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#ProgressionThursday - Colorado Blue Spruce Bonsai

Welcome back to another #ProgressionThursday! This week, a Colorado Blue Spruce initially purchased from Todd Schlafer of First Branch Bonsai. Before I dive in, a quick thank you to all the PLB readers for making our Waldo Street Pottery giveaway such a huge success. If you missed that interview, be sure to read about Eli here and be sure to support our American potters!

Now onto my progression. I've really become fond of the Colorado Blue Spruce. They grew very well in St. Louis for me and I'm hopeful that will continue here in middle Tennessee. The branches are easy to wire and the collected specimens can have amazing dead wood. I've also been to Colorado numerous times, beginning in my childhood, and these trees are prominent in my fond memories of the Rockies.

As Purchased, December 2018

As you can see in this first picture, the pot was some sort of heavy cardboard. I knew it wouldn't last long. So the first project was a repot. I took the tree to Bjorn's in the Spring of 2019.

Repot, Spring of 2019

I wasn't sure what I'd find under the hood and in this case, the large tap root made it difficult to get this into a shallow pot. This will be a good home for the tree. Hopefully, the tree can grow strong in this container until a more suitable pot can be found.

Despite the repot in 2019, the tree responded very well and I decided to do a little bit of work on the tree in the late fall.

A touch of work, Late fall, 2019



As you can see, the work was not drastic, but I wanted to begin to wire some of the lower branches and get a feel for the overall shape. Immediately, I knew the trunk line would need to be reduced due to the lack of taper. But, that would have to wait.

I let the tree grow pretty much untouched most of the following year. (I did cut back a couple of really strong buds as they elongated in the spring).

During COVID, I've had the chance to work on my wiring and styling and I decided to take another crack at this tree. I knew the tree needed shortened and I also wanted to highlight the deadwood and branches coming from the trunk line. Basically, all the interesting parts of this tree were towards the base of the trunk. So I decided to style the tree to bring attention to those features.

Fall of 2020


Colorado Blue Spruce Bonsai Tree

I feel like the basic structure of this tree is now in place. The buds are set and strong for next year. My plan is to let this one grow into itself over the next year or two. I'll look to balance the strength of the tree by pruning back strong buds as they grow in the spring, but I'll be careful not to prune too much. I want this tree to gather as much strength as possible.

I'm thinking a repot in 2021 0r 2022 onto a slab or rock to match the Rockies I so love!

Final Before & After

So, what do you think? Do you like the new structure? What experience do you have with Colorado Blue Spruce? Feel free to share in the comments below!

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