Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

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Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Curtis on Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:07 pm

Hey, just wondering if anyone has any experience with this species of spruce? If so, what can you tell me about it?

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Curtis on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:21 am

Ok, so since no one is familiar with this species allow me to introduce it to you. Now this species is really the only species that is worth any effort(around here) because they are well aged and perfect sizes. The trees grow in muskeg and the soil is all moss(makes for a tough walk). The first 8-12" is sphagnum moss and then the peat moss under that, which this year is all water. This is the first year that I am collecting(and its under permit) and we had a lot of rain this year so I'm not too sure if the peat being saturated with water is a normal thing every year. I think a lot of this water also comes from mountain run off. The only reason I question if its like this every year is because a lot of these trees have a long tap root but these long thick roots seem to be dead(black inside anyways). So I think they might develop tap or longer roots in the dryer years and then in the wetter years these roots die and force rooting throughout the sphagnum(this is good for me when it comes to bonsai). If I had to leave these tap roots on the tree(just to develop a better root system) I would need 3' high pots. I've also noticed that these trees grow in a couple of different ways. They grow as single taller trees, a small group of taller trees(2-4) and they also grow in tiny little groves(from 2' down to an 1" or 2") in groups of up to 30 trees maybe more. When seeing these little groves, I can't help to think if this is kind of like what the late Saburo Kato and his father saw in Hokkaido. Anyways, I'm going to post a bunch of pictures of the 2 collecting trips and the trees potted up. I am going back out to the bush for a week long camping/collection trip and will take more pictures and a video so I can show and explain to you what I mean about the muskeg. So without further delay.... Sorry edit- I ran out of akadama and the only thing really available to me was this stuff called Sea Soil. I figured since these tree grow in moss and peat moss that they wouldn't mind an organic soil. Either way, I have trees in organic and non-organic soil. I'll just have too see what the results are. I know there will people commenting on the soil so I just though I would add that.
Natural Spruce Raft















Thinking about collecting this spruce



Decided to split this clump up, and the big tree will be a bonsai by itself. The next picture is that tree. Collected a month ago and it is doing well.

This is going to make a nice bonsai. Feel free to make a virt for this. Let me know if you want more pictures of it.















They backbud!

The moss



Last edited by Curtis on Fri Aug 17, 2012 5:46 am; edited 5 times in total (Reason for editing : Sorry-Keep wanting to add little things.)

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  CraftyTanuki on Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:41 am

Great score, i love the contrast between bark and foliage.

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Curtis on Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:57 pm

The healthy foliage on these are almost blue even though you cant really see that in the photo. The photos really dont do these trees any justice. I would say this kind of tree is better suited for a forest or saikei of some sort but also have potential for singles. Its too bad you cant see what I see.

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  manosvince on Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:09 pm

I think they are too small for collecting them..

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Curtis on Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:12 pm

Why would you think that? A 2' tree isn't worth collecting even though it is 50+ years old?

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Loke Emil on Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:05 pm

Well, Curtis

proove the nay-sayers wrong by making great bonsai from these very promising looking trees Twisted Evil

However, I second the idea of focusing on making a few forest. Ofcause single trees will be very nice too. But spruce forests from the material you present would eventually become show worthy in my opinion.

I have no experience with the growth habbit of these so called black spruce, but I suspect they should be treated just like any other spruce...and do well with that until you eventually find some more species specific information.

good luck with your findings...and take care not to reveal too much of your new secret collection site Rolling Eyes

cheers
/Loke Emil

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  JimLewis on Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:09 pm

I assume you like formal upright. That's what these seem to want to do.

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Curtis on Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:24 pm

Well to be honest Jim, this is the only local material I can get. In time I think that these trees will fill out nice and yes make great formal uprights and even better forests. Like I said before, I don't think these pictures really do the trees any good. I have only found a few spots where these grow but these spots are within a square mile of each other so there has to be others around the area. I haven't even touched the surface of these spots and Loke, good luck finding this place. Evil or Very Mad I think where I live in Canada, there might be 10 people out of a million that would even be concerned about yamadori. And this might even be a stretch. I plan on collecting one that has a 3 inch base and is about 3' -4' tall this week so maybe that will change the perspective. I consider myself a good judge when it comes to material and can usually see a finished tree. These are going to recover well so I think progress will be swift(crossing my fingers anyways).

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Jim McIntyre on Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:49 pm

If you check out Walter Pall's website, he works with Picea Abies (Norway Spruce) with very good results . Picea Abies have longer needles than Picea Mariana. Where do you live in Alberta? I am sure that there are other native species suitable for bonsai.

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  ross lebold on Mon Aug 20, 2012 6:20 pm

Those are great looking trees, Curtis and the mature bark is pure gold. Good luck and keep us posted.
I love black spruce, but they don't grow where I'm at. I have a friend that lives in northern Michigan and I've been contemplating a collecting trip.

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Leo Schordje on Fri Aug 24, 2012 5:06 pm

Very nice material, to get small trees with aged bark is fabulous.

As to other local material, don't for get to look at some of the other 'shrubs' in your area. If you have any of the bog shrubs such as cranberries, bog rosemary, other wild forms of blueberry, etc. I am surprised you don't have larch in your area. Do you get any of the willows near creeks? Red twig dogwood? All are worth a try. But those spruces are fabulous. Make them your main focus. Very nice

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  rps on Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:35 pm

these are great material, curtis.
what part of alberta are you in? i'm from the southern foothills originally, but currently hang my hat in manitoba.
i do get back to the province a few times a year however; perhaps we can consider swapping some stock?
bog stunted tamarack or thuja occidentalis for spruce?

it's a nice thought in any case.
thanks for sharing your finds.

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Curtis on Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:54 am

I was kind of hoping that Mr. Pall would weigh in on these but Im sure he's a busy man. I live in central Alberta so I have to go to the central foothills to get these. I guess really its only an hour and a half drive to get there. I believe the larch are up in the mountains and not obtainable by permit. I have seen a couple of pine that might be good bonsai in 30 years but Im more interested in these spruce that will develop much faster. I have found some aspen that have been chewed down by cattle that look like they would be great candidates but not too sure how they would respond to bonsai. Googled aspen bonsai and didnt really come up with much.


Last edited by Curtis on Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:11 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Curtis on Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:55 am

Oh and did go out and collect a couple more of these last week. Also shot a quick video of the moss. I will post more later.

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Treedwarfer on Sun Aug 26, 2012 4:36 am

Curtis wrote: I consider myself a good judge when it comes to material ....

Clearly you are! Excellent material.

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  Phil S on Mon Nov 30, 2015 6:28 pm


This is a black spruce that I will be collecting at some point.

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Spruces

Post  aurian on Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:08 pm

Hi really enjoyed your pics. I have always wanted to grow some spruce trees but I live in North Central Arkansas and our summers are very hot and humid. Most spruces don't seem to care for this even when misted twice a day and kept in shade. The only spruce species i have any luck with has been a dwarf Alberta spruce. I am wondering if you might know of any other spruces that might be more tolerant of hot humid weather?

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Post  beer city snake on Tue Dec 01, 2015 6:09 pm

Curtis wrote:


3 years since curtisis post on this thread...
if you are still around curtis, i would be curious to see what became of this one...
hoping you made the right hand trunk into the deadwood trunk it was begging for...

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Re: Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

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