Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => Evergreen Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: snipologist on June 05, 2015, 01:57 AM

Title: Engleman spruce survival
Post by: snipologist on June 05, 2015, 01:57 AM
I recently acquired a collected Engleman spruce.   I am not sure how well the species will do her.  I live in northeast Illinois and read in Michael Dirr's book Manual of Woody landscape Plants that the species does not do well in the Midwest.  I planted a young one in the ground last year and it barely survived the winter.  Does anyone have experience with them in the Midwest or Eastern part of the country?
Title: Re: Engleman spruce survival
Post by: thomas tynan on June 08, 2015, 01:32 PM
Difficult to predict. Higher temperatures and coupled with high summer humidity make it tough on these mountain trees. Similar to a Sub-Alpine Fir in terms of preferred climate. It may survive for several years and then start to fade. I would say a strong chance that it will not survive. A soil mix based on a lot of pumice will probably increase your chances. Tom
Title: Re: Engleman spruce survival
Post by: raydomz on June 08, 2015, 01:46 PM
I wish I could respond to this with good news.
I purchased a small engleman from R. Knight a couple of years ago to see if it would be able to make it here in SE MI. After the first winter it's vigor had drastically declined and for all of last year it limped along, it did not even do a full push of growth. After this past winter it appeared to wake up, only to die shortly after. There are a couple of things to consider - the past two winters here have been some of the coldest/windiest on record although the tree was well protected. It was potted in a deep growing pot, 100% pumice.
I was really hoping to give this species another try but I'm not sure I will with the prices of collected material continuing to rise. There are plenty of other excellent spruce to try that will love climates like ours. My colorado blue, birds nest and now ezo don't seem to mind the local climate one bit.
Title: Re: Engleman spruce survival
Post by: John Kirby on June 08, 2015, 02:19 PM
I have had one in CT for Four years, is flouishing, in akadama-pumice-lava (AKA Frank's Mix). I have also had the very clisely related Black Hills Spruce for almost 15 years in NW Arkansas and CT. Get the mountain muck off of it, bare root about 1/2 in spring and protect from intense afternoon sun. They like their roots to be moist, mot wet, but moist. Good luck.
Title: Re: Engleman spruce survival
Post by: Owen Reich on June 08, 2015, 02:36 PM
Last few rounds of trees from Randy I've seen had Douglas Fir bark and leaf litter in bottom of pot to keep the pumice in the container.  Just saved a few from root rot.  If you get something in a nursery container, I'd see what's covering the drainage holes.
Title: Re: Engleman spruce survival
Post by: snipologist on June 09, 2015, 04:35 PM
Thank you all for the advice and warnings.  I bought a Sub-Alpine Fir in 2013 and it died during the winter of 2013 / 2014.  All needles browned, then new growth started, then the new growth died.  The Engleman is planted in pumice as Tom and Raydomz suggest.   The container is a one gallon nursery pot.  Owen, this is a R. Knight collected tree and I do notice leaf litter in the drainage holes.  I will gently remove it and get rid of the leaf litter.  Raydomz, I think your winters and mine are very similiar.  Thank you for your experience.  I will see what this one does.
Title: Re: Engleman spruce survival
Post by: The Hidden Gardens on June 09, 2015, 08:27 PM
Yesterday I drilled  holes in the bottom of the collected trees. I know I should repot all of them but I thought this would help till I could get to all 150 of them. I drilled 3/16 holes in the bottom so it almost looks like a Anderson flat. Water flows though
the pumice now and washes out some of the unsifted pumice fines on the bottom. Thanks for the advice.
Title: Re: Engleman spruce survival
Post by: snipologist on January 15, 2016, 08:00 PM
Just a bit of update.  The Englemann spruce is sitting in my mulch bed outdoors for the winter.  Its shaded but otherwise open to the weather.  In 2 days the night temp is said to go down to minus 4 so I will see if it makes it.  Looks alive so far but time will tell.
Title: Re: Engleman spruce survival
Post by: Jay on January 16, 2016, 06:14 AM
Nice to hear that this one is still going.
All of us in the colder (OK, really cold) climates await the spring for our trees
Title: Re: Engleman spruce survival
Post by: snipologist on March 04, 2017, 07:46 PM
Sorry to report the Englemann spruce has died.  It slowly declined from mid-summer onwards.  The lowest branch lost all its needles and then this continued up the tree.  By fall there were no needles left on any part so the tree was discarded.  Don't think I'll try another.  Black Hills spruce does fine for me despite being slow growers so I will do those and other spruces that I have been successful with.