Ezo Spruce Forest Styling-
As the last photo will attest, this tree was styled during quite cold weather…the windows in the studio had very interesting fractal ice patterns last week.
The Ezo itself has been a bonsai a long time, I’m not clear on the provenance of the tree beyond that it’s about 35 years old, sporting some older bark. It could have been imported. This is of the ‘red’ type, which has smaller foliage and a red bud.
This spruce was repotted recently, and the tree has regained vigor after having been weak. Several trunks appear to have died, and were cut away. A few young trees could be reintroduced, although the age of this tree would be hard to replicate, and Ezo is hard to find to begin with. Something to consider, however…the ‘main’ group in this forest (the left side) is about the same size as the ‘secondary’ group (the right side.)
Winter is a good time to work on Ezo. Or any spruce for that matter. Be careful bending branches in very cold conditions. Branches will be a bit more flexible in the winter if placed in a workshop above freezing for a couple hours. (Since most of us do not work in sub-freezing weather this point is a bit moot…but you will find that branches are more susceptible to being shattered at very low temperatures by weight of snow, an ill-directed shovelful of snow, etc.)
There are a couple of front possibilities for this fella—a very good one is the pot front, which is what we chose here. Enjoy-
Ezo Spruce as it came into the yard a month ago, an unruly but happy mop. In a rather small pot. They can do rather well in small pots, although this spring we’ll upsize this one a bit. Ezo also do well on slabs, if one can insure good hydration. They don’t appreciate getting as dry as a pine.
The spruce after the thinning out process of choosing branches
Wired Ezo Spruce, from the front. 35″ / 89 cm high.
I’m experimenting with leaving lower branches on taller trees. Normally thinner bonsai have lower branches removed, but in studying how single trees and those on the edges of forests grow, I see that many conifers tend to retain the lowest branches, sometimes they are even brushing the ground on old trees. That makes me rethink how we usually style tall trees. Oddly enough, some trees feel taller this way.
At present, many of these branches are on the long side. With spruce we have to wait for budding to occur. On a strong, wired tree, interior buds will come swiftly, and then we can cut off the longer shoots and redevelop the branches to be shorter. With time, in about 4 years, that should be this tree’s future. Shorter branches will make more sense with the small diameter of the trunks.
An ice painting on the inside of the studio windows last week…I don’t recall seeing this ‘tree of life/segmented worm’ ice fractal before.