Help with a monster yardadori juniper!

G-Hoppa

Sapling
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I'll be digging this beast out of the ground tomorrow afternoon. I've successfully collected a couple deciduous trees, but never something like this.

It's about 5' tall by 8' wide. I can't stop looking at that trunk.
  • first, I'm just outside Seattle, it's been cool and rainy this week, and temps won't break 70* for a couple weeks at least. It'll be sunny & 60* tomorrow when I dig this monster out.
  • what should I be prepared to find for roots & root spread under a juniper of this age?
  • what should I put it in when I get it home - a giant grow box of just pumice (a suggestion I've seen here)? My usual soil is a mix of pumice, 8822, and different amounts of orchid bark to adjust moisture retention. But even w/out the bark that might stay too wet . . .
  • how much cleaning of the roots do I dare at this initial collection?
  • I'll need to reduce the top to get it home, but of course I don't want to risk health or eliminate options for eventual styling. How far back into the green can I cut this at collection without risking branch loss? What's the best foliage management approach for something like this, and how can I set myself up for long-term success at the time of this initial work?
  • I won't want to move this once I get it into a grow box. Can I put it in full morning & mid day sun right away? That's the best spot for it in my garden in the long term.
 

Dav4

Drop Branch Murphy
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Get as much of the root ball as you can and I wouldn't do much cleaning of the roots for now. Leave as much of the canopy as you can as junipers with a healthy canopy that gets misted frequently can survive for a while with a compromised root system and need that photosynthesis to rebuild the roots that were lost at collection. Ideally, you've got a very large nursery can or you're planning to build a wooden box to fit the root system... the container this one goes into after being dug should fit the roots pretty snugly and be filled with 100% pumice. Place in mostly shade, mist the canopy multiple times a day and be cautious about overwatering the roots. In time, the tree will hopefully show bright green growth on the tips of it's branches which means the tree is growing roots, and it's at this point where you can gradually begin to move the tree into more sun. You can begin to work the tree in 2-3 years, assuming the tree is still alive and growing well. If it's still weak, wait another year.
 

G-Hoppa

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Thanks Dav4 - I've got a giant nursery can and lots of pumice ready to go. Hopefully I can keep most of the top intact digging it out & getting it home.
 

PiñonJ

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Keep as much of the foliage as you can. That's the center of strength in a juniper. It will fuel root growth. Keep the field soil on. You can lose some of it, but it contains beneficial mycelium. Mist several times a day the first couple of weeks, though in your climate, you don't have to worry about it as much. Make a grow box and secure the tree well to avoid damaging newly-grown roots. You don't have to wait for new growth before moving it into sun. You may not get any for weeks.
 

G-Hoppa

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Well, I went to check it out in person tonight, having only seen the photo here, and sadly I think it's way too big to actually collect. The photo is misleading - the distance between the trunk and the green foliage is much greater than apparent, with a few feet of barren tangle in between. It's also more massive than it looks overall - easily 14-15 inches caliper at the base. If someone else in the Seattle area wants to take a look, it's on Craigslist in Kirkland.
Thanks Dav4 and PinonJ for your advice - I'll use it when I come across something more usable.
 

defra

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I would collect it get it settled in a wooden trainingbox have it thrive in a couple years in the meanwhile you can figure out where to take it or learn how to graft foliage on closer to the base or try to push the growth back

First thing to get with bonsai is a fat base and healthy roots and the base just looks awesome !
 

mattspiniken

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I don't blame you for thinking this might be too big, and this is easy for me to say as I sit on my butt..... go collect it. If you are able to get this thing growing strong after collection it would be an amazing candidate for grafting closer to that great base. Just find some friends, and post up pictures.
 

G-Hoppa

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Ha! well, I know it looks like I'm wimping out, but it's not just the size that's the problem. As good as the trunk looks from the angle in the photo, it's far too large in person. I know some folks work huge trees, but I can't really handle all that. And I don't see any options other than grafting eventually to get foliage back anywhere near the trunk. If I had more time, or if I had an army of friends to help out this afternoon, maybe I could work around these issues and try cutting down 2 of the 3 trunks, get it manageable . . . but the owner wants it gone today. Just no way to make it happen. Believe me it's a tough decision to walk away!
Too bad - but maybe another B-Nutter in the area will see the posting and grab it.
 

Eric Group

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Man... you should tied a chain to it and pulled it out with your truck or something, that is a helluva find...
 

Vance Wood

Lord Mugo
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Put it in a big wooden box. Give it a year or two and sell it for a couple of thousand dollars. In your area you should be able to pull that off without a problem.
 

vario

Yamadori
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Wow what a monster beauty.
 

G-Hoppa

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I know, I know. It's sorta haunting me right now. I have to keep reminding myself how excited I was about it based only on the picture, and what a let down the actual tree was in person. Maybe someone else could have done something with it . . .
But I've moved on - I have plenty of (much smaller) trees that need my attention.
 

drew33998

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Even if you were to get that tree i think it could tske the better part of 20 years to get the foliage where you wanted it. Maybe Ryan Neil will collect it. Its not too far from him. Jk
 

crust

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Get local advice on collecting and aftercare. Don't worry about branching--everything will be grafted in the future. Save green to make it regrow roots. Try to keep as small a root ball as possible without endangering in pumice/lava. Mist green stuff. Grow new roots. Graft on shimpaku.
 
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