Juniper Advice

Hawke84

Yamadori
Messages
89
Likes
33
Location
Worthing UK
USDA Zone
9
#1
Hi,
so I got a cheap Juniper from a garden centre to practice bonsai wiring and forming on.
My main question is time of year, so i know not to repot now but is it ok to to heavy pruning this time of year on junipers?

styling advice would be good, i think i know what to do, just scared to start cutting!
oh also does it have to be copper wire? i only have aluminium?

20180609_190011.jpg 20180609_190016.jpg
 
Messages
13
Likes
6
Location
Ohio, U.S.
USDA Zone
5
#3
Hey, I’m quite new too so I’m interested in styling advice as well. I’ve been purchasing nursery stock junipers and working them whenever I find some cheap. So far I’ve been using aluminum wire and it’s worked nicely.
I usually pick a leader (usually the longest branch of it’s a creeping juniper) and wire it first and bend it into shape. Then I’ve wired the other branches and bend them downward. Since the one in the picture looks like it has a nice main trunk it would be easy to wire in this way.
I just did a couple today, I did some light pruning but nothing heavy - better safe than sorry. And bet with that juniper you could get it looking pretty nice without much pruning anyways.
 
Last edited:
Messages
89
Likes
33
Location
Worthing UK
USDA Zone
9
#4
I just did a couple today, I did some light pruning but nothing heavy - better safe than sorry. And bet with that juniper you could get it looking pretty nice without much pruning anyways.
Thanks, I look forward to sharing my results. there are a couple of branches I want to remove on the lower left to help define the trunk more. I was in 2 minds about keeping the lower right to form a semi-cascade feature. do you think the size of those branches will be ok to remove or should I wait until late summer?
 
Messages
13
Likes
6
Location
Ohio, U.S.
USDA Zone
5
#5
Thanks, I look forward to sharing my results. there are a couple of branches I want to remove on the lower left to help define the trunk more. I was in 2 minds about keeping the lower right to form a semi-cascade feature. do you think the size of those branches will be ok to remove or should I wait until late summer?
I would say that it’s safe, I’ve seen people prune fairly late in the year (later spring/early summer). And from the research that I’ve done, this is about the latest in the year that one should prune a juniper. Later pruning can cause the tree to be susceptible to damage over the winter (I’ve read that fall pruning is a definite no-no). So if you do decide to remove them it would be best to do it now rather than late summer.
Aside from weather or not it’s safe to remove the branches, another thing to consider would be using them as sacrifice branches - this helps thicken the trunk and improve taper.
 
Last edited:
Messages
89
Likes
33
Location
Worthing UK
USDA Zone
9
#6
ok clipping done and ive done my first bit of wiring. just was practising on a single branch so i can get the hang on it. its pretty cool being able to bend it round however!
let me know if the wiring looks ok, wasnt sure if the spacing was too wide, but its enough to be able to fix the branch. ive done a single twist round the main branch to anchor, trying to keep at 45 degrees

Finished result post first trim!
20180611_192059.jpg

Wiring
20180611_205203.jpg
 
Messages
89
Likes
33
Location
Worthing UK
USDA Zone
9
#7
one question - how do you decide where the branches should go without making it look chaotic? not sure what to leave as empty space or what to move where really. ive got some ideas but i dont want it to look like organised chaos!
 
Messages
13
Likes
6
Location
Ohio, U.S.
USDA Zone
5
#8
one question - how do you decide where the branches should go without making it look chaotic? not sure what to leave as empty space or what to move where really. ive got some ideas but i dont want it to look like organised chaos!
For me the most helpful things to keep in mind have been (at the beginning) pick a leader and aim for a triangular shape. Also if you search styling juniper bonsai on YouTube there’s some really awesome videos. Herons Bonsai on YouTube has been especially helpful for me.
 
Messages
89
Likes
33
Location
Worthing UK
USDA Zone
9
#9
For me the most helpful things to keep in mind have been (at the beginning) pick a leader and aim for a triangular shape. Also if you search styling juniper bonsai on YouTube there’s some really awesome videos. Herons Bonsai on YouTube has been especially helpful for me.
literally just watching one now from Herons. The shop is up the road from me :)

I've got one branch i can use as a semi cascade and ive got a main leader. i'll have a go at a rough shape later and post results
 
Messages
89
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33
Location
Worthing UK
USDA Zone
9
#10
ok im struggling with shaping. if i aim for a rough triangle ill remove most of the foliage as it all spreads out

20180611_192059.jpg
 
Messages
13
Likes
6
Location
Ohio, U.S.
USDA Zone
5
#11
literally just watching one now from Herons. The shop is up the road from me :)

I've got one branch i can use as a semi cascade and ive got a main leader. i'll have a go at a rough shape later and post results
Seriously? That’s incredible- how fortunate to have such an awesome resource so close!
 
Messages
13
Likes
6
Location
Ohio, U.S.
USDA Zone
5
#12
ok im struggling with shaping. if i aim for a rough triangle ill remove most of the foliage as it all spreads out

View attachment 196481
So you wouldn’t shape it by pruning the branches. The branches that are growing upwards would be wired downward with the main leader being the apex. This one started out pretty similar to the one you have. The main leader was wired first and shaped into an S shape then the branches were each wired following the two branch principal which is just wiring two branches with the same piece of wire. Then the branches are bent downwards. 7C79BB90-2CA1-4709-82B8-836867CC3DE9.jpeg
 
Messages
268
Likes
338
Location
Sheffield Village, Ohio
USDA Zone
6a
#14
Let's be honest. It's probably going to die. All of us n00bs kill trees. I've been doing this for less than a year and I already have like a half dozen dead trees on my resume. SO... just practice. Don't worry so much about what is "right", you'll learn that with experience. Right now, work on pruning technique, wiring technique, and learning how far you can push before a branch breaks or it dies. I broke a lot of maple branches before getting a feel for how far I could bend and what size could be bent, for example.
 
Messages
89
Likes
33
Location
Worthing UK
USDA Zone
9
#15
ok thanks guys you've given me something to work on. fully expecting to kill this one but i want to learn and try and have the right direction
 

petegreg

Masterpiece
Messages
2,330
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2,977
Location
Slovakia
USDA Zone
6a
#20
ok thanks guys you've given me something to work on. fully expecting to kill this one but i want to learn and try and have the right direction
I would just leave it as it is for now and hope for survival. Once it's strong again you can continue.
Also I'd like to show you what can be done to shorten straight young trunks and branches without cutting off too much foliage in one go. Here's one inspirational thread https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/one-more-time-yamadori-style-junipers.4789/
... and here's one of my itoigawa after 2 years of training from a straight stick.
IMG_20180612_221544.jpg