First Juniper Attempt

Hawke84

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Hi all,
Thought i'd post a picture of my first proper juniper attempt. would love to hear your thoughts and tips on wiring and refinement.

My Post (1).jpg
 

Brian Van Fleet

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That’s about on par with most first Juniper attempts. The natural and wrong tendency is to remove all the foliage from the interior and leave a “poodle” look of foliage out on the ends of stripped branches. Really, you need to be trimming away the long stuff and concentrating on getting the interior stuff growing strong.

Since you’ve already repotted and pruned it, you’ll be pressing your luck by also wiring it. Colin Lewis has videos that teach wiring in a straight-forward manner. Go find them.
 

GrimLore

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How much did you reduce the root and or clean it out? It "might" be OK to do some trimming more properly and it could be suggested. Also, how much longer will your growing season be?

Grimmy
 

Saddler

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Yup, sure does look like my first juniper attempt. Seven years later, it still doesn’t have foliage near the trunk. It will probably be one of first grafting attempts next winter. I would buy another one or five and try styling them like taking into account what Brian suggested, but don’t repot. I did this to quite a few trees and learnt a lot. I killed a lot of branches learning what not to do. That lead me to rewriring it into a whole new shape.... more practice.
 

Hawke84

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ive not done any root pruning, only transferred it into a slightly smaller pot. I dont intent on doing 2 major bits of work on the tree at the same time. I've got another good 3 months in the growing season here as im zone 9.

@Brian Van Fleet im confused by your feedback, whats the proper way to initially trim nursery stock? Do you mean snip the ends off the long branches and encourage short foliage at the ends, keeping all the interior stuff? from my knowledge of junipers once its gone its gone unless im wrong? all the branches are still fairly short as this is a creeping juniper.

I've watches all of Colins videos already, really helpful stuff
link for anyone else who finds this thread
https://www.craftsy.com/gardening/classes/bonsai-wiring-essentials/35341
 

Saddler

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It’s only gone if you can’t grow it anew. Some junipers backbud on old wood, some don’t. If you cut from the outside in and leave enough green to support the branch, you can regrow the branch, but with taper. You may or may not be able to ever bring the secondary branches closer to the trunk now that they are removed.
 

Hawke84

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ok think i get it, i was working under the assumption to preserve the growing tips to help recovery but actually leads to a less compact tree. TBH im still fairly happy with this one, i bought 2 of these to use as practice for wiring, it seems to be a really good species as the foliage is quite compact. Looking at it, the only branch which is fairly long without any foliage is the lower left, all the rest have remained quite compact, I could even kill that branch and turn it into deadwood.
 

Hawke84

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ok,
next question (keeping in mind this is my practice wiring tree) my aim is to do as shown. My question is around the red line. all the tutorials i've watched seem to more cover how to wire branches. with the red line, do I anchor in the pot and wire up the branch with fairly thick wire (4mm?) until the branch starts to thin then stop, or should i go to the end?

thanks guys

My Post.jpg
 

Cable

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Last time I tried a bend like that on a juniper I used 6mm. You could probably double up the 4mm but I doubt it will be enough with just one. I prefer to anchor in the pot but others don't. Up to you if you want to go all the way to the end. I usually do but not always.
 

Hawke84

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Ok thanks. I have some old extension cord so I might switch to copper for the heavy bend
 

Cable

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I’m not sure that will work. You’d need pretty heavy duty wire in there and then would need to anneal it. For like $10 you can get enough aluminum 6mm off Amazon to do that bend.

Oh, and I protected mine with vet tape (chosen over raffeta). Not sure it is necessary but I felt better using that with such extreme bending.

6184CC20-21D7-4531-86FD-5FD771C9D4B0.jpeg
 

Hawke84

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I’m not sure that will work. You’d need pretty heavy duty wire in there and then would need to anneal it. For like $10 you can get enough aluminum 6mm off Amazon to do that bend.

Oh, and I protected mine with vet tape (chosen over raffeta). Not sure it is necessary but I felt better using that with such extreme bending.
That looks really beautiful, lovely work. What type of juniper is that?
I'm lucky, the garden centre near me has an amazing selection.

I've got some wire in order. Unfortunately it's more expensive here $30 equivalent :(
 

bonsaichile

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Ok thanks. I have some old extension cord so I might switch to copper for the heavy bend
You can easily anneal it. I anneal my own wires. Just take the plastic cover off and throw it in a grill with red hot coals. Do it at night, so you can see when the wire is glowing red hot. Then, quickly quench it in a bucket with iced water. And presto, you have annealed copper wire
 

sorce

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im confused by your feedback, whats the proper way to initially trim nursery stock? Do you mean snip the ends off the long branches and encourage short foliage at the ends, keeping all the interior stuff?
My thing is....you need the runners for the energy to get it potted.
But you need to cut em to utilize the close growth.

So pot first trim later?
Or trim first pot later?

Either way....you won't be able to do much until it is rebalanced.

So if your close branches are weak and in danger of being shaded to death....
Trim first. But you must then wait till you have the same amount of runners to repot.

I prefer to pot first.as A fresh healthy Nursery J almost always has the energy to be repotted straight away, where trimming it and waiting to repot later is pretty much a guessing game.

I have been stripping everything between the first forking branches and the growing tips.
Hybrid...

Trying to leave them little options for where they grow. And retain health that is in the runners.

I see people thin them crazy....
But I'm not at that stage yet.

I'm trying to get full healthy plants into small pots....
Left to gain enough energy so I know I can thin them hard and begin a righteous styling.

For me...
The need to get them into more controllable and predictable soil is greater than my ability to know if they are healthy enough to be repotted after a major cutback.

Sorce
 

Hawke84

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Ok first ever wiring attempt. Working with 6mm wire is really hard. I got a bit confused up the top and I managed to split a branch but I've learnt a lot! Amazed with what you can do!

20180627_203323.jpg
 

Cable

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Not too shabby! You’re supposed to try to avoid crossing wires whenever possible. It isn’t always possible though.

Also, you have to break branches to learn how to not break branches.
 

Hawke84

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ok so 1 year on, ive learn a lot but still struggling a bit with this one, i think more around where i went wrong initially and 'poodled' it im struggling to undo it as it hasnt back-budded (i know its unlikely to).

my main 3 issues.
1) bottom left branch, really long branch outside the shape of the tree and its the only branch that side. i can shorten it but not sure how much to risk taking off without killing the only branch that side.
2) right branches, bit cluttered, I think another branch needs to go, just cant decide which.
3) havent quite got the canopy quite right yet, im not happy with it, not sure why, getting there, maybe a if of branch definition? looking for ideas.

This is my first try messing around with Junipers so I know im learning and i'm keen to experiment and figure out what works but feedback and pointers would be great.

thanks all

20190324_172206.jpg
 

Shibui

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Some real bends in that long branch might bring the foliage closer to the trunk. Every bend effectively shortens a branch or trunk. Try to follow a 'theme' through the whole tree. If one branch is bendy others should have similar bends. If one part is highly twisted follow this in other areas too. Straighter trunks look better when complimented with straighter branches.
Don't think of juniper branches like deciduous trees. It is Ok to have branches start in one place but snake around to give foliage in another spot. That long left branch might start heading backward then come forward again or maybe follow the trunkline up then turn and come back down to where it is now or maybe even a bit higher to avoid left and right foliage at the same level. The foliage can be used to cover any unattractive bends.
Right side: remove the lowest branch. I know it grows from the outside of a trunk curve but it is still far too low for a real tree. Remove current rear branch which is opposite the long, left branch. Use the one below to provide back branch. remaining right branch and new rear branch can also have distinct bends to match the left side and to bring foliage closer to the trunk.
Apex: some more bending will compress the apex more and match the lower branches.
At some stage you will need to wire some of the thinner apex branches to spread them and arrange a domed apical foliage pad.

There are probably also a number of different style options for this tree as it is still very young.:
Remove all except the long left branch to form a cascade tree.
Remove the long, left branch and lay trunk down for a raft style.

There is no one correct way to style this tree. You have many reasonable possibilities so don't be frightened of making decisions.
 

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