First bonsai- Needle juniper

fry22

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Hi there everyone, after doing quite a lot of homework I got my first bonsai today, a tiny little needle juniper. Since it is so young I haven't thought about what style I would like it to be. Right now it is just a big bundle of needles on top of a stick! There are so many interesting styles with junipers I thought that after letting it grow on its own for another year so I can see how it is shaping up and start working on it from there. Or is it better to start wiring the trunk immediately?

I know I won't be able to do anything substantial with it for a few years while it grows so I am planning on getting another bonsai pretty soon that is older that I can get a little experience with.

If anyone has any pointers I would definitely appreciate them but I have been doing a lot of looking on the forum and it seems like there is a lot of good information on here. I also just joined the San Diego Bonsai Club so if anyone here is in it maybe I'll see you in a few weeks at the next meeting.
 

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Vin

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Welcome aboard!

Sounds like you have all the bases covered. You included your location without being asked, you did some homework before going out and buying a tree and you joined a club. I would attend a few meetings and ask the other members about what works in your area. Some may even offer you a free tree to work on (we do in our club). Wiring seedlings for movement is done all the time, just don’t over do it.

You’ll find most on this forum very helpful as long as you try to find answers for yourself first. Good luck with your project and hope to see some updates in the coming years.
 
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edprocoat

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As thin as the trunk is now it would be easy to wire it and twist it. I would do enough to lower the trunk about half the height and let it set till it starts to bite in then remove it. Twisting gives you a strong thick trunk sooner and looks great too.

ed
 

michaelj

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I'd recommend bringing a few bucks to the club meeting every time and putting it into the raffle. You might get quite a bit of stuff cheap, and when you don't have a ton of money into them, you won't have to feel too bad about your losses when you make mistakes. I am in the SD Bonsai Club, too, and it's a great club. Unfortunately, the San Diego area only has one real bonsai nursery. If you haven't checked it out yet, head out to El Cajon and take a look at http://www.kumabonsainursery.com/
 

jk_lewis

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Welcome. If you have hopes of seeing your tree turn into a wild and rugged formal upright bonsai like you pictured, you will have to remove it from a pot and plant it in the ground for 5 or 6 years.

While it is in the ground, you can and should work on the top and the branches. You also will dig it up and replant every 2 years, ideally turning the plant a quarter turn each time so sunlight is evenly distributed over the long run.

If you don't have any ground, a grow box 2' by 2' by 8" will do, but it will take longer. The box has the advantage that you don't have to dig it up so often and you can turn the box. But you will not get the same rate of growth.

Joining the club was a great step. Attach yourself to the most experienced member you can find and ASK for help.
 

fry22

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I'd recommend bringing a few bucks to the club meeting every time and putting it into the raffle. You might get quite a bit of stuff cheap, and when you don't have a ton of money into them, you won't have to feel too bad about your losses when you make mistakes. I am in the SD Bonsai Club, too, and it's a great club. Unfortunately, the San Diego area only has one real bonsai nursery. If you haven't checked it out yet, head out to El Cajon and take a look at http://www.kumabonsainursery.com/
That's a good idea thanks. Actually that's where I went to get my bonsai, they seemed very helpful and had a huge selection. I wanted a Japanese cedar when I went there but apparently they don't do well here in So Cal so they recommended the Juniper.

Welcome. If you have hopes of seeing your tree turn into a wild and rugged formal upright bonsai like you pictured, you will have to remove it from a pot and plant it in the ground for 5 or 6 years.

While it is in the ground, you can and should work on the top and the branches. You also will dig it up and replant every 2 years, ideally turning the plant a quarter turn each time so sunlight is evenly distributed over the long run.

If you don't have any ground, a grow box 2' by 2' by 8" will do, but it will take longer. The box has the advantage that you don't have to dig it up so often and you can turn the box. But you will not get the same rate of growth.

Joining the club was a great step. Attach yourself to the most experienced member you can find and ASK for help.
Well hopefully I'll be buying a house here soon in the next year or so, but until then it'll probably have to stay in that pot. I looked for grow boxes on the web but they all seem like giant expensive contraptions, could I just build a large wooden box with those dimensions and chuck it in there?

Thanks everyone
 
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jk_lewis

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could I just build a large wooden box with those dimensions and chuck it in there?
Sure. Most of us do it that way. Just be sure it has very good drainage. They tend to stay pretty damp.
 

Vin

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These are grow boxes and cost less than $10 each to make. They don't have to be this fancy. I made mine with handles so I can move them around easier.
 

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M. Frary

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I use collanders from the dollar store.$ 1.00 each. That way they get air pruned as they grow. That way you have dense fine roots to reduce when it comes time to go back into a smaller pot.
 

fry22

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Thanks for the ideas everyone.

Next issue/ topic. When I got my juniper it was in a tiny little pot and the nursery repotted it for me in what essentially seemed like a 50% soil 25% pumice 25% other inorganic matter mix. They told me to water it heavily every day, but the more I look at I keep seeing junipers like to almost dry out between waterings so I'm not sure what to do.

I watered it heavily as soon as I got it home but the mix doesn't seem to be draining at all. It's in a nursery pot with 4 holes so I know its not because of the pot. So I have been waiting for the soil to get drier before watering it but its been 3 days and it still seems quite moist. Should I keep watering it like the nursery told me or let it dry out some more?

Also, would it be a good idea to repot in the spring to a more draining soil mixture?
 
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