Juniperus Sabina

Alex DeRuiter

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Hi everyone,

I posted this tree on the BonsaiSite forum as well. I was wondering if anyone could give me more suggestions. I plan to use this for a cascade, but due to its size (right now it's about one foot wide[or long, depending on how you look at it]), I was told that back-branches might be hard to accomplish until further down the tree. I will also include a picture of a virt Bob (cbobgo) made for me.

Also, when would be a good time to wire this tree? I had planned on pruning a little bit off this winter, and saving the majority of the work for the spring.

Thanks for your input :)
 

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Si Nguyen

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Hi Axxonn, a cascade is not a bad way to go. The size of the trunk means that this should be a shohin, unless you plan to grow it out for a long time. There are many good options for this little tree. Here are just 2 options based on your current direction of leaning. The sketches are self-explanatory. Basically you should keep the longest healthiest branch which is at the most interesting position and jin the rest of the branches. Just keep the foliage to a bare minimum.
Good luck with it!
Si
 

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Alex DeRuiter

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Yeah, I had planned on leaving it as a shohin. I bought this tree for $6 and had planned on just using it as beginner material. It's my first juniper with the exception of a mallsai that died back when I wasn't aware these trees needed to stay outside....:cool:

When I first bought it, I wanted to keep it planted how it was, but after suggestions on the other forum and the deliberation that followed, I decided cascade is what I wanted to do with it. I think if it was thicker it might be more suited at the angle it's currently planted, but that unfortunately isn't the case.

I must say that I am extremely jealous of your ability to draw. lol -- I love that bottom right picture. I think wrapping that branch around the trunk adds a lot to the 3-D effect of the tree.
 
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treebeard55

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I don't work with junipers anymore (allergic now,) but from the esthetic side, I'd say that tree should work fine as a cascade. The virt your friend did convinced me!
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Yeah, Bob's a good guy and very helpful. I think he's posted on this forum before, but I haven't seem him on lately.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Is this a species that I can wire any time of year and it will take shape, or is it like deciduous trees where wiring should only be done during the growth period?

Also, how much of the foliage should I remove at one time? I've read 1/3 is a safe bet, but I also read that a lot more can be taken off with certain species.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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So I've noticed that every once in a while people will post on their old threads, bowing their heads in shame, telling the forum that the tree they have been working on is dead...

Luckily this is not (yet) the case. However, this tree was angry at me for a while, and I think it might still be a little mad. The tree remained in the soil it was in while in the nursery container over the winter. I left it in this pot/soil because I read that repotting in the winter is a terrible idea, as it would be eliminating a lot of energy in those pruned roots that the tree needs to push out new growth in the spring. It was very water-retentive and did not allow much drainage. On top of that, I made the foolish mistake of planting the pot in the ground for winter protection, and while in the ground the tree suffered from overwatering (from melting snow) and lack of light (the tree was often covered with snow, though I cleared the snow daily).

When I repotted this spring (after new growth was sprouting in many areas), I removed some roots that appeared to have rotted out, and I put the tree in a better medium. One or two of the branches did die, and unfortunately the branch that I planned to be the main branch (see Si's bottom right drawing from post #2) was one of them.

The tree appears to be getting healthier, though a lot of the foliage died off. There is still a decent amount of green and I remain hopeful. I had the tree in part shade for a couple months and have no moved it to full sun in hopes that it will get a lot of energy for some root growth in the fall. I'm hoping to get some back-budding so I could maybe start a new branch and still create something similar to Si's drawing, but we'll see how things pan out over the next few years.

In the meantime, any suggestions for caring for this tree? I have very general knowledge of this species of juniper, but I'm definitely open to suggestions. Thanks :)

As a pretty firm rule, consider the health of your individual tree, too, before you decide how much to take off.
Luckily I read this before I considered pruning some limbs off of the tree. Had I not read this, the tree may have died by now. Thanks Steve! :D
 
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october

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Hello ..Winter can be tough on bonsai in general. In my opinion, you should protect your tree this upcoming winter. In other words.. If you have the means, I would keep the tree in an area that is maybe 55-60 degrees and gets about 4 hours of sun a day. Also, the tree would get watered by you only, when it needs it. Then, when the tree recovers, normal protection practices should be fine. I think that planting this tree in the ground over one more winter or even leaving it in full outside winter conditions, may prove to be the end of the tree.

Rob
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Hey Rob. Definitely sound advice. I was reading up a lot about winter storage while this tree was suffering in the ground, and I won't make the same mistake this year -- though I can't promise I won't overlook something else. lol

But seriously, I've already done a lot more preparation this year, especially after this tree showed me how poor of a decision sticking it in the ground was. I don't think I'll be able to get the trees in an area that stays around 55-60 degrees, but I've built up something to keep them protected from winds/frost and heavy snowfall. As far as temperature is concerned, I'm really not sure what the consistent temperature will be until I test it out. I would expect that, coupled with the insulation of the surrounding snow, it should keep at least 5-10 degrees above whatever the outside temperature is? It doesn't get too terribly cold in Grand Rapids, MI, but it can reach a bit below 0 degrees F some nights -- wouldn't expect lower than -10?...

And yes, the watering issue. That's one area that I must improve on this and following winters. I won't be nearly as unprepared this year. :D
 

edro

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I have killed my share of sabinas. They are commonly on clearance at the end of the growing season.
I haven't figured out the exact reasoning on all of them, but they appear to be finicky about wiring and root pruning.
Also, their foliage is a bit floppy and limp for bonsai.

I have one I wired up last week. I hope it survives. :)
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Just curious, how much growing/caring/styling experience do you have with junipers and/or any other species of trees? I agree, foliage on these are indeed a bit floppy and limp...but I think there are some styles that could cater to this characteristic. ;)
 

edro

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I've been growing for about 5 years now. I have about 40 trees, give or take 5.
I am constantly repotting and restyling.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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I hope that didn't sound arrogant or anything -- I was really just curious as to what your background was. :)

I'm just wondering if it's the finickiness of this species, or if my overwinter care was lousy. I'm under the assumption right now that it was a combination of both. lol
 

Dwight

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Sabines are a European tree as I'm sure you know. Unless this is a cultivar that doesn't behave like a native it can take temps down close to freezing without any trouble. My junipers hardly notice winters here unless we have a record low ( -2 ) like last winter and their owner doesn't put thim in the garage.

Anyway they seem real popular in Europe , kinda like out RMJs are here so an international forumn like Internet Bonsai Club might be more help.
 
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Alex DeRuiter

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Thanks for the info, Dwight! I didn't know they were that hardy...that makes sense as this one went through a cold winter before and didn't skip a beat -- well, minus the beat it skipped because I pruned roots in fall when I was a bit more of a noob. lol

Here's the tree today. It's pushing out a ton of new growth after I slip-potted it early this spring, and I'm happy with that I'm considering as the new angle. Thoughts? Sorry for the sloppy pictures. . . .

4-25-12029.jpg

or:
4-25-12031.jpg

Top:
4-25-12033.jpg


I think being able to actually look at the tree in person makes it look less terrible. These pictures aren't that great, but you get the idea. It'll certainly never be a masterpiece, but at least I can work on drawing triangles with the foliage. ;)
 

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