No Way Jose Part 1


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This is a San Jose juniper that I have been training for about 4 years or so. I have changed my mind on the design constantly. I almost gave up on this tree a few times.. However, I knew that there was a bonsai in there somewhere....Well, after more than 2 1/2 years of studying and tilting the tree in every which way. The key finally revealed itself. It was to basically turn the tree completely on its side.

Well, here is the pic progression...

The tree was pulled out of the nursery container, root pruned and placed in a nursery pot. some trimming was done to create a future informal upright...

The apex branch was very thin and not, at all, in proportion to the rerst of the tree. This problem, along with the top, left side branch was way to thick. Although these flaws may be somewhat correctable. The tree would probably never look right. Now, I chopped half the tree off and did further pruning.

Still not happy with the design, I desided to chop off the rest of the tree above the first branch. I thought that I could develope that one pad into something.

Yet again, not happy with this design, One day I tilted the tree completely on it's side. It was at this point I thought that I may be on to something.


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Growing up in Colorado, I have seen many junies poking out of a rocky cliff just like that. I like it!
Part 2

Here is the tree beginning its rebirth as a cascade. I cut off half the root ball on one entire side. I left the roots on the other side that would go into the pot. Now, the tree will have to reconfigure the way it takes in nutrients. If the tree can do this, it would survive. Since the tree had no root ball on the what is now the top, I decided to just somewhat leave that area exposed.. Eventually, the small roots that were left would die from exposure and the tree would have no choice but to live off of the remaining roots. The tree was left alone and grew incredible well.. The branch that was to become the nes apex thickened very quickly and what was formerly just a small undeveloped pad, was now a workable material to construct a whole tree.

The last pic is branch and trunk outline that is not very visible in the pic. The trunk has more curve than my highlighting showed. The foliage could not really be trimmed at this time because it was too young and there would be much browning. Also, if young foliage is cut, there is a chance that it will not grow back in that area.

Eventually, the tree will go in a crescent moon rock pot. This will accent the tree and also hide the stump where the half of the root ball was cut off



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p.s........... The final "front" of the tree was formerly the back. I changed the view last season..

Good job as usuall Rob. Now when are you going to replace all the foliage with Shimpaku???;)
Thanks, that San Jose foliage is pretty awful...I will be doing some work on this tree next month. I'll post some new pics far as grafting shuimpaku foliage.. The tree has already forgiven me for cutting the entire right half of the root ball off and sticking the tree in the pot on it's side...Any more work and the tree might just say..."That's it, I can't take anymore, I'm fire wood"

Hey just kidding with you Rob, I am not totally against the san jose foliage, but the shimp foliage is definately nicer. Might be a great way to go after learning some grafting though. As if you needed to be told that.

Keep up the great work. Anything you have definately scheduled for at NEBG's? When I saw the April schedule my first thought was cool, but it's the same weekend as our MABS show in NY.
It looks like procumbens. How do you tell the difference? Will the adult foliage look different?
Rob, nice progression and good job finding the bonsai that was hiding in there.

Thanks Bill........ Well.. I will probably be taking a coupleof the open workshops this Spring. Also, the phoenix graft workshop looks very interesting....Many times I just go up there in the late morning on a Wednesday and work on my trees till the workshop comes around at night. The owner of the nursery usually just lets me work in the workshop green house during the day. NE Bonsai is truly one of the best and most friendly nurseries around..

Thank you catfish chapstick... Well, there is a long way to go still.. This foliage is difficult to work with,..due to the species and the fact that it is young... I will not be able to just prune... because it may not grow back in those areas.. I may have to just let it contiunue to grow out much more.. However, I cannot say until I actually review the tree next month.

Hello noissee.... San Jose foliage is much more course and messy and tends to be a different shade of green..

Thanks HotAction........ Well, hopefully, my furture plan of getting it in a nice crescent pot will come into play within the next 1 1/2 years

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