Juniper - Next Year Plan

MiguelMC

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Hello Everyone

I have this juniper for some time now, and I've been relatively happy with its development so far, last year we had a scare but It seems to be recovering nicely.
This year I didn't touch it and let get all the sunshine and rest it wanted.
The goal for next year would be wiring the branches in order to pull them down and add some movement to them in order to better define the branch structure and build a decent foundation to develop pads.

I was even considering if it was a good idea to reduce some of the branches in order to create a more triangular shape, but I'm sure that wiring will resolve much of the problems regarding this issue. Another thing that concerns me is the lack meaningful back budding, often times people state that pinching is the way to go in order to resolve this, but after researching some more, its looks like pinching would cause more stress to the tree, which is something that I don't think the tree is ready for, further evidenced by looking at the current growth.


the problem is that I'm really inexperience with junipers (conifers in general) which is making me a little bit unsure on what is the best way to approach it, or if my plan is the right way to do it.


do you guys have any suggestions on how further develop this tree?


as always any input is great.
 

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To my knowledge, junipers don't backbud very well on old wood. Sometimes they throw out a fresh shoot, but unreliably and I haven't seen anyone being able to direct that growth specifically.

The backbudding I know of, happens on active foliage. With the right pruning it becomes denser through budding closer to the trunk. But the catch is: if there's just bare branches, you might get no growth on them.

What I see here are a lot of bare branches with strong juvenile foliage, and weaker adult foliage.

Last winter I bought a cheap chinese grafting knife for 4 bucks. I watched 3 videos about grafting and gave it a go this spring. 19 out of 20 seem to have taken hold. If you have an attention span longer than mine (+/-10 min) then you will do better than I did. I think that's your best option with this tree.
A friend of mine has a 45 year old chinese juniper, it backbudded once on old wood in those 45 years.
Grafting would save you that time.
 

MiguelMC

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To my knowledge, junipers don't backbud very well on old wood. Sometimes they throw out a fresh shoot, but unreliably and I haven't seen anyone being able to direct that growth specifically.

The backbudding I know of, happens on active foliage. With the right pruning it becomes denser through budding closer to the trunk. But the catch is: if there's just bare branches, you might get no growth on them.

What I see here are a lot of bare branches with strong juvenile foliage, and weaker adult foliage.

Last winter I bought a cheap chinese grafting knife for 4 bucks. I watched 3 videos about grafting and gave it a go this spring. 19 out of 20 seem to have taken hold. If you have an attention span longer than mine (+/-10 min) then you will do better than I did. I think that's your best option with this tree.
A friend of mine has a 45 year old chinese juniper, it backbudded once on old wood in those 45 years.
Grafting would save you that time.
yes I didnt thought about grafting, and yes its q very good idea.
I'm not sure if I can graft on these branches though since I dont think I have enough thickness to support a graft
 
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My scions were 1 or 2 year-old growth, just starting to get woody but still having the dead scale foliage attached. The scions are around 5cm from one end to the foliage tip, so that's pretty small. The thickness of the scions wood was around 2-3mm.
I grafted them on 1.3cm, maybe 1.5cm at most, thick trunks. I'm going the next level in 2020 by doing it on a smaller scale; half the thickness, closer to pencil-thickness trunks.

I didn't expect it would work in my case, but I was amazed to see it turned out OK.

In the videos I watched, they used 20cm long scions with serious thickness, roughly a centimeter thick scions. My junipers aren't that big and I want them to grow into each other nicely in a few years, so I went extra small with these.
I honestly think you can graft it just fine, but on a smaller scale than on most videos show you. I believe it might be safer to do it on a small scale; if you screw up, you can hide the scars, and you don't bump into them during the watering if they aren't sticking out.
 

MiguelMC

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My scions were 1 or 2 year-old growth, just starting to get woody but still having the dead scale foliage attached. The scions are around 5cm from one end to the foliage tip, so that's pretty small. The thickness of the scions wood was around 2-3mm.
I grafted them on 1.3cm, maybe 1.5cm at most, thick trunks. I'm going the next level in 2020 by doing it on a smaller scale; half the thickness, closer to pencil-thickness trunks.

I didn't expect it would work in my case, but I was amazed to see it turned out OK.

In the videos I watched, they used 20cm long scions with serious thickness, roughly a centimeter thick scions. My junipers aren't that big and I want them to grow into each other nicely in a few years, so I went extra small with these.
I honestly think you can graft it just fine, but on a smaller scale than on most videos show you. I believe it might be safer to do it on a small scale; if you screw up, you can hide the scars, and you don't bump into them during the watering if they aren't sticking out.
this is the video I was thinking about follwing

From what I've read the ideal time to graft is in the early spring, but in conifer trees you can graft up to mid Autumn (At least is what I've read in the remy samson & christian pessey book)
still I think its better to wait and do it next spring, I might get lucky and see back budding this year.

when did you made yours? and you do have any picture of the before and after? that would be quite educational.
 
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I don't have any before pictures. I followed the exact video that you posted here.

Don't focus on the wire mess.

Here are some after pictures; you can see the shoots poking through the film. I might have wrapped them a little too tightly. But they're growing.
20190604_163003.jpg
20190604_163031.jpg
In the picture above you van see the tape tearing on the lowest scion. This means it's healing.

I tried summer grafting last year, that didn't work at all and I lost all of them. This year I tried halfway through spring; the first flush of growth was starting.

One valuable tip I didn't find in the video above is to only pull the tape when it's behind a branch, when you come back upwards again. That way you never pull the scion out of position.
I used aluminium wire because I only want the scions to stay in place, so I needed something soft. Copper can get bent a little too much and turn rigid, this gives you 1 chance to position the wire or you'll have to cut it off. With alu wire, you can try a few times.
 

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