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Black Spruce collected this fall 1 month 4 weeks ago #76079

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Spring Update!

The temperatures have finally stabilized enough for me to take my trees out of their winter shelter. This was a learning experience for sure, as I didn't anticipate the fact that the lack of sun made it much harder to get the trees out of the snow in the spring. I had to dig them out and chip away at ice that had formed around the grow boxes... Next season I'll build a cold frame or at least place them in a spot where the sun will help melt the snow when the weather gets warm in April/May.

Regardless, the trees all look pretty healthy. But I'll know for sure in the next few weeks when/if they start to push their spring foliage. Time will tell.

I took some photos of them yesterday. I'll post them here to document their progression into spring/summer.

I plan to collect more trees this spring. Hopefully some Jack Pine (Pinus Banksiana) and more Tamarack (Larix Laricina). Both are abundant and many show great character and age. I already have a few more Black Spruce (Picea Mariana) scouted out. I'm just waiting for the ground to thaw more so I can dig them.

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Black Spruce collected this fall 1 month 4 weeks ago #76089

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Very cool... Maybe that quadruple trunk would do a good triple trunk with a nice jin made out of one of the trunks...
I would use that taller one to practice some grafting (I'm really aiming to learn how to graft next season).

But that's just me, you're doing nice. :)
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Black Spruce collected this fall 1 month 4 weeks ago #76090

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Albas. I agree about turning it into a triple trunk composition. The thinner one in the center is definitely the weaker of the four, both in terms of vigor and composition IMO. Appreciate the input and kudos! I'm not sure if I'll remove it completely or turn it into a deadwood detail. Definitely something to consider.
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Black Spruce collected this fall 1 month 4 weeks ago #76091

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I kind of like the four trunks. The number four is really hard to make a nice tree for a bonsai artist. But really, nature can do it better. Two lovers that fell from the plane in the middle of the act and burried their heads in the ground :). Who would have thought about that design idea?

Seriously, Think an extra time before cutting it off. Once cut you cannot uncut.
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Last edit: Post by Tropfrog.

Black Spruce collected this fall 1 month 4 weeks ago #76092

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Tropfrog. Of course! If the tree shows vigor in that trunk I may reconsider. But as it stands now it's quite weak. The other three look a bit stronger, and I like the way they line up. Right now I'm concentrating on getting the tree healthy and happy before I fret too much about design. Depending on how it responds, I'll wait until fall 2023 to style it. It was collected last fall, and it still needs a season to recover, and probably another season of growth and fertilizer before I mess with it. But we'll see.

Artistic principles are flexible, and I don't rely too much on the "1, 2, 3, 5, 7 rule" you often see (not just in Bonsai, but in general art theory as well). I've been observing and drawing trees since I was a child, so I understand your sentiments about nature! Truly, I think for me the design should reflect what the tree "wants" to be, to put it simply. But at the same time we can't just let the tree go wild... it would defeat the purpose.

I appreciate the comments and suggestions. And I'll be sure to keep you posted about any changes. Good or bad.

If anyone has any questions about other species we have up here in the Canadian Subarctic, I'd be happy to oblige. I'm planning to collect more trees this spring, I'll take pictures of anything I find interesting. We live in an extremely remote area, so much of the wilderness is untouched and very striking.
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Black Spruce collected this fall 1 month 4 weeks ago #76094

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I can see you have a good approach to the "rules".

But yes, it is weak. I just wonder what two good growing seasons can do about that. Keep us posted.
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Black Spruce collected this fall 1 month 4 weeks ago #76099

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WOW! believe it or not, I was actually thinking about your trees the other day when I was collecting some of my own. Here in Nova Scotia the season is nearly over (I think?) But I got a few spruce, and a little spruce forest made from small trees that would otherwise have been forever in the shadow of their elders. I also got two hawthorn and something resembling the look and taste of a bay tree. I have been also watching my Norway Spruce and Bristlecone pine germinate. Your trees are so wonderful and I hope you continue to post updates here.
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Black Spruce collected this fall 1 month 4 weeks ago #76103

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Si Guy. I'm so glad to hear you enjoy my trees and that they are in your thoughts. And I'm even happier to hear that you've been collecting your own! Be sure to post their progressions over the coming years. For better or worse we can all learn from each other. Iron sharpens iron is what I always say.

Mine are still "defrosting". We had a bit of snow today but it's just wet stuff that won't stick around. We're finally expecting some nice weather after Friday and that should continue. It's about bloody time if you ask me! In a few weeks I should know more about the state of my trees. They look pretty good as far as I can tell... no obvious signs of damage... but we'll just have to wait and see. Time will sort them out.

My spring collecting season is going to start soon. The ground is still frozen in some parts but I was able to get into the bush recently and found a few Black Spruce that look promising. The only things budding out right now are the Pussy Willows. But those things move water so efficiently it isn't surprising. Everything else is taking its sweet time waking up, and that's just fine by me. More time for me to collect. I'd love to find some more Tamarack, and some Alders.

As for styling, I'll likely be waiting until fall 2023 to start anything major. I just want to make sure my trees are healthy and happy before I work them.

I'll be sure to document any new trees I collect.
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Black Spruce collected this fall 1 month 1 week ago #76309

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Another update!

The Tamaracks I collected in the fall have started pushing their spring growth! Very pleased that they survived. The spruces seem alright but they aren't really pushing. I suspect they are using their energy reserves to repair roots, I hope that's the case anyway. They are still green and flexible and they aren't dropping needles.

I also went collecting earlier this week and pulled this interesting (to me) spruce. The roots were so-so on this one, so if it survives I'll likely be leaving it alone until fall 2024 before insulting it further.

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Black Spruce collected this fall 3 weeks 3 days ago #76701

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Update:
My smallest Black Spruce did not survive. Last week it turned crispy and all the needles fell from its branches despite getting watered regularly. When I took it out of the box I could see that what little roots it had during collection had died. I suspect I messed with the roots too much when I collected it. Lesson learned.

However, my Tamaracks are all doing very well. Here is an updated picture:


I also collected another Black Spruce earlier last week. Here are some photos:


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