Friday, July 16, 2010

European spruce

Spring soon came and went and because of other commitments I didn’t do all that I wanted to do to my collection of bonsai trees. I have also not posted anywhere as many posts to my blog has I had planned, but hopefully now I can get back on track and start to spend more time on my own bonsai collection. Even though I was busy with other things I still found time to search for some yamadora to add to my collection. I wrote last year of a great source for some potential bonsai material and these could be found on the roadside verges. From this exact type of location I managed to find two or three pieces of material that could turn into a good bonsai. To my surprise two of the pieces I came across were European spruce (Picea abies) that have been repeatedly cut by the verge cutter, which has resulted in thick trunks to form but the height has remained low.

I potted the trees into ‘training’ pots but I could have put them straight into a normal bonsai pot because the main roots were near to the surface. I also potted them into a new bonsai soil mix I am starting to use. This material is lighter than the cat litter I have been using and the dark brown colour looks better than the lighter colour of cat litter especially when it starts to dry. I mixed about 10% pine bark as spruce like a drier soil mix. This type of soil needs real commitment each day because the soil can dry very quickly, especially with the hot temperatures we have been having here in Finland the last week or so. I am watering my bonsai daily and feeding every 10 days. You can see from the one spruce that this is already working well.

You can see clearly in the photo below the effects that the verge cutter had on the tree with the top completely horizontal. With some removal of certain branches and shaping of others then this has excellent potential because the main trunk is already quite thick and does not need any work.

I will continue to water and feed this year and allow the trees to grow freely and then next year I will start to shape the trees.


  1. Excellent material! Spruce is not so popular, but in my limited experience it is much more forgiving than pine. Once it has lost its strict upright way of growing, it does bud back and get better rather easily.

  2. Hi Jani,
    These trees were pointed out to me by my mother-in-law and since then I have collected 3 more from the same area. All of these have had the same treatment from the verge cutter. Walter Pall uses these quite often and even made a hugh forest with 80 or so spruce trees. I am not sure I will go that far but lets see what I can make of these in the coming years.