dwarf conifers

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penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24
dwarf conifers

I don't see any mention of dwarf conifers anywhere? Does no one like them? 

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

I think quite a lot of folks like 'em, Bob. And the Czechs in particular  are just crazy for Witches' Brooms and these plants were very  popular purchases, being ferried homewards by all manner of visitors after the Czech Conference in 2013. Some of the gardens where these are displayed are quite magical places. I fear that in the USA, as in the UK, there  have been so many people "burned" by the purchase of "dwarf" conifers  that have turned out to be no such thing, that these plants have been largely side-lined- at least as far as discussing them  is concerned.

Too often such plants turn out to be merely slow-growing, or worse,  slow-growing but only  for the first few years! The dwarf conifer lasses at the alpine plant shows in the UK are usually quite well-supported  ( though not all the entries are truly dwarfsurprise ) and can show some really choice little trees. They're just "unfashionable" I guess!

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret) Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

Huh. Well, look here:
http://paridevita.com/2013/01/23/trip-to-jerrys-nursery/

I live down the street, more or less, from Jerry Morris. I was really thinking about building a wooden trough, since I didn't feel like making yet another hypertufa one, and there's a long wooden trough in the pictures in the above post. I might not make one that long ...

So I was really thinking about two things at once (two more than usual, for me). Most of Jerry's conifers stay small. 

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

Oh! That's a great place!  We are both bonsai fans too - so the idea of being able to buy those trees already begun on their journey to Jin with the driftwood/deadwood pieces is really tempting.  I've only recently stopped hyperventilating over the totally glorious  conifers I saw in the Czech Republic. Darn things were growing like little green ( and blue and grey) weeds!

 

 

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret) Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

It really is an amazing place. Or was. I'm not sure of the status of the nursery these days. The pictures were taken quite a while ago, at the plant sale of the Rocky Mtn. Chapter of NARGS, and I should have brought (should have had, in order to bring) thousands of dollars. 

I did manage to get a few cultivars of Picea pungens which are not in commerce. Here's a picture, taken a few minutes ago,  showing 'Haley's Blue' (which is available), and then, continuing to the right, 'Clark's Tiny', MU 92, and 319. At extreme right is a Pinus ponderosa, in the trough, which is at least twenty years old. 

And a close-up of 319. Apparently this one, like MU 92,  wasn't good enough to get a name. 

 

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

We find  Picea pungens are very susceptible to aphid attack here - can that be a problem for you in Colorado?

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret) Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

It's too cold for aphids here......

But no, aphids aren't a problem. Spruce budworm is, but that keeps the plants smaller, and there's a wasp that feeds on the budworm. 

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

"Spruce budworm" isn't a term  familiar to me - had to look it up - we do get chomping critters on conifers but I'm not expert enough t say if they are those exact beasts. Here they don't keep plants small as such....... they just mess them up thoroughly, denuding sections at great speed.

Seems your budworms are species of Choristoneura  while our problem chompers are usually sawflies -  Neodiprion sertifer

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret) Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

penstemon
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-06-24

These things bore into the new growth, and kill it. Like "candling" the conifers, sort of. The dead growth can be snapped in half, revealing the larva, at which point a wasp comes by, and that's the end of that. 

I don't talk about this too much lest one of my spray-happy neighbors gets an idea in their head. 

Here's a middling-quality picture of Picea engelmanii 'Eagle River', another one of Jerry's. (Incidentally, the container--not the tree--has been outdoors for about fifty years, but only recently--this century--began to crack.)

Bob

extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C

IMYoung
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-31

Okay - that's a form of attack "our" critters don't seem to use ( hope I didn't speak too soon.

"Candling" is something that takes quite a bit of time here  as we do our share to keep things in proportion to their allotted space. A simple technique which I am surprised more folks do not employ on their garden pines.

I had already noted your blue ceramic pots - we have a selection of those here , too, which look very similar - we have square and round types too. I guess ours probably date from the early to mid 1980s - no casualties so far, not even in the 9 plus weeks of minus 19 degrees C  the other year - which was a pleasant surprise( the lack of pot damage, not the cold weather!!)

Ian  and/or Margaret Young ( -here it is usually Margaret) Aberdeen , North East Scotland, UK Zone 8a

www.srgc.net

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Is your area free from Cooley spruce gall adelgids, Bob?  They occur here though it is much colder than your area (they are not generally devastating, so far as I know).  We had a small infestation on a spruce when we lived up in Edmonton. 

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

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