Hollywood Juniper (Chinesis Torulosa)

Ashbarns

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This juniper was bought as a stick in a pot about eight years ago from a local nursery. After initial styling it went into a grow bed to thicken it up for three years. Presently it is 1'7" high with a trunk width of 2 1/2"(excluding the nebari). Comments are welcome , especially new styling ideas to improve the existing tree.

Ash :)
 

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bonsai barry

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You're a very patient person to wait for a juniper to grow! But I think you've got the design you intended. Personal observatons: I'd thin and wire the secondary branches and add some movement to the main branches by wiring.
 

grog

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The usual disclaimer that I'm new so take it for what it's worth.

The 2nd branch and the apex blend together, I think separation via wire or thinning some foliage would help.

Hard to tell but the primary branches seem pretty straight as Barry said, perhaps some wire to get some movement to echo that of the trunk.

I really like the understated shari!
 
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Ash,

Do you have a side view and back view of this tree that you could share?



Will
 

Attila Soos

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Here is something that would help you decide what to do about your tree:

Try to do a sketch of how would you like this tree to look like, in its final form - based on the current picture, of course.
The drawing should have the general shape, main branches, as well as the right proportions (trunk thickness, etc.).

Then ask yourself, is this image achievable in the next 5 - 10 years, and do you like the final outcome so much that you would spend all those years working on it? Remember that junipers thicken incredibly slowly, and you need at least 5 - 6 years just to double the current thickness (in the ground, under ideal conditions - not in a bonsai pot), and close to 10 years to triple it. (It would be an entirely different story with a deciduous tree, they can be thickened and re-shaped in a much shorter time.)

Also ask the following question: can I buy something that is only a couple of years away from my final image for a few dollars (or collect something)? This question is important because spending 5 - 10 years for a few bucks worth of tree is an incredible steep price to pay, no matter how much you enjoy bonsai. It's comparable to exchanging your car for a nice dinner.

However, it may also be that you enjoy this tree the way it is right now, and your final image is very close to what it is right now. Each of us have a different mental picture of how our ideal bonsai should look like. In that case, you should enjoy the tree and keep making small adjustments to it.

I am telling you this not because I have some hidden agenda about your tree, but because these are the exact questions I am asking myself lately. It took me a long time to get to this realization. At the beginning, I worked on everything I could lay my hands on. But then I realized that I would rather work on something that I can finish in my lifetime.

It is very hard to give advice with a tree like this, because we don't really know what is the owner trying to achieve. Some people are very happy with a thin little juniper with a few branches, others vision a final tree that could compete in any major show. Since we don't know what is your vision, giving advice is impossible. It is similar to asking help with building your house, but when you don't have any blueprint of the intended house: people don't know whether you are trying to build a hut or a palace, a fortress or a mountain cabin.

So, here is what I propose.
When people ask for suggestions, they should provide a general idea of what size, thickness, proportion, general shape they are envisioning. A simple 5-minute sketch is more than enough to give us an idea.

It is hard to give directions to someone who doesn't tell you where is he heading.
 
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Having already invested eight years into this tree, he no doubt is determined to see it through to the end.

I see a future here but I do not have Adobe at work, I will however post an idea later this evening.



Will
 
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I have been warned away from Hollywood junipers as bonsai by everyone from locals to Boon. I am still not sure why. I like the strong scale foliage they have. Has anyone else heard negs on Torulosa?
 

Attila Soos

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I have been warned away from Hollywood junipers as bonsai by everyone from locals to Boon. I am still not sure why. I like the strong scale foliage they have. Has anyone else heard negs on Torulosa?

Yes, I wanted to mention it, but I thought that I hold my mouth since I don't want to sound all negative.

But since you've asked..
...here in California (home of the Hollywood juniper), the established bonsai community would almost never use Hollywood juniper for bonsai. I've never seen one in my life, or don't remember it. You can see them as lanscape trees everywhere, and they look very good. But never as bonsai.

I think the reason is the unruly foliage, that is hard to be kept properly checked, compared to the popular varieties of juniper.
 
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Yes, I wanted to mention it, but I thought that I hold my mouth since I don't want to sound all negative.

But since you've asked..
...here in California (home of the Hollywood juniper), the established bonsai community would almost never use Hollywood juniper for bonsai. I've never seen one in my life, or don't remember it. You can see them as lanscape trees everywhere, and they look very good. But never as bonsai.

I think the reason is the unruly foliage, that is hard to be kept properly checked, compared to the popular varieties of juniper.

Attila, thank you for clearing that up. I have been wondering that for a long time.
 
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Yes, I wanted to mention it, but I thought that I hold my mouth since I don't want to sound all negative.

But since you've asked..
...here in California (home of the Hollywood juniper), the established bonsai community would almost never use Hollywood juniper for bonsai. I've never seen one in my life, or don't remember it. You can see them as lanscape trees everywhere, and they look very good. But never as bonsai.

I think the reason is the unruly foliage, that is hard to be kept properly checked, compared to the popular varieties of juniper.


Sounds like what they say about Eastern Red Cedar here...
 

Ashbarns

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Yikes! the tree and I didn't know it was not supposed to be worked on as a bonsai. Luckily I didn't teach it to read so we can just keep that to ourselves. Many thanks for your comments so far, they are appreciated. I have taken more views of the tree which may give a better understanding of the structure. The nebari needs some work to untangle the result of my negligence when it was in its growing on period. But that will be addressed at future re-pottings. Back view then the two side views.

Ash
 

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Ashbarns

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The front rewired with the second branch brought down. Detailed wiring will be carried out soon. Might as well post the other hollywood I have here as well.
 

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The front rewired with the second branch brought down. Detailed wiring will be carried out soon. Might as well post the other hollywood I have here as well.

Funny how when you don't know that something can't or shouldn't be done, you find that you can do it?

I really like the literati. Good for you.
 

Dwight

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I think the reason is the unruly foliage, that is hard to be kept properly checked, compared to the popular varieties of juniper.

I wonder if that has to do with the fact that they can ( and often do ) grow rather fast for a juniper and tend to grow vertically so you have to force trunk movement into them. I have a bunch of them in the garden and they look like pprime material to me. But what do I know ?
 
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Ash,

There are many other species being used to create good bonsai that others have said are not suitable. One that comes to mind right now is the Austrian Spruce. I am glad to see you pushing the boundaries and not listening to those who use that four letter word, "Can't"

Remember, at one time people called the use of wire to shape bonsai unnatural. ;)




Will
 

anttal63

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i reckon not bad at all for a tree you cant, well done ash. ive got a feeling its even better in real life.
now for my 2 bob, i also get the feeling it is best not refine and manacure this tree too much. before you pulled down the 2nd branch i was thinking more on the lines of bringing the 1st branch back up a bit.and maybe even shorten 1 & 2 a bit. i know that goes against what we're taught to think. i like the way these positions may interplay with the trees unruly nature.it has an unusual quality to be a unique tree. again let me stress that this tree most probably looks more in real life.

i dig the bunjin too ash.
 

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