Engelmann Spruce: A 15-Year History

A short history of this Spruce:

  • bought in 2008 at Bonsai Northwest, part of a collection being sold
  • styled in 2009
  • lived merrily for 5 years
  • nearly died of a fungal attack in 2015
  • many dead branches later, it was reworked in 2023


2008, an Engelmann Spruce camouflaged as a mop.


The styled tree, 2009. On de-laminating plywood. (This was hip in 2009.)


2011, filling in a bit. On another plywood board. A choice not of beauty but practicality while scratching head for better solution. I think this was my second tree on a plastic slab, a couple years later.

This is the vacant spot where a photo should be, the disappointed years when this Spruce nearly died from a fungal attack. Didn’t feel inspired to bring out the camera. 


The half-dead live again…2023. As some branches were lost from the fungal attack, others gained maturity. The small trunk gained in girth. The front was rotated counterclockwise to integrate the small and large trunks, and to see the movement in the upper part of the large trunk. The crown of the small tree needs density. But, still peeking out hopefully from beneath its parent. 

For the original styling, please see Three Years of a Spruced-up Spruce.

February 2023 Bulletin Board

  • And now for something completely different…visit my Indiegogo campaign Buy Binoculars for Young Birding Guides in Ecuador! Now 102% funded at $5,125. We still have some platform fees to pay and shipment of our as-yet-unpurchased binoculars, so please: take a look, donate, pass on to friends—

🤞Sign up for the blog!

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy


  1. 1eagle@eoni.com says:

    Hi Michael and thanks for the post. Several winters ago I lost a majority of my collected Engelmann’s from fungus. My fault as they were protected out side with bark and then a plastic wrap over the entire bunch. Not experienced enough to know better. I was sick as there was some really nice ones in the bunch. Live and learn. Collected more here in the Mts so I am on my way again. Lucky you to save this beauty. What chemicals did you use to beat the fungus? Good job! Best, August

    • crataegus says:

      Hi August— good question! a lab identified this as Sirococcus fungus. A tip blight that attacks Atlas cedar, hemlock and spruce. We used Cleary’s 3336 and Heritage to control it.

      • August Day says:

        Thanks for the reply Michael. I better get some of the meds you mentioned. I am just starting to get into Hawthorns. Ordered a mess of seedlings and have one older one blooming in my heated garage in front of a S window…Crataegus Douglasii. Love it! Which Hawthorn is your favorite for bonsai?

  2. Jenna says:

    I wish there were more information out thier regarding fungal attacks!

  3. kathyjcs says:

    Hi Michael,Enjoyed the below!However, did you diagnose the fugus? And what did you use to “fix” it?I think my Engelmann may be similarly afflicted.  Thank you,Kathy Schlesinger

    • crataegus says:

      Hi Kathy— thanks for the question! yes, a lab identified this as Sirococcus fungus. A tip blight that attacks Atlas cedar, hemlock and spruce. We used Cleary’s 3336 and Heritage to control it.

Leave a Reply