Juniper progression

Paulpash

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I've learned a lot from this tree regarding Juniper - specifically to not really touch them much in terms of pruning when they are growing out. If you cut them back hard they sulk for years, especially in our fairly cold climate. This variety is called Blauuws juniper - a variety of chinensis. It's far more tolerant of abuse than Shinpaku and you really have to scalp it for it to revert to juvenile.

It was ground grown in the garden and then dug out. I don't tend to take pictures of stuff in the ground - usually it's just a huge ball of foliage that doesn't really say a lot.

Here's the first pic I took of it after it came out. 2016. As you can see - lots of dead foliage and twigs.

20160208_110104_zpsadbwhlws.jpg

And a closer look at the base
20160208_111811_zpshawkpdne.jpg

So first on the agenda was to bare root it.

20160208_113720_zpslenajysg.jpg

And get it into a decent mix to recover. I'd cut some pretty substantial roots.

20160208_122649_zpsxneqkmrx.jpg

2018.
After a few years I thought it was strong enough to go in a pot and the bones of the tree were set. The mesh is to stop birds pecking the soil out. It still has a few excess branches but these can be removed over time as I see it extend runners.
IMG_20181108_164706.jpg
 
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Paulpash

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Here it is a year later after I'd created a Shari and removed one or two excess branches. It's starting to fill out and the few areas of juvenile have been eliminated and another rewire. I systematically cleared out all of the dead, unproductive foliage. The newer, active foliage on these is an attractive blue green.

IMG_20190517_113949.jpg

A closer view - the bottom branch needs the pads to be split and more layers created.
IMG_20190606_163439.jpg

This is the most recent image took last month. Still lots of refinement to do and to address the nebari but it is improving every year.

IMG_20190715_144918.jpg
 
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KiwiPlantGuy

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Here it is a year later after I'd created a Shari and removed one or two excess branches. It's starting to fill out and the few areas of juvenile have been eliminated and another rewire. I systematically cleared out all of the dead, unproductive foliage. The newer, active foliage on these is an attractive blue green.

View attachment 258156

A closer view - the bottom branch needs the pads to be split and more layers created.
View attachment 258154

This is the most recent image took last month. Still lots of refinement to do and to address the nebari but it is improving every year.

View attachment 258157
Hi Paul,
Great stuff with the Juniper. Fantastic to see how you have progressed with this.
I have a small question about the ground growing part of this thread. I am guessing this was in the ground for a long time to get the trunk this size, or it was quite big prior to ground growing? Should I expect a wait if 6-10 years for my small 2 year cuttings?

I will watch this with great interest 👍
Charles.
 

Paulpash

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Hi Paul,
Great stuff with the Juniper. Fantastic to see how you have progressed with this.
I have a small question about the ground growing part of this thread. I am guessing this was in the ground for a long time to get the trunk this size, or it was quite big prior to ground growing? Should I expect a wait if 6-10 years for my small 2 year cuttings?

I will watch this with great interest 👍
Charles.
This was in the ground over 15 years. It was from a garden center - very cheap - so about the size of a little finger trunk wise. Obviously your time span might be shorter or longer depending on a few factors - length of growing season, eventual end height and whether you chop it. If they are small cuttings and you want a chuhin then 6-10 years sounds reasonable.

My advice is to let everything grow (cut off zero or very little if it starts to shade) and then train up a substantial side branch as your next leader, leaving the existing trunk line as a sacrifice. In the past I've used stakes with screws attached for anchor points or guy wired it to the sacrifice.

Using wire with things in the ground (unless they are young whips) is risky unless you are ocd and can check them regularly: they thicken fast, the wire is usually obscured and it is very fiddly trying to unwind it when you're hunched over (cutting it can leave little bits embedded if you're not careful).

Make sure your growing spot is in as much sun as possible and in well drained soil and it should romp away after 3 years (you'll see it gradually pushing longer and longer extensions each year).

Digging a Juniper is easy - they have a fibrous root system and can survive with relatively few roots - just ensure you keep on a lot of foliage and gradually prune away unwanted areas as other 'keeper' areas gain volume and strength. This is especially important if it's Shinpaku as they revert much easier than my Blauuws.
 
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Paulpash

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Well done!
I like it, I originally thought my Grey Owls were Blauuws....very similar look.

Do you use any systemics or sprays for pests or disease?
I spray as a precaution but I've not had any problems with pests on Juniper. Aphids on maples are a pest but they soon die after a round of systemics.
 

Paulpash

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Here's another one I did a first styling of earlier in the season.

IMG_20190624_180254.jpg.

Same variety but a 5 trunker.... This will get similar treatment. Gradually reduced as it gets stronger. All foliage is wired flat initially to allow sun to get to all the branches. On a second and third wiring once more density is achieved I'll introduce more levels for interest. Priority for this one now is full sun and rest, at least a year.
 

leatherback

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Can you explain how you get the foliage to become more compact o these species? Ittoigawa does this naturally, but these loose species.. Still completely black box to me on how to develop the foliage?!
 

Paulpash

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Can you explain how you get the foliage to become more compact o these species? Ittoigawa does this naturally, but these loose species.. Still completely black box to me on how to develop the foliage?!
You don't need to do anything other than just let it grow and get strong - it's the same with all Juniper - if you mess with their foliage before they're vigorous they'll sulk. You can go in and remove dying foliage however, so look at the tips and if it's not bright green then remove it.

Once runners extend you'll see the foliage behind it 'puff up'. So, full sun, a mix high in pumice, feed every 10-14 days.

Some species extend first, then puff up second, others vice versa. My advice is to watch it and see how it reacts.
 
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Paulpash

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Found this one when it was still in the ground, complete with the remnants of the base sacrifice branch. It was air layered off and given to a bonsai buddy Clint who was just starting off in the hobby at the time20130910_173624.jpg.
 

wireme

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Here it is a year later after I'd created a Shari and removed one or two excess branches. It's starting to fill out and the few areas of juvenile have been eliminated and another rewire. I systematically cleared out all of the dead, unproductive foliage. The newer, active foliage on these is an attractive blue green.

View attachment 258156

A closer view - the bottom branch needs the pads to be split and more layers created.
View attachment 258154

This is the most recent image took last month. Still lots of refinement to do and to address the nebari but it is improving every year.

View attachment 258157
I like it too, nice job.

Kinda wondering if the lowest left branch is really needed?
 

Paulpash

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I like it too, nice job.

Kinda wondering if the lowest left branch is really needed?
It's the only one that side for 2/3 of the height of the tree. There's one at the back which goes back & sweeps off to the left too that's in a similar position to another back branch. One of these might go in the future.

Because it's growing strongly now I'll have options to swoop branches down from higher. This is fine as you have more scope to create multi layered pads this way.
 

woodworker

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Here it is a year later after I'd created a Shari and removed one or two excess branches. It's starting to fill out and the few areas of juvenile have been eliminated and another rewire. I systematically cleared out all of the dead, unproductive foliage. The newer, active foliage on these is an attractive blue green.

View attachment 258156
I have a folder full of bonsai pics for inspiration on future projects. This picture went into that folder. These are absolutely gorgeous.

If I look out in my backyard and see a few bonsai this nice in 10 years I will be happier than a pig in shit.

Bravo!!
 

Paulpash

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I have a folder full of bonsai pics for inspiration on future projects. This picture went into that folder. These are absolutely gorgeous.

If I look out in my backyard and see a few bonsai this nice in 10 years I will be happier than a pig in shit.

Bravo!!
Thanks. Like all bonsai I have a list of things to improve in future :

Nebari.
Improve structure on several branches.
Grow out a back branch that I can use to frame the Shari better with.
Increase foliage density in certain branches.
 

DayDrunk

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Once runners extend you'll see the foliage behind it 'puff up'. So, full sun, a mix high in pumice, feed every 10-14 days.
Great looking trees! I have a question for you about your feeding, I still don’t have a good grasp on fertilizing yet. I’ve been using this-F65AC94A-2BDE-40F1-A4A3-14106EC1F800.jpeg
Most of my trees are growing in the ground in grow beds and I feed every 2 months or so, bag says it lasts 4 months, and they seem to like it. Are you using something different that allows you to feed more often (liquid?) or do trees being in pots change how often you feed?
 

Paulpash

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Great looking trees! I have a question for you about your feeding, I still don’t have a good grasp on fertilizing yet. I’ve been using this-View attachment 258536
Most of my trees are growing in the ground in grow beds and I feed every 2 months or so, bag says it lasts 4 months, and they seem to like it. Are you using something different that allows you to feed more often (liquid?) or do trees being in pots change how often you feed?
For things growing in the ground I don't feed - my soil is pretty good from me emptying stuff onto the beds over 25 years. I just water it occasionally.

For pots I don't do anything posh or expensive - miracle grow slow release balls, occasional water based miracle grow and some chicken pellets. For things in development I'll feed full strength every 2 weeks. For refined stuff once a month.

As long as they get all the macro (NPK) nutrients micro & trace elements you're good.
 

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