Tsuga canadensis collected

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This isn't the perfect specimen, but I really enjoy it's growth habit. Enough to make up for the slight reverse taper, crossing branch and redundant branches, and even sort of a bar branch for the first branches. I tried to leave many options and assumed that the apex would be one of the lower branches, and a few of them could assume leadership, but moving up, the natural placement of the branches seems right to me. I have tried to be real conservative in my trimming so far as it was only collected a year ago. In most cases I would only remove a redundant branch if it was in danger of shading out more inner growth.
I do plan on repotting next spring and am thinking that a pot roughly the dimensions of the inner third (top to bottom) of it's current pot, would fit well, but I am open to suggestions. I plan on having a few pots on hand just in case my primary option doesn't fit right. Pumice, hard akadama (that is what I have is labeled), spaghnum and some vermi-culture compost are my proposed components, but I am open to discussion on that matter.
 

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Does anyone have any ideas for what sort of training pot I should put this in next spring? Or should I give it a full three years in it's current pot after collection? I almost wish I could just break the top of this pot off so that I could give the lower branches some breathing room, but I am pretty sure I would just break the pot.
 

Poink88

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Try scoring the pot just under the rim all around...an old saw (or hacksaw) will be perfect. Then get a chisel and put it on the groove then tap lightly/gently with a mallet. Do this all around until the top pops out. :)
 
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I am definitely repotting this spring. I am thinking a huge lotus pot, much shorter and wider than the one it is in now. It has put on so much growth that I am thinking about thinning out the top to plan the apex, Maybe after it has shown signs of new growth after the repotting.
 

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Cypress

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Maybe not the perfect specimen, but for a collected Eastern Hemlock that is pretty fantastic. It is so hard to find one thats not pencil thin that still has foliage low on the trunk. Nice find. I'd like to find something like this one day. Have you given any thought to sacrifice branches for correcting taper issues or just fatten the base? I think you're wise to take it slow with this little guy, I killed a nursery EH pretty quickly last year. Looks super healthy!
 

ABCarve

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What are you looking in a finish height? Thinning the top could be good because they're so vigorous. Is it the finished top or a sacrifice? Here's one I collected (spring 2013)very similar to your. The taper was similar as well. It's growing in pure medium size akadama with some charcoal. It was totally bare rooted and severely root pruned to make the best of the nebari.
 

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I have given thought to sacrifice growth and that is why I am keep the lower branches extra long for now as well as a couple redundants down low, however since they are somewhat close together I wonder if they will continue to cause some reverse taper. I am not too worried though as I still have a wagon wheel of roots to uncover to distract from the tree's flaws. Plus, a fair amount, if not most, trees in nature have some reverse taper where the lowest branches are. I think the main appeal of this tree will be the foliage though. I can get hypnotized staring at the fractal nature of the foliage.
The top has not been decided on, although I removed a thicker horizontal branch this spring, I still have some decisions to make with two similar branches pointing up in the same direction. I have also been thinking about how to carve the initial chop.. I would love to torch it at some point, but I have never tried that before. Final height will likely be roughly where it is now. I want to distribute the energy down the tree and out those long bottom branches.
I have been really impressed with how well his has recovered given how brutal I was on it on collection. I gave it a year of recovery with just morning sun, but putting it in nearly full sun has hastened the explosion of growth? I broke a lot of rules with my soil since I had a huge pot to fill. I used a mix of turface, lava and recycled bonsai soil and some pumice, akadama, sphagnum with a hunk of local clay on the surface which has since melted away. I did break up the surface soil this spring and mix in some fresh vermi-compost when some ants moved in under one of the rocks and a layer of flower petals was clogging up the top. A dash of diatomaceous got rid of the ants quickly.
I think a key to the species is recognizing that it is not very drought resistant. Extra organic and/or akadama help buffer the roots to keep it feeding properly. And apparently it didn't mind being way over potted. On repotting I'll do thirds of pumice akadama and lava, with healthy portions (10%) of spaghnum and vermi-compost.
 
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ABCarve

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Well...sounds like you have a good plan. I'm not a fan of very much organic clogging up the soil but to each his own. The carving may last a few years as they heal quickly and totally, even large wounds. I may have said this already but mine had a huge shari in the front which is now totally healed. The jinned top from the intial chop has been removed as well. It'll be nice to see yours out of the garden pot and in something more appropriate.
 
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Thanks for the input. I think I have a pretty good general plan, but the details are tricky. Enhancing the natural movement and growth while redirecting the energy down towards the bottom is easier said then done, or worse easily done badly. Also, I am apprehensive of what I'll find upon repotting. As I mentioned there was a wagon wheel of thick radial roots that I lopped and sawed back on collection. I think I also left a bit of tap root just to leave as much root as possible, as well as a section of duff at the intersection which I covered with soil.
What do you think of using a pot like the pot full of soil to the right of the subject, but 50% bigger? I hope to have a variety of pots on hand just in case one fits better than the others. As well as plenty of premium soil components so that I don't have to mix and match and risk stratifying the soil into layers.
 

ABCarve

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Thanks for the input. I think I have a pretty good general plan, but the details are tricky. Enhancing the natural movement and growth while redirecting the energy down towards the bottom is easier said then done, or worse easily done badly. Also, I am apprehensive of what I'll find upon repotting. As I mentioned there was a wagon wheel of thick radial roots that I lopped and sawed back on collection. I think I also left a bit of tap root just to leave as much root as possible, as well as a section of duff at the intersection which I covered with soil.
What do you think of using a pot like the pot full of soil to the right of the subject, but 50% bigger? I hope to have a variety of pots on hand just in case one fits better than the others. As well as plenty of premium soil components so that I don't have to mix and match and risk stratifying the soil into layers.
I think a larger pot will allow it to grow quicker for your development without it getting too vigorous. They are very hard to control in the ground. I have two that got away from me. Getting the base exposed will let it start to develop and be a whole lot nicer to look at when working on it. I wouldn't sweat working on the roots....it's a young tree and very tolerant. It's better to work on them a little early (bud swell)than a little late(seeing green in bud). My nursery guy gets them in bare rooted for initial potting for his landscape trade. I'm going to get some of these to start a forest before they become to dense. I think collected material works well because they are usually growing in pretty deep shade and don't become dense. The lower branches are intact and needles are still close to the trunk.
 
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This one was in a pretty shady environment, but had a 15 foot runner going straight up. I've read that they are the most shade tolerant conifer but that they slow way down in the shade and can be much older than they appear.
 

ABCarve

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This one was in a pretty shady environment, but had a 15 foot runner going straight up.
Ah yes......looking for that ray of sun. I still think its a relatively young tree. I think the bark would be coarser.
 
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I found a couple of photos from this spring before it produced all of the growth to hide the structure, but you can better see some of the complexities with the lower branches, the reverse taper, and in particular the branch that wraps around the trunk. I do plan on keeping the crossing branch as I think it could become a point of interest later.
 

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ABCarve

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It's kinda hard to tell what's going on without 3D...at least for me. But... I might consider chopping it at the first crotch where the reverse taper is. A much shorter tree, for sure, but it would remove a number of problems and make for a better taper. I can't see how close in the needles are. That's just what I can see from here. The top section of the tree now is pretty straight and needs some movement. If you want to keep the height you may want to consider bending that section before it gets any stiffer.
 
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I will consider chopping it, however I am going to see what I think after this coming spring's repotting. I am guessing it is similar to a parent always thinking their own child is perfect, but I think the reverse taper will not be an issue for the finished product. From some angles the taper is less noticeable and many trees in nature exhibit some reverse taper.
You are right about the top section of the trunk being straight, but the branch placement is too perfectly natural for me to want to reduce it at this point.
So I'll play it out per the plan for now, but we'll see what it looks like in a years time when I can reevaluate the tree's flaws. Supposedly these heal and graft well, so maybe grafting a sacrifice branch lower down could help overcome the reverse taper?

Thanks again for the input. I am very excited about this tree's potential despite it's flaws and look forward to addressing them.
 
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I picked this pot mainly because it was the right size before transitioning to a final pot. A lot of cleaning up and wiring (maybe fishing weights or guides) to do, but there is no rush on that.
 

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ABCarve

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Hey...that's looking nice and healthy. I like using guys for holding branches down. They're easy to do. I use small wire and just insert one end through the outside of a drainage hole, then bend it at 90 deg. to secure it. 1/8" tubing from the hardware store to cushion. You can move it slightly while it's growing so it doesn't put a dent it the branch. The method is much more secure than you would think.
 

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I just got done repotting mine and used the wedge from under the branch method to lower the angle. You don't have to worry about the branch springing back.
 

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