Judge #1: Design representative of natural tendencies of species, great start.
Judge #3: Very creative use of material.
White Spruce (Picea Glauca var. unknown)
124.4 cm (49") / 88.9cm (35")
This tree was purchased in Napa Valley, CA from a closing nursery 3 hours away from my house. The owner passed away and his son was liquidating off all the stock. I selected this Spruce because of it’s interesting deadwood, fissured bark and massive trunk. The trunk flares nicely at the soil. I really piled on the pressure with this tree because in the hands of a true artist I belive this could be a wonderful peice of work. That being said, it is a spruce, it’s huge, it’s heavy and will be hard as hell to work with. Not killing off the existing, decently ramified branching will be an accomplishment in of itself. I think the only thing going for me at this point is that the tree has been living in a container for the last 2 decades, so recovery from brutal styling may come slightly easier if I don’t have to repot.
Styling Direction: The size of this thing needs to be majorly reduced. The planting angle will be changed to slant the trunk after a front has been chosen. The main trunk will likely be split above the second movement above the dead trunk, maybe into quadrents, bent severly down over the existing deadwood, then reassembled…Kimura fashion! I really want to incorporate the deadwood trunk, but I fear it will contrast to much with the newly placed foliage.
One Quarter Progression
1/4 progression: No major styling has been done yet. I’ve pulled the inner needles on 3 year old growth, which took about 3 days to complete. I’ve remove most branches growing in unfavorable directions and most bar/wheel branches. You can see the tree appears to be thinned out a bit .
Since spruces do not tolerate heavy pruning or wiring during the late growing season All I’ve done is some more needle plucking and changed the planting angle. Mid to late winter I will wire and begin arraigning the profile
Three Quarter Progression
waited until almost mid winter to execute two trunk bends and wire all primary branches. I brought the crown down as well. However the profile will not be arraigned until early spring in an effort to conserve vigor.
These progression images will show notching into 2 different places to bend the trunk; I decided not to split the trunk and bend it because my design did not require such a sever bend after all.
Over all Impression:
I really enjoyed working with this tree as it provided many possibilities. It literally took me 6 months to decide on a front. I believe I chose a good style for this spruce. I tried to accuentuate its strongest features while conveying grace and balance. I believe the tree will gain more balance by developing the back-buds and bringing the foliage in tighter.
A decent design and a healthy tree – I am happy.
Styling: incorporating the deadwood
I married the dead and live areas of the the tree by carving a prominent shari down the front of the trunk. The upper dead wood had great character underneath the bark – all I did was add texture and depth which revealed the growth rings in an interesting way.
She responded surprisingly well to the winter styling by coming out of dormancy with great vigor and strength. I began pinching shoots to promote backbudding in late february!
As spring arrived I finished arrainging the profile and began shoot selection and refinment via needle plucking. I added fine wire and advanced turn buckles to achieve the profile (there are actually 4 guy/turnbuckles on the tree when the picture were taken). I actually left a lot of surperfluous shoots to give me more options down the road (mainly in the crown/apex). The tree could have been refined more by removing additional shoots, but the more time I spent on it the more I realized I did not want to sacrifice future development.
I’ve included 2 images of each side from slightly different viewing angles – I think this will show the tree’s versatility.