New material - Thoughts/advice for the next year?

Randy Knight made some time to show me his trees and I walked away with these! Terrified to kill them, but will likely kill the aspen :sweat_smile:

So far the plans are to wire and prune the englemann spruce in the fall, wire the ponderosa at the same time, not sure what to do with the weird bulbous lodgepole, but guessing wiring in the fall, and I have zero idea what to do with the aspen :joy:

Any recommendations would be welcome, apologies for the less than stellar pics.





This cool rocky mountain juniper next to some big chunks of olive at Randy’s place:


Nice. I need to do a pilgramige down… never been to Ryan’s either.
.Aspen; doesnt look like quarcus, leaves are larger, pointier, greener…; I’ve had good results with standard 1:1:1 mix. 1/16 left in; moderate top treatment. Organic fertilizer (biogold…), seaweed emulsion. Full morning sun, shade above 85F.
Standard stuff. Are you around Portland? More drainage, better oxygen…
Mice and voles and rabbits eat em…
Just an opinion…
That root could be a problem! Special pot…
Lodge pole will be easy to grow, … Little wire, little jin, small knarley bowl pot… Keep all of the lower limb until later. Bend clockwise, back to trunk and out away from the trunk, and to rear. It may be the apex…:disappointed_relieved:


The ‘aspen’ that I got from him is definitely some kind of poplar, maybe a cottonwood. We’ll see when it flowers I guess! Definitely not quarcus/oak

Right in the middle of Portland! Haven’t seen many pests other than crummy neighbors and racoons.

What could be a root problem? The lodgepole’s massive base?

Nice! Congrats on the purchases and going further down the rabbit hole.

If you’re not a premium member, the forum Q&A or live Q&A might be good for these. Choose one each week and send to Ryan. Ryan probably knows each of the trees or has seen them in passing.

Fall is a good time for initial styling as long a the tree grew well this year and Randy says they are established. If giving styling in Fall, winter care will be important. This spring you’ll want to note: are they pushing growth? Looking strong? Also fertilize the shit out of them. I agree style before repot. Someone can fact check me, but I’m thinking don’t mess with the buds or pinch back since recently collected.
Let them acquire strength. Sounds like you’ll be rewatching a lot of Mirai videos leading up to then.

Please remember these are recently collected trees and require extra care. Randy should be able to tell you signs that they are ready for their next container (i.e. waiting til Spring 2022 rather than Spring 2021). Be careful about repotting too soon. Often Randy’s trees are stabilized but may need another year to fully recover and be ready for transplanting. Ask Randy if unsure. I think he should remember each tree, he typically does.

If nothing else, focus on good watering, proper lighting and protection from winds and too much water.

I know all of these are trees that do well in the rockies (where I live) so they tend to like to be slightly on the dry side. I don’t know where you are located (@Sam - is there any possible news that we might get location tags next to each user name?) but if in the PacNW you guys are wetter there so be mindful. But also don’t let them dry out too much or completely just because I said this.


No offense, but if Randy said it’s an Aspen, then you have an Aspen (Populous Tremoloides). They don’t grow anywhere around me but I did google for images of Aspen shoots and your pic looks very similar.

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Randy said he thought it was aspen, not sure though. @PutItInTheGround I’m definitely in Portland, special little micro-climate of zone 9a. He said they’re all pretty well established and can be repotted this year. The Ponderosa is really my big worry. They seem fragile and this is such a cool tree! I think if it’s styled (gonna probs get some hands-on practice with guy-wires :grimacing:) and maybe potted onto a suitable slab, turning the tree counter-clockwise along the long axis of the pot depending on the styling/availability of such a container. (Maybe I can make one?)

I think the Engelmann is going to be a blast. It’s getting to that fluffy point where it has a lot of options and needs some work.

Would you ever repot and style in the same year? What about fall styling/spring repotting?

Yes, I believe fall style and spring repot should be good.

Update on these: I overwatered the Engelmann and it kicked the proverbial bucket. The deciduous piece is almost certainly black cottonwood and I got a lot more development out of it, though I did have to battle with poplar borers that were already trying to kill it. I got it into a better pot this year and am hoping it does better.

The lodgepole (long lanky boi with a fat trunk) was repotted and restyled, focusing on compressing it and creating some interaction between the two branches/trunks.

The ponderosa was also repotted, not much in the way of roots, chopped down the nebari (? Trunk? Raft? What do I call this long boy?) and have been making more observations of the tree and some design plans that I’ll execute shortly or late fall.

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On the ponderosa, where do the roots EMERGE from on the tree?
Under the main trunk area, or along the extended ‘nebari…’ , or both?
It will take several years to grow good roots… on a ponderosa. Don’t expect backbudding on old wood.
Nice tree. I like the current planted angle. Maybe lean a little more forward. It will design easily… Asymetric left, or symetric right?
AWSOME lodgepole…
Commisery note: my (several) older established spruce have succomed the last two years. My opinion is too much summer heat. Just curled up and died. Probably (mine) not over watering. I’m in eastern Washington state, mostly desert.

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They emerge all along the “nebari” as it probably was the trunk and got crushed my snow load and ground layered itself.

Thanks! It’s a goofy goober :yum:

Yeah, the spruce keeled over at the height of summer temps, so it could have been that too, especially because it died so quickly. I’m in a zone 9a microclimate here in Portland and that allows me to grow citrus outside most winters, but it also means it gets pretty consistently toasty. It got up into the 60s yesterday!

You said you already repotted the ponderosa? Had it been at least two years since Randy collected it? You should always wait at least two years from collection prior to the first potting. If you did pot it and saw roots coming from all along the long crack root, then you ought to be able to shorten it to be able to get it into a pot. Another option might be to stand it up a bit from the current horizontal angle. This could be especially beneficial if most of the roots are at the far end. There might be some added interest if that crack root could be up at an angle above the soil surface. Also, if you did pot this tree I would think about giving it at least a year, maybe two, before doing anything else to it. Especially if the rootball looked at all sparse or weak. Slower is generally better with a collected tree like this. Submitting it to the Forum Q&A is also a really good idea. Ryan has no doubt seen the tree and ought to be able to offer some good advice.

@Roger_Snipes Yeah, it was collected several years ago and has actually been potted by someone else and had been in their care for at least a couple of years based on the wear on the wood pot it came in, not quite sure how many but enough that I could see it wasn’t progressing. Randy said it ought to be repotted soon and fertilized, so I fed a medium amount over last summer, and it responded with much larger needles and more buds, and then I did repot it this year. I took a good 4-5" off the crack root and actually increased the angle to hide the cut under the surface off the soil. I think moving one or two of the long straight pieces down a bit to move away from the flat top look and build some hierarchy is my next step. I’ll probably end up doing that here shortly. Nothing really needs to be cleaned up from what I can see, just some placement correction on a minority of the branches.

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