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Growing new branches on spruce/pine? 5 days 11 hours ago #64832

  • mvximlvn
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Hi guys, I am fairly new to the world of Bonsai and am just really getting into it. One of my favourite trees is certainly a pine or spruce, however my knowledge on their growth and how it works is very very limited. Anyway, I've got one kind of specific question: Is there a way to grow new branches on either a spruce or pine tree. In order to practise pruning and that type of stuff a bit, I got a few little spruces from a nursery (so we're talking about nursery stock here) and a Japanese white pine. When looking at the tree, I realised that there were a lot of empty spaces on the trunk where I'd like to have so branches growing (on the spruce on the lower part of the trunk, on the pine much higher between the currently upright growing candle and the branches below) . Is there a technique that makes this possible, or stimulates the growth of new buds or candles on the trunk? Also, I noticed that there are a lot of needles on the spruces specifically. Are those needles that could potentially turn into branches later? As I mentioned, I don't have that much of a clue about evergreens. Also, I'd just love to get whatever nice tips about growing, pruning and repotting spruces and pines you have. I truly appreciate every single answer I could get. I hope you're having a good one! Cheers.

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Growing new branches on spruce/pine? 5 days 6 hours ago #64841

  • Tropfrog
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I dont have experience in your specific species and climate. But in my experience many spruces and pines backbud qite easily on wood up to 15 sometimes even 20 years old. But I know that it can differ a lot.

What you need is a healthy tree and to decandle it quite hard in spring/early summer. The tree will then shoose were it throws new growth. Hardly newer exactly were you want new branches:).

That spruce, by the way seems like it has been depleated of lower branches over a few years. That means it has not many places left to backbud from. That can proove to be a difficult material.
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Growing new branches on spruce/pine? 5 days 5 hours ago #64842

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Hi! First of all: thank you so much for your reply, appreciate it a lot!

I'll definitely try and read something about how to decandle, thanks for the tip!

Secondly, how can you tell that the spruce doesn't have much opportunity do grow buds on the lower part of the trunk? I'd be interested how you could tell, and maybe any ideas on what to do... or how I could tell myself. I am very desperate. Would be a shame to waste that tree.

Thank you so much though.

Cheers, and have a good one!

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Growing new branches on spruce/pine? 5 days 3 hours ago #64851

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The trunk just have limited possibility to grow new branches, sometimes called dormant buds. When they produce this kind of trees with a bare trunk, they cut a lot of branches. When new grow they cut them as well. On the picture it looks like many branches has been removed. Hence less dormant buds left. But it is not impossible, you allready have the tree so there are no harm in trying. If it falls, you have learned something.
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Growing new branches on spruce/pine? 5 days 3 hours ago #64853

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Tropfrog wrote: The trunk just have limited possibility to grow new branches, sometimes called dormant buds. When they produce this kind of trees with a bare trunk, they cut a lot of branches. When new grow they cut them as well. On the picture it looks like many branches has been removed. Hence less dormant buds left. But it is not impossible, you allready have the tree so there are no harm in trying. If it falls, you have learned something.


Have you developed spruce and pine bonsai from raw stock?

I refrain from recommendations, as I do not know the species well enough. I know enough about them to realize tneither is straightforward and backbudding certainly on the whitepine, is tricky.
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Growing new branches on spruce/pine? 5 days 1 hour ago #64858

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I have worked with pines and spruces, yes. But not white pines and I dont know what that spruce is. In my care and climate both of them backbud nicelly. I have heard that it dont work in all species and not in all places. Pinus sylvestris for example are backbudding like crazy here. But not all have the same experience with that species.

I guess the only way to find out is to try. Nothing to loose right?
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Growing new branches on spruce/pine? 3 days 12 hours ago #64919

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Totally right, haha! Thank you so much for your reply. So, what would be your best approach for back budding? Like, I tried to google, but all I could find really is that I'd have to prune the tree quite dramatically. How far would you prune back?Still leave one candle or bud, or even more? Also, what would you suggest is the best time. I assume since it's winter atm. in the northern hemisphere this is like the most disadvantageous time to try that out, isn't it?

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Growing new branches on spruce/pine? 3 days 12 hours ago #64920

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Hi, first of all thanks for the reply. Yes, both of them are nursery stock. I bought both just a while, right before another lockdown started. What would you say would be the best approach now to deal with those trees? I'd be open to any ideas or recommendations on what to try as soon as spring starts.
Thanks.

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Growing new branches on spruce/pine? 3 days 12 hours ago #64921

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Hey man, thanks for your comment! That sounds very interesting, haven't read this anywhere before. You're right, they probably cut them off by a ton because they were heavily dried out or something. I got them for 1 Euro in a nursery right before lockdown started, because they desperately wanted to get rid of them. What would you suggest I'd do now, considering that they cut a ton of branches off? Since I don't really have anything to lose with that tree I'd be open to any kind of suggestions or techniques to try out. Hope you're having a good one!

Cheers!

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Growing new branches on spruce/pine? 3 days 10 hours ago #64922

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What I do to get backbudding is: in early spring when buds form on the tip af branches, reduce to two on every spot. In early summer when buds are fully developed cut all of buds left short at the same time, leaving just a few needles. I get backbudding next spring on one flush pines and later in the same growing season on two flush pines.
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