Cascade juniper, need suggestions!

edprocoat

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This is a unknown juniper I bought mostly dead from a Home Depot in Oralndo Fl in a 3 gallon pot 3 years ago. The leaves were 98% brown, with just a scant few greenish ones left, it was bought for .50 cents so I figured why not give it a chance. On the way home I put it in the cab of my truck and started getting eaten by red ants! When I got back I removed it from the pot and totally defoliated it, washed all the soil from the roots which were being eaten by the ants, and many of the roots just washed away. I placed it in a bucket of water which I had dissolved two aspirins in and left it set till the next afternoon when I got home from work. I further reduced the roots and placed it in an old two quart nursery pot and let it set in the shade for a few weeks and it started to get a few sparse green buds here and there. The problem with this plant was that it had a real odd shape, four branches all cascading out in a cross like pattern. Within a few months it had recovered and was showing vigorous green growth everywhere. I left it grow for two years, only removing it from the pot to trim the roots back. Two months ago I found some neat dishes in Odd Lots for $2.00 bucks and decided to fit this plant into one. I always semi make my own pots, so I drilled a hole into the bottom and cut a piece of a coke can and poked holes in it to use it as a screen and wired it over the drain. I then use that moldable stick epoxy, the type that comes in a roll and you cut it off and mold until its mixed , to make the feet for the pot. I trimmed about half the roots away and I cut off the three large branches and left one for the cascade and one for a small upright. The scar on the front I will carve and add some shari beneath it it. Any suggestions?



ed
 

CamdenJim

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I've tried drilling holes in some pieces to "semi make" pots. One success, one semi-success, one in progress, and one disaster (without injuries).
Do you have any tips to make this a more successful endeavor?
Thanks for any advice or techniques you can offer.
Jim
 

edprocoat

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I've tried drilling holes in some pieces to "semi make" pots. One success, one semi-success, one in progress, and one disaster (without injuries).
Do you have any tips to make this a more successful endeavor?
Thanks for any advice or techniques you can offer.
Jim

With bowls like this I put a few inches of water into them before I start drilling. I use a good masonry bit and use it on fast but I do not over apply pressure, this is hard to explain but if you push it too hard you can feel the bit catching more, sometime it even squeals and thats when it worries me about breaking. I use a 3/8 inch bit on the pot in the picture and it took me about 40 minutes to get the hole. I check it a few times when the water gets cloudy, from the drilled material, and when I see it starting to come out the other side I then turn it over and drill from that side. The first time I did this I had a beautiful bowl years ago and was drilling through it when I seen some water coming from the bottom, so I poured the water out and looked at it and there was this little oval hole where the tip had just pushed through, I was thrilled so I returned to drilling and then the whole pot busted into about six pieces. Once you have a hole in the bottom started I find it best to turn it over and drill from the bottomside and this part goes much quicker, but do not force the bit, let the bit do the work and be patient.
Hope that helps.

ed
 

Bill S

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as to the tree, there isn't a lot to work with, let it ride thru to spring and see what buds back for potential new areas to work with.
 

edprocoat

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as to the tree, there isn't a lot to work with, let it ride thru to spring and see what buds back for potential new areas to work with.

Thanks for the reply, I plan on letting it alone for while. This is a side view of it. I was planning on tilting it to the left a bit ( from the front view) next time I trim the roots to make the upright a bit more straight and add to the cascade, I do not want this plant ot get any bigger. It has a pretty good little trunk rising an inch from the soil and then angling back an inch. Its 4 and 1/8 inchs to the top of the high growth on the right.



ed
 
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edprocoat, did you say you totally defoiliated this tree ??? If so, don't do that again... not trying to give you a hard time. Junipers you don't defoiliate.

What you tree needs is a couple of years untouched completely, with nothing but water and fertilizer. You need to greatly increase it's ammount of foilage, or it will not survive perhaps much longer. With, the amount you have the more work that is done on it only sends it closer to it's demise. Sorry, but remember also, that the most important thing in bonsai beyond anything else, is the tree's health and condition. Doesn't do much good to style a tree only to have it die. So take some care with this tree.

As far as the rest, being creative does save money, but not always when one adds up their time.
Only prob. I see, is using the coke can as a screen. Go to Home Dpt and buy some acrylic porch screen material, usually comes in rolls, and use that instead.
Good Luck.
 

jk_lewis

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With bowls like this I put a few inches of water into them before I start drilling. I use a good masonry bit and use it on fast but I do not over apply pressure, this is hard to explain but if you push it too hard you can feel the bit catching more, sometime it even squeals and thats when it worries me about breaking. I use a 3/8 inch bit on the pot in the picture and it took me about 40 minutes to get the hole. I check it a few times when the water gets cloudy, from the drilled material, and when I see it starting to come out the other side I then turn it over and drill from that side. The first time I did this I had a beautiful bowl years ago and was drilling through it when I seen some water coming from the bottom, so I poured the water out and looked at it and there was this little oval hole where the tip had just pushed through, I was thrilled so I returned to drilling and then the whole pot busted into about six pieces. Once you have a hole in the bottom started I find it best to turn it over and drill from the bottomside and this part goes much quicker, but do not force the bit, let the bit do the work and be patient.
Hope that helps.

ed

Also, work the pot into a bed of damp sand -- all the way up to the rim -- and drill from the inside. Hold the pot firmly.
 

edprocoat

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edprocoat, did you say you totally defoiliated this tree ??? If so, don't do that again... not trying to give you a hard time. Junipers you don't defoiliate.

What you tree needs is a couple of years untouched completely, with nothing but water and fertilizer. You need to greatly increase it's ammount of foilage, or it will not survive perhaps much longer. With, the amount you have the more work that is done on it only sends it closer to it's demise. Sorry, but remember also, that the most important thing in bonsai beyond anything else, is the tree's health and condition. Doesn't do much good to style a tree only to have it die. So take some care with this tree.

As far as the rest, being creative does save money, but not always when one adds up their time.
Only prob. I see, is using the coke can as a screen. Go to Home Dpt and buy some acrylic porch screen material, usually comes in rolls, and use that instead.
Good Luck.

Yes Stacy, I defoliated this tree. Well, not totally, there were about four main branches and two smaller branches that were covered in dead brown foliage, at the top of two there were a few pieces of foliage that were starting to yellow, not totally dead yet, the once new growth clusters, and down on the trunk there was some newish growth that had not yellowed yet. I brushed away all the dead stuff, and was left with mostly trunk and about five sprigs of green scattered about the tree. I decided that the dead would have to go so the plant would not waste energy trying to heal the dead stuff. Amazingly two months later there was new growth everywhere. By the way this tree and I have been together for over three years now and its doing just what I want it to do so far. My main question was about the upright branch on the right side, I don't know if I should remove it or maybe the back branch of it as most semi cascade styles do not have the upright area, but I like it that way for now.

I guess I did not write this clearly enough, this was reduced from a three gallon pot and is now less than four inches tall, and that is as tall as I want it. One question though, how can my driving to the Home Depot to buy screen save me either time or money? As far as the aluminum can screen goes, they never rot or get torn, they never need replaced and they are easy to cut with any scissors and take about two minutes to make. I have used scrap aluminum cans as screen in my pots since the early eighties without a hitch.

ed
 
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ed,
when the term defoiliate is used, it is in reference to removing healthy foilage to either help promote back budding amd possible leaf size reduction, or to help push growth in an area that is lacking, by removing foilage from another part. Cleaning out dying or dead growth is not the same, but yes, should be done quite often especially with junipers, to discourage pests. Just be careful when doing so that one doesn't disturb any new buds which some times pop out at the base.

As far as using a can for a screen, my only concern was that of good drainage... if you are achieving this, then fine.
 

edprocoat

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ed,
when the term defoiliate is used, it is in reference to removing healthy foilage to either help promote back budding amd possible leaf size reduction, or to help push growth in an area that is lacking, by removing foilage from another part. Cleaning out dying or dead growth is not the same, but yes, should be done quite often especially with junipers, to discourage pests. Just be careful when doing so that one doesn't disturb any new buds which some times pop out at the base.

As far as using a can for a screen, my only concern was that of good drainage... if you are achieving this, then fine.

Okay point taken, but what does one call removing about 95% of the foliage that happens to be dead? I used defoliate as it seemd to fit as I was removing foliage, albeit, dead foliage.

ed
 

Ang3lfir3

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what does one call removing about 95% of the foliage that happens to be dead?
we call that cleaning.... :) :)

as for the tree... I actually like the side view better.... I would remove the cascading arm and work this from the side..... feed heavily and let it grow freely in full sun for a few years...
 

edprocoat

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we call that cleaning.... :) :)

as for the tree... I actually like the side view better.... I would remove the cascading arm and work this from the side..... feed heavily and let it grow freely in full sun for a few years...

Actually this tree is four inches tall and I do not want it to get any taller. I was wondering if I should remove the top branches sticking up, but the more I look at them I like them. It took oa few years to get it down to this size.

ed
 

Ang3lfir3

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Actually this tree is four inches tall and I do not want it to get any taller. I was wondering if I should remove the top branches sticking up, but the more I look at them I like them. It took oa few years to get it down to this size.

ed

I should have been more clear... my apologies... what I meant was... for you to feed the tree heavily and let it grow ie get bushier (and healthier). You can keep the tree small by pinching out some of the growth after it has grown considerably... give it lots of sun and it should put on lots of branching etc.... I still believe this tree has more potential as a small semi upright tree... etc ...

this is going to sound kinda "jerkish" but it is not meant to be.... this tree does not show much advancement (in the tree) for the number of years you have put into it. I know it was cheap and that is commendable but this tree is not improving your skills as a bonsai artist... if anything it is hindering them.... it has potential but that can only be realized with time (ie let it grow) and lots and lots of fertilizer/sun.... end "jerkish"

as a side note you do realize that smaller trees are harder to maintain and care for than larger trees as they only truly look best when in tiny pots?... I am wondering what is motivating you to insist on this being a mame/shohin sized tree?
 

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QUOTE]this is going to sound kinda "jerkish" but it is not meant to be.... this tree does not show much advancement (in the tree) for the number of years you have put into it. I know it was cheap and that is commendable but this tree is not improving your skills as a bonsai artist... if anything it is hindering them.... it has potential but that can only be realized with time (ie let it grow) and lots and lots of fertilizer/sun.... end "jerkish"

[/QUOTE]

Hello edprocoat,.... Ang3lfir3 gave you some very good advice.. It is not jerkish at all, but factual. Also, so much has been done to this tree, no matter what you decide on it's future, you will need to leave it alone for about 2 years. This is for health reasons.. this tree is barely surviving on the little foliage that is on it.. it is not like other species, that can be defoliated and still thrive.

I would take some time this winter and really learn and study bonsai. Learn the 5 styles, learn about movement, form and proportions etc. Learn about tree physiology and how they grow and live. This way, when spring comes around, you will be armed with a slightly better eye and be able to pic better starter material.

Also, to save you time, disappoitnment and money. It in necessary to cultivate bonsai properly. This means using bonsai soil, pots that are made for bonsai, wire and tools that are for bonsai. For health reasons regarding bonsai..coming up household alternatives will eventually affect the health of the tree..Bonsai cannot be practiced if the trees are unhealthy, they will not survive the training.

I just wish that when I started, I had sites and people that helped me and gave me good advice.. It could have saved me time, money, disappointment and a bunch of dead trees.

I hope some of this is helpful.

Rob
 

edprocoat

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Angl3, I appreciate the advice and I do not think you are being jerkish at all. The reason I asked was for a different perspective on the tree. I have cut the tree down to this size and I do not want it any bigger at all, I just want to fill out the cascade part, while keeping teh seperate foliage groups (3) going down the semi-cascade branch.

Rob3, I appreciate your advice too.

Let me address a few things first, I have never been without a Bonsai tree for most of my life. I started out as a child and have always been more pleased with small Bonsai. Also as for saving me time, disappointment and money goes, I have grown Bonsai in dirt, I have grown it in pea gravel, I have grown it in dark green colored aquarium gravel without any disappointment at all. I have never owned an exclusive Bonsai tool either, wire cutters are wire cutters and they come in many sizes, scissors are great for leaf cutting or removing of even fine branches, a concave cutter is the same as the Channellock 10 inch large end cutter pliers which are stainless steel and have nice hard rubber grips on the handle to boot, they also come in smaller and larger sizes too.

I seriously doubt there is such a thing as wire that is made expressly for Bonsai, its not that big an industry worldwide to create specialized wire and the funny thing is that 8,10, or 12 gauge copper wire is the same size no matter where you buy it, I know that it can be packaged as Bonsai wire, the same way that you can pay $9.95 for a 4 ounce bottle of Bonsai Lime Sulfur, or you can buy a quart of High Yield or Ortho brand lime sulfur for the same $9.95 and get 8 times the lime sulfur ( 32 ounces! ),which makes for a good fall misting spray for protection when properly diluted. I suppose the household alternatives you speak of would include the aluminum screen? 41 years ago when I was starting with bonsai aluminum wire was a major no-no, too bright, may cause the bark to break down or kill the tree. Now many rave about the virtues of aluminum wire. I assume that the old bonsai artists from over a century ago did not have any place to readily purchase wire window screen to cover their drain hole, I wonder what they used?

The old man that got me interested in Bonsai would line the bottom area of his pot with small irregular stones he would pick up to keep the soil from running out and allow it to drain, but he showed me how to make a screen the way his dad taught him, with a piece of bamboo that he would shred and weave into a screen and just lay over the drain and cover it with his soil. By the way, his soil consisted of one scoop of Fl. sand, I met him in an apartment in Melbourne Fl, he worked for the space program, one scoop Fl. Sand, one scoop composted leaves and scrap vegetables mixture, various edible veggies that he would throw into the pile and let it compost, and one part small pea gravel. I wonder what the worry is with using an aluminum can as a screen? I wonder how many people use aluminum window screening on the Bonsai drain holes as it never rusts? I used to use the plastic craft screen stuff that they sell at stores like Hobby Lobby or Michaels crafts, the white plastic stuff they use for the hook and loop stuff like potholders and it worked fine.

Finally, all this stuff is VERY helpful, when I stop learning I will be dead. I appreciate the fact that so many people are thoughtful enough to take the time to answer. I guess this is the closest I will ever get to being in a Bonsai club and interacting with people as I just do not have the time being self employed and moving frequently to job sites.

Thanks again.

ed
 
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edprocoat

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I thought why not show the way to make an aluminum can screen. Sometimes we fear what we can not comprehend.
Thia took me ten minutes to create as I could not find my fine wire, cutting the screen and poking the holes in it takes about two minutes.

The start!6335506101_a31fae34ec.jpg
Almost done!6336268968_91304b1f0c.jpg
The wire added!6336258872_75f3b2f410.jpg

It works too! I used one for fourteen years in a pot I made for a Bonsai once and it is now in use on my little buxus. I poked the holes in this with the scissors as I also could not find my ice pick I usually use.

ed
 
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Ang3lfir3

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honestly this doesn't bother me... the only issues I would have is if the holes are too small possibly causing the water to clog....
prolly doesn't matter... personally i continue to use either the alum screen or the plastic grid stuff....

as to the tools... there are many tools that are similar... anyone who knows me or my wife will tell you that we will be the first to tell you to use the tools that work... hell i use concave cutters for cutting wire more than branches... etc... but proper pots... and proper soil.... those are key... especially the proper soil....
 

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Hello ed.. I was only trying to offer some good advice for the health of your trees. It wasn't because of the screen or anything iin particular. It is just that some things like pots are made specifically for bonsai.. Coated on the outside, not glazed on the inside. Drainage holes and small holes in the bottom to put the wire through etc..Also, certain shears, long necked to get into those tough spots. Wire cutters with very rounded edges so the bark of the tree is not injured when the wire is removed. It seems you have been in bonsai for a long time. I would like to see some pics of your collection.

Rob
 

edprocoat

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Hey October I just seen this reply, thought this thread was dead. I use Bonsai pots when I see ones that reasonably good looking and I have the money for them. I also have used the plastic ones. Why do you state they have to be unglazed on the inside? I have used many glass bowls with great results, and the plastic pots are about the same as glazed bowls on the inside, smooth and non-absorbent. I have also planted them over rocks and growing on rocks. I have several threads with pictures of my " collection " here now. I have only recently, like this year, started taking pics of my bonsai mainly for this site. I have a hard time photographing them in the dark when I get home from work. My stuff is mostly smaller as I take it with me when I travel, also the smaller stuff appeals to me more anyhow. I have found that a stainless steel paint spatula, the ones that artists use to mix paints with, about a 1/4 inch wide and very flexible work very well to place under wire and then cut it with your basic small wire cutters. I must admit I have never seen a rounded edge wire cutter, I would love to see some pictures of your tools and maybe your collection too. By the way, if you ever see a nice bowl that has nothing to put your wire through you can use either the drain hole or holes or you can make a small loop of wire and use epoxy to cement it to your pot, glazed or unglazed, and anchor your wire to that. I like the moldable epoxy myself, hot melt glue works good for this too.

ed
 
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october

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Hello Ed.. I just saw your reply now. Pots that are glazed on the insides are not the best choice for any plant. The reasons are that one, when the tree is in the sun and the pot heats up, the glazed side can become pretty hot, the unglazed inside tends to stay cooler. This protects the roots a bit. Second, trees like to grab onto the sides of pots. With a glazed inside, it is more difficult for the roots to grab on, so to speak. Also unglazed can be good because it allows more air flow. Terra cotta is a very breathable material, this is probably the reason why terra cotta pots are so widely used in the plant world.

As far as some tree pics, here are 3 from my collection. First is a procumbens juniper, second, a shimpaku juniper and third is a hinoki cypress.

Rob




 

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