Pruning My Black Spruce, The Bonsai Zone, March 2023

Hi everyone Nigel Saunders here it is a Beautiful sunny day today and I'm going To be working on my black Spruce pruning It up to get a nice tight conical form Here is a look at the tree I'll spin it Around So I've already tried to get it as tight A conical form as I can get But it's still not there yet I'd like it To be even a narrower cone shape so a Lot of these long shoots here branches Can get pruned back and I'm hoping I can Do that today Hoping there's some back buds in here That I can prune back to So let's look at some of the branches Now and see what can be done Here's a look at a branch on this Branch Out at the tip here there's a you know Quite a few vigorous Buds and if I go Back closer to the trunk line I can see Some buds back here on the branch So on this Branch I could prune it back To here And allow these buds back here to now Grow and I've shortened the branch This Branch here is one of my longest Branches I have Three or four buds out of the tip here If I go back in the branch I have a pair Of buds back here And if I go back even further I've got a Bud right here

So I could prune this Long Branch back To here Like this Shortening it Here's another Long Branch here so again I have buds one two three buds at the Tip I've got some buds back further here And I've got some buds way back here so I Can shorten this branch Back to here Taking the whole end off getting this Tree more compact a tighter conical form To it Let's look at the apex of the tree now So you can see the top is dead the Rabbits ate the top off this tree that's Why it's dead on top like that there's Several new branches growing up which Will you know eventually become the Leader of the tree you can see this one Is really vigorous I don't mind the dead top on it it's you See that in nature a lot You know they get killed by the wind or Lightning or I can prune this one back I'm just Pruning these back more compact I've got Lots of buds in there This one could be pruned back So this time of year the buds are really Visible they're swelling to grow in Spring So it's a good time to prune a spruce

When you see those buds starting to get Really fat so I'm taking all these Branches back as short as possible And if I don't see like this Branch here I don't see any new buds I don't see a Bud at the tip it looks really really Weak so there's two options I could Prune that off or I can just don't touch It at all and see if something develops On that Branch because nothing is Visible yet Now that may change as we get closer to Real Spring but No sign of Life on that Branch or New Life This one I've got A couple of buds here But nothing back further so I can't Really shorten that Without taking a big risk This one You can see there's all kinds of buds at The base of this so I can shorten this Right back like that and use these new Buds as the new branches Same I can take this one Back really short There's a branch here I've got a bud Here One on top so I can just take a little Bit off Not much This one I've got bud a strong bud at The base so I can take that back there

And this one too well I got buds here maybe nothing in this Area but Sometimes they butt back on the trunks Which is also really nice So you can see I've already take that Apex down quite Slim Now I want to take these branches down Closer to the trunk line here these Branches here they're all very upright Let's have a look at those All right so I'm looking at this upright Branch here it's Growing very vertical And You know there's this one's part of the Same branch And if I were to take those off I would Have quite a bare spot here which is Actually very typical of black Spruce They have kind of branches of the lower Part A Bear section and then like an Arrowhead on the top So that Might be a wise thing to do Um I'm looking at these Vertical shoots if I turn it around I've got a butt at the base of the one So I could grow more horizontal Branch Here But down here I have a whole cluster of Branches so it may not be desirable to Have you know even more branches in that Spot

So I need to decide what I want to do There I definitely don't want these you know Shoots coming up vertically I think that just spoils the treat and I Already have enough of a world down here So I think I'm going to take them off so I'm going To start With this big thick one out front here So it's coming off right here Like that And I Might be able to Prune that just a little bit closer to The trunk yep like that And then this one I have a bud down low So I'm going to Prune it back at least to here Like that And now I've got to deal with this world Of branches here You can see there's one branch here that I've pruned and again it's really weak There's no buds on it I think chances Ari would probably die This summer So if I want to thin this section this Whirl out here that's a good place to Start taking that really weak Branch off So here I go Like that there is a bud underneath it Which is good Uh

This one can be pruned shorter That I have a lot of buds that will come out Horizontally this one could be putting Shorter with a bud back here I guess I could prune this one even Shorter too Because I have the bud back there so I'll probably once those buds start Growing I'll probably prune this Branch Off and just replace it with the new Chute Then I can manage it more carefully Kind of Getting it to grow how I want it to So that's kind of a lot a lot of this Whirl is in check it's going to back Butt like crazy and then I'll select my Branches once it starts growing thin it Out And hopefully make it look quite nice So all these branches here this one here And this one here have no new buds on it But at the base of them There's a whole bunch of buds so these Branches will get regrown also so I'll Just Prune them back Knowing they'll come off in the future And be replaced by new buds coming off The trunk And same down here you can see Down lower Yeah so as I go further down the tree I

Can see here These branches I've got all kinds of Buds so they'll just be replaced in the Future also so I'll just prune them back A bit So I know I'll be taking those off Here's an upright part to this branch That can be removed And this one can be shortened To some back buds this one Again I have back buds underneath it so I can shorten it This one I've got buds back here so I'll Shorten that branch It's amazing on these Spruce you know How well they do back bud And how you can get them very compact Just by pruning Take the tip off this one Tip off this one To buff here The path here Looking for back buds Now here's a branch that's sticking Straight up I'll take that out That shorten this one Trim that one Wow it's amazing how I can shorten this And this tree isn't very old It's a young one So here's a branch I've got some horizontal growth on it And I've got a lot of vertical growth so

I can prune the vertical growth off Keeping my Horizontal growth So that will make a much nicer branch in That area This can be pruned back I've got buds Back here I've got buds everywhere it's amazing This one can be pruned back This one can be pruned back This one This one back further This one could be pruned back further Not this one It comes out and divides into three here Now this Branch here you can see it's Quite thick it divides into three so I Could take out one of those branches and Keep the other ones So I'm going to I don't want if I take Out the middle one I've got 2y too wide A y shape with the remaining two Branches so I want to keep my middle one And one branch to this side So I think in this case Because I have more space on this side Of the tree I'll keep this branch and Remove this one here That gives these branches a little more Room and then I'll prune there's a bud Back here so I can prune this Branch Shorter This one And prune the tip off that's about all I

Can do there Now let's keep rotating around Here's another branch That has a nice cascading branch that I Can prune it back to There This one divides into two here And then a two again so I can prune This part's really strong on it but back Here so I'll prune that one back shorter This one looks really weak I don't see Any new buds on it at all so I'll leave That one It may not even live this year but well Here's another branch that has multiple Branches coming off of it Um definitely get rid of all this upper Part Keeping these two One could be shortened There's another Branch Um threaten that one And Take this one out Shorten this one And I think that's about uh Yeah I think that's about all I can do on That one You know when these new buds come out I Can maybe do some more pruning See if I can shorten more branches Like this one's fairly long and I do Have buds way back here

So I'll just shorten it for now This one too This one's very long Butts back there here I can be shortened And prune that one back Oh I got some vertical growth here Take that off And here take that right off So I have made a lot of progress on this Tree today More than I expected actually I didn't Expect this many back buds This one's coming off the bottom so I Could prune off the top part of that Branch it's got another bud back there Gets that Branch going a better Direction And take this Branch right off Don't like it there And then I've got this vertical part Here I'm going to take that off Okay let's step back and have a look at The tree now Here's a look at the tree now so you can See it's a very nice tight conical form To it I think it's looking really good I am There's a possibility that this tree Will go in my bog Forest let me pull my Bog Forest out Here's a look at my bog Forest so in the

Middle of the forest here I have two Dead spruce trees And it's possible I could replace one of them with that Living Spruce it's about the right size To go in there And if I'm going to do it You know it's getting closer to Spring The buds are swelling and coming out it Would be the right time Yeah it's uh interesting I do like the Dead trees here I think they really Had a realistic feel to it but I could also put a living one in there Too You know maybe keep one dead tree Replace the living one or remove the Other dead tree to a different location In the forest You know maybe on this side is sort of The Tall Tree in this This clump of arches on this side Um It would be I think it would be nice to Have the focal point of this side of the Forest the tallest tree in the forest to Be a living tree I I do like the dead ones but I think I think maybe the living tree is more Important and have the dead trees as Sort of Complementary trees so they enhance the Seam rather than They are the scene

So I can see I can do a lot of pruning In this Forest also Especially on these black spruce Same thing I've got all these back buds Coming All over the tree and I can shorten a Lot of these shoots back Also getting them kind of tighter Triangles Yeah so I think I think that's a good idea to take this Tree And put it in the forest here I think that would look really good So I think I think it's too much to tackle this for Us today because I I have a feeling There's going to be a lot of work in it There's a lot of trees to prune here I Can prune the Larch trees I'm going to plant The New Black Spruce in the forest So yeah I think we'll leave that for Tomorrow We got the black Spruce pruned up or I Did and uh yeah I think that'll be an Exciting video tomorrow getting this Forest all pruned up ready for spring I've already done a lot of work on it But I haven't touched the black spruce I couldn't see the buds last time I was Working on it And you don't want to prune Spruce until You can see the spring buds

Once you can see them then you can start Pruning And the Larch you don't want to prune Those until you see the bud swelling too Because You don't want to be pruning back to Dead buds You don't want to be Relying on branches that may be dead So for the styling of the trees So you can see now they're all starting To shoot out all the buds are swelling And coming out there's green on all the Tips and some of them have actually Leafed out already Okay so Put the living Black Spruce in the forest here I have a feeling I think it's a little taller than this Dead tree and I could always take the Top off this dead part this dead tree I Think I've got to move this one back Further in the forest there is an empty Spot back here And then put the living tree kind of Replace this tree with the living one I Think that would look really good Or maybe you know I might have to do I might have to rearrange more than just One tree we'll see But yeah I think that'll be an exciting Video I'm looking forward to getting this

Forest all looking really nice Here's what I took off my black Spruce Today You know quite a bit reducing those Branches Really far back and you can see the Conical shape of the black Spruce now That very tight Conical shape And that matches all the rest Of the black Spruce in this Forest Because I'm working on getting those Pruned up the exact same way I'm amazed at how tight a conical form I've got this black Spruce down to and It's only been a few years I'll show you A picture of this tree When I first got it So here it is today A much different looking treat and it'll Now be part of my black Spruce and Larch Forest So I'm really looking forward to getting This forest all looking really nice Tomorrow so that is all for today I'm Nigel Saunders thanks for joining me in The Bonsai Zone [Music]

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