Is there a way to tell if a juniper is a grafted (tanuki) bonsai?

glacon

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I picked up an interesting California juniper at Kimura bonsai nursery today. It didn't dawn on me that it might be a graft until I got it home. They're not open tomorrow and I'll give them a try when they're open again. I was just told it was a California juniper.

Are there any telltale signs that irs been grafted?
 

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leatherback

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Tanuki and grafted are two different things.

Grafting using the living parts of a tree to add new living things, e.g., putting a pretty, dense variety of juniper on a big trunk of a loose-foliage species.
Tanuki is the process of putting a living plant onto the trunk of a dead tree, to pretend to have a big old living tree.

The first is commonplace and frequently used. Often only possible to tell by comparing the bark color/structure of the trunk with that of the branches. (And in many cases people can make a decent guess because e.g., a 4 inch trunk ittoigawa is very rare).

The second is rare, and should always be told by the selling party; It heavily reduces the value of the piece.

If you got this at a respectable nursery and no sign was giving it was a tanuki, it unlikely is.
I am not sure the foliage of California Juniper would be considered a foliage to graft onto a trunk.
 

glacon

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Thanks for the clarification. I will call them on Friday to confirm. No way to tell if it's a tanuki from looking at it?
 

glacon

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Also, it sounds like a grafted bonsai would not have a decreased value, just the tanuki where a younger tree is grafted on to deadwood. Am I correct?
 

Shibui

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If you cannot pick that it is grafted then does it matter? Skillfully done a good tanuki is just as good as a tree that was not grafted. The result still looks the same and how it looks is what bonsai is all about.

You may be able to pick up evidence of tanuki on younger grafts where some parts along the edge of the live vein have not quite flowed over the host wood. Slight hollows between live and dead wood maybe?
You may see signs of the nails or screws that were used to hold the new tree in place - possibly just dimples in the bark if it has grown for a few years and has covered the nails or the holes if screws were removed.
 

glacon

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It was $3200, which is not cheap, so that's the main reason. It's a good size. I wouldn't have spent that much if I knew it was a tanuki, which is why I'm trying to figure it out. To me, a novice, it looks like it could be a tanuki.
 
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Microscopic

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For 3.2k its got to be the real deal. Can you post up a couple pics of the other side? Some close ups of live vein meet deadwood would be helpful.

And that's a nice looking tree!
 

Adair M

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Check the live vein, from where it emerges from the soil all the way up.

It’s “possible” that is a Tanuki, but very unlikely.

What you are looking for are any gaps between the deadwood and live vein.

A skillful Tanuki would have had a groove carved into the deadwood, and a long whip of live material inserted into that groove. As stated above, often the whip would have been nailed or screwed into place to hold it. Then, it takes years for the whip to expand and fill up the space in the groove, and then start to bulge out to make it look natural. It’s very difficult to make a Tanuki and have it completely fill the groove evenly. Regardless, it would take a decade for the whip to fill the groove, and create the canopy of foliage your tree has.

Now, given all that... anyone who has the skills to do that would more likely use Shimpaku as the foliage. It just makes prettier foliage.

Therefore, if you “can’t really tell”, then it’s most likely NOT a Tanuki.
 

glacon

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I don't think it is one. There are some small holes in the deadwood; I am attaching pictures. That said they do not look like they could be used to reach the vein. It would take a super long nail, and some of them aren't even in the area that would attach to the vein. You can let me know your thoughts.
 

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glacon

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For 3.2k its got to be the real deal. Can you post up a couple pics of the other side? Some close ups of live vein meet deadwood would be helpful.

And that's a nice looking tree!
 

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leatherback

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I am not sure why you are not just asking them?
Are you thinking they may have trucked you into buying something that is not?
 

Cadillactaste

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You loved the tree, you paid for it...then take it home. Did someone question you on it to make you have doubt?

Time went into this tree. I think you got what you paid for. It's a nice tree.
 

glacon

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You loved the tree, you paid for it...then take it home. Did someone question you on it to make you have doubt?

Time went into this tree. I think you got what you paid for. It's a nice tree.
It was not disclosed. I wouldn't have bought it if it is in fact a tanuki. There are other trees at that price range I was interested in.
 

Cadillactaste

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It was not disclosed. I wouldn't have bought it if it is in fact a tanuki. There are other trees at that price range I was interested in.
Adair already stated it makes no sense for it to be tanuki. The species used and all that. I don't feel it is a tanuki. Thus...no need to disclose.
 

glacon

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It is not a Tanuki but a very old CA Juniper from the Tahacapi's
Thank you for responding. It's a great tree. While I have many bonsai, this is my first in this style with all the deadwood. I am still learning. Love all the trees I bought at the nursery yesterday.
 

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