Alberta Spruce (picea glauca “Conica”)

Alberta spruce can be tricky to use as bonsai mainly because of 2 reasons. They don’t back-bud readily and the branches take a long time to position after being wired. Despite these 2 problems, I found one on sale at my local nursery for $9.00 and could not resist.


Here is the tall, bushy and wildly growing tree. Does not look like much at the moment other than a shrub for the yard.


I cleaned up the soil surface and noticed it was a twin trunk. Did not take notice to that at the nursery.


Once I removed a couple lower branches I could see that the double trunk also came accompanied by a very noticeable graft scar.The graft area had a bulge to it that made it look a little out-of-place with the rest of the trunk. This needed to be fixed.


I decided to leave it as a twin trunk and a way to get rid of the very noticeable graft scar was to conceal it by turning the area into a shari. I’m going for the “split in 2 by lightning” approach for the design. The main trunks top is carved out all the way down the inside to the split and then up the other trunk to the tip. I also thinned out all the small or dead branches and opened up the remaining branches to light and air. This was mostly all done over winter. I did not even think about getting photos of me doing the carving. Sorry 😦


After a period of time and the tree showing signs of swelling buds i wanted to get in a training pot and better soil.


Root mass out of nursery pot.


I raked out a small portion on the outside of the root mass. Most of the root mass stayed intact. I did not have to or feel the need to prune any of the roots at this time.


In its training pot with some better fresh bonsai soil.


Shortly after, all the fresh buds starting breaking open.


Close-up of the new growth showing signs of a healthy tree.

After the growing season, I will work on the deadwood features and finish them and then start the wiring and shaping process. For now it will grow over the summer and strengthen. Hopefully in the future it turns out to be a fairly good-looking bonsai 🙂

If this tree turns out ok, I may consider using this species more in the future. They are very abundant in my region and I can usually find them at very low-cost. We will have to wait and see what the future holds.

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3 thoughts on “Alberta Spruce (picea glauca “Conica”)”

    1. Thanks! I took a risk with the carving and as of now only lost one branch on the secondary trunk which is no big deal for the final design. All others look healthy thankfully.

      1. Seeing yours has given me ideas for a juniper I have. Glad to hear yours is doing so well!

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