cali juni's survival chances

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Hi yall,

I have 3 california? junipers I collected from a clients yard back in october, They were planted in 1986. This is my first time digging up junipers and I was wondering about the survival chances.

The cons:

1) The roots covered 100 sq. foot area along with most of the foliage I had to remove. The rootbals were big and woody however there were a decent amount of feeders. I had to make alot of big 2 to 3 inch cuts wich were not sealed and are now under soil.

2) Wrong time of year?

The pros:

1) I mist daily along with foliar feed kelp/MG every week
2) Soil mix is fox farms ocean forest and 1/2 perlite and pumice
3) They are in complete shade untill spring
4) first 2 weeks I used Miccorizzae and superthrive(I know):D as well as seaweed extract/fish are my ferts of choice every 2 weeks after.

Most of the foliage looks deep green and fairly robust, however I have of late noticed some of the foliage had shrunk in diamiter and lost some color and this is affecting entire branches. I know that junipers will not tell you for a while when they die, I try asking them but they don't talk. Does anyone know from experience what their chances might be and/or have any suggestions or critiques on my procedures.

Thanx
 
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Perhaps someone will give me a digital camera for Festivus. Untill then ...:confused: but I am optimistic .
 

Rick Moquin

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I would quit all fertilizing (including foliar feeding) for the time being, they do not need it, by the sound of your potting medium. I would only water as required eg when the soil is nearly dry. Over watered junipers react the same way as one that requires water.
 

JasonG

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I would put them in 100% pumice. Pumice grows roots better than anything out there and works better than anything on junipers. I wouldn't feed too much, maybe cut it back to foliar feeding and use a B1 solution (MGQuickstart, etc) full strength once every 10 days or so. Your climate will allow you to feed lightly through winter. You want to feed the roots and not really push growth that is why I say B1.

Good luck.... do the trees have any twists and deadwood?

Edit: Look at the under side of the foliage. If it is still healthy bright green then I wouldn't worry. Some junipers will change color in the winter (a few hundered RMJ and Sierras here in the nursery do everyyear) but so long as the under side looks good and the foliage feels soft and normal it should be ok. If the foliage starts to get crunchy then it is dead. You should know before spring if they are going to die.

Jason
 
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I have been thinking about switching to mostly inorganic or even 100%. I just need to do it and get over the learning curve with the additional watering and fertilizing with it. I am not shure whether you could get as good of a microbe culture in a mix like that and my hunch is that I have never (knock on head or KOH) had root rot problems with my high org. mix because I always use a Mic. additive in the soil and a soluble Mic. product with the water periodically. I am none the less intrigued by pure inorganic however.

"Good luck.... do the trees have any twists and deadwood?"

There is not a lot of natural deadwood due possibly to the fact that they grew in a landscape at sea level. I look forward to posting pics when I can obtain a camera. Right now they remind me of coast Monterey Cypress.

They seemed to improve appearance with foliar feeding and I swear by the seaweed extract for this. The foliage is a little crunchy in areas and the diameter of the foliage has shrunk a little but most of the areas are fairly robust, deep green and somewhat non crunchy.

One learning experience here is that I forgot that I was using 25 gal pots and I am noticing that drainage is very relative to depth of pot (I read this before) and my normal mix that I thought was very free draining is not so free draining with the depth. After watering the top it takes a good 2 minutes to get drips out the drain holes, woops. I am starting to really see why mostly inorganic for this may be the way to go. Thank you for your responses.
 

Dav4

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One learning experience here is that I forgot that I was using 25 gal pots and I am noticing that drainage is very relative to depth of pot (I read this before) and my normal mix that I thought was very free draining is not so free draining with the depth. After watering the top it takes a good 2 minutes to get drips out the drain holes, woops. I am starting to really see why mostly inorganic for this may be the way to go. Thank you for your responses.
I'm no expert on collected Cali Junipers (where's Al Keppler when you need him), but your soil drainage sounds horrible. I have several landscape yamadori yews in 25 gal pots, maybe 80% inorganic components(it would have been 100% but I ran out of pumice) and the draining from the bottom starts within 5 seconds of watering. I'd consider Jason's recommendation on the pumice. I'd use it more if I could but it is hard to find out on the East coast.

Dave
 
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Next time I think I will look into those pond baskets and adding alot more pumice. If you cant find the pre ground stuff you can usually find a lansdcape supply center that sells the big rocks that are easily broken up with a hammer. Use gloves!!

On a side note the perlite has a great ability to areate the soil and hold moisture and so does pumice but I think the pumice is better because it is so sharp and it may tend to cause better root ramification automatically in the pot as the roots cut themselves on it. My decision to use perlite on these junipers was based on reducing weight. I had to honk these puppies in and out of my truck on my own:eek:

Great forum
 
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Smoke

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Hi all, I haven't been around much. My wife's 89 year old Uncle who was just diagnosed with the latter stages of advanced Leukemia has taken alot of my wife's and my time over the last few months. It started as a bone marrow disorder but eventually went the Leukemia route. I do check in from time to time and read the posts.

This one caught my attention...

Whether or not these are actually California junipers or not makes little difference in the way they are taken. The only mechanisim that makes a California juniper different from more domesticated juniper is it's root system. The California juniper does best and stands the best chance of survival if they are taken after two or three rains in the desert. This stimulates the root systen to take ground water rather than water thru its leaves. In a urban setting around a home in landscaping this should not really be a concern.

Repotting of mature bonsai that have been in pots for a few years can undergo repotting at this time of the year. Digging a juniper from the ground in December is a little different story. After reading over what you have done at the present time seems like you may have drowned them. They may have recieved too much water. The root system during this part of the year is almost dormant, barely moving. Digging them and placing them in rather solid soil and watering and even fertilizing is probably too much for these overly stressed plants. You may have done better by digging them up and wrapping the roots with wet spahgnum moss and wrapping very tightly in stretch plastic wrap and planting in spring. Keeping them in a sort of bare root state like roses.

I plant "all" junipers in pure sand. All my collecetd junipers are conditioned in pure sand and when it comes time to actually pot them they are in a 75 percent sand mix. The other 25 percent is made up of pumice or lava split. Junipers have very fiberous root systems and are prone to clogging. They will matt very heavily when planted in heavy soils containing clay. All the junipers I have bought from the Ishii's in bonsai pots that have sat around for a while will have a root mass like a brick. They require soaking in a bucket for a day to loosen them. the sand just makes the roots at repotting time just fall apart like a root mass should.

Dry crunchy foliage is bad. It should be soft and maybe just staring to bronze up a bit. I have no idea about Santa Cruz as a liveable climate, I just visit for weekends from the valley. Still they should be bright green and soft to the feel. Check the small branchlets at the ends where there is smoother and grey looking bark. If it wrinkled in a small way it probably has lost its root system and there may be no turning back.

A couple people to check with would be Gareth Shepard and Robert Stoll, both in the Santa Cruz bonsai club. I recently did a demonstration for this club in September and this club is very active with many friends I know and some I had just met. Both of those guys are very knowledgable about junipers. Robert is the "Urban Juniper Yamadori King" and Gareth and I are both active in collecting California junipers whenever we can.

Hope some of your junipers make it and maybe we can meet later this year during a meeting. They have asked me back for another demonstration this year in Santa Cruz.

Cheers, Al

BTW, your description of how the plant grew, (the 100 sq. feet) leads me to believe they are something other than California, and possibly Monterey Cypress whick look an aweful lot like Shimpaku juniper. Here are a couple cypress styled by my teacher for many years. You can catch up with Katsumi Kinoshita in the salinas club or the Monterey
 

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Smoke,

Sorry to hear about your wifes uncle.:(

"Junipers have very fiberous root systems and are prone to clogging. They will matt very heavily when planted in heavy soils containing clay."

These guys were in some pretty heavy soil, It was difficult to untaingle them from the rock and mud and odd bits of 80's trash. I had to leave alot of old soil in there for fear of tearing out to many feeder roots. These may not be California Junipers but rather your standard landscape prostrata variety. All the varieties are confusing to me but they are definately not Monterey Cypress. Alot of landscaper guys I know call them California I think as a catch all slang term for a juniper in a california landscape.:eek: I believe the proper name would be juniperus chinensis, tendancy to have scale like foliage and not a procumbans, tendency to have more needle like foliage or not a rigida, always needle like foiliage. :confused:

What I really need to do is post pics, maybe after festivus.

The foliage seems more robust and brighter green now after 8 weeks but it is hard to tell if thats just my imagination.

"Hope some of your junipers make it and maybe we can meet later this year during a meeting. They have asked me back for another demonstration this year in Santa Cruz."

I have been meening to look into joining this club. Seems like alot of fun and a great learning experience. Let me know when you come up to do a demo. I have alot to learn.

That Monterey Cypress in the photos is absolutely insane and very inspiring. I recently purchased a 5 year old in a 15 gallon pot at the nursery and that is the natural costal flat top style I wish to start training it into. Maybe it will look like that one in 50 years, I'll be 85 then.

Thanx for the detailed response Smoke!
 
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And some more...

Let's change the name of the thread to Landscape juni's shall we. These grew as natural rafts and as far as the smaller ones I think eventually the style will be raft but I need to pick a direction of trunks as to establish a flow. These remind me of some of the Monterey Cypress forests in Carmel and I wish to eventually go toward that direction. The larger one with the red arrow pointing at the smaller trunk will fly solo and the smaller one that the arrow points to I may try to air layer and remove. I have never air layered before and am thinking that it will need a seasons recovery time first lest I loose the whole lot.

My learning mistakes:

1) Why did I use peat pots, stupid. Next time I will not worry so much and wrap collected specimens in sphagnum moss and burlap. Then take them home and create custom grow boxes for each.

2) Even though I cut Fox Farms soil mix by 30% perlite it still does not drain fast enough, so for recovery periods I should be using pure pumice or the like.

I may be getting away with this anyway, lots of rain lately which worries me but the shriveling foliage has ceased and I even see some fresh adventitious growth on the interior.
 

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Bonsai Nut

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How are your junipers doing? Have they weathered the hot summer - if so, I think you might be in luck!
 
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on there way

Yes they are. All made a full recovery and did fantastic in 08'. I gave one away to a friend. The first 2 pics where from one that just started to explode, so I did a initial rough styling and thinning. This is kind of a.. I don't know what you would call it style. The last photo shows the airlayer I successfully took from the parent plant on the left and the parent plant on the right, which should be interesting. This one has the most potential, there are many options, I will have to ponder for much longer. They will all get down-potted next spring to shallower transition boxes. These are some of the toughest plants I have ever seen, besides weeds.

Thank you all for the information here and everywhere on the www on bonsai. I have been able to accelerate my learning far beyond anything w/o a computer and these forums.
 

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bonhe

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Hi FourMileMarc, you may style your juniper like this one.
Bonhe
 

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Hi FourMile,

I've collected quite a few Cal Junipers (CJ) and I've sent my fair share to the great bonsai garden in the sky! But lately my success rate has been over 80% and this is what I've found that works:

1 - When you collect the CJ put a fast draining medium at the bottom of the pot (I use black lava scoria). If you use pumice, make sure it is washed very well and there is no dust left.

2 - The next layer, right at the root zone, should be 100% Akadama! Don't complain that it's too expensive, if it is, then you shouldn't be collecting CJ.

3 - Also, right at the root zone, I throw in the white decomposed juniper needles that you find under the CJ's. I believe that this is mycorrhizal that helps in root development (if you don't have this, use endo mycorrhizal). Fill the pot the rest of the way up with scoria.

4 - DO NOT FERTILIZE UNTIL YOU SEE NEW JUVENILE GROWTH POPPING OUT. Remember, the roots are not active and can't take up nutrients. Foliar feeding, I don't do it and I'm not sure it works, so you're on your own with that.

5 - Put the tree in a shaded area and give the tree one good watering to flush out any dust and to wet the Adadama. Then get a trash bag and bag the pot, because from now on, you're going to wet the foliage and trunk without getting water in the pot.

6 - I put the tree in my green house where I keep the humidity between 40 - 60% with 50% shade cloth.

7 - When it gets hot, the trees love it, but you can't have them in direct sun because it's too hot.

8 - Finally, don't move the tree around. The new roots are tender and you don't want to disturb them. Find a good place and leave the tree alone.

By the way, I just saw the pics and those ain't California Junipers.

Love
Juniperus Californica
 
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Thank you for the detailed response JC.

2 - The next layer, right at the root zone, should be 100% Akadama! Don't complain that it's too expensive, if it is, then you shouldn't be collecting CJ.
I now use a much leaner mix than I did with these but I don't believe you need Akadama. I think there are much less expensive alternatives. These are in mostly potting soil, which is bad. Next spring they will get downpotted in my mix I use now of mostly pumice, fir bark, little soil and sphagnum moss. Since incorporating humic and fulvic acids this year I have seen growth on a scale I have never seen before.

I am not shure about going 2-3 winters with pure akadama, one el nino winter around here could mean shure death with that stuff, from what I hear anyway.
 

MICKJ

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S-I have had a C J in clear plastic for 2 months, (like a little greenhouse) Foliage- kept fairly moist all the time.
Should I let it breath now? Only problem I have had is letting the sun hit the bag for one afternoon and the branches that were up against the plastic looked like they got burnt...?
Thanks for any help...
 
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