Sub-Alpine Fir Yamadori

(Frank Corrigan) #1

Here are two sub-alpine fir I collected in 2017. The first is a triple trunk that I collected late spring and the other one that i collected in the fall is a double trunk. I am interested to learn more about theses trees in the years ahead. Both have responded well to collection so far and are showing signs of new growth and back budding is starting to occur. More so on the one collected earlier. They have been place in pure pumice in grow boxes built to fit the remaining roots after bare rooting upon collection. Both trees were firmly fastened in the box to limit strain on new feeder roots. Looking forward to the coming fall and winter for rough first styling if they continue to do well.

(Jonas Dupuich) #2

Fun trees! Sub-alpine fir is a great variety but am not sure how they grow where I live.

(Frank Corrigan) #3

I would expect not very well. They need a fairly lengthy dormancy period. Perhaps for a short vacation in the sun,sand,wine country:sunglasses:


Beautiful trees Frank. Will look forward to hearing about your progression with them.

(Frank Corrigan) #5

Thanks, i will be beginning some basic removal of unwanted branches in the next month or so on the tree that was collected last spring. The roots have responded very well and the new foliage is strong this spring. The excess branching and foliage is no longer needed to ensure recovery from collection. This is the triple trunk that is about to become a twin trunk in design. The other tree was collected last fall and i will let it recover at least until this fall, possibly longer before removing any branches or foliage.

(Frank Corrigan) #6

This update will show the progress

over the past 16 months. I have removed and cleaned as foliage died or was determined to be no longer needed. The tree was kept in partial shade, well watered and given preventative treatment for fungal issues that are common to sub-alpine fir. I have been observing the tree and checking for signs that recovery from collection and strengthening is occurring. One of the key signs is the profusion of backbudding on the trunks and bare areas of the branches. Vibrancy of the foliage is another key indicator. Exploring the grow box and discovering plenty of white tipped roots is another favourable indicator.
The picture will hopefully be clear enough to show the numerous brown buds that indicate the tree is now ready to begin styling and prepared to take off in new growth this coming spring.
The other sub alpine fir that was collected in the fall has yet to show the back buds, however it is healthy and progressing. I expect that it will show similar progress after one more growing season to recover. The difference from early spring collection to later fall collection is very evident. Both work but the early spring collection affords the plant a faster recovery period as it is just entering a growth cycle rather than entering a dormancy.

(Frank Corrigan) #7

Most recent update on progression. With this tree the backbudding is extensive and choices will need to be made in the spring. To a certain extent that will involve determining branch selection initially and front of the design. To prepare for that i spent some time lately exploring the base below the soil line and the position and movement of the three trunks in relation to each other. My initial decsions and wiring to re-position some trunk movement is included below. The three trunk do all emerge from the one base and there is a nice tapering base below visible area of the largest trunk. The natural relationship between the height of the three trunks is pretty good and i am not sure if i will adjust that at all. For now i have used some heavy copper wire to reposition the upper portion of the smaller trunk in relation to the other two.
here is the front i have chosen. Next stage will be to remove any extra branches, wire and position the remaining branches for the initial design. Project for the new year.

Let the tree grow out next season and take it from there!

(Jonas Dupuich) #8

That’s going to be a fun tree to work on - and rewarding. Considering how good it looks now I expect it’ll be no time before it looks great!

(Frank Corrigan) #9

It will be even more fun if i get help to move it into the workshop! I am looking forward to the day when i can transfer to a bonsai pot. The weight savings will be significant. I plan on transitioning to a smaller and shallower grow box as an intermediary step in refining the roots. The timeline looks like it will be.
Collected June 2017. In Pumice, native soil removed.
2018 recovery, lots of backbudding,
January 2019, initial styling and basic wiring of primary branches.
March 2019 , transition to smaller grow box, remove portions of largest roots and promote better ramification of root ball.
This is faster progress than normal for collected tree, Best case scenario and a species that responds well to root work. A similar tree collected in the fall of 2017 will be delayed for at least another year! I will follow up with progression after initial styling and wiring.

(Jonas Dupuich) #10

That sounds about right - it’s great when they grow well after collecting as that really speeds up the initial development time. I know the feeling about getting trees into lighter pots too!

(Frank Corrigan) #11

With the help of a friend i began the process of repotting this collected tree from box to training pot! Very pleased with the progression of roots and managed to fit it into a nicer container for design and refinement process. Will allow this season for recovery and begin styling, wiring in the fall. Here are a couple of pictures to document progress.

(Nicholas) #12

Out of curiosity, what were your parameters that made you decide to repot now?

I ask because I have a sub-alpine fir in a nursery container that I am waiting to get into a pot this spring too. The buds in the apex are swelling, but not yet showing green. Some of the buds on lower branches aren’t swelling as much yet.

Amazing tree by the way. I love clumps and multi-trunk trees, especially when they play nicely with each other naturally.

(Frank Corrigan) #13

Great question. It is a high mountain tree, the natural tendency is to get moving quickly as soon as the weather begins to warm up at high altitude. I have seen buds swelling at altitude just after snow melt with just a few days of shorter hours with warm sun exposure My location is less than 200 metres and average daily temps are climbing to 8 C with little or no risk of heavy frost in my area on Vancouver Island. White growing tips were evident and extending as shown in one of the pictures above.
Definitely early for some species but not this one.

(Nicholas) #14

Thanks for the knowledge! I’m in Portland, Oregon which I would assume should be a little warmer than Vancouver Island, but we are just a bit colder than you are describing now (been mostly between -2 to 5 Celsius for the past few weeks). It looks like next week the temperatures will be warming up to normal March areas for us soon.

(Frank Corrigan) #15

Your weather is similar, however you are a fair bit more inland. The island with being closer to ocean on all sides has a greater moderating influence. The key in this situation is the micro-climate of my particular location and the fact that it is a high mountain species. When Snowmaggedon was affecting the I5 for quite a few days, we slipped along the 101 in the :umbrella: . Glad to here it is warming up for our. Southern neighbours, it was pretty cool when we travelled to California a few weeks ago.