'Weeping Serbian Spruce' --'Pendula' and 'Pendula Bruns'

sprucemanApril 6, 2008

I see both these trees at a local nursery. The "Pendula" is from Blue Sterling Nursery in NJ. They have a picture on their website and it looks fabulous. Apparently it grows large. Does anyone have any experience/opinions of this one? The local nursery has a 12 foot one for sale that looks fabulous, but it is $750. They have smaller ones for about $225.

They also have the "Pendula Bruns'" which is apparently narrower, slower growing, and smaller. I have seen some discussion of it in this forum, and it seems that most of you love it. Any more comments on this one?

--Spruce

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dcsteg(5 Shawnee, KS.)

I grow both. Never any issues with these cultivars. I see the Picea a. 'Pendula in many forms. By this I mean Mounding, Arching, or Weeping.

I would buy small. They just make better plants. If potted make sure you spend time sorting the roots out.

'Pendula Bruns' will fit into a tighter area if you have space limitations. Often used as a focal point conifer. Very unique and a must for the collector.

As far as which one to buy, that's a hard one. Chances are if you buy only one you will be back after the other probably sooner then later.

Good luck,

Dave

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 7:58AM
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spruceman

Dave:

If both are good trees for me here, I will get both. This nursery, Webers in Winchester on route 11, has in the last two years, decided to start offering a few unusual conifers each year. It is nice to be able to buy something other than a one-year graft mail order. If I don't get these things when they have them, I may not see them for a long time again.

What about soils? I have a variety of soils here. In some places I have a very deep but light textured loamy soil that has a grayish subsoil about 20 inches down (B horizon) that has a little clay in it, but which is also a bit sandy and does not seem to hold water well. The soil is rated as a class 2 forest soil (as are all my soils), which is very good. But I am concerned about how these spruce cultivars will do in that soil in a drought.

In a limited area I have a kind of sandy loam that is also very deep. The subsoil here is brown with a good amount of clay, and this sub-soil (B soil horizon) seems to hold water better.

Then there are some areas where the top layer of soil is a heavier loam, but it is shallower with a subsoil (B horizon) only about 8 to 10 inches down. This subsoil is heavier and has quite a bit of clay in it, but a lot of roots penetrate it just fine in all but a few areas where they clay is more dense. On this last kind of soil I have some fir trees planted and they look good, but they are very slow. I suspect spruce trees do better than firs on soils where there is a fair amount of clay, but I don't really know for sure. My only evidence is one place where I have a Nordmann fir has a fairly light and somewhat sandy soil. When I planted it there I thought it would not be rich enough for the fir to do well, but as it turns out that Nordmann fir is growing twice as fast as the two I planted on what I thought was a better soil, but which also had a bit more clay.

Well, maybe I am going on too long about my soils. Anyway, I have some lighter soils, and them some heavier soils with more clay in the B horison. I am just wondering, if I am planting both firs and spruces, which would do best on which kind of soil. Trees planted in soil that is not the best almost never look like the best trees.

--Spruce

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 9:30AM
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conifers

Hi Spruce,

Picea omorika for your zone (all of them) should be a no-problem situation. Remember that 100% are grafted to Picea abies or Picea pungens. You could ask but it's very unlikely they'll be using anything but P. abies or pungens. That's what you'll use based on your experiences of both soil types. That's how I see it.

Pendula Bruns will be about 1-2 feet wide when 10 feet tall, and the same width when 25 feet tall. It does with age start to grow at an angle (not perfectly perpendicular) which isn't my favorite attribute but it's a nice plant. I've posted several photos on the record for the ACS Database I'm sure. So expect these things from this cultivar.

'Pendula' of course (Dave said Picea abies not omorika) is upright and never anything else. It also is a name given to a vast amount of clones in the trade. Bob Fincham at Coenosium Gardens has on his website under his links one for 'Plants of the Month' or something like that. I'll just find the link for you.

Have a nice week.

Dax

Here is a link that might be useful: Weeping Serbians

    Bookmark   April 7, 2008 at 9:44AM
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spruceman

Dax:

Thanks for the info. One question--why are these P. omorica cultivars grafted onto Norway spruce or Colorado spruce? P. omorica seedlings/seed are readily available.

Also, if these are grafted onto NS or CS, would that mean that they might do better here in VA, where both NS and CS do very well--better than regular seedling P. omorica, which seems to struggle a bit?

The Blue Sterling website says the P. omorica "pendula" they offer tolerates dry hot climates "better than most." But when it says "better than most," I am not sure what it means. Better than most other P. omorica cultivars? Or better than most spruces? Or what?

Yes, I have seen pictures of the P. omorica "Pendula Bruns," and they often seem to be leaning. Could this be a problem in freezing rain? Can they be uprooted by an ice load if they lean very much? We get two or three ice "events" per year here. Usually not severe, but they generally bring down at least some tree branches.

--Spruce

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 11:01AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

hey spruceman ...

nice analysis on your soils...

i think you are over thinking it to the max ...

all i would be concerned about is how water moves through it... and how you can make sure they nearly dry in between waterings for the first 2 years ...

in that regard.. clay is a problem .. too much water.. or pottery ... you dont have that issue. ...

sand is perfect ... loam holds water ... so there is the issue .. in my simplified world ...

most often .. this is solved.. simply by inserting your finger.. before you flood the thing ...

being no soil scientist ... all i would worry about is soggy feet.. on any tree or conifer.. not suited to such ... drainage is key ...

as for why a certain understock ... with no further info .. i presume a grafter is going to order bulk on the fewest number of understocks.. and use them for every possible graft ... who would want to inventory a hundred differing rootstocks .. and keep track of them.. and search them out when the scion passes the grafting bench .. just my guess ...

ken

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 11:21AM
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