Cal Junipers

Dwight

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I have got to get this figured out and you guys are the only way I know how. I've read and been told that Cal junies don't survive long outside Cal. Now I know this has nothing to do with homesickness or anything so it must be either a climate thing or a soil thing. All the articles and posts I've read seem to imply it isn't a soil thing because everyone who keeps these varmits uses different soils. I've seen them in akadama , crushed granite , turface and all sorts of combos of these.Sooooooo ,,,, it must be climate. I can understand climate as I can't keep spruces , firs , cypresses , etc ....too hot and dry. I know Florida sucks for junipers cause it's too wet. Makes sense cause most junies like it dry. So cal junies come from dry , hot climates with mild but cool to cold winters. Boston would be a bad place to try to keep one so I understand that. But here in El Paso our climate is very close to that of So Cal. We're higher ( 4000 ft ) but many Cal junies grow at this altitude such as those froom the Tahachipi ( sp ? ) mts. So why wouldn't one grow here.

I realize I might be blowing smoke as very few bonsaiest in Sunset zone 9 have tried them as far as I know so help me out. Who has had one of these buggers for more than six years outside of Cal.? Anyone ?
 

Smoke

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Has nothing to do with heat cold or soil nor wetness.

It all has to do with humidity. Texas is a lot more humid than California. Oklahoma and Arkansas can be problematic also. Your best bet would be to check in at Study Group specifically with John Kirby by PM and ask someone from the area with a vast knowledge of this species in your area. He will get you the "correct" knowledge you need.

Al
 

Dwight

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There isn't anyone in my area with experience with Cal junies. Also the humidity here is as low if not lower than most oc Cal. El Paso is in the middle of the Chihuahuian desetr. Our average humidity is around 25% during the winter and usually less than 20 % during the summer. For example we have a slighht monsunal flow right now and the humidity is still onlt 30%. By sunday it's supposed to be down to 11%.
 

rockm

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It does have to do with humidity and the proper soil. The National Arboretum in Washington D.C. has donated California Junipers that have been in the collection for about 20 years. They've been in slow motion decline for a decade. THey can't handle the wet conditions and summer humidity. The trees are from extremely spartan environments--VERY little rain and no humidity. THey're overwhelmed with moisture here.

West Texas (which is pretty much the Chihuahuan desert) and El Paso might be a good place to try them. You'd probably have success. One of the big past mistakes keeping these outside their range was the wrong soil. Soil was a big contributor to the Nat. Arb's Cali, Juniper decline. They were kept in soil with organics for a time...Extremely well-draining inorganic soil is absolutely necessary. I'm not sure of the specifics, so others might chime in here.
 
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Hey Dwight,

I've also heard that humidity is the enemy of Cal Junipers, however, if you graft Shimpaku onto a Cal Juniper it can live just about anywhere other junipers can. Roy Nagatoshi has been shipping grafted Cal Junipers all over the country for years with great success. According to Roy, the Cal Juniper takes on the characteristics of the Shimpaku (even the roots change) and there's no problem.

JC
 

Attila Soos

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There isn't anyone in my area with experience with Cal junies. Also the humidity here is as low if not lower than most oc Cal. El Paso is in the middle of the Chihuahuian desetr. Our average humidity is around 25% during the winter and usually less than 20 % during the summer. For example we have a slighht monsunal flow right now and the humidity is still onlt 30%. By sunday it's supposed to be down to 11%.
El Paso should be a perfect place for California Junipers. Just make sure you grow them in inorganic soil, such as DG, lava, or pumice, and fertilize them at least every 2 weeks.
 
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Mike Page

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I live just south of San Francisco, and about 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Our summers are often cool and foggy. Lots of moisture in the air. My soil mix is non-organic and very fast draining, yet holds enough moisture to go 24-48 hours between waterings, except in unusual conditions.
My Califoriia Junipers thrive.

Mike
 

Dwight

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How about watering ?

Oh , will akadama/pumice in a 2 to 1 ratio work for the soil ?
 

Attila Soos

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How about watering ?

Oh , will akadama/pumice in a 2 to 1 ratio work for the soil ?
I would not use akadama, if it breaks down, can quickly kill the tree. An older tree should be re-potted no more often than once in 3-4 years, depending on how vigorous it is. Akadama may not last that long.
100% pumice, or any mix of pumice and lava is the best. They hold more moisture than decomposed granite.
 
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Mike Page

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How about watering ?

Oh , will akadama/pumice in a 2 to 1 ratio work for the soil ?
I don't use any imported bonsai soil. Over-rated and expensive. The image shows my mix components.

Going clockwise: Top is Dyna-rok, then 1/8 lava, 3/8 lava, and fired clay pellets. Fast draining with good moisture retention. Acadama/pumice sounds too moisture retentive to me. Maybe good in a hot and dry climate.

http://www.dyna-gro.com/
 

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Dwight

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I live just south of San Francisco, and about 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Our summers are often cool and foggy. Lots of moisture in the air. My soil mix is non-organic and very fast draining, yet holds enough moisture to go 24-48 hours between waterings, except in unusual conditions.
My Califoriia Junipers thrive.

Mike
So send one of the smaller less significant ones out here so we can see if I'm right. Probably should send one to Albuquerque and one to Tuscon as well. I think Phoenix might actually be too humid as they are doing everything they can to turn it into a swamp.
 

Attila Soos

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I live just south of San Francisco, and about 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean. Our summers are often cool and foggy. Lots of moisture in the air. My soil mix is non-organic and very fast draining, yet holds enough moisture to go 24-48 hours between waterings, except in unusual conditions.
My Califoriia Junipers thrive.

Mike
Cool and humid may be ok. I was in Mendocino last August, and I was FREEZING in the morning. I quickly bought some winter clothing (remember, it was August).
Hot and humid is very bad, since it leads to fungal diseases on the roots, against which the Cali. Juniper is probably defenseless.
 
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greerhw

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There may be a reason they're called California Junipers and not junipers that will live anywhere......:rolleyes:.

keep it green,
Harry
 

Dwight

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Does the bay area ever get hot for extended periods ? We visit a little B&B just south of Sea Side and it's never been hot there. ( Half Moon Bay area ) But drive inland two or three miles inland and the temp will jump 20 degrees

Harry , they also grow in Navada and Arizona according to the distribution maps. I really think it's those Cal guys just trying to hog them all for themselves. I think I'll start collecting one seed Junies. I read somewhere they make great bonsai if you can find the right ones. One of my neighbors has one that was planted by his father. Maybe I need to go get an air layer of that guy.
 

Attila Soos

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Just make sure you start with a decent trunk size that you have to REDUCE with carving, and not the other way around (INCREASE). Otherwise, you will have to wait 50 years to gain one inch in diameter (this is how long it takes in the desert). Of course, in cultivation they grow faster, so with luck you may get on inch twice as fast, or in 20 - 25 years, that is.
 

Dwight

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Good advice. The question is as always , Where di I find one ? They are on e-bay every so often but that is questionable at best. I know Kimura Bonsai nursery has them but I can't afford three grand and I don't want a " finished " one anyway.
 
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