Hi, I’ve enjoyed reading the posts on this site for a while, and I finally joined. Glad to be here.
I have a couple questions about a large spruce I acquired from our local botanic garden several years ago: one about back-budding, and the other about digging it up to put into a training pot.
A couple years after I bought the tree, I took it to a class, and a knowledgable teacher guided me to chop it and remove several unwanted branches from the very heavy and nicely tapered trunk. The result was a short tree with almost evenly-spaced branches radiating out from the trunk. I waited patiently for a couple years for some back-budding, but didn’t get too much. Then I decided to cut back about a third of the foliage at the extremity of each branch, and I did get some nice back-budding. I’ve done that for the past few years, but the back-budding has slowed. In the meantime, the tree has developed a coat of lichen in many places. Does this inhibit back-budding? Should I remove it? Should I continue to cut back foliage at the branch tips? How much? What time of year? (I live in Zone 5b/6a.)
My second question has to do with how to lift the tree in order to get it into a training pot. The tree has been in the ground for approximately 6 years, and I’m sure the roots go everywhere. It’s been suggested that I cut the roots with a spade all around the tree, wait some amount of time, and then try to raise it out of the ground. I’d like to get it into a nursery pot no larger than 12" in diameter–any larger and I won’t be able to carry it! Does anybody have any suggestions for me? P.S. What time of year is the best time to cut the roots with the spade?
If I can, I’ll put a couple photos below. First photo will show the tree as I acquired it in 2012 (?), and the second (shown from the top looking down) will show the radial arrangement of the branches after removal of unwanted branches and a few years’ worth of trying to encourage back-budding.
Thanks in advance for your advice.