Yamadori style alberta spruce

october

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*Update on page 4*

Hello all,
The other day I decided to go check out some local garden centers. I wanted to try something a little different. There are many juniper cuttings or young trees that are twisted up the yamadori style. I have also seen it done with arborvitae. I wanted to try something a bit older and a different species. I thought about spruce. Even though they are notorious for not holding their wired shape for years. However, many have very small foliage and the bark has a somewhat aged look at a young age.

Anyway, I found this very healthy alberta spruce..Ya I know, what are you gonna do with a home depot alberta spruce..lol. I came home and formulated a plan. However, once the bending started, a new plan had to be thought of.

I originally was not going to post this until I knew the tree survived and was thriving. However, I am not afraid of failure. We cannot learn anything unless we embrace and show our failure as well as our success. However, in this case, there is only $20 involved. :D

Here is the days work. If everything goes well, perhaps in Winter or more likely in a year, like the Fall after this one, branch wiring can be done. Of course, all this is dependent upon the survival of the tree. I tried to keep as much foliage as possible. Also, the bends are severe, but not sharp. I did all the bends with my hands.

Rob

As purchased. Height is around 24 inches.



After cutting back what I didn't need.



Raffia applied



Wired



The end result is an 8 1/2 inch tall tree. If it looks like there is wire out of place, it is because it is not part of the coils. It is tied at certain points to hold the bends.




 
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Nybonsai12

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Insane bend! Nice job as always. Looking forward to future updates.
 

John Ruger

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The mother of all bends.

I can't wait to see this one too.
 

october

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Insane bend! Nice job as always. Looking forward to future updates.
Thanks ny. There are 3 bends total. Probably be about 3-4 years before the trunk sets alone. Never mind all the wiring after that. Just a matter of watering and fertilizing for a while.

Rob
 

october

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The mother of all bends.

I can't wait to see this one too.
Thanks John. I think after the branches are wired and some shari work is done, there might be a future nice shohin in there somewhere. :D

Rob
 

coh

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You better stand back when you unwire that, it's probably gonna uncoil like one of those cans of snakes! I'll be very interested to see how well it holds.

Funny, I bought a dwarf spruce today as well, picea glauca "Sanders Blue". It has the interesting trait that the new needles are very blue, they age to a more normal green color giving an interesting two-toned effect. Not sure if it's going to be a landscape plant or a bonsai attempt, but if the latter - will have to be a formal upright as the trunk is old/thick enough (and straight) that it can't really be bent. Has plenty of branches, though.

Chris
 

october

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You better stand back when you unwire that, it's probably gonna uncoil like one of those cans of snakes! I'll be very interested to see how well it holds.

Funny, I bought a dwarf spruce today as well, picea glauca "Sanders Blue". It has the interesting trait that the new needles are very blue, they age to a more normal green color giving an interesting two-toned effect. Not sure if it's going to be a landscape plant or a bonsai attempt, but if the latter - will have to be a formal upright as the trunk is old/thick enough (and straight) that it can't really be bent. Has plenty of branches, though.

Chris
Hi Chris. Any pics of the spruce you bought? I would like to see the variety.

Rob
 

coh

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Not yet, I'll try to get one and post it within the next day or two.

Chris
 

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Found a better view. Turns out the side seems more balanced. You can see both sections of the base now.

Rob


 
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fore

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Very creative for such starting material Rob. I too will be curious how it sets...but if it's not completely set in a few yrs, it'll be easy at that point to use guy wires to keep the bend I'd think. Off to a good start ;)
 

october

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Thanks fore. Providing the tree does well, I see some good potential here. If this project fails, I will not consider it a failure, but another step towards sucsess. The next time, there are a couple of things that I will do differently. It might be these things that lead to success.

Rob
 

MidMichBonsai

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The first thing I thought after seeing the wire pic was, "Where did it go?" I think this thread has earned you the nickname Houdini. By the way, what gauge wire did you use for this?

Thanks as always!
 

berobinson82

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Thanks fore. Providing the tree does well, I see some good potential here. If this project fails, I will not consider it a failure, but another step towards sucsess. The next time, there are a couple of things that I will do differently. It might be these things that lead to success.

Rob
Would you be so kind as to share what lessons were learned and what you will do differently next time?
 

october

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The first thing I thought after seeing the wire pic was, "Where did it go?" I think this thread has earned you the nickname Houdini. By the way, what gauge wire did you use for this?

Thanks as always!
lol.. Not really Houdini. Just want to find hidden potential in trees that aren't so obvious but might still have something to offer.

I used 3 wires. 1 aluminum, number 3 and 2 copper number 3. However, this would not hold on it's own. The bends are secured at 2 points by a wire.

Rob
 

october

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Would you be so kind as to share what lessons were learned and what you will do differently next time?
Sure. In the initial bending process, I was getting a feel for the tree. I bent the tree down but I initially tried to see how much bend I could get right at the base. I managed to pull the base almost over to soil level without that much difficulty. However, this is not good because it pulls on the root system, which is not what you want. So this "feeling process" would be left out if this is done again. Next, even if it is a very bendable area, I would protect the bark all the way to the top with something, maybe or maybe not raffia. Possibly black self adhesive tape. After all the work was done, I noticed a little sap leaking from a small indentation of crushed cambium at the top. I am not exactly sure how it happened. I am pretty confident that this tree will be ok. Even if I lose parts, there should be plenty to work with.

Unfortunately, I could not take pics of the actual bending process, since I did it with my hands and on my own. I had my hands full. lol

However, I have virts to show the steps.

Rob

The first bend pulled the tree all the way down so the top was at soil level.



The second bend pulled the part that was now at soil level to the right and looped up.



The third bend pulled the loop towards the left and over the top and down.



Then the pot was tilted and the tree rotated so that the bends looked less obvious and created a fuller base.



A close up of the work. I hope I explained it well enough so that this image makes sense.

 
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berobinson82

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Most excellent explanation and I thank you sincerely for taking the time to do so. I was under the impression that this was a "loop-de-loop" line when it is not. I like the tree better already!

One more question, if I may: Why not perform this work in 2 months when the tree is moving less?
 

october

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Most excellent explanation and I thank you sincerely for taking the time to do so. I was under the impression that this was a "loop-de-loop" line when it is not. I like the tree better already!

One more question, if I may: Why not perform this work in 2 months when the tree is moving less?
I am glad you mentioned about the " loop de loop". From the beginning, the intention was to avoid this. A loop de loop would not be a yamadori style tree. If this was going to a success style wise, it had to have what a twisted, yamadori style juniper has. That being curves in different directions that form one compact design.

As far as why I did it now. I probably could have waited another month. However, if I had to give an explanation, it would probably be because I wanted to catch the tree at the end of the growth cycle, but wanted sap to still be flowing so the tree was still pliable.

I am hoping this project becomes a learning experience for others as well as myself.

Rob
 

coh

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Hi Chris. Any pics of the spruce you bought? I would like to see the variety.

Rob
Here's the best I could do. The color difference between the new and older growth is not as pronounced now as it was earlier in the season, so you'll have to use your imagination. Right now it just looks like a bluer version of the standard dwarf alberta spruce. Probably destined to be a garden tree but will evaluate next summer...plant is a bit weak (especially on one side) after spending years somewhat neglected at the nursery.

sanders_blue.jpg

Chris
 

october

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There is some definite potential there. I would be go easy on it. Like you said, the health is not the greatest. Perhaps just pruning the dead, fertilizing and letting it grow might be a good plan for this year.

Rob
 

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