COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE - SMALL NEEDLES VARIETY

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COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE - SMALL NEEDLES VARIETY

Post  immAGinoso on Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:09 pm

I  go to the nursery and find Colorado Blue Spruce with huge needles like in the pic below:


Is there a particular variety that has small needles and good for bonsai
Some pics attached as example below.
Thanks in advance!




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Re: COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE - SMALL NEEDLES VARIETY

Post  Marty Weiser on Sun Aug 28, 2016 3:19 pm

Could the bonsai you posted actually be blue atlas cedar - Cedrus atlantica 'glauca'. It is much better suited for bonsai that blue spruce - Picea pungens 'glauca' in my opinion. I have both as landscape trees and several cedars in training as bonsai.

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Re: COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE - SMALL NEEDLES VARIETY

Post  AlainK on Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:05 pm

Marty Weiser wrote:Could the bonsai you posted actually be blue atlas cedar - Cedrus atlantica 'glauca?...
(...)

I don't think so, to me it does look like a well-tended Picea pungens 'glauca', but yes, it's a very difficult tree to grow as bonsai.

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Re: COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE - SMALL NEEDLES VARIETY

Post  augustine on Mon Aug 29, 2016 4:18 pm

Here's some small needle spruce with which I am familiar, You may be able to find them online.

Picea Mariana Nana - black spruce, very hardy and should do well in your area. Tiny needles.

Picea Glauca densata - Black Hills Spruce.

Picea Abies 'Little Gem'

Personally I like spruce but they are not the easiest species to train for bonsai.

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Re: COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE - SMALL NEEDLES VARIETY

Post  M. Frary on Thu Sep 01, 2016 9:01 pm

Marty Weiser wrote:Could the bonsai you posted actually be blue atlas cedar - Cedrus atlantica 'glauca'. It is much better suited for bonsai that blue spruce - Picea pungens 'glauca' in my opinion. I have both as landscape trees and several cedars in training as bonsai.
Yes. I believe so.

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Re: COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE - SMALL NEEDLES VARIETY

Post  Leo Schordje on Fri Sep 09, 2016 7:05 am

Shop the rock garden conifer collector websites. There are a few blue spruce dwarfs that have shorter needles. They will be grafted.

I've shopped a few conifer collector type nurseries. Kigi is one I have dealt with, their service is good, they have lots of one and two year grafted plants available via mail order website. Just browsing their web page I found at http://www.kiginursery.com/picea-pungens-colorado-spruces/

Cultivars listed as shorter needles are
Picea pungens
'Bonny Blue' - short thin blue needles, will grow to a full size tree in time. Not a genetic dwarf or witches' broom.
'Monkey Puzzle' - short needles but weird irregular growth habit that might not work for bonsai.
'Montgomery Dwarf' - needles only slightly shorter than normal form, maybe 25% shorter - I have one.
'Roundabout' - dwarf WB - color is more green than blue, needles are short.
'Scottie' - nice blue and fairly short needles. Grows less than 2 inches per year.

Picea englemannii 'Bushes Blue Lace' - needles half the size of pungens, and a nice bright light blue. (I have one in my collection - young pre-bonsai)

Cultivars that may be dwarf trees but have BIG needles.
'Blue Pearl' 'Fat Albert', 'The Blues' - these are all nice but have big needles.

I have 'Montgomery' at home, its needles are about 2/3rds the size of normal with good blue color. Many of the dwarfs will have slightly shorter needles, and it might not be commented on in the descriptions. As ramification increases, usually needle size becomes smaller. Young blue spruces will have longer needles. However, needle length is not a BIG problem with blue spruce.

As with all bonsai, The most important part of the tree is the TRUNK, through to primary branches, NEBARI & BARK. Leaves are often an after thought. Look at all the Ponderosa bonsai out there. Great trunks & aged bark trumps needle size every time.

From all these nurseries, named Picea pungens cultivars will be grafted. I know from experience Kigi and Stanley & Sons put their grafts about 2 to 4 inches above the pot. This is not normally good for bonsai. At Dragonfly Farms, David Dewire is the main person doing the grafting. He is a bonsai artist of some note. All his grafts tend to be pretty low. They currently don't have any Picea pungens in stock but they do have a couple blue needle cultivars of Picea glauca and Picea omorika. Both naturally have shorter needs than blue spruce. Dragonfly also has Picea glehnii in stock which is the sakhalin spruce the Japanese use for bonsai. If you are looking for younger material, Dragonfly farms will have grafted trees with grafts as low and as expertly done as Brent Walston at Evergreen Gardenworks. Check out Dragonfly https://dragonflyfarmsnursery.com/plants-for-sale

Dragonfly has a good selection of pines mainly with bonsai in mind. Both JWP and JBP.

Another thought, find & collect or purchase a 100+ year old Colorado spruce with a great trunk and great nebari. Then graft on a blue needle cultivar with short needles. You only have to grow out the branches then. Grafting is not that difficult. I average about 25 to 50% success rate. Pick up one of the nice blue short needle cultivars with the high graft. Grow it out a couple years, and then use it as a scion donor. From old urban landscape collection or collected wild yamadori material you can get your tree with gnarly fat trunk, then graft on scions of one of the blue varieties for the branches. This project will take time of course. A decade or more from acquiring the scion source and understock. But if you enjoy the process, the time won't matter.



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Re: COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE - SMALL NEEDLES VARIETY

Post  M. Frary on Sun Sep 11, 2016 2:52 pm

Leo Schordje wrote:Shop the rock garden conifer collector websites. There are a few blue spruce dwarfs that have shorter needles. They will be grafted.

I've shopped a few conifer collector type nurseries. Kigi is one I have dealt with, their service is good, they have lots of one and two year grafted plants available via mail order website. Just browsing their web page I found at http://www.kiginursery.com/picea-pungens-colorado-spruces/

Cultivars listed as shorter needles are
Picea pungens
'Bonny Blue' - short thin blue needles, will grow to a full size tree in time. Not a genetic dwarf or witches' broom.
'Monkey Puzzle' - short needles but weird irregular growth habit that might not work for bonsai.
'Montgomery Dwarf' - needles only slightly shorter than normal form, maybe 25% shorter - I have one.
'Roundabout' - dwarf WB - color is more green than blue, needles are short.
'Scottie' - nice blue and fairly short needles. Grows less than 2 inches per year.

Picea englemannii 'Bushes Blue Lace' - needles half the size of pungens, and a nice bright light blue. (I have one in my collection - young pre-bonsai)

Cultivars that may be dwarf trees but have BIG needles.
'Blue Pearl' 'Fat Albert', 'The Blues' - these are all nice but have big needles.

I have 'Montgomery' at home, its needles are about 2/3rds the size of normal with good blue color. Many of the dwarfs will have slightly shorter needles, and it might not be commented on in the descriptions. As ramification increases, usually needle size becomes smaller. Young blue spruces will have longer needles. However, needle length is not a BIG problem with blue spruce.

As with all bonsai, The most important part of the tree is the TRUNK, through to primary branches, NEBARI & BARK. Leaves are often an after thought. Look at all the Ponderosa bonsai out there. Great trunks & aged bark trumps needle size every time.

From all these nurseries, named Picea pungens cultivars will be grafted. I know from experience Kigi and Stanley & Sons put their grafts about 2 to 4 inches above the pot. This is not normally good for bonsai. At Dragonfly Farms, David Dewire is the main person doing the grafting. He is a bonsai artist of some note. All his grafts tend to be pretty low. They currently don't have any Picea pungens in stock but they do have a couple blue needle cultivars of Picea glauca and Picea omorika. Both naturally have shorter needs than blue spruce. Dragonfly also has Picea glehnii in stock which is the sakhalin spruce the Japanese use for bonsai. If you are looking for younger material, Dragonfly farms will have grafted trees with grafts as low and as expertly done as Brent Walston at Evergreen Gardenworks. Check out Dragonfly https://dragonflyfarmsnursery.com/plants-for-sale

Dragonfly has a good selection of pines mainly with bonsai in mind. Both JWP and JBP.

Another thought, find & collect or purchase a 100+ year old Colorado spruce with a great trunk and great nebari. Then graft on a blue needle cultivar with short needles. You only have to grow out the branches then. Grafting is not that difficult. I average about 25 to 50% success rate. Pick up one of the nice blue short needle cultivars with the high graft. Grow it out a couple years, and then use it as a scion donor. From old urban landscape  collection or collected wild yamadori material you can get your  tree with gnarly fat trunk, then graft on  scions of one of the blue varieties for the branches. This project will take time of course. A decade or more from acquiring the scion source and understock. But if you enjoy the process, the time won't matter.


Or forget about blue spruce and look into white spruce. Still a blue color and it's consistent unlike blue spruce with shorter needles naturally. Takes transplanting better and is less susceptible to disease and insects.
You do know blue spruce don't always stay blue. They change colors from deep green to silver.

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