good color your Subalpine. Douglas seems to have longer pointier buds than ours;). Many sprouts to trim on mine this year.
 

PiñonJ

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It was time to get this guy potted up. I picked out a Horst Heinzlreiter pot last year.
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You need props when working alone.
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Plenty of fine roots, even in the mountain soil, which isn’t very mucky.
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Time to get rid of some exposed roots on the trunk (don’t know why B-nut insists on rotating this one).
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Checking the fit:6455D208-184B-4433-B3E9-0681B41397B0.jpeg
The canopy needs to be re-worked in the fall, but look how much denser the foliage is in a year. I’m really happy with the pot / tree combo.294CF6E6-204B-455F-9C24-3B03EC656E22.jpeg
 

clem

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very nice tree and work 🤩
just my 2 cents : maybe with a shorter crown ? and a little ten-jin ->
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MHBonsai

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Man what an image that is. It makes me extremely uncomfortable with the massive lean, the stonework look on the pot, the giant dead apex...nicely done!
 
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