How should I go about this?

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Michigan
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6a
#4
Yeah this was the first attempt at posting, my phone glitches out when i tried submitting it and didn't think it took. Just a little bit ago I found the tab that lets me look at my past posts and dont see where i can remove one of them. Sorry about that.
 
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Hickory Hills, IL.
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#6
So, to go about making it look neater, I guess the question is, are you looking to define pads at this time, or just do some maintenance pruning to the areas that are getting a little, for lack of a better term, bushy?

If you are looking to do some maintenance pruning, I would say wait until the end of winter, before the tree is moving, but after the threat of a deep freeze has passed, and do it then. A lot of people talk about whether or not to pinch junipers, and I would say you really shouldn't. If you are looking to remove a bushy piece, take it back down to the division it starts from. You can find all kinds of videos on youtube for pruning junipers, look at all you can find, and if you do pinch, do so only in small areas. If you can avoid it tho, and you always can, don't pinch.

However, if you are looking to define pads and clean up the overall design of the tree, I would recommend the following:

1.) observe your trunk base and make sure you are confident in what you want to be the front of the tree, using trunk flare as your main guide. Don't forget to also consider branch placement and foliar distribution as well when choosing the front you want. However, branches can always be bent, foliage can always be moved or grafted, so your best possible trunkline and taper should be heavily weighted when deciding on a front.

2.) Next move to observing, in detail, the branch layout. Where do they originate from the trunk? How many times to they divide? Where is the silhouette of each branch? What, overall, does each branch bring to the desired final design of the tree?

3.) From here, make decisions on what you want to keep, and what you want to eliminate to create negative space. If you are unsure if you want a branch/branchlet at this time, keep it. You can always let it grow and contribute to the thickness of the trunk and lop it off if you decide to at a later date.

4.) Take the rest of the year to mull over it and make sure you are committed to the design you have pictured. Do the work in that same period I recommended doing the maintenance pruning.

Also, keep in mind that a junipers strength comes from its foliage. Take off too much and you will considerably weaken the tree. Heavily fertilize in the fall to build strength in the tree, and I wish you the best of luck. It might help the more veteran members if you were able to provide more close-up or detailed photos of the branching structure of the tree. An upward angle from below that shows the branch structure and perhaps a closer, looking directly down at the apex shot. They are all very good when given the right photos.
 
Messages
9
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Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
6a
#7
Thank you for the input. When I get home from work I'll get some more pics. I appreciate all the help. I guess my only other question I have is, should I keep the tree out in the elements during winter or keep it in the garage? Winters in Michigan can get pretty cold. Sub zero cold.
 
Messages
267
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Location
Hickory Hills, IL.
USDA Zone
5B
#8
Thank you for the input. When I get home from work I'll get some more pics. I appreciate all the help. I guess my only other question I have is, should I keep the tree out in the elements during winter or keep it in the garage? Winters in Michigan can get pretty cold. Sub zero cold.
I'm from near Chicago so we get pretty cold too. Definitely do not keep it outside in the winter, it's far too cold where we live for that. An attached, unheated garage is fine. You should basically be trying to keep the tree around or above freezing. What I have always heard is that 28 degrees is where you start to run into roots freezing and dying. If the tree was repotted this year there is less margin for error there. In addition, I would recommend buying some nursery plastic, like greenhouse material, to put around the shelf you have the trees on. If your garage is opened often and left that way for any amount of time in the winter, you run the risk of allowing the temperature to go too low inside the garage. Keep it protected from wind and cold rushes of air. Water a minimum. I usually water less than once every two weeks, be sure not to keep the container wet or even heavily moist. Trees don't use much of it in the winter, and the freezing of water in the pot is a surefire way to hurt your tree.
 

Bonsai Nut

Administrator
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#9
Thank you for the input. When I get home from work I'll get some more pics. I appreciate all the help. I guess my only other question I have is, should I keep the tree out in the elements during winter or keep it in the garage? Winters in Michigan can get pretty cold. Sub zero cold.
Yes you want to let it have a winter. It this tree were planted in your landscape it wouldn't bat an eye - even if it were covered in snow for three months. The main issue with overwintering bonsai is you can't let the soil dry out. When I lived in Chicago I would overwinter my trees in an unheated garage. I used to put snowballs on the soil so it was easy to see if they needed more water - ice cubes serve the same purpose. Any time it would get above freezing, the snow would melt into the soil, and then it would get cold again.

I just read what Beebs posted and all I'll say is that my trees used to freeze solid in the winter without any noticeable bad impact. You are trying to avoid multiple freeze/thaw cycles, but for the most part my trees would freeze, solid, and stay that way for months at a time.
 

M. Frary

Bonsai Godzilla
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Mio Michigan
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#10
should I keep the tree out in the elements during winter or keep it in the garage? Winters in Michigan can get pretty cold. Sub zero cold
Yes.
I don't know where you live in Michigan but wherever it is definitely keep it outside. I have all my trees out in winters here.
 
Messages
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3
Location
Michigan
USDA Zone
6a
#12
Yes.
I don't know where you live in Michigan but wherever it is definitely keep it outside. I have all my trees out in winters here.
Port huron, so like 4 hours south of you. I'm just skeptical cause these last 2 years, the winters haven't been much of a winter. But now I know the rule and reason of it, so I'll just adjust accordingly.
 
Messages
267
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155
Location
Hickory Hills, IL.
USDA Zone
5B
#13
Yes you want to let it have a winter. It this tree were planted in your landscape it wouldn't bat an eye - even if it were covered in snow for three months. The main issue with overwintering bonsai is you can't let the soil dry out. When I lived in Chicago I would overwinter my trees in an unheated garage. I used to put snowballs on the soil so it was easy to see if they needed more water - ice cubes serve the same purpose. Any time it would get above freezing, the snow would melt into the soil, and then it would get cold again.

I just read what Beebs posted and all I'll say is that my trees used to freeze solid in the winter without any noticeable bad impact. You are trying to avoid multiple freeze/thaw cycles, but for the most part my trees would freeze, solid, and stay that way for months at a time.
Really? All of my local nurseries have heavy protection for their trees. Planted in the ground, frames around them and heavy plastic around those with a space heater inside to prevent freezing. For the ones that have greenhouses, they have em in vold greenhouses. Well this changes everything. Mind blown. Lol