Need help styling nursery juniper!

HENDO

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Hello everybody! This is my first post on BN. I've been doing bonsai for a few months now and have been working my way up to larger juniper projects mainly using nursery stock.

This latest project is a 5-gallon and after almost a week of careful cleaning and 1/3 of the foliage gone I could use some help on where to go with styling.

The trunk curved down a lot and had no branches or foliage for a cascade so I cut it 2-3" from above the "ground". Now I am left with what looks like some sort of pottery sculpture shape. I've done some rough wiring to lift the branches mainly just to get a better look before removing more foliage.

Does anybody have any idea on where to go next with styling and moving the branches? I apologize as it is not very easy to see the orientation of all of the branches, but most of them are coming out perpendicular to the trunk.

I'm also at a crossroads on what side is the front. With the trunk pointing right there is a nice wide root and reverse taper not as noticeable. With the trunk pointing left there is a bit less foliage on top, a nice jin branch, but more reverse taper.

Thanks in advance and I am looking forward to some ideas from here!
 

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sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

There's not much interest passed the first branch.
I'd have a long game plan to get it back there eventually.

Sorce
 

HENDO

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Welcome to Crazy!

There's not much interest passed the first branch.
I'd have a long game plan to get it back there eventually.

Sorce
Thanks Sorce!

I was wondering if that would be the way to go - to cut the upper branches off the trunk and work back to that first branch? I suppose I would need to give the tree some time before doing more pruning like that?
 
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Conifers should not be treated like deciduous trees unless it is 100% warranted. If there is no interest beyond the first branch, then make interest with shari/jin, branch placement, heavy bending and more wiring. IMO, that top "hook" looking branch needs heavy wire applied to it, and a good crank to give it changes in direction. Additionally, the pads you have stared need to be brought down and fill in the spaces in a more dynamic way. The turtle back foliage doesn't do the tree justice. This is a nice piece of starter stock, get some assistance on how to take it to the next level.
 

sorce

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suppose I would need to give the tree some time before doing more pruning lik
I'd do it in stages. Assuming that yellow large first branch is alive, that we're keeping...
Capture+_2019-11-22-09-16-15.png

I'd remove the red branches before spring growth to open up some light for your keeper part.
Then, health and keeper foliage mass dependent, I'd subsequently remove the next few the next spring or summer. Then the purple bits the following.

All the while looking for some new branches where them green lines are. But they're not necessary, you can build your whole far future tree from that first left bit.

The right curve is absolutely useless, we will never be able to not see that as the garden center plant it is.

Sorce
 

HENDO

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You guys are awesome - thanks especially for reminding me of what a bonsai really is! I think with your advice in hand I can now be more decisive with not only this one, but future projects.

You've saved me a lot of time and I'll go ahead and take the recommended steps to developing the first branch if it survives, getting rid of that top foliage over time, and perhaps some jin/shari action on the rest.

Thanks again and I appreciate the quick replies. I'll post some updates, hopefully after taking the right steps.
 

sorce

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I was going to say Hendo is Latin for buy 4 more.
But I went to do the research, are you into hoverboards?

Sorce
 

HENDO

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I was going to say Hendo is Latin for buy 4 more.
But I went to do the research, are you into hoverboards?

Sorce
Good guess but no association with hoverboards unfortunately. It's just a nickname that stuck - I was thinking HONDO sounded more Japanese so might've been a good tweak for BonsaiNut, but HENDO prevails!
 

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If I might make a suggestion to the suggestions already given? if you remove growth from the right branch down to the main trunk, the main trunk will be reduced in strength by more than 50 percent. Cutting away branches and hoping a juniper pushes new growth below the main part of the tree is a tremendous gamble. The tree always takes the path of least resistance and will just push new growth on whatever is tallest.

When making a decision to cut a tree down, always remember that the tree needs "living things all the way around the trunk." Where there are no living branches above, it will not sprout below. I see many people chop a tree to the first branch, never leaving anything on the other sides. The trunk just compartmentalizes and though it doesn't die, it never grows with the branch that was left. The "other" side of the tree never has branches. To get branches on that side, they have to come from the part that was grown on and bent down to fill that void. Sometimes it looks good and sometimes it is bad....mostly bad from what I've seen.

I suggest cutting everything to a more or less equal height, like down by two thirds and force the tree into emergency mode. "Then" you may have a chance at buds popping in those places marked in green. Let the tree go for a couple seasons, and wire those that look promising but leave the others for jins later. Most of that top is useless anyway. Just keep the tree balanced and don't just willy nilly cut big holes in it, you will end up with something requiring a start over again. Do it once smart....
 
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An idea for another option...This tree I did a first styling on was very similar yours. I didn't completely clean out the foliage, because I removed a large percentage already, but I think you get the idea of where its going.
 

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HENDO

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An idea for another option...This tree I did a first styling on was very similar yours. I didn't completely clean out the foliage, because I removed a large percentage already, but I think you get the idea of where its going.
Thanks for sharing B&B your tree does look very similar and now I'm wishing I didn't remove as much as I did - I think I'll play around with some angles now like you have yours and see how it looks. Those deadwood features are going to look awesome on yours!
 

HENDO

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If I might make a suggestion to the suggestions already given? if you remove growth from the right branch down to the main trunk, the main trunk will be reduced in strength by more than 50 percent. Cutting away branches and hoping a juniper pushes new growth below the main part of the tree is a tremendous gamble. The tree always takes the path of least resistance and will just push new growth on whatever is tallest.

When making a decision to cut a tree down, always remember that the tree needs "living things all the way around the trunk." Where there are no living branches above, it will not sprout below. I see many people chop a tree to the first branch, never leaving anything on the other sides. The trunk just compartmentalizes and though it doesn't die, it never grows with the branch that was left. The "other" side of the tree never has branches. To get branches on that side, they have to come from the part that was grown on and bent down to fill that void. Sometimes it looks good and sometimes it is bad....mostly bad from what I've seen.

I suggest cutting everything to a more or less equal height, like down by two thirds and force the tree into emergency mode. "Then" you may have a chance at buds popping in those places marked in green. Let the tree go for a couple seasons, and wire those that look promising but leave the others for jins later. Most of that top is useless anyway. Just keep the tree balanced and don't just willy nilly cut big holes in it, you will end up with something requiring a start over again. Do it once smart....
Thanks Smoke I think I'll take this advice along with the others and mainly just cut down the top to a shorter but even height, and some of the unwanted smaller branches for now since I've done a pretty heavy butcher job on it already.

I appreciate everybody's advice here. I am now wishing I was more patient and had not focused so much on the existing trunk with the huge bend at the current potting angle, but now it seems there are a few very good options.

I am finally attending a bonsai course tomorrow and then may have some time to work on this so will hopefully have some update pictures!
 

Tieball

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Plan to make sure you’re comfortable with chops and cuts. You have the tree in front of you. Working from a photo can be correct....or incorrect. Make sure the design agrees with you so you can carry out changes with your purpose.
 

HENDO

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Hey All,

I hope I didn't go too far with this one, but here it is after too much considering and some more branches off. I hope I haven't exhausted the advice, so just looking to see if it's time to put this to rest for a while, or of there's still another direction it could go?

Unfortunately I think my initial pruning eliminated some nice branches that would have worked at this point!

Thanks for the help so far and looking forward to the feedback.
 

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Leo in N E Illinois

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Not bad. As you noted, there were branches you probably could have kept. But no worries. Set it outside, and let it grow. Give it a full growing season, then check to see if wires need to be removed. Let it grow out a couple years, and it will back bud and put out new branches that (if you are lucky) will give you all the new branches you need.
 

HENDO

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Hey All! Well, I had to clean up my bonsai area and this huge nursery pot was taking up so much space so I used that as an excuse to be impatient and repot. Probably too early as some of you suggested leaving it for a season, but here it is.

Please take a look if you can and if there is a chance this tree will survive, I would really appreciate any guidance on how to take this one further in the future.

Thanks!
 

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Tieball

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If the tree survives....as you say.....hmmmm.....
If this was my tree...I would be working with it to eliminate the Pom-Pom appearance. The Pom-Pom look may be what you were trying to achieve though. I don’t know.

Did you bend and bury a branch in the substrate? Or is that a natural root? (On the left side from my view).

Do you want this tree to grow...Larger? Thicker?
 
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HENDO

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If the tree survives....as you say.....hmmmm.....
If this was my tree...I would be working with it to eliminate the Pom-Pom appearance. The Pom-Pom look may be what you were trying to achieve though. I don’t know.

Did you bend and bury a branch in the substrate? Or is that a natural root? (On the left side from my view).

Do you want this tree to grow...Larger? Thicker?
Hey Tieball & thanks for the reply,

I would really like to eliminate the pom-pom look for sure - would I just "flatten" then a bit to do that or just turn-out in general? I apologize but this is my first bonsai year and I haven't been able to actually prune to style yet so am a bit ignorant on this side.

That is a natural root that had some nice feeders on it so I kept it, but was contemplating cutting it off. This thing was in a huge nursery pot and had a tonne of surface root action for some reason.

I'm fairly happy with the size, but wouldn't mind the top branch getting thicker if it is possible in this pot?

Thanks!
 

Tieball

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I’m just thinking....and coloring...I don’t know if I have a great answer for you. However, I tried to show you what I was thinking, what I’d do, with this attachment based on one of your photo views. It’s a thought....good or bad. The tree, in my view, needs some added growth in key areas....and I just removed what I didn’t want. I’d work to achieve the new growth. My eyes balanced more with this adjustment....I didn’t feel like I was bouncing left and right to establish a focal direction. I’m sure someone here has some better thoughts than I do though to help put this tree in a direction....and some good thoughts on when to do cutting and when to just let this tree relax and gain a great amount of health.
0F71AAE2-926D-41FF-BAEB-F27F7C2419D7.jpeg
 
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