Design help/ style guidance

tstrum

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I recently acquired several junipers and am having trouble determining how to style them. I got them in March and they seem to be healthy and growing well. I have done only some basic clean up on them and have yet to do much in terms of styling them. I need some guidance as to how they should be styled. I'll post pics of all four of them on here but really I'm just wanting to learn how to take a piece of raw material that doesn't have an obvious (at least to me as a beginner) and determine how to shape and style it into an acceptable bonsai.
 

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sorce

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Welcome to Crazy.

It would be nice to see a full 5 pics of each tree in separate posts.

All 4 sides. And maybe a look up, or down, or a semi angle that shows everything pretty well.

Good thing is, ain't no need to hurry!

Sorce
 

DougB

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tstrum Sorce is right in that better pics would be a great help, especially of the trunk and top of the roots. Also to better respond to your questions please add your location to your profile. Responses depend on species and location.

It looks like you have obtained some nice young trees. As is often said the first 2 things that must be learned are patience (bonsai take years not hours) and the ability to not just keep a tree alive, but to have it thrive over many years. These are young and in most places in the northern hemisphere it is mid summer and not the best time to start cutting and re-potting. One last thing is that your best place to learn and talk everything bonsai is to join a local bonsai group.

And welcome to the nutter, instant insanity.
 

tstrum

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I am in Oklahoma (not the best for bonsai) and I am pretty new to bonsai but I'm definitely loving it. I have a decent collection for my first year, but in Oklahoma this is not a time for styling, we are just trying to keep our trees alive in this desert heat. As both of you have mentioned, I am not in a hurry to make any dramatic modifications at this point, but I would like to at least begin developing plans for them. As I have noticed on many other posts on bnut, that is the first step, then from there decisions as to what branches to keep and wire, etc are made much more simply. I have now taken pics on all 5 sides and will submit in separate posts each.
 

tstrum

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Here is the first: a shimpaku juniper from Brussels.

I have pics of all the others but I think it might be best to make sure I got these right before bombarding everyone with worthless pics. My main goal in posting these is to learn how to create a design plan for a tree.
 

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0soyoung

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I'm just wanting to learn how to take a piece of raw material that doesn't have an obvious (at least to me as a beginner) and determine how to shape and style it into an acceptable bonsai.
That is a tough request to fulfill - I think you need to look at pictures of bonsai you like and to contemplate how you would make one of your junipers look like that.
Meanwhile, do you know how to handle the foliage? There is BNut resource on this as well as several threads relating to "don't pinch". I suggest you do some practice on your trees ASAP. Recall that branches are largely independent, meaning what you do to one pretty much has no effect on the others.

Begin. ;)
 

sorce

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I'd be thinking about starting over from just the bottom branch.

aviary-image-1468201250564.jpeg

One of these has excellent information.


Sorce
 

sorce

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The first one...

Starts at 28 minutes ish.

Sorce
 

Cypress187

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I'd be thinking about starting over from just the bottom branch.
I don't know how experienced Mr.strum is, but isn't it better to keep it alive first, maybe only prune little bit? Nice mouse there you draw man!
 

YukiShiro

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I would airlayer at a point just below the second branch, the top trunk has a nice line.DSC_0031[1].JPG

then grow out the top using some sacrifice branches and grow out the bottom as well designing the trunk line as you go

but yes this depends on the op's skills

best regards
Herman
 

sorce

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I don't know how experienced Mr.strum is, but isn't it better to keep it alive first, maybe only prune little bit? Nice mouse there you draw man!

Glad you found the mouse!

For me....

"Thinking about" means actually thinking about it, which should include thoughts of,
'will my tree die if I do this?', which should be followed by research to answer the question.;)

Though, I do find it funny when folks just whack it for the next picture!

There is a lesson learned in that too!

I would also airlayer it.

Sorce
 

tstrum

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That is a tough request to fulfill - I think you need to look at pictures of bonsai you like and to contemplate how you would make one of your junipers look like that.
Meanwhile, do you know how to handle the foliage? There is BNut resource on this as well as several threads relating to "don't pinch". I suggest you do some practice on your trees ASAP. Recall that branches are largely independent, meaning what you do to one pretty much has no effect on the others.

Begin. ;)
By "handling the foliage", do you mean working on ramification? If so, the suggestion is to just take some time building out ramification before making any style choices/ decisions?
 

tstrum

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I am very new and have no skills. I have lots of reading and watching videos, and I have about 10 trees. (I say about since there are a few saplings in there) But of the 4 junipers, I posted this is the most challenging to find a style for, which is why I posted it first. I have never attempted to layer a tree before and would like to get some experience so I may try it on this one. I've read that it takes about 3-4 months, but not sure when the best time of year is. I doubt its summer, but my guess would be start in late winter so by early spring when I am repotting other trees, this would be ready to go in a pot?
 

0soyoung

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By "handling the foliage", do you mean working on ramification? If so, the suggestion is to just take some time building out ramification before making any style choices/ decisions?
The bark separates from the wood easily this time of the year. This is not the time to be doing any serious wiring and bending.

Right now is the growing season. Go trim some foliage properly - you can do one branch only or you can do the entire tree. Call it ramification, if you wish. I think of it more as keeping the foliage from running away (getting farther from the trunk).

Now, you have nothing to do with them but to let them grow until the end of the season. You could use this 'idle time' to plan what you are going to do when the time arrives. Of course, if you just want a zig zag that has pads at each direction break and one on top, you will, indeed, only need to 'build out ramification' into foliage pads.

If you want to make a trunk with a lampshade, you just need branches at the top and to watch those Ryan Neil videos sorce posted. Procumbens(1) looks to be good material for that kind of design. Procumbens(2) looks to be two trunks. A mother-daughter or a father-son composition is possible since one trunk is much shorter than the other. One of those trunks needs to be bent closer to the other to make either of these. That would take some wire, some guys, and maybe some rebar, but would those trunks be the least bit interesting? They are likely boringly straight. A bit of foliage that cuts across it here and there will disguise that - where would that foliage come from? Then you try it (doing the heavy stuff when the tree is dormant). Your result doesn't please you - reenter the do-loop. Your result does, but the damn thing changed - reenter the do-loop.

IMHO, this is the process
to learn how to take a piece of raw material that doesn't have an obvious (at least to me as a beginner) and determine how to shape and style it into an acceptable bonsai.
 

sorce

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I am very new and have no skills. I have lots of reading and watching videos, and I have about 10 trees. (I say about since there are a few saplings in there) But of the 4 junipers, I posted this is the most challenging to find a style for, which is why I posted it first. I have never attempted to layer a tree before and would like to get some experience so I may try it on this one. I've read that it takes about 3-4 months, but not sure when the best time of year is. I doubt its summer, but my guess would be start in late winter so by early spring when I am repotting other trees, this would be ready to go in a pot?

These are some nice looking trees...

If you can just keep them healthy till spring....you will be ahead of the game.

Lots of study till then.

If you do wish to layer it....I would start it a couple weeks after it starts growing in spring.
Use a clear container so you can see when the roots are cram packed in, then you can cut it off.

Here's how I roll...
http://www.bonsainut.com/threads/radialayer™-a-season-saver.17046/

Just read a lot....ponder many trees and yours....and by the time you figure it out...
You'll have a nice concept for your trees.

Watch the entire Bonsai art of Japan YouTube series....

Sorce
 

tstrum

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Osoyoung and sorce- thank you so much for your help! I have seen most of the Bonsai art of Japan YouTube series and most of Graham Potter's youtube videos as well. I hadn't seen any of Ryan Niel's videos, except for a promo video for The Artisan's Cup. I really like these you posted from his trip to Australia. I have also watched Bjorn's beginner & intermediate courses. Trying to absorb anything I can get my hands on, so I really appreciate the advice!
 

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