Firs have a pyramidal form and horizontal branching with the decrease branches drooping towards the bottom. They could develop to 40 – 60 toes within the wild. The foliage is an excellent blue-gray which seems very like that of the Colorado blue spruce. Firs resemble spruce bushes with the most important distinction being that firs have erect cones, versus spruces whose cones dangle down.
The firs are evergreens which choose chilly climates (though most species advisable for bonsai by the books are comparatively heat- tolerant). Typically hardy in zones Three by means of 7.
They like it barely dry, and over-watering is far worse than under-watering.
Feed in spring and autumn. The specialists disagree on frequency of feeding; Tomlinson recommends each two weeks, and Resnick month-to-month. Firs like barely acid soil, so the occasional dose of Miracid is appreciated.
Pruning and wiring:
New shoots ought to be pinched again all through progress. The fir is finest wired in spring. It’s remarkably versatile, and could be skilled into most types.
Seed, layering or cuttings, apart from the dwarf Korean fir, Abies koreana `Compact Dwarf’. Because it doesn’t produce cones, it have to be propagated by means of grafting.
Firs must be acclimated to pot tradition, so they need to be planted in outsized pots and launched into small pots regularly. They are often transplanted in both spring or autumn, and might have it each 2 years. Tomlinson recommends fundamental soil combine, though with the fir’s choice for dryness a fast-draining soil could be value a attempt.
Pests and illnesses:
Typically none are severe, however just a few trigger some injury. The balsam twig aphid feeds on the brand new progress of fir inflicting distorted needles and deposits of honeydew. Bushes can tolerate pretty heavy infestations for a brief time frame however are weakened by repeated heavy infestations. Bagworm builds and lives in a two to three- inch lengthy sack constructed from needles and different particles. The insect overwinters as eggs within the sacks of the feminine. Management by hand-picking the baggage in winter. The extra widespread scale bugs infesting fir are oystershell, pine needle, and cottony cushion. These bugs are arduous to manage as soon as inside their shell or waxy coatings. The crawler stage is most simply managed with applicable pesticides. Spider mites in scorching areas trigger older needles to lose inexperienced coloration and turn out to be yellowed. The bugs are very small and tough to see so infestations can turn out to be extreme earlier than being seen.
Typically none are severe sufficient to trigger concern. Needle and twig blight ends in the shriveling and reddening of the brand new progress. The needles of present seasons progress are curled and lifeless. Terminal progress and a few laterals could also be killed. Pine twig blight is an issue on careworn bushes. The fungus is not going to ordinarily be an issue except the host plant is weakened. The an infection normally begins on the terminal bud close to a department tip. An infection takes place in late summer time and the illness progresses down a twig right into a node. At instances the an infection might go into 2-year-old wooden. Needles on contaminated branches flip reddish then die. Lower off and destroy contaminated twigs. A number of rusts assault firs however will not be an issue on panorama bushes. The illnesses are hardly ever seen. A number of totally different fungi trigger cankers on the trunks and branches of firs. Cankers are sunken areas within the bark that regularly get bigger. When the stem is totally encircled the half past the canker dies. Preserve the crops wholesome by fertilizing and watering throughout dry climate. Cankers could be largely prevented by avoiding plant harm. Root rots attributable to a number of fungi kill roots and decay wooden. Little could be accomplished to manage the illnesses aside from to maintain bushes wholesome to stop illness an infection. Keep tree well being by common fertilization and watering throughout dry climate.
The next firs are advisable for bonsai:
Abies alba – silver fir: darkish inexperienced needles, cylindrical cones.
Abies concolor – white fir, silver fir, Colorado fir: hardy to zone 4. Can develop to 80 ft. within the wild. Grey bark, bluish-green 2 inch needles. Native to southwestern US. This fir can take publicity and can stand up to some warmth and drought higher than most firs.
Abies firma – Momi fir, Japanese fir: darkish inexperienced 1 half of inch needles. Hardy from zones 6 to 9. Native to Japan. Grows as much as 70 ft. tall within the wild. It is without doubt one of the most warmth tolerant firs.
Abies homolepis – Nikko fir: darkish inexperienced, 1 inch needles. Hardy from zones 4-7. A local of Japan, it will probably develop as much as 80 ft. tall within the wild. Warmth-tolerant.
Abies koreana – Korean fir: a small fir. Darkish inexperienced needles, lower than 1 inch lengthy. Its most excellent function is its good violet cones. Abies koreana `Compact Dwarf’ – dwarf Korean fir: dwarf selection; darkish inexperienced needles, no cones. Zones 5-7.
Abies lasiocarpa – Alpine fir: grayish-green needles, 1 half of inches lengthy. Native to space from Alaska to Northern California. Purple cones. Zones 5-7.
Abies lasiocarpa arizonica – cork fir: silver-gray needles, corky bark.
Abies lasiocarpa arizonica `Compacta’ – dwarf cork fir: silvery blue- grey needles, dwarf selection.
Abies nebrodensis – Nebrodi silver fir: just like A. alba, however denser needles, smaller dimension. Native to the Nebrodi Mts. of Italy, it’s nearly extinct within the wild.
Abies sacalinensis – Sakhalin fir: hardy to zone 3.
The Simon and Schuster Information to Bonsai by Resnick
Full Information to Bonsai by Tomlinson USDA Truth Sheet ST-1
Compiled by Sabrina Caine
Edited by Michael Johnson and Thomas L. Zane