Half and half California juniper

bonhe

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I won this tree in the club auction few months ago.
The previous owner grafted shimpaku on its trunk. I love it trunk movement but don't like shimpaku grafted on California juniper. I'm a kind of person who wants pureness. So, I may remove the shimpaku part later on. I'm thinking to have this tree as a cascade type. Bonhe
 

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Dwight

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I'd take the shimpacu off RIGHT NOW. When we were in Cal in June we went to Fugi to look at grafted Cal junies and then went to Kimura to see ungrafted trees. The grafted trees were georgeous but were no longer Cal junies , they really become shimps. The ungrafted trees at Kinura were just as nice but still had the characteristics of Cal junies. I can understant the point of grafting....it does produce a much hardier tree ( or so I was told ) and that in itself makes sense. It also gives us barbarians a chance to have what amounts to a collected , very old shimpacu. BUT they arn't Cal junies any more.

Anyway I don't like where the shimp graft is, especially if you want a cascade ( which is what the tree seems to want to be ).
 

snobird

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Hi Bonhe
I feel the same way. Let shimpaku be grafted on j. chinensis and keep them away from other kinds of junipers.
 

Si Nguyen

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Nice tree Bonhe! I can't quite see it as a cascade though. Does the root base cooperate well for a cascade? The tall straight trunk and the 90 degree corner is bad. You will need to really change the planting angle and maybe split the live vein far back too. I agree with you about the grafting too, I like to keep thing original. but in this case, since you already got a healthy graft in a good spot, I probably would keep it and work with it. Good luck!
Si
 

Wm Tom Davis

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Sometimes the need for drastic measures...

I too would rather see the graft removed; but as mentioned above, the long 90 degree bend in a trunk that is the same diameter for much of it makes it look like green growth at the end of a couple of bones. So I can see why the previous owner did what they did.

My thoughts (those of a beginner) would be to leave the shimp until I could find a Cal juni that I could maybe take a cutting from (next time your in Calif...) and try to graft that in the shimp's place. Even then the possibilities for a cascade are years in the making.

My other thought (one that I would want if it were my tree) would be to try and create a shorter trunk (after the bend, where the shimp graft is) by removing the shimp graft and doing an air layering to get new roots. This would hopefully create more options for you, and you still have the wonderful jin in the upper part of the tree and the two nice areas of growth to work with. To see what I mean, I took some liberty and Photo shopped your 1st picture.


I realize that both of these are quite drastic and difficult and would take years to achieve, but looking at what you have and what your thinking of doing with it, I'm hoping of enlightening you to other possibilities.

Best of luck in what ever you decide to do.
 
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Klytus

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So the possibilty exists to grow the graft for a Jin,with another possibility of grafting onto the graft and then jinning the remainder.
 

Mike Page

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I'd take the shimpacu off RIGHT NOW. When we were in Cal in June we went to Fugi to look at grafted Cal junies and then went to Kimura to see ungrafted trees. The grafted trees were georgeous but were no longer Cal junies , they really become shimps. The ungrafted trees at Kinura were just as nice but still had the characteristics of Cal junies. I can understant the point of grafting....it does produce a much hardier tree ( or so I was told ) and that in itself makes sense. It also gives us barbarians a chance to have what amounts to a collected , very old shimpacu. BUT they arn't Cal junies any more.

Anyway I don't like where the shimp graft is, especially if you want a cascade ( which is what the tree seems to want to be ).

I agree 100%. I have 10 or so California junipers and they are all natural.

I well remember about 28-30 years ago, I bought my first Cal Jun from a collector in Southern California. When I brought it home, I took it to show a Japanese nurseryman/bonsaiist I was friends with. I've never forgotten what he said. "Don't graft! Keep it natural. They are special".

I have heeded his admonition.

Mike
 

bonhe

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I'd take the shimpacu off RIGHT NOW. When we were in Cal in June we went to Fugi to look at grafted Cal junies and then went to Kimura to see ungrafted trees. The grafted trees were georgeous but were no longer Cal junies , they really become shimps. The ungrafted trees at Kinura were just as nice but still had the characteristics of Cal junies. I can understant the point of grafting....it does produce a much hardier tree ( or so I was told ) and that in itself makes sense. It also gives us barbarians a chance to have what amounts to a collected , very old shimpacu. BUT they arn't Cal junies any more.

Anyway I don't like where the shimp graft is, especially if you want a cascade ( which is what the tree seems to want to be ).

Hi Dwight, in my area, California juniper is much stronger that shimpaku, I mean it grows like a weed. Thanks for your thought.
and thanks Snobird and Klytus for your idea.
Bonhe
 

bonhe

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Nice tree Bonhe! I can't quite see it as a cascade though. Does the root base cooperate well for a cascade? The tall straight trunk and the 90 degree corner is bad. You will need to really change the planting angle and maybe split the live vein far back too. I agree with you about the grafting too, I like to keep thing original. but in this case, since you already got a healthy graft in a good spot, I probably would keep it and work with it. Good luck!
Si
Thanks Si. I will sketch it when I have a time :). I think the root base should be OK for cascade. When I look at this tree, I have to imagine why it has this shape. It looks like it was growing right underneath the rock ceiling at the cliff or it was damaged by some heavy things which fell on it. I don't know. I have another option is that keep the planting angle as it is (natural). Bonhe
 

Si Nguyen

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Thanks Si. I will sketch it when I have a time :). I think the root base should be OK for cascade. When I look at this tree, I have to imagine why it has this shape. It looks like it was growing right underneath the rock ceiling at the cliff or it was damaged by some heavy things which fell on it. I don't know. I have another option is that keep the planting angle as it is (natural). Bonhe

Hi Bonhe, yes , keeping the current planting angle is one option, but that is not necessarily its original, "natural" position when it was first collected. I would doubt very much that this was the original position. I would bet that the original position had the vertical trunk down flat horizontal. I am intrigued by how you would do this tree as a cascade. If the roots cooperate, it really could be a cool cascade.
Si
 

Dwight

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It doesn't look like it needs to be " leaned " over to the left very far. You could also consider burying it deeper in a pot and scoring the live vein ( ground layering ) to decrease the height of the vertical section of trunk. I was looking through some back issues on BT and one of the Japanese masters had a tree much like this so he seperated the live vein from the dead wood , cut off the dead wood at the bottom of the trunk , split and hollowed the live vein and twisted the two halves so it would liwer the whole tree. Seemed rather drastic when he could have just ground layered the tree.
 

bonhe

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I too would rather see the graft removed; but as mentioned above, the long 90 degree bend in a trunk that is the same diameter for much of it makes it look like green growth at the end of a couple of bones. So I can see why the previous owner did what they did.

My thoughts (those of a beginner) would be to leave the shimp until I could find a Cal juni that I could maybe take a cutting from (next time your in Calif...) and try to graft that in the shimp's place. Even then the possibilities for a cascade are years in the making.

My other thought (one that I would want if it were my tree) would be to try and create a shorter trunk (after the bend, where the shimp graft is) by removing the shimp graft and doing an air layering to get new roots. This would hopefully create more options for you, and you still have the wonderful jin

I realize that both of these are quite drastic and difficult and would take years to achieve, but looking at what you have and what your thinking of doing with it, I'm hoping of enlightening you to other possibilities.

Best of luck in what ever you decide to do.
Thanks Tom. Yes, I'm also thinking to graft the California juniper to the shimpaku branch later on.

I agree 100%. I have 10 or so California junipers and they are all natural.

I well remember about 28-30 years ago, I bought my first Cal Jun from a collector in Southern California. When I brought it home, I took it to show a Japanese nurseryman/bonsaiist I was friends with. I've never forgotten what he said. "Don't graft! Keep it natural. They are special".

I have heeded his admonition.

Mike
and thanks Mike.
Bonhe
 

bonhe

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Hi Bonhe, yes , keeping the current planting angle is one option, but that is not necessarily its original, "natural" position when it was first collected. I would doubt very much that this was the original position. I would bet that the original position had the vertical trunk down flat horizontal. I am intrigued by how you would do this tree as a cascade. If the roots cooperate, it really could be a cool cascade.
Si
Hi Si, I hope it will become a cool cascade some time in the future.

It doesn't look like it needs to be " leaned " over to the left very far. You could also consider burying it deeper in a pot and scoring the live vein ( ground layering ) to decrease the height of the vertical section of trunk. I was looking through some back issues on BT and one of the Japanese masters had a tree much like this so he seperated the live vein from the dead wood , cut off the dead wood at the bottom of the trunk , split and hollowed the live vein and twisted the two halves so it would liwer the whole tree. Seemed rather drastic when he could have just ground layered the tree.
Hi Dwight, looks like you're talking about Kimura's technique? Yes, it's one of options. Thanks. Bonhe
 

Si Nguyen

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Hi Dwight, splitting the live vein is not a bad idea for this tree. But it is tough to keep alive in Southern California though. It is too dry and too hot here, especially lately. The few that I have seen done over the years here have all dried up and died after a few months.

Hi Bonhe, here's a couple of quick thumbnail sketches for your tree. I kinda like it as an upright bunjin style. Both sketches are almost completely hypothethical because I have no idea what the lower trunk and root flare look like. Its root flare would have to cooperate before you could even consider a cascade style for this thing. Always uncover the top 2-3 inches of soil and examine the root flare first before deciding how this tree would sit, and keeping in mind which root is actually alive to keep. Otherwise, you would just be wasting your time.
Si
 

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Dwight

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Hi Dwight, splitting the live vein is not a bad idea for this tree. But it is tough to keep alive in Southern California though. It is too dry and too hot here, especially lately. The few that I have seen done over the years here have all dried up and died after a few months.
Si

It scares the heck outa me just reading about stuff this drastic.
 

Si Nguyen

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It scares the heck outa me just reading about stuff this drastic.

I tried splitting the trunk once on a California juniper. Dead and dried up in 3 months. Would never do it again. I think the key is tree selection. It has to be strong and healthy and with a lot of sap flow in order for it to heal from all the fractures in the cambium that came from the drastic bending. Shimpakus are usually strong enough for this procedure, and that's what you would see used for this technique in books. The California junipers are just not that strong.
 

bonhe

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Hi Si, your sketches are so beautiful. I really like them. I don't think this tree can be trained into the one in the first sketch due to its lower trunk, however it could be planted about 45 degrees. It may be trained into the one in 2nd sketch. Thanks for your advice Si. Bonhe
 

Si Nguyen

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Hi Si, your sketches are so beautiful. I really like them. I don't think this tree can be trained into the one in the first sketch due to its lower trunk, however it could be planted about 45 degrees. It may be trained into the one in 2nd sketch. Thanks for your advice Si. Bonhe

Hi Bonhe, a 45 degree lean would only make it a semi-cascade. If you want that planting position, then I would strongly suggest keeping the shimpaku grafts because this will keep the foliage mass closer to the trunk for a proper balance. The original California Juniper foliage is too far out, and in a semi-cascade of this size, would be too far away from the pot. It would look bad. In bonsai design, the center of gravity of your composition should be in or very close to the pot. Sketch it out. You will see what I mean.
Si
 

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