California Juniper Progression

Smoke

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This small California Juniper was collected in Feb. of 2006. It was taken as basicly a cutting with no visable roots. It was the product of a tripping accident while coming off the mountain with another tree. A long arm on this tree tripped me and I fell losing collected tree as well as my tools.

I rose to my feet looked at the tree and kicked it as hard as I could.

After untangleing my foot from the branches I noticed that it had some pretty good lines and movement and was on the smaller side as far as the trees go. Large ones are easy to find, smaller ones not so easy. I stopped and dug it out and continued on down the hill with my two new charges.

When I got home it was planted in a bucket, as it was the only thing I had to put it in on short notice. All other vessels were full of pre mixed soil or were to plant the other trees I planned on taking. It was planted in straight lava and sand 50/50, my standard mix for C. juniper.

My initial plan for the tree was a cool formal upright C. juniper.
 

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Smoke

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The following year the plant was removed for potting in a display pot. I purchased a very fine Chinese pot for the tree and planted it in straight lava. Upon inspection of the roots it was noted that they had indeed grown quite profusly and filled the trunk end all the way around. The tree was planted and left on the bench for two years. When I had planted the tree I also noticed that I had planted the tree much too deep in an effort to make sure the bottom did not dry out while growing roots. When I planted it in this shallow pot I now had a kink in the bottom portion of the trunk.

My formal upright idea was dashed and I sort of lost interest in the tree.

The last photo shows the tree that I was carrying when I tripped and found this tree.
 

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Smoke

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Today.

I went out and scouted around for something to take to the local meeting to work on. Most of the trees in my collection are fairly far along and since I work on them daily there is not much work to do to keep me busy for 3 or 4 hours at a time.

I spotted this tree and since it was still a virgin, I decided that the time was right for a first styling. I was in the mood for a little deadwood and this tree was loaded with opportunity. This is the before shot today.
 

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Smoke

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The weeds were pulled, and the trunk cleaned up. Lots of bark was pulled from the trunk because it was very shaggy. Pine trees look very nice with craggy plated deep fissured bark but junipers seem to age better with smoother polished bark. The rough bark helps harbor pests and this is the season they start hatching out.

All the jins were broken and thinned. There was plenty of dead wood since my tantrum and subsequent kicking escapade had broken many branches anyway:mad: When I was satisfied with all the deadwood work I could move on to wireing. I did not take my camera to the meeting and so do not have a lot of working photo's. I do have this one I took with the bottom two branches wired out and placed into position.
 

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Smoke

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When I got home I was able to spend a few hours by myself and actually finish the tree. Working in a club atmosphere is really not condusive to good time management since everyone comes by and asks a million questions. Since I love to talk it is easy for me to get caught up in many side bar conversations.

I finished up and set up a table and took a quick pic in the yard with natural sunlight. The tree is 18 inches tall not including the jin above the live part of the apex. In the future I may shorten it by at least half. The trunk is 3 1/2 inches across at the soil.

Anything you see that could be changed feel free to give a shout out.

Best regards, Al
 

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crhabq

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Very nice Smoke. My only suggestion is that maybe the jins could be thinner and a line of shari could extend up into the apex. Wow, I thought I had recently overcome a fear of root pruning when I moved a 5 gallon (probably recently up-potted) garden center juniper to a 8x8x4 training box. But I see from your pics that I still have a long way to go. I'm amazed that so little rootage can support such a large trunk and any foliage. Thanks for your pics, they give me a better idea of what's possible. If you haven't named the tree yet may I suggest "Trip and Kick" or "Have a nice trip, see you next fall".
 

M.B.

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Wowser Al, that's quite a transformation and story. I love your progression threads. Thanks for posting.
Mary B.
 

bonsai barry

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Great progression. Once the apex jin is shortened it will be quite nice. Good thing I wasn't at the club meeting, I would be one of those people asking a hundred questions.
 

Smoke

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Great progression. Once the apex jin is shortened it will be quite nice. Good thing I wasn't at the club meeting, I would be one of those people asking a hundred questions.

A hundred I can handle, it's that million that gets to me.:eek:
 

Smoke

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Very nice Smoke. My only suggestion is that maybe the jins could be thinner and a line of shari could extend up into the apex. Wow, I thought I had recently overcome a fear of root pruning when I moved a 5 gallon (probably recently up-potted) garden center juniper to a 8x8x4 training box. But I see from your pics that I still have a long way to go. I'm amazed that so little rootage can support such a large trunk and any foliage. Thanks for your pics, they give me a better idea of what's possible. If you haven't named the tree yet may I suggest "Trip and Kick" or "Have a nice trip, see you next fall".

I think the latter is a fine name for this tree.

While I don't seem to have a photo of this tree after unwrapping it after the collection, I have photoshopped it so that you can see what it looked like when I dug it. That is actually what it looked like after collection. The large roots are just sawed short, and the trunk has enough reserves in it to allow it to stay alive long enough to issue it's own roots. There is no magic, it's all luck of the draw and superior after care. That picture of the base when it when in the display pot is more than enough roots for a tree like this.

I can tell you this...based on how much soil I took out of the pot that was brimming over the edge, next years repot after three years will probably have a pot full of roots that have pushed the tree up and is forcing the soil out of the pot.

Thanks for the replies, Al
 

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RyanFrye

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Hi Al,

Great progression. Thanks. I am still timid with junipers (maybe because my timing has always been off:p ) but it is good to see some hard proff that it can be done.

Ryan
 
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