Choosing leader in a juniper with smaller branches at end of nice trunk?!

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Hey everybody, I'm working on cleaning and having some fun with what u believe is a Hertzi Glauca? Can't totally remember...trunk has some nice shape to it and I haven't really gone down below soil since there are of course ants, my worst enemy. Anyway, on these fan type junipers, once the larger trunk comes to an end the final branches that split taper smaller...if I choose one and delete the rest will there always be a weird taper or will it fill out? Not sure I'd you can tell from the photos but I did take a few out that grew in weird...hoping some juniper heads can advise! There also appears to be a small area of inverse taper at the terminal whorl hope im using that word correctly...I had thought about chopping way down to a lower branch but none are beefy enough to what I would think could become new leader! 20220527_194217.jpg20220527_194247.jpg20220527_194347.jpg
 

Ruddigger

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I’d wire that straight section to get some movement, then eliminate whatever doesnt work with your new curves. I wouldnt pick a new “leader” like it was a trunk chopped maple or something.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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You can take off whatever you want and over time it'll fade into a nice taper. But the question is whether that'll fix the issue.
Where would you want this tree to go? Do you want to graft foliage on it? Does it need to be big or small?

I think one of the key things that instructors over the internet tend to skip, or completely address wrong, is making use of the interior/weak foliage.
They advise to remove it. But if we instead work from the outside inwards, something magical happens.
Just recently I found this out for myself and I think it's the key to shaping junipers from nursery stock.
I went from this:
IMG_20211231_092957.jpg

To this:
IMG_20211231_124615.jpg
The bottom left branch has died on me, but a little above that is another one I kept that can fill in that gap.

It was built with interior and weak foliage only. Now if I would've removed that.. I would've ended up with a skinny literati instead.
 

Shibui

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Anyway, on these fan type junipers, once the larger trunk comes to an end the final branches that split taper smaller...if I choose one and delete the rest will there always be a weird taper or will it fill out?
Thinner replacement leaders will gradually thicken to match the trunk below. With slow growing junipers it can take a few years but it does happen.
Consider leaving part of the old trunk as a jin which can help disguise the change of taper/thickness wile it grows out.

Make initial reduction cuts lower than your planned tree height. Trees normally grow larger so starting a bit below final height allows room for growth after the initial reduction.

I think one of the key things that instructors over the internet tend to skip, or completely address wrong, is making use of the interior/weak foliage.
They advise to remove it. But if we instead work from the outside inwards, something magical happens.
Agreed.
IF you have good branches with interior foliage then remove small crotch growth
BUT, if the existing branches have little foliage closer to the trunk I remove those and grow new branching from the shorter new shoots.
 
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Thanks for all your inputs!! I too have learned the importance, especially with junipers, about not cutting too much off and using the existing growth as power to grow over time. I read a great article last night I am sharing here that takes both deciduous and conifers into consideration. The info in this article is what I consider to be that really valuable information one might acquire during an apprenticeship or down the rabbit hole - perhaps from an oldie at an event. Either way, it has greatly added to my growing mindset as the learning process will never end. I'm training my brain to understand that to fail in bonsai is natural and is the path to greater achievement. We must, of course, not only build from these failures, but continue to learn and any new knowledge to the next approach as well.

 

Wires_Guy_wires

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It took me four years and six books to get to understand junipers. Don't worry too much about it. It'll come when the time is right.
The most important part is to have fun and to enjoy the process.
 
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