Dianne Fincham
Full Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:19 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Spruce? potensai

Hi,
I bought this tree about 9 years ago, since then i have moved house twice. I am ashamed to say, it has never been re-potted or anything, it has just lived in this one pot. We always called it our little bonsai as it never really grew. It has lived all its life outside, and apart from watering in the warmer weather, i haven't really done anything to it.
But, for some reason i felt the need to take this tree with me each time i moved.
For the last 2 years it has lived on my front porch, which is completely open to the elements. A few weeks ago we had quite a lot of snow, and it was completely covered for about 2 weeks or so.
We live in Cornwall, so the climate is normally quite mild.
Now that i am really interested in Bonsai, i would like to try to 'do something' with this dear little tree that i have neglected! I have attached a few photo's. Partly for identification, i am assuming it is a spruce of some kind? and partly because i would like some ideas/suggestions. The tree is 8" (20cms) high and 10" (25cms) at its widest point.
This first photo is the front view
[img]https://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af79/DianneFincham/Small%20pine%20potensai/PineFrontview.jpg[/img]

The second photo is the back view
[img]https://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af79/DianneFincham/Small%20pine%20potensai/PineBackview.jpg[/img]

The third photo is the bottom
[img]https://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af79/DianneFincham/Small%20pine%20potensai/PineBottomoftree.jpg[/img]

The forth photo is the top
[img]https://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af79/DianneFincham/Small%20pine%20potensai/PineTopoftree.jpg[/img]

And the last photo is one of what i think is possibly a little new plant produced via 'natural' air layering? This little branch is well stuck into the soil. What do you think? I know the photo's are not brilliant!
[img]https://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af79/DianneFincham/Small%20pine%20potensai/Pinenewgrowth.jpg[/img]

Many thanks for any help/advice, it will be very much appreciated.
Dianne

FLBonsai
Cool Member
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:15 pm
Location: Florida

Dianne Finchamm,

I'm not familiar with this type of pine, sorry :[

Your tree does seems to have some good potential however!

Personally, I see a three tree group planting in your tree. The first step for any bonsai is to uncover the nebari or root base. Once this is done the root base will help to suggest the shape and style of the rest of the tree.

In addition consider repotting your tree into a smaller pot (in height not width) when you begin to see its new shoots. Whenever repotting it is crucial to pack in the soil medium tightly around the roots, there should be no air bubbles.

Here is an example of a group planting.
[img]https://www.bonsai4me.com/Gallery/GalleryCraigCoussins_files/LarchGroupsmall.jpg[/img]

Dianne Fincham
Full Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:19 pm
Location: United Kingdom

New Look

Hi,
Thank you for your reply. It has been suggested to me that it is a 'Dwarf Alberta Spruce, Picea glauca' most likely a 'Conica'. I have had a good look at some pics, I'm not completely sure if i agree or not? but i don't have any better ideas so....
Anyway, i have been given some ideas on what to do with it, which i have now done, so i have posted some photos below for you to see what you think :?:
I wish i had read your reply first, as whilst doing it, i was considering a smaller pot, but, was unsure, so it has gone back into the same pot, although i did put a good bit of drainage stuff in the bottom 1/4.
Anyway, this is what i've done - Sorted out roots, cut them back (lots of good white roots there), re-potted, removed dead branches etc etc Please bare in mind, this is the first time i've ever done this :!:
Heres a few photo's just to show you how things were.
The first pic is the roots just out of pot, lots of white 'marks/blobs' on it, but only on the outside. It was absolutely water logged!

[img]https://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af79/DianneFincham/Small%20pine%20potensai/21a-Conicaroots2-before.jpg[/img]

The next is a photo of the roots after detangle, wash, and cut

[img]https://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af79/DianneFincham/Small%20pine%20potensai/28aConicaroots1-afterCutback.jpg[/img]

The next is a photo of a full front view of it back in its pot, (which i thoroughly cleaned first) and after the dead branches have been removed.

[img]https://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af79/DianneFincham/Small%20pine%20potensai/29Conicafrontview1.jpg[/img]

The next is a close up of the front

[img]https://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af79/DianneFincham/Small%20pine%20potensai/29a.jpg[/img]

And the last one is a close up of the back

[img]https://i995.photobucket.com/albums/af79/DianneFincham/Small%20pine%20potensai/30Conicabackinpotbackview1.jpg[/img]

I think its looking much better now, just hope it can survive the trauma :? If it enjoyed it half as much as i did, then its a very happy little tree :D I've given it a good watering, and I have now put it outside in the back garden, where it will get much more sun than its previous position. Its also much warmer out there as its quite secluded, and doesn't get so much of the cold wind.

My intention is to leave it for a year before doing any more to it. May be that will be a good time to re pot into something smaller, do you think?Thank you again for your help
Best wishes
Dianne

FLBonsai
Cool Member
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:15 pm
Location: Florida

Dianne Fincham,

I now see that all those limbs are coming from a single trunk.. so scratch the group planting idea hehe

Your tree does indeed resemble an Alberta spruce. It is very wise to let your tree rest up from its recent work. Within a few months you could begin to wire the tree and even prune in the summer, it depends on how vigorously your Alberta responds. Repoting after only a year could be risky. I would check the root development after a year and if it seems to have flourished I would repot it then.

Dianne Fincham
Full Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2010 2:19 pm
Location: United Kingdom

Hi
Thank you for that. Also for your opinion that it is an Alberta Spruce, i really hate not knowing what something is!
I will take your advice, and wait before doing anything else to it. If it is possible to wire in the summer then that would be great, and i'll see how its doing next year before repotting.
Having had a good look at it whilst prunning the branches, i saw lots of possibilities for it shape wise, i'll just have to see how it develops.
Best wishes
Dianne

razorrayk
Newly Registered
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 8:04 am
Location: Nothern Ireland

conifers

ooooh nooooooo !!!!!!!!!
big no no people never ever remove all the soil of any conifer when repotting a tree its very dangerous you could loose the tree rapidly !
always keep some of the old soil as it contains a helpful fungus which spreads to the new soil the main thing it to keep the roots to the dry side plant them in about 70 % grit and 30 % akadama in a good free draining pot a handful of peat in the soil won't do much harm either place the tree in a shady area for a month or two after repotting then in full sun after that mist daily and water the roots as required .

tomc
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2665
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:52 am
Location: SE-OH USA Zone 6-A

Spruce and white or black pines virtue (for me at least) is their unchanging nature. Your alberta looks a little hungry. Let it sit for a while (like a month) to recover transplanting and then lightly feed it with a soluble fertilizer.

Ideals of heavy old droopy limbs with pads of needles, and the upright bushy-ness of alberta's don't mix all that well for me.

Read up for a year or two to see examples of wiring branches, and bud pinching. You are in no rush.

And your alberta spruce is going to fight training.
Think like a tree
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