My first Bonsai-Help Needed

HerbalistKC

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So I am new to this forum and new to the art of bonsai. Needless to say I instantly fell in love. I would love some feedback on my first bonsai. I have had it for about a month now, when i first got it i was all excited to wire, shape, etc but i think i went to far. Please don't hold back, I know this is my first one and would like as much constructive criticism as possible. Also, shaping ideas, potting ideas or just ideas in general would be greatly appreciated. I have a feeling that I cut off to much and also no idea where to go as far as shaping. Bc I fell in love so fast i have 3 large junipers in the mail (I will post when received)
 

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Housguy

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Yeah, you got bit by the Bonsai bug, lol. Right there with you though. There are a lot more people in here that know a lot more than I, but getting more than one tree is the first step so you don't get bored in playing with your trees. Also, first an fore most in Bonsai, tree health is number 1, then from there you can decide trimming, wiring and shaping your tree as long as you have a real healthy tree to work on. There is so much to learn though, welcome! And have fun!!
 

Bonsai Nut

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Welcome to the site and the life!

It looks like you live in an apartment(?) Just make sure that your junipers get as much direct sun as possible. Hard to tell from the photos whether your balcony gets enough light.

You passed the first test of bonsai, which is: did you kill the tree the first time you worked on it? :) As @Housguy pointed out, the only bad bonsai is a dead bonsai :)

If I were going to critique your tree, I would say that you may be falling into a common mistake that many people make when first starting out. They style their bonsai to look like a bonsai... instead of trying to make it look like a real tree - in miniature. An easy way to get around this problem is to go online and find a photo of a cool old tree in nature of the same or similar species - and then print it out and have the picture sitting next to you as you start styling your tree. Even if your bonsai doesn't look like a literal representation of the tree in the photo, it will still probably look more real than if you were just winging it with the design.

For example... you may not believe it, but right now you could probably style your tree to look like this juniper in nature:

ju_02.jpg

Pretty cool, right?
 

HerbalistKC

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Yeah, you got bit by the Bonsai bug, lol. Right there with you though. There are a Also, first an fore most in Bonsai, tree health is number 1, then from there you can decide trimming, wiring and shaping your tree as long as you have a real healthy tree to work on. There is so much to learn though, welcome! And have fun!!
I kind of over looked the tree health. I kind of took that for granted. Thank you for that. Glad my tree is still alive!
 

HerbalistKC

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Welcome to the site and the life!

It looks like you live in an apartment(?) Just make sure that your junipers get as much direct sun as possible. Hard to tell from the photos whether your balcony gets enough light.

You passed the first test of bonsai, which is: did you kill the tree the first time you worked on it? :) As @Housguy pointed out, the only bad bonsai is a dead bonsai :)

If I were going to critique your tree, I would say that you may be falling into a common mistake that many people make when first starting out. They style their bonsai to look like a bonsai... instead of trying to make it look like a real tree - in miniature. An easy way to get around this problem is to go online and find a photo of a cool old tree in nature of the same or similar species - and then print it out and have the picture sitting next to you as you start styling your tree. Even if your bonsai doesn't look like a literal representation of the tree in the photo, it will still probably look more real than if you were just winging it with the design.

For example... you may not believe it, but right now you could probably style your tree to look like this juniper in nature:

View attachment 240592

Pretty cool, right?
First of all, thanks for the feedback.
Believe it or not my bonsai has been indoors since I got it, next to a window. I just took it outdoors today and will leave it out there.

And yes the fact that my little tree can eventually look like that is pretty cool. I don’t have the vision yet. Thanks again ??
 

HerbalistKC

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So I just got my 3 junipers in from bonsai outlet..I know I got carried away with my first one so any tips for these 3?

Do I put them in a pot? Leave them?
Prune them? Let them grow?
Shape it? Or wait?
If I am going to put them in pots is there a recommended soil and pot size? I’ve read a little bit about that, I’m just the type of person that can’t pull the trigger and make a decision. Usually.

Any other ideas or tips would be appreciated. If more pics are needed like close ups, I will post them.
 

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Shibui

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I’m just the type of person that can’t pull the trigger and make a decision. Usually.
This is going to make bonsai difficult for you. In bonsai there is always choices. Do you want a thin stick in a pot or a really thick trunk juniper? Straight trunks or twisted trunk with deadwood like real mountain trees? Answers to these questions will help decide how to proceed. You need to know what result you want in order to decide what to do.
You can make a thin stick in a pot mallsai out of any of these trees straight away. Most newbies need to have some 'bonsai' in a bonsai pot so it is OK to start practicing techniques on small stock. Most growers gradually progress to wanting much higher quality trees and the skills learned on the earlier trees become valuable in maintaining and developing better stock in future.

In general, look for an attractive trunk line showing good roots and good taper then arrange branches to compliment the trunk. It is really difficult to offer styling advice from 2D photos because it is difficult to see all the 3D movement and where branches actually start and finish.
I remember that making initial decisions is difficult - what if I choose the wrong one? Reality is there are rarely wrong choices in bonsai. Any decision to prune or shape a tree takes it further toward the goal of a bonsai. Your trees will never progress unless you do make decisions.
 

HerbalistKC

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This is going to make bonsai difficult for you. In bonsai there is always choices. Do you want a thin stick in a pot or a really thick trunk juniper? Straight trunks or twisted trunk with deadwood like real mountain trees? Answers to these questions will help decide how to proceed. You need to know what result you want in order to decide what to do.
You can make a thin stick in a pot mallsai out of any of these trees straight away. Most newbies need to have some 'bonsai' in a bonsai pot so it is OK to start practicing techniques on small stock. Most growers gradually progress to wanting much higher quality trees and the skills learned on the earlier trees become valuable in maintaining and developing better stock in future.

In general, look for an attractive trunk line showing good roots and good taper then arrange branches to compliment the trunk. It is really difficult to offer styling advice from 2D photos because it is difficult to see all the 3D movement and where branches actually start and finish.
I remember that making initial decisions is difficult - what if I choose the wrong one? Reality is there are rarely wrong choices in bonsai. Any decision to prune or shape a tree takes it further toward the goal of a bonsai. Your trees will never progress unless you do make decisions.
Makes sense. ill clear off a little bit of the trunk and dead stuff and take more pics. One style that really grabbed my attention is deadwood and lots of it. My goal I guess would be thick trunk, nice twists, deadwood. But I also like many other styles and don't know if i should shape according to how the juniper is already growing naturally. Im not to worried about choosing "the wrong one" bc i can always get another or form it into something else. Needless to say, it wont be the end all be all for me.

And should i leave in those pots to promote a little more growth or pop em in some bonsai pots and let them grow that way? If i repot, from what i have read now would be a good time. Is that incorrect?

thanks for your input Shibui
 

Shibui

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And should i leave in those pots to promote a little more growth or pop em in some bonsai pots and let them grow that way? If i repot, from what i have read now would be a good time. Is that incorrect?
Growth for most trees is directly proportionate to the area the roots have to grow. Trees in small pots grow quite slow. Trees in larger pots grow faster. Trees in the ground grow fastest provided they have all the things they need - water, nutrients, light, etc.
Junipers already grow slow naturally. Bonsai pots will reduce trunk thickening to almost zero. If your aim is to get thicker trunks then larger pots are advised.
I don't know how far the season is advanced in Kansas. Repotting with root pruning is normally done in spring but I do many of my junipers in mid spring. If you are just shifting them into larger pots, that can be done almost any time of year because you will leave most roots intact so little impact on the tree.
My goal I guess would be thick trunk, nice twists, deadwood
Need to start planning for twists and bends now. juniper wood is stiff and hard so quite difficult to bend when it gets thicker. Looks like the main trunks are very straight so it may be difficult now to bend them. Alternative is to prune the trunk back to a low side branch. That will produce instant bend as well as taper and the branch will usually be flexible enough to wire and bend.
 

coltranem

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One style that really grabbed my attention is deadwood and lots of it. My goal I guess would be thick trunk, nice twists, deadwood.
As someone who started out a few years ago I would say style one up just to get practice applying wire and making choices. Growing these out is a long process with it own steps and skills. You can try it with this material but it will then become material you wont be practicing bonsai on. Most of what I bought my first year became grow out material and I am learning that approach. However this year I am trying to make an effort to spend a little more on material so there is more I can do with it to continue to learn.

What size trunks are these at now?
 

Ali Raza

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@Shibui have elaborated it quite openly. I think you first decide the design, which is more feasible for your plant. Finally pack your gear because it is long way to go.
 
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