Hollywood Juniper - Bush to bonsai

girv

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Hi all - I picked up this hollywood juniper at my local store (Bonsai West) after getting a gift card for xmas. For the price range it seemed to have the thickest trunk with best movement, lots of branch options, and there wasn't a huge pre-bonsai section to start with. Plus this was the one they suggested from the juniper selection. So... looking to start the journey of how to best get this to a much more compact foliage structure.

I know I can't take off too much at one time, but honestly, a bit confused where to even start. I would think the first goal is to open it up a bit and allow more light to get down to the lower branches, but all advice welcome. I am not sure exactly what style I am thinking yet so open to ideas here as well. Thanks for looking!
 

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0soyoung

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If it has lots of heathy roots, one can reduce junipers rather viciously - see "The Juniper 'Arlene'", for example (pic links apparently got buggered in site software moves - those early photos are in my 'Arlene' album). 'Arlene didn't have one nice central trunk like you do, but once you've got a plan, don't be timid this coming spring (or whenever after that you do).

IMHO, your thinking should be in how to go about compacting it as opposed to opening it up. Green stuff will grow into branches, but brown branches won't become green stuff - preserve all those inner bits of green. You might try wiring some branches to help with figuring out what you've got and, hence, your plans. It is also a good way to get sunlight to those inner bits of green in the meantime. Don't be afraid to bend branches - it will be your primary tool to get foliage where you want it, in the end.
 

girv

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If it has lots of heathy roots, one can reduce junipers rather viciously - see "The Juniper 'Arlene'", for example (pic links apparently got buggered in site software moves - those early photos are in my 'Arlene' album). 'Arlene didn't have one nice central trunk like you do, but once you've got a plan, don't be timid this coming spring (or whenever after that you do).

IMHO, your thinking should be in how to go about compacting it as opposed to opening it up. Green stuff will grow into branches, but brown branches won't become green stuff - preserve all those inner bits of green. You might try wiring some branches to help with figuring out what you've got and, hence, your plans. It is also a good way to get sunlight to those inner bits of green in the meantime. Don't be afraid to bend branches - it will be your primary tool to get foliage where you want it, in the end.
Thank you @0soyoung! You better defined my end goal which is compacting. I do think the roots seem healthy but will need to take a closer look. Will cutting back hard/removing all foliage from a particular branch result in potential back budding or will it just kill the branch?

So is early spring is the appropriate time to wire and reduce foliage?
 

0soyoung

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Removing all green = a dead branch.
Wiring can be done most any time, but it is easy to 'slip' or damage the bark in the months around the summer solstice (late May to late July). One-half to two-thirds of the annual stem thickening occurs after the summer solstice.
Generally, back budding on junipers occurs only on green tissues. Sometimes buds will pop at old branch nodes, like where a branch comes off the trunk.
When I said 'healthy roots' I meant mostly that it wasn't recently repotted.
 

Japonicus

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Hollywood! Nice @girv ! I got one for my landscape from the trash heap
throw out section at a local nursery for $20. It was also to be used as a "Mother" tree
for air layers for myself. This was a 5' tree above the 10-15g pot it was in.
I planted it on the N side of the house with the least light where I Winter my trees.
In 3 years this tree had tripled in size, (planted in the ground) being twice the height and
more than doubling the foliage mass. Yes it was 10' tall when I had to cut it down
to build my sunroom addition. Trunk gained good girth too. Just a heads up, you might
have to be aggressive with this one more than the typical juniper. Looks nice I like it.
 

girv

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Hollywood! Nice @girv ! I got one for my landscape from the trash heap
throw out section at a local nursery for $20. It was also to be used as a "Mother" tree
for air layers for myself. This was a 5' tree above the 10-15g pot it was in.
I planted it on the N side of the house with the least light where I Winter my trees.
In 3 years this tree had tripled in size, (planted in the ground) being twice the height and
more than doubling the foliage mass. Yes it was 10' tall when I had to cut it down
to build my sunroom addition. Trunk gained good girth too. Just a heads up, you might
have to be aggressive with this one more than the typical juniper. Looks nice I like it.
So from some research the last 2 days this seems like a pretty unpopular juniper variety for bonsai, and this tree wasn't exactly cheap. I mainly went off of what the employee said which at a high level was "junipers are junipers" for bonsai since I was mainly looking for shimpaku or kishu pre-bonsai, which they didn't have in the size range I was looking for. Should I consider bringing this back to look for something else?
 

0soyoung

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Should I consider bringing this back to look for something else?
Let me just say, NO.
Since you know nothing, what difference would it make?

I suggest that you use it to learn how to keep one alive, how grow one, how to repot one, how to wire and bend one, how to make pads on one, how to graft one, how to style one ....

Suppose it was a prized Itowagawa.
Would it instantly make you a bonsai genius?​
What would you do with it that you cannot do with this one?​
 

coltranem

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Is this your first tree? Bonsai West does have classes and workshops you could attend to help you style this tree. There are also some local clubs to check out.
 

Japonicus

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So from some research the last 2 days this seems like a pretty unpopular juniper variety for bonsai, and this tree wasn't exactly cheap. I mainly went off of what the employee said which at a high level was "junipers are junipers" for bonsai since I was mainly looking for shimpaku or kishu pre-bonsai, which they didn't have in the size range I was looking for. Should I consider bringing this back to look for something else?
I don't know.
Unfortunately, I never got to layer mine and try my hand at it for bonsai.
I wanted to and yours looks really nice. It could be that it will condense down
like you're wanting, but I was just giving you a heads up that it may grow
like a juniper I have that I have difficulty keeping the growth down.
I bought 2 Sergeants Junipers, and one of them is rogue in ground or in a pot either way.
The other, quite tame, but less a candidate for bonsai. My luck.

I think the Hollywood looks so much like Shimpaku, and the bark has good colour too.

Myself, I would make that decision solely on whether the foliage you're going to cut back to
on the interior of the branches, would support becoming a foliar pad or not based on what
you can see right now within, where we cannot. Sure it will grow out, but is it as sturdy
on the interior, as what a Shimpaku is? Not saying weak growth shaded, on a Shimpaku
is sturdy, but are the characteristics similar there?

Had I been able to use mine, I certainly could lend a hand in helping you. Sorry.
 

girv

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Let me just say, NO.
Since you know nothing, what difference would it make?

I suggest that you use it to learn how to keep one alive, how grow one, how to repot one, how to wire and bend one, how to make pads on one, how to graft one, how to style one ....

Suppose it was a prized Itowagawa.
Would it instantly make you a bonsai genius?​
What would you do with it that you cannot do with this one?​
I appreciate the advice and will take it to heart @0soyoung . I have only bought cheaper trees over the past 2 years to mess around with and learn. As I often read on bnut that better stock makes better trees, I want my first more expensive purchase(for me) to be the best use of funds.
 

girv

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Is this your first tree? Bonsai West does have classes and workshops you could attend to help you style this tree. There are also some local clubs to check out.
I have ~10 other trees I have picked up over the last few years, but most of them were nursery stock. Since I see lack of patience as a very common topic on here to kill trees quickly, I have been trying to learn as much as possible before doing a ton of work without a plan. I think I will most likely take one or two come spring after talking to them the last few visits.
 

Japonicus

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Let me just say, NO.
Since you know nothing, what difference would it make?

I suggest that you use it to learn how to keep one alive, how grow one, how to repot one, how to wire and bend one, how to make pads on one, how to graft one, how to style one ....

Suppose it was a prized Itowagawa.
Would it instantly make you a bonsai genius?​
What would you do with it that you cannot do with this one?​
@girv It's your date, you saw potential, 0soyoung is giving you sound advice here.
I see potential, it is a juniper I wish I had. The characteristics I mention in the one I had
just might work in your favour early on (1st 10 years of development).
Go for it. I like the fact they offer classes there too, as does New England Bonsai near Boston.
 

0soyoung

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I appreciate the advice and will take it to heart @0soyoung . I have only bought cheaper trees over the past 2 years to mess around with and learn. As I often read on bnut that better stock makes better trees, I want my first more expensive purchase(for me) to be the best use of funds.
We are birds of a feather. ?
btw, I figure if one understands what 'better stock' is one can buy it or one can make it. I am much more interested in the adventure of making it.
I have over 100 trees, many volunteers found in my yard, many are air layers, and many are neglected 'lemon sale' garden center nursery stock. None are yamadori or trees from an official 'bonsai nursery'. Big-league stuff would be cool, but just aren't in my karma. IIRC, I've never spent more than $90 for a tree. After about a decade, I now feel like I have a good idea of what 'better stock' would be for me and what it would be worth to me. No stock is any better than my ability to get it 'there' or, I suppose, to keep it 'there'.

Time is money. If you have money, you don't necessarily need to spend the time. If you have the time, you don't necessarily need to spend the money. Which do you want to spend, time or money?
 
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coltranem

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I have ~10 other trees I have picked up over the last few years, but most of them were nursery stock. Since I see lack of patience as a very common topic on here to kill trees quickly, I have been trying to learn as much as possible before doing a ton of work without a plan. I think I will most likely take one or two come spring after talking to them the last few visits.
I am looking forward to seeing it progress. This year i am looking for a little more expensive tree to work as well.
 

girv

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I am looking forward to seeing it progress. This year i am looking for a little more expensive tree to work as well.
Thanks @coltranem I am looking forward to working on it. You mentioned a few local clubs in the area, mind sharing which ones you would suggest?
 

sorce

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@girv you got some good things to work with.

IMO.cut these orange off. .keep the greens.
2019-01-03-07-49-31.jpg2019-01-03-07-49-31.jpg

Seems you have 2 branches or close forks a lot of places.....
Go thru (before growth starts in spring not now) and remove the heavy of 2 branches......
And where there is only one branch cut back to the small branch at a fork.

The idea is to remove unnecessary stuff, let light in so the keepers back bud, but dont cut the keepers too far, the energy traffic will make it backbud, either on the branch, or again at a crotch which can be utilized ....especially up high..

Sorce
 

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Bonsai Nut

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So from some research the last 2 days this seems like a pretty unpopular juniper variety for bonsai
A little quick background on your Hollywood juniper.

First, it is a Chinese juniper cultivar, just like a shimpaku. The official cultivar name is Juniperus chinensis 'Kaizuka'. It was a very popular landscape plant here in the early 1900's, and given the quantity that were planted in Hollywood (and people's inability to wrap their mouths around the name "kaizuka") the cultivar became known commonly as the "Hollywood" juniper. It is quite a striking landscape tree, and even now commands steep nursery prices. It naturally grows in a tortured shape as if it is being windblown by stiff breezes, even if it is located in a calm area. It also retains a tight foliage mass even as it grows, and is easy to maintain in the landscape.

It is the largest and strongest growing of all Chinese junipers. In fact, as far as I am concerned, it is the one cultivar that can truly be considered a "tree". I have seen some that are 20' tall.

221.jpg

8101d219-4a61-44a8-9e2f-7cc23d7aa1b2.jpg

The second image is actually from Google street view of a tree that is across the street from the Anaheim convention center :) Look at that trunk and how twisted it grows - naturally.

I own one in my landscape, and have one as a bonsai. The obvious attraction for bonsai is its strength, speed of growth, prolific back-budding, and ease of maintaining adult scale foliage. The main downside is that the foliage is not as tight as that of other Chinese juniper cultivars, and it is not as easy to maintain tight foliage pads. All this means in reality is that you need to do more detail wiring and work to get a similar appearance, or else you learn to live with the different appearance of the foliage pads (which remind me a lot of cryptomeria). Here is cryptomeria:

crypto.jpg

Here is a Hollywood juniper bonsai:

3c11cfa95efb06b07a875a231ca00985.jpg

So it is by no means "bad" material for bonsai. It is just a little more challenging than most other Chinese juniper cultivars. However I would argue it is a lot easier than many/most other juniper species. Similar to California juniper, it lends itself better to larger scale bonsai where the foliage naturally becomes less of an issue.
 
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coltranem

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Thanks @coltranem I am looking forward to working on it. You mentioned a few local clubs in the area, mind sharing which ones you would suggest?
I just joined Kaiku Bonsai Study Group this past fall. They meet at New England Bonsai Gardens usually on the first Saturday of the month.
 

bonsaichile

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Girv, you've gotten really good advice here. I got one last year and worked on the trunk. Since I am not crazy about the foliage, I am planning to graft some kishu branchets on it later this winter. Take advantage of the opportunity and use it to learn something new!
 
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