Pinching subalpine fir?

Hi all, I am wondering if anyone has experiencing pinching subalpine fir. I only have one in my collection and last year I just let the tree grow freely. I’m inclined to pinch off the new growth at the apex, to help ramify the lower branches. Before going all out, and pinching the new growth on the apex, I thought I should see if folks have had success doing this.

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There is a video in the library with some warnings about pinching subalpine fir.

This one:

Basically it’s doable but you don’t get backbuds at the pinch site, so make sure there are buds it’ll activate.


That’s right. Unlike spruce, pinching a fir sacrifices the tip that is pinched in order to stimulate preexisting buds behind it to grow.


Glad to see some more fir coming on, they are such beautiful trees and completely underutilized! Could you grab and post some more shots of your tree?

I’ve only played around with Nordmann fir as they sell them as christmas trees here in CZ. When I went too fast on it (style around Christmas and re-pot the following spring) it took me 2 growing seasons to really see any backbuds pop up.
But my other Nordman, which I styled, left more green on and left in the ugly plastic container it came in, I had a plethora of backbuds appear and this year, a full season of growth besides going into a decent pot with modern substrate, I think I’ll be able to really select what length I want where. But maybe I still leave on extra growth just to push the development along further.

Firs are awesome! Especially when you find the beauties in their natural habitat.

I have had a larg Alpine fir in a pot or years.
Ive been a Mirai member since before inception… watch and embrace almost everything…
Regardless of the wisdome out there, I pinch the elongated newish buds as they grow. Leave 1/3+. If I dont, the next years set growth has a super long internode. AND, the previous elongated limb NEVER sets new buds. I also do some bud selection at this time. The new back growth is usually perfuse and vigerous! If you wait untill fall and trim buds/ elingated growth, the new limb just dies… no new buds, EVER.
This also pushes buds way back. Don’t bet on buds back on older wood (except on younger trees…?)… limb selection in mid fall?
I wire where it is needed. I have found fir takes forever to set wired limbs. Like, never…
Clip n grow. Heavy late spring onward organic fertilizer. 1:1:1 A, L, P. Mine gets along great with heavy moss growth., so, surface treatment.
Late fall, I choose and clip buds. Early spring, I clean up odd buds and stray new growth, up and down.
This has worked for me on this tree for the last 5 years. It IS one of my happy trees!
However, my smaller younger upright Alpine fir is still a mess. Didnt take a trunk chop well. Had to rearrange the apex. It mostly died also. Wired limbs died. Probably technique! Might be due to current summer heat… Good back budding, though; on main trunk, too!
Hope this helps!
Bonsai On!

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Here is a quick progression of the tree to date. I picked it up through my local club for $100. I’m trying for a similar progression to one in the Art of Kimura (although I know it’s a totally different species - included for reference). Any suggestions are welcome. I’m trying to fill out the lower branches. The pads are a little difficult to make out from the picture, so I also included a top down shot. I know it’s got a ways to go, but at least that’s the plan I have for it now.