Juniper Bonsai

Maxts99

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Hello! I am new to Bonsai, and i just bought this juniper! It came with this pot, and i know i have to re pot it because of the sticking-out baby roots. After that, i'll wait a month to fertilize it with 10:10:10 solution because of the summer coming. It is about 3 years old, do you guys recommend wiring and pruning in some months?thumbnail_IMG_2614.jpg thumbnail_IMG_2618.jpg
 

Gustavo Martins

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Welcome.

IMO, you need to take that Juniper out of the pot and put it to grow on that lawn. At the moment, it is just a stick in a pot and it needs unrestricted growth to promote trunk thickening.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Welcome to the world of bonsai!

Don't rush to repot right now - May is getting a little late for repotting in Texas (depending where in Texas you live). The little roots you observe are not an issue one way or other - they are either dead or not harming the tree.

The most important thing is to see how freely your soil drains. When you water, does the water go through the soil quickly and out through the bottom of the pot? Or does it take a while to sink through, or worst of all, roll off the top and need to be watered several times to absorb moisture into the soil?
 

Bonsai Nut

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And yes, that is beginner material and you may be getting people to tell you to just plant it in your landscape (and they aren't necessarily wrong) but I am giving you advice as a beginner. We all were beginners at one point and trust me when I say some of my starting trees (30 years ago) looked like your tree :)

Your tree is a small thing but there are lots of things we can do with it. However the first thing is to make sure that tree is healthy and strong because we don't want to style it unless it is. It looks strong, but we have to make sure it doesn't need a repot. If it needs to be repotted we won't want to style it for a while.
 

Maxts99

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And yes, that is beginner material and you may be getting people to tell you to just plant it in your landscape (and they aren't necessarily wrong) but I am giving you advice as a beginner. We all were beginners at one point and trust me when I say some of my starting trees (30 years ago) looked like your tree :)

Your tree is a small thing but there are lots of things we can do with it. However the first thing is to make sure that tree is healthy and strong because we don't want to style it unless it is. It looks strong, but we have to make sure it doesn't need a repot. If it needs to be repotted we won't want to style it for a while.
the soil retains the water well. I live in south Texas so it is very hot down here, so I made sure the soil was a retaining one. Do you also recommend planting it in the lawn? or Keeping it in the pot?
 

Maxts99

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Welcome.

IMO, you need to take that Juniper out of the pot and put it to grow on that lawn. At the moment, it is just a stick in a pot and it needs unrestricted growth to promote trunk thickening.
you think so??
 

Bonsai Nut

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you think so??
Here's what Gustavo is saying...

That tree is a small beginner tree. It will be difficult to get it to mature into much in a small pot. You could go to a regular garden nursery and find a bigger procumbens juniper to play would probably yield better results because it has 5 or more years more growth under its belt. So he is recommending take that little tree, stick it in the ground, and come back in 10 years when it has a 3" trunk.

However... you can learn a lot from a small tree in a pot. There are valuable lessons about soil, repotting, pruning, styling, watering, etc that you can learn. And if you kill a tree - as we all do - then you can say "hey it was just a small starter tree and I learned not to do 'x' again". So I am of the opinion that you keep your small bonsai in a pot, get it strong, and practice with it. Then, when you DO obtain a big juniper with a 3" trunk, you will know how to care for it because you have been learning with smaller material first.

South Texas is probably a little like Southern California - though it may be a little more humid depending if you live close to the coast. In the heat of the summer I provide protection for my deciduous and any conifers in small pots so they don't burn up. I don't use "water retaining" soil per se, but my soil mix has some bark in it which is a little like nature's water retaining product. It is most important that your soil mix remains open and does not clog up, so any organics you use in your soil mix should be of the chunky variety - and the soil should never look like dark loamy potting soil.
 

Maxts99

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Here's what Gustavo is saying...

That tree is a small beginner tree. It will be difficult to get it to mature into much in a small pot. You could go to a regular garden nursery and find a bigger procumbens juniper to play would probably yield better results because it has 5 or more years more growth under its belt. So he is recommending take that little tree, stick it in the ground, and come back in 10 years when it has a 3" trunk.

However... you can learn a lot from a small tree in a pot. There are valuable lessons about soil, repotting, pruning, styling, watering, etc that you can learn. And if you kill a tree - as we all do - then you can say "hey it was just a small starter tree and I learned not to do 'x' again". So I am of the opinion that you keep your small bonsai in a pot, get it strong, and practice with it. Then, when you DO obtain a big juniper with a 3" trunk, you will know how to care for it because you have been learning with smaller material first.

South Texas is probably a little like Southern California - though it may be a little more humid depending if you live close to the coast. In the heat of the summer I provide protection for my deciduous and any conifers in small pots so they don't burn up. I don't use "water retaining" soil per se, but my soil mix has some bark in it which is a little like nature's water retaining product. It is most important that your soil mix remains open and does not clog up, so any organics you use in your soil mix should be of the chunky variety - and the soil should never look like dark loamy potting soil.
i see i see, thank you very much!! Any specific brand of soil you recommend? or the mix?
 

Gustavo Martins

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Yes as explained by @Bonsai Nut. I agree also that you could use this as a learning tree. Although bear in mind that smaller trees are often more difficult to maintain than larger ones. It's a matter of pot volume. Smaller volumes have a reduced ability to buffer against changes in conditions (e.g. drought). If you skip watering a small plant, planted on a small pot with inorganics on one hot day, you may find yourself returning to one dead tree.

Check the resources. There are two topics worth reading concerning soils.
 

Vance Wood

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This tree appears to be a Procumbens Juniper and as such will not develop a strong trunk if planted in the ground or lawn. The tree will revert to species and lay on the ground like a slug and just grow out ward like a rug. I would over pot the tree into a regionally specific bonsai mix latter in the year. Put it into a larger pot and stake it up. Staking the tree upright will help stimulate the trunk in an effort to support the weight of the tree. Do a lot of reading about bonsai and in the mean time go out to a nursery and get another one to work with that's older.
 

sorce

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@plant_dr
So. Much for that streak!

Welcome to Crazy!

Thursday!:confused:

Sorce
 

M. Frary

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This tree appears to be a Procumbens Juniper and as such will not develop a strong trunk if planted in the ground or lawn. The tree will revert to species and lay on the ground like a slug and just grow out ward like a rug. I would over pot the tree into a regionally specific bonsai mix latter in the year. Put it into a larger pot and stake it up. Staking the tree upright will help stimulate the trunk in an effort to support the weight of the tree. Do a lot of reading about bonsai and in the mean time go out to a nursery and get another one to work with that's older.
You should take a picture of the one Adair gave me Vance.
That way people can see the benefits of staking these upright.
 

Vance Wood

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I'll try to get to it. You realize this Juni is not at present staked if you remember.
 

grouper52

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Hello! I am new to Bonsai, and i just bought this juniper! It came with this pot, and i know i have to re pot it because of the sticking-out baby roots. After that, i'll wait a month to fertilize it with 10:10:10 solution because of the summer coming. It is about 3 years old, do you guys recommend wiring and pruning in some months?View attachment 144191 View attachment 144192
Look - in addition to all the other great advice given here so far, it's helpful to understand how a tree works. Let's break it down into three components: Roots, Trunk/Branches, & Foliage.

The trunk and branches merely provide structure and a conduit to bring water and nutrients up from the roots to the foliage, and food/energy generated by the foliage back down to the roots. You will, therefore need a balance between the foliage and the roots, since they are mutually dependent. If you have healthy roots you will almost always have healthy foliage, but not always vice versa, and you can't easily see the health of the roots like you can the foliage.

Even more so than with established bonsai, the emphasis for your tree is on its confined root system, especially with summer coming on. If I understand correctly, you don't really know the status of its roots - whether it was simply cut off of a tree in the ground somewhere recently and stuck in a pot to look like a bonsai, or whether it was actually established in its current pot for a matter weeks or months or years. Juniper procumbens "nana" are often sold in the former condition, and look great when sold and for a number of weeks or months after that - long enough for you to later think it was viable when you bought it and that you killed it, rather than realizing that it never had chance anyway and will invariably die no mater what you do. The small roots at the surface argue against that, but you still don't know it's history for sure. And since you don't know, perhaps, and summer is coming on, you can entirely ignore the trunk and the foliage for now: they either look healthy now for one or the other reasons just stated, or it doesn't matter anyway because the roots are nonexistent or terminally inadequate.

Knowing that, even if your tree is in good shape, I always like to focus on the weakened/compromised root system of a tree confined to a pot. This means you want well-draining soil, supplemented with things that encourage root healing, growth and function. You don't need nitrogen at this point: focus on phosphorous and potassium. I found, though your climate may dictate something different, that Kelp emulsion fertilizer fortified with a bit of humic and fulvic acid work best to keep the roots very happy, and growing and functioning well. If you stimulate the foliage to grow with nitrogen before the roots are functioning well enough to send them water and the building blocks for new growth you will stress the tree's balance, and it is more likely to die. If you're into the whole overly abundant/exuberant foliage styles, then go to town with your nitrogen, but even then you will need abundant/exuberant roots to support them, so fertilizers, supplements and soil types that support robust root health are key. They are not called "roots" for nothing. They are the foundation for the whole tree. I hope that helps.
 

Vance Wood

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Here are some photos of Mike's Procumbens obtained last Summer from the National show.
 

Vance Wood

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DSC_0344.JPG Third time I have attempted to post photo of Mikes Juniper. This is one Juniper. It is about 2 and a Half foot accross and a foot high. Photos must be fairly large they are taking some time to upload. Here you can see the new growth and the trunk base.. The nebari is really dramatic and spectacular. Hard to get better Pictures of it, sorry Mike. Maybe this summer when we reduce it we can get those shots.DSC_0345.JPG DSC_0335.JPG DSC_0328.JPG
 

Vance Wood

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I found it virtually impossible to photo the interior of the tree other than the nebari which I thought was premo. The trunk is very think and stands on it's own at about five inches. If you look carefully you can see that chunky monkey peeking through the canopy underneath.
 

Maxts99

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View attachment 144615 Third time I have attempted to post photo of Mikes Juniper. This is one Juniper. It is about 2 and a Half foot accross and a foot high. Photos must be fairly large they are taking some time to upload. Here you can see the new growth and the trunk base.. The nebari is really dramatic and spectacular. Hard to get better Pictures of it, sorry Mike. Maybe this summer when we reduce it we can get those shots.View attachment 144618 View attachment 144617 View attachment 144616
its amazing
 

Maxts99

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I found it virtually impossible to photo the interior of the tree other than the nebari which I thought was premo. The trunk is very think and stands on it's own at about five inches. If you look carefully you can see that chunky monkey peeking through the canopy underneath.
oh okok, its okay, any tips on thickening the trunk? other than a 10-10-10 fertilizer for the summer? or should i even fertilize my bonsai this young???

However, i will wire the tree, i want to get some movement in the trunk early right now that its flexible, however i won't prune it until the branches grow out a little more.
 

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