I wanted to update you with a tree that I’ve had since I started all over with Bonsai, here in the Czech Republic. It’s a species that I don’t recommend for beginners and nor does the rest of the Bonsai community. The cheap price and their natural tree-like appearance at nurseries make them obvious and appealing choices for starters. However, Spruce do not like to be rushed and usually one picks them up, brings them home, cuts the life out of them and shapes their upright branches into straight branches or even rainbow shaped arches. They usually end up dying after such abuse and poor care or die back and just look awful. How many have you seen at Bonsai exhibits? I have actually only seen two.
Harry Harrington has a great and informative website called bonsai4me.com. I recommend having a look there for guidance if you’re a beginner but even if you are an expert I believe you can find a lot of inspiration and perhaps, even new information there.
But, I am getting a bit off point, here’s a link that’s directly related to caring for and getting results from the infamous Dwarf Alberta Spruce: http://bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATPiceaPruningstylingandwiring.htm
Here are my results so far.
First re-pot from the nursery container in the fall of 2012, and has been styled for about a year. I was really inspired by one of Walter Pall’s Spruce and I also wanted to create a high-alpine style tree. Bottom branches are left to help with growth and also fatten up the base if possible. This was Spring 2013
I let the tree grow freely this 2014 season with as much growth as possible.
First wiring came off, late summer 2014. You can see that I let the wire bite in somewhat, this is bad on some trees but for most conifers and especially Spruce, you should let the wire bite a little, otherwise your styling work will be pointless. As you can see the branches swung right back up again.
From this point on, I couldn’t find any pictures of the 2nd re-potting to something that resembles a stone from Mr. Jiri Svacina who is a great pot-maker and lives just outside of Brno in the village, Zastavka u Brna. This re-pot happened in spring of 2015 and the tree was wired again in September with the bottom branches still attached. You can tell how much I loved this poor tree.
Jumping forward to Spring 2017. Here is the 3rd re-pot, which I did so that I could lower the tree a little more and move the feeder roots closer to the trunk. You can see that at this time I also eliminated the bottom branches as I did not think they were adding so much and I wanted to finally get a better image out of this tree. I also gave the tree a bad wiring job in September of 2016, this was just to get the branches to hold their position. Wire was removed at this time so that it could recover from the re-potting process as best as possible.
Here is the little Dwarf today. I am very pleased with how it’s progressing. Do you see mountains in the background?
Bonsai should look good from all angles, I tried to make that happen here. I also hope that this tree will keep improving and that it may motivate you to take a second look at boring nursery material.
Have a good one!