Thursday, January 13, 2011

Picea Glauca Conica Bonsai

Alberta Spruce is an evergreen conifer with deep-green dense foliage, native North American - originated in coolest forested regions. His scientific name is "Picea Glauca",  other names being: Canadian spruce, skunk spruce, Western white spruce, Alberta white spruce or Porshild spruce.  In British Columbia, in the Rocky Mountains, the most common variety is "Picea Alberta Albertiana". Its wood is harvested for paper-making and is a very important component in constructions industry. In Japan, the Spruce wood imported from Canada (known as "shin-kaya") it is used to make "GO game boards".  But in the gardens, the very attractive components of the Canadian home landscaping is a dwarf cultivar named " Picea Glauca Conica".  It is a very slow growing conifer (less than 10 centimeters per year) that makes an excellent bonsai tree.

Dwarf Alberta Spruce / Picea Glauca Conica bonsai
Dwarf Alberta Spruce - Picea Glauca Conica bonsai

Dwarf varieties grow around 10 feet (the normal Alberta spruce grow bigger - around 40 feet) and need protection for their roots against freezing temperatures, although they should be exposed to cold temperatures during winter.

Its trunk and roots get ridged with age. In Canada it is very popular as a decorative garden plant and small Christmas Tree and as ... beginner's first bonsai. But ... don't be fooled by his appearance, this guy is very difficult to tame. (hard to no back budding, elastic like branches, browning needles)

So, as many others before me, 7-8 years ago I fall in love with its natural shape and dense foliage ...and I started my apprenticeship training in the "bonsai world" with a 4 years old, pyramidal Dwarf Alberta Spruce.

I discovered that these conifers are difficult to wire because they quickly return to their original shape once the wire is removed, due to their incredibly supple branches.
You can choose many styles for Dwarf Alberta Spruce Bonsai:  straight or curved trunk, windswept or multi-trunk.

Pyramidal Dwarf Alberta Spruce bonsai

During growing season if you want to keep the plant's foliage dense, you should pinch back half or two-thirds of the new shoots once they reached 1 inch growth.

 Picea Glauca Conica bonsai

I trained (and abused) this incredible tree for more than 7 years... and now I consider it one of the most "special" bonsai I had, because of its sturdiness and equal fuzziness this tree is capable of.

Initial the tree's trunk and foliage inspired me to work as a Chokkan (formal upright) bonsai, later I turned its shape in Tachiki (Informal upright style) bonsai.  Last year in spring, when was re-potted, it was re-stylized  in a slanting way, his allure inspiring me to transformed his shape in a Shakan (slanting style) bonsai. I rewired his main branches and I let them wired for few months to be sure that they'll maintain the new direction. Old Alberta Spruce trees produce small flowers that are followed by small cones - maybe this year I'll see few of them in my very special bonsai ;-)

Hope you like it!


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