Spruce seasonal care?

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Spruce seasonal care?

Post  D-Ho on Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:28 pm

I have not found a very good source for seasonal spruce care, more specifically colorodo blue spruce care. When is the best season, not necessarily month, for heavy/light pruning, budding, pinching, repotting, and special fertilizing. Would it be similar to say a JBP or would it be quite different?

I already know I do not have the perfect climate for these but I'm going to experiment.

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  drgonzo on Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:45 pm

I'm the first to tell you I'm no conifer expert, but I do keep one spruce that has done very well for me.
I could tell you about all the techniques required to work with spruce that I have found work well but I fear you will have enough difficulty with keeping the plant healthy in Texas before Bonsai techniques can be applied. Find Rkatzin on the forum; thats your blue spruce guy.

-Jay

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  D-Ho on Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:50 pm

Thank you for your response.

So the story is I'm originally from Binghamton NY and I visted there last Christmas. I decided to bring something back down to my current home in Texas that was a pine or something northern to see if I could get it to work. It was a Colorado Blue Spruce and I repotted it in my(Texas) spring(usually way earlier than NY spring) right before the buds started to needle out. I put it in a DIY wood box with 100% turface. I noticed when I was repotting that the spruce had the thickest mychorrizae colony I'd ever seen!

So, this summer we have had the worst drought for our location in a long time. That said I kept the spruce in partial shade and the thing has surprised me with it's resilience. It has new buds all over it for this next spring and it even healed over a semi-deep bite taken out of the trunk by a damn squirrel.

I'm thinking of taking some pictures of it and posting them because I want to do a Literati with it but I've never done one and I don't want to be too drastic with it.

I'll snap some real quick.


Last edited by Discuspro on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:24 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  D-Ho on Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:15 pm

Here are some of that spruce:










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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  RKatzin on Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:17 pm

Hi Discuspro, I am a student of the Spruce, by no means Mr.Picea, yet. I'm working on alot and follow the info you can get at Bonsai4me.com under species quide. Your tree looks healthy, a nice tree to start with. Good luck!

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  D-Ho on Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:54 pm

RKatzin, what is the biggest difficulty that you've experienced with them?

Thanks for the advice and kind words about the specimen. The roots have totally filled the box within this years time. I'm hoping to find a good mychorrizae colony on the roots. Maybe since it had such a dense mychorrizae colony to begin with it performed well this year in my climate.?

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  drgonzo on Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:05 pm

Pear Fryer who is a celebrity topiary artist in South Carolina I believe, has been able to grow spruce and firs on his property much to the befuddlement of arborists who tell him over and over "they shouldn't be able to grow here." He attributes it to the tendency of these species to adapt to new climates.

Harry Harringtons site will soon become one of your most 'clicked' bookmarks as you work on different trees.
-Jay

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  sunip on Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:30 am

Hi Discuspro.
Good potential.
Why you do not leave it for a few years to age a bit more?
It looks healthy to me and could do with a bit more character and nice bark.
The lower branches i would guy wire down now it is still possible, for the reason of getting more light and
to gain the natural look.
Maybe some wiring could be done already for the future design.
The Bonsai4me species guide gives some information.
Nice thing to look at is the Walter Pall site he shows some nice picea.
Sunip

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  RKatzin on Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:28 pm

Hi Discuspro, the biggest thing you must deal with is the wheel spoke formations of the branches along the trunk and on the branches themselves. These will cause an inverse taper if not reduced to three or less at each joint. I leave more lower on the trunk and less as you go up the trunk.

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  D-Ho on Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:12 pm

Thank you sunip and RKatzin! I will take both of ya'lls advice.

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  RKatzin on Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:30 am

Hi Discuspro, I hope you find something useful, it's true that it is hard to find info for these trees at this stage of the game. I have a line of twenty Blues in my field that I'm growing for a forest (I most always start with more than what I think I'll need). They have good trunk size, but most primary branches are too big for proportion and when reducing the hubs I choose the largest to cut and left the smaller to grow out for new branches. Note the clever pics:before and after removing the largest branches.
Here is another I did today: and this one is a rare one, actually growing in an aceptable fashion, nicely spaced small branches. In a load of twenty I got two that are just about right and the rest will need to be basicly stripped of all big primary branches Nice looking soil don't you think?

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  D-Ho on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:25 am

Yours look a bit more blue than mine. I think yours will probably have a better chance since I figure if I planted one in the ground here in the sun I would get colorado blue tumble-weed in no time, sadly. I think being able to move mine out of blazing sun might be the key, hopefully.

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  RKatzin on Thu Dec 01, 2011 3:55 am

Coloration seems to vary from tree to tree, some are more blue than others. Our summers here are very hot and dry, but these are very adaptable to that type of weather. You can see the remnants of the straw that I mulch about six inches deep with, both to keep the weeds down and to keep the soil from burning off in the heat. In a container I would limit the sun exposure, but in the ground they enjoy a full sun sweep from sunup to sundown.

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  D-Ho on Thu Dec 01, 2011 4:09 am

Really, I guess I didn't realize your weather was like that. Would you mind giving me your average summer and winter temps. Does it cool down at night in the summer or stay hot like the sun never went down (like Texas)? Also, when about do your seasons begin and end?

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Re: Spruce seasonal care?

Post  RKatzin on Thu Dec 01, 2011 6:39 am

Well, Oregon is a big state, oh yeah, you're in Texas, let me start over. Oregon is a diverse state with several different climatic zones. I'm in SW Oregon just east of the Coast Range, about fifty miles inland. Our winters are mild (compared to some places I've lived) with an average of about 45F, rarely freezing and ranging from fifty to seventy-five inches of rain from mid Sept./Oct. to late May/early June. Then it's rare to get any percip at all until fall. Most of summer the temps are 80's/90's, Aug. we'll get into the triple digits and drier than a popcorn fart the whole time. It does cool off a bit in the evenings and an afternoon westerly breeze is standard. Yeah, it's a little slice of heaven on earth, the towns motto is "It's The Climate"! It's often compared to the wine producing regions of France, in fact there are many large vineyards throughout SW Or. and we also proudly produce very high grade medicinal marijuana. Go Ducks!

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