Big creeping Juniper

jmmzpsu14

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Thinking about styling this beast as a cascade style bonsai. For this style, do you bend branches back to create height? This has two pretty thick trunks so I’m figuring out what to do. I’ll do a proper re-pot in spring but this things roots are crazy, very vigorous. Trying to aim for last two pictures attached.
 

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sorce

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Since the trunks are quite similar, the direction you lean it to create a Cascade side and an apex may best be determined by the roots.

You don't want to be set on a side only to find out your root mass can't be potted that way.

I wouldn't be concerned about bending branches to create anything yet, looks like it could use a bit more vigour, which will also help it thru repotting, then a severe chop back to the first couple branches on the apex side to begin building it with what is not even there yet.

Really big key that. Future Vision.

I think 80% of your final tree will be made of what is not yet there, after a few years of dropping boring branches and creating your tree with new growth.

Seems something I would try to jam in a 4-6in pot and keep no larger than 10in top to bottom.

Sorce
 

jmmzpsu14

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Since the trunks are quite similar, the direction you lean it to create a Cascade side and an apex may best be determined by the roots.

You don't want to be set on a side only to find out your root mass can't be potted that way.

I wouldn't be concerned about bending branches to create anything yet, looks like it could use a bit more vigour, which will also help it thru repotting, then a severe chop back to the first couple branches on the apex side to begin building it with what is not even there yet.

Really big key that. Future Vision.

I think 80% of your final tree will be made of what is not yet there, after a few years of dropping boring branches and creating your tree with new growth.

Seems something I would try to jam in a 4-6in pot and keep no larger than 10in top to bottom.

Sorce
The problem is that it is severely pot bound... The roots are going in every direction. I can’t even fit into smaller pot till spring when I do that. What I wanted to do was wiring and cutting off branches that are going in opposing ways. The one end the branch cascades down pretty far than what can be seen on the picture
 

sorce

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What I wanted to do

I know! Don't!

Lol!

You really need the vigor in those branches to get it potted small.
Then that vigor is also going to give you the stuff you ACTUALLY need to style when you make that chop, after it's been growing well in its new pot.

I think practicing wiring everything that is there, to create an energy grabbing umbrella of foliage, will be the best use of your time currently.

There is only one chance to make the right move first. For some reason, that's my theme for the day.

Sorce
 

jmmzpsu14

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I know! Don't!

Lol!

You really need the vigor in those branches to get it potted small.
Then that vigor is also going to give you the stuff you ACTUALLY need to style when you make that chop, after it's been growing well in its new pot.

I think practicing wiring everything that is there, to create an energy grabbing umbrella of foliage, will be the best use of your time currently.

There is only one chance to make the right move first. For some reason, that's my theme for the day.

Sorce
What would happen if I did chop and wire ... would I kill it? It already has a good line... I only spent 10 on it so I’m not worried. I’ll repot in spring, the football is just as big as that pot.. and it’s all tightly wound In a big ball of clay... maybe why it was 10
 

sorce

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It's that fate worse than death. The one that kills your soul because it's taking so damn long to become something.

I've been finding that removing 80% of a rootball is regularly possible of you leave the top on for Repot.
I believe this is because every tip is sending signals back to grow roots. When you leave one, it only grows roots for itself. Then people end up in this (usually) downward spiral as the tree slowly (over years) rebuilds the connections necessary to grow the entire tree from that one intact tips regrown roots.
It's the difference between emptying a gallon one drop at a time, and slicing off the bottom with a samurai sword.
The cut branches "drop" some roots. But not that allows bonsai manipulation, wiring etc.
The intact tips flood the pot with roots at once. This is what allows for further manipulation with no caution, and all around vigor.

From Clay, you will be losing 80% of the roots at least.

Sorce
 

jmmzpsu14

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It's that fate worse than death. The one that kills your soul because it's taking so damn long to become something.

I've been finding that removing 80% of a rootball is regularly possible of you leave the top on for Repot.
I believe this is because every tip is sending signals back to grow roots. When you leave one, it only grows roots for itself. Then people end up in this (usually) downward spiral as the tree slowly (over years) rebuilds the connections necessary to grow the entire tree from that one intact tips regrown roots.
It's the difference between emptying a gallon one drop at a time, and slicing off the bottom with a samurai sword.
The cut branches "drop" some roots. But not that allows bonsai manipulation, wiring etc.
The intact tips flood the pot with roots at once. This is what allows for further manipulation with no caution, and all around vigor.

From Clay, you will be losing 80% of the roots at least.

Sorce
So should I just give up on this tree and not style it or soak root all to listen it up I don’t know what to do. If I cut branches in an intact root all then it will decline?
 

sorce

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I reckon it's best to wait.
There was a recent thread where someone was feeling like just because a tree was "cheap" it is practice material, or what have you.

Kinda odd, because it flies right in the face of our mantra, "it's the bullshit no one wants at the nursery that is best for us".

Yet our simple human brains can't escape the idea that more expensive is better. So we keep buying expensive Monrovia overpriced perfect crap to work on.

Backwards World Theory!

This thing is obviously a survivor!

Perfect!

Sorce
 

jmmzpsu14

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I reckon it's best to wait.
There was a recent thread where someone was feeling like just because a tree was "cheap" it is practice material, or what have you.

Kinda odd, because it flies right in the face of our mantra, "it's the bullshit no one wants at the nursery that is best for us".

Yet our simple human brains can't escape the idea that more expensive is better. So we keep buying expensive Monrovia overpriced perfect crap to work on.

Backwards World Theory!

This thing is obviously a survivor!

Perfect!

Sorce
I know all my trees were rejects so I love that. Point is if I leave the football in tact , what harm is pruning going to do to the tree , the root ball will still provide nutrients to the branches , it’s not like I wanted to chop off the roots. I’ve been wiring and pruning all my pine trees Before I repot in spring
 

sorce

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I don't think you'll be able to keep the rootball intact. To get them out of clay and washed into safe, requires a lot of work.

Plus the required tipping means removal of at least half the roots already.

"Juniper strength is in the folaige" - Ryan Neil.

Sorce
 

Shibui

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First up that juniper is actually quite small compared to many that are used for bonsai.
Second point is that cascade might look easy but it is actually quite difficult to get a good result - just letting you know. Compare the initial tight bend in those cascade trunks to the sweeping curve you have. Sweeping bends rarely make for good cascade and juniper wood is very hard - difficult to bend.

The point about having lots of growing tips to help feed new roots when you root prune juniper is very important. You can style the tree now but that may mean deferring root pruning. Spring may be too soon if the tree does not start growing strong by then.
The point about checking the roots is also very important. That means digging down near the trunk. That can be done safely any time because you won't be removing any major roots. Leaning the tree toward any high roots makes sense. If there are lots of strong roots all round some will need to be removed when you tilt the trunk because they will stick up in the air. Personally I would not decide on a style before doing the root work first. That's from lots of personal experience. You seem very keen to do something, anything. Nothing stopping you from doing whatever you want with your tree.

Back to the original Q
For this style, do you bend branches back to create height?
In all styles we bend branches to get the result we need. If you need height but don't have it then bend a branch to the right place. Be wary of making a tall apex on cascade. I see beginners do it all the time but the result is not pleasing. Viewers don't know whether to look up or down because the 2 parts compete. Note the relatively small apex on the trees you aspire to. Horticulturally a larger apex on a cascade is a problem because most trees send resources to the highest part of the tree. Cascading parts weaken and die if there's a strong apex. Need to prune and control growth on the apex part of cascades to keep the lower section healthy.
There are also plenty of great cascade bonsai that don't have a living apex.
 

jmmzpsu14

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I don't think you'll be able to keep the rootball intact. To get them out of clay and washed into safe, requires a lot of work.

Plus the required tipping means removal of at least half the roots alre
"Juniper strength is in the folaige" - Ryan Neil.

Sorce
First up that juniper is actually quite small compared to many that are used for bonsai.
Second point is that cascade might look easy but it is actually quite difficult to get a good result - just letting you know. Compare the initial tight bend in those cascade trunks to the sweeping curve you have. Sweeping bends rarely make for good cascade and juniper wood is very hard - difficult to bend.

The point about having lots of growing tips to help feed new roots when you root prune juniper is very important. You can style the tree now but that may mean deferring root pruning. Spring may be too soon if the tree does not start growing strong by then.
The point about checking the roots is also very important. That means digging down near the trunk. That can be done safely any time because you won't be removing any major roots. Leaning the tree toward any high roots makes sense. If there are lots of strong roots all round some will need to be removed when you tilt the trunk because they will stick up in the air. Personally I would not decide on a style before doing the root work first. That's from lots of personal experience. You seem very keen to do something, anything. Nothing stopping you from doing whatever you want with your tree.

Back to the original Q

In all styles we bend branches to get the result we need. If you need height but don't have it then bend a branch to the right place. Be wary of making a tall apex on cascade. I see beginners do it all the time but the result is not pleasing. Viewers don't know whether to look up or down because the 2 parts compete. Note the relatively small apex on the trees you aspire to. Horticulturally a larger apex on a cascade is a problem because most trees send resources to the highest part of the tree. Cascading parts weaken and die if there's a strong apex. Need to prune and control growth on the apex part of cascades to keep the lower section healthy.
There are also plenty of great cascade bonsai that don't have a living apex.
Yeah this one is a head scratcher for me I can’t seem to use it for anything. The roots are too gnarled near the trunk to dig deeper. Might just use this as a landscape tree and find another juniper. Those roots I couldn’t even move them, the are the soil basically
 

Japonicus

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and it’s all tightly wound In a big ball of clay.
all the more reason to
I reckon it's best to wait.
What would happen if I did chop and wire ... would I kill it?
You will lose all of 2021 as it sits around waiting for vigour to return.
Sure it is possible to kill it by reducing and wiring now, probably not though.
However if you attend to the roots in Spring after doing that now, well that certainly increases the chances of waisting all this time
working on it, photos, researching, asking in the forum, others time in responding, as well as a dead juniper.
You already have more than $10 tied up in it with time alone. Then there's wire, soil and a pot to be had. Food, water and a lot more time.

Here in zone 6 I've found early July heavy pruning is rewarded with junipers that are going into it vigorously.

Ok, I do the initial styling frequently 1st. For me it depends on what I have in front of me, and how the soil is draining.
I do this on a case by case basis. I do not do a lot of heavy pruning when I do this, but it IS faster to develop by attacking the roots 1st
with a full crown prior to the event. I normally reduce the root ball by maybe 60% initially, in height. Then I comb out the remaining roots
leaving original soil around the base, maybe even 20 or 25%. If it had more vigour than this one, I might even thin it some later in the Summer.

I'm done pruning my junipers for the year for the most part now anyway.
I don’t know what to do
here ya go
I think practicing wiring everything that is there, to create an energy grabbing umbrella of foliage, will be the best use of your time currently.
 

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