Eastern Red Cedars

roelex14

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Has anyone used eastern red cedars (juniperus virginiana) as bonsai material. in fields by my house in illinois, i have found them and would love to collect them if they can be used. if anyone has used these or seen these, please let me know if they have any potential and maybe some pics.
thanks!
 

Kirk

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You see them used occasionally when one is found with an interesting trunk. Their growth tends to be straight and keeps the juvenile Christmas tree/ovoid shape until very old. The NC Arboretum in Asheville has an interesting one in their collection that has more of a bunjin style. They may have photos of it on their website.

Kirk
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I had some for a few years; they were among the first trees I ever collected when I still lived in Iowa. They were far better material than I could buy at the time, and responded well to my abuse:rolleyes:

The last one I had, I sold about 5 years ago, and found this not-so-great photo of it.

Kirk is right; they tend to have straight trunks unless you are lucky enough to collect in a pasture or somewhere their growth is regularly interrupted.

I learned a lot, and you can bend them all over the place. They do seem to retain juvenile foliage FOREVER, as an inherent response to foliage pinching and pruning; which we have to do for bonsai. They are susceptible to cedar-apple rust, which you will always battle, probably never winning and never losing.

I'd say, if you have access and need cheap material to practice on...go for it!
 

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rockm

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Mostly ERC really stink as bonsai. Growth is not easy to control once you get the tree collected. specialized pinching techniques have to be learned to keep the tree from becoming lanky and rank with growth.

Trunks are mostly unremarkable--straight, straight and straighter. Unless you can find one with a nice trunk with movement and some heft, they're not worth the effort to get them out of the ground.

They are, however, extremely common...
 

John Hill

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Here is two I collected in 06. One ,as Rock said is really lanky but has back budded quite a bit. I will have to go out and take some new pics of them. I plan on working on it this year. I will let you know how it responds. Now I could be wrong on the species but I do believe they are ceders. They are some type of juniper. I collected them at an old farm house and was told it was Virginiana. I will go out when the weather lets me and get some shots of the foliage and maybe I can find our for sure.

A Friend in bonsai
John
 

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JRob

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Nick Lenz's book "Bonsai from the Wild" has a section on them. I had asked same question on this species about a year ago. Might try to search the threads. Someone suggested Nick's book which I ordered and found very helpful on collecting in the wild.

JRob
 

Martin Sweeney

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DaveV

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John, I have never seen an ERC like yours, particularly the first picture. The first one looks great- it must be pretty old. I live in Iowa and ERC grow everywhere and on everything here. Almost all of the ERC I have seen are straight and lanky. Nice find!
 
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John Hill

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Hi Dave,
It was on an old farm. When you carve on it has the smell of ceder. I would like to know exactly what it is. I will take some pics of the foliage and start another post, don't want to sidetrack roelex14 post.
I was just told they were ceder.

A Friend in bonsai
John
 

Vance Wood

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Here is two I collected in 06. One ,as Rock said is really lanky but has back budded quite a bit. I will have to go out and take some new pics of them. I plan on working on it this year. I will let you know how it responds. Now I could be wrong on the species but I do believe they are ceders. They are some type of juniper. I collected them at an old farm house and was told it was Virginiana. I will go out when the weather lets me and get some shots of the foliage and maybe I can find our for sure.

A Friend in bonsai
John

They are called Cedars but they are actually Junipers. This is not an uncommon thing to have happen in the naming of trees. The world is full of confusing crud like this.
 

John Hill

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Hey Vance,
I know what you mean. After thinking and searching I believe that is is an old Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa). But when I carve on it smells like ceder. Maybe the cypress smells this way also.
Who knows?

A Friend in bonsai
John
 

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cascade

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Hi,

I purchased this Red Cedar, Virginiana Juniper, about 4 years ago at Miami Tropical Bonsai, grew it out and cut it back several times while working on the wood part. Last November (2009) I went ahead and styled it.

Best,
dorothy
 

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Kirk

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John,

I also posted on your other thread about the same junipers. They look like an older J. chinensis that have been in the landscape for a while. A lot of old timers will call any evergreen, other than a pine, "cedar". The Eastern Red Cedar is Juniperus virginiana. It's a juniper as well and will have that same cedar-like smell when scratched.

Kirk
 

Vance Wood

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Hi,

I purchased this Red Cedar, Virginiana Juniper, about 4 years ago at Miami Tropical Bonsai, grew it out and cut it back several times while working on the wood part. Last November (2009) I went ahead and styled it.

Best,
dorothy

Very nice bit of work there!
 

rockm

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Eastern Red Cedar is a junk tree (a juniper) with an interesting history. It is extremely common from the Mississippi eastward. The smell of the wood is a particular feature that makes it useful in cabinetry --as in "cedar chests" used to store clothes. The aroma of the wood repels moths.

The wood is dense in oils and lasts a very long time--most fence posts in the eastern US are ERC...

Additionally, the berries are used, like other juniper berries, in making gin.

Despite all this, it still stinks as bonsai material. Nick Lenz recommends completely replacing ERC foliage with grafted shimpaku juniper foliage--which kind of begs the question --Why bother digging one up if you're going to make it into a shimpaku?

Not to say good trees can't be made from it--just look at Dorothy's--but those are the exception.

By the way, misnamed North American trees have a long history. Bald Cypress isn't a cypress, sweetgum isn't a gum, yellow poplar isn't a poplar, but a magnolia, "live oak" species in california and the Southern US are not the same, etc. Common names for trees are extremely misleading way to ID a species.
 

cquinn

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--Why bother digging one up if you're going to make it into a shimpaku?

Because big shimpaku trunks cost $$$$.
 

rockm

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ERC trunks are, for the most part, extremely boring.

Better material can be had to create a tanuki, or a large live base base for a shimpaku--like common juniper, rocky mt. juniper, etc. If you're after a tanuki, simple aquarium driftwood is better than a bean pole ERC trunk...
 

HotAction

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Two ERC were displayed at the national exhibit in Oct 2008. Both are quite impressive and can be seen in the album from the show. Both are collected from New Jeresey and are estimated to be very old.

Dave
 

cquinn

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ERC trunks are, for the most part, extremely boring.

Better material can be had to create a tanuki, or a large live base base for a shimpaku--like common juniper, rocky mt. juniper, etc. If you're after a tanuki, simple aquarium driftwood is better than a bean pole ERC trunk...

No Badger trees from me brother. There are interesting Red Cedars where I live near Chattanooga in the mountains.
 

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