Old Dwarf Alberta Spruce

I was new to Bonsai (2015), a friend (has been practicing Bonsai for many, many years) gave me his old Dwarf Alberta Spruce in a bonsai pot, he estimated the age to be 30 years, his tree was suffering and as I was a gardener he gave it to me to bring back to health. It was in a bonsai pot so he said to pull it out and plant it in a large training box (mistake #1, the box was too large and roots started to rot over time); however the tree did respond and started to grow well. In Spring 2017, he told me to pull off all new growth to make the tree back bud (huge mistake #2, this set my poor tree back years!). Then I started watching Miria videos and realized everything we had done was wrong. I let the tree grow out, in March 2019 I repotted it into a smaller training box with an Akadama mix, in May 2019 there was lots of growth everywhere. September I did some light pruning and clean up and wired a few branches (I know I should wire them all, but I was chicken and my wiring isn’t great - I’m learning). Attached is a picture the tree is about 30 years old. So you can bonsai an Alberta Spruce. Mine is left outside all year, I live on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. It is a species that we grow here in our landscapes.

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Hi Deva,

could you let me know how this tree is going? When you said that there was lots of growth everywhere, did it back bud at all on the older wood?

The tree is healthy but will need to be repotted this coming spring. Lots of new growth out at the tips and some buds back about an inch, but nothing on older wood. My tree is estimated about 30 plus years old, maybe a younger tree would back bud.