Sunday, June 7, 2009

rescuing trees

I want to clarify the spruce collecting trips that I make. While the area it looks very much like natural forests it is not. It is a typical Alpine cow pasture at and above the timber line. By the middle of June farmers bring hundreds of cows to that area where they stay until beginning of September. The first thing the cows do instead of eating grass is they eat the new growth of the spruce. They do this over decades. This is why these spruce are not tall like a normal spruce but stunted and have an incredible number of lower branches which make excellent taper and character. The farmers hate these trees because eventually they will grow larger and ruin the pasture land by making a forest of it again. Therefore they hack them out here and there. It is very easy to get permission. In fact we are helping the farmers to clear their pasture from little trees. And we are actually saving the trees.
For those who wonder whether this is really good material I have two examples which came from exactly that area fifteen years ago. I wish I had taken many more at that time.
I have no doubt that all the spruce we collected will be of similar quality as these two examples one day. Well, it will take fifteen years again, I am afraid.


Anonymous said...

Walter, it's good to hear that these trees are from a cow pasture. My first thought when I saw the collected spruces was that the wild environment was being destroyed. It wasn't that is nice to hear.

My concern with collecting is that the alpine ecosystem is very fragile. With bonsai becoming more popular I am afraid that many, many trees will be taken from their natural environment. They do serve a useful purpose there providing cover and forage insects, birds and mammals.

Anonymous said...


you are talking abouth myth in bonsai quite often, myth in feeding, watering, soil, etc. There is another myth, the myth that ANYBODY is aking for permission before collecting trees!

TpaBayFlyFisher said...

Walter, the second tree may just be my favorite bonsai ever. It feels as if "he" is ready to protect the rest of his kind from attacking cows!