Old landscape juniper, grafted.

Eric Schrader

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I got this landscape juniper from a friend in 2008. It was in a giant wash tub having been dug out of a yard in the east bay. When it was dug out a bunch of large branches were cut off. By the time I got it some large sections of the trunk were dead, all the better for a juniper. 2008, first work:

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The foliage was fast growing, prickly and yellowy so it was a good candidate for grafting to a more desirable type of foliage. Boon helped me put three Kishu approach grafts on the trunk (Kawabe style):

11919847356_285fda5a65_z.jpg


By the end of summer 2010 the grafts had taken, although we elected to remove one that was on a branch which was no longer part of the design. I had removed all but a tiny piece of the original foliage at the top right:

11919279203_f9c6d40657_c.jpg


February 2012: the main line of the grafts were already wired and now the tree has been allowed to grow long whips to create larger branches. The few remaining sprouts of the old foliage have grown vigorously also at top right:

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October 2012: the whips grew vigorously all summer. I did some more deadwood work, removed the last of the lifeline leading to the old foliage and trimmed the right side shorter to emphasize flow to the left:

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May 2013 - the tree is growing more slowly after pruning, wiring and relocation back to San Francisco's cool weather. Just some light thinning and cleanup:

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November 2013 - starting show prep, strong tips removed, light thinning and tweaking of branches:

11920600514_bae39d7d1a_c.jpg


The back of the crown showing some deadwood cleanup, adding ink to disguise the fresh carving, then removing it and applying lime sulfur:

11921009506_e28a977cf7_c.jpg


Repotted into show pot:

11920134415_f3171e9b2a_c.jpg


Mossed and ready to go, Height is 29 inches:

11920144765_5a797a4e2a_c.jpg


Hope to see some of you at the 2014 Bay Island Bonsai show, next weekend, January 18-19 at the Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, CA. This tree will be in the large conifer class for judging, but I expect to be trounced and have no shot at winning the members' choice award.

Cheers,

Eric
 

bonsaibp

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Looks great. Enjoy the show- a few years of development and you'll be in contention.
 

Ris

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Looks awesome, wish I could of seen a branch or 2 coming of the live vain.
Good luck showing have fun...
 

fraser67

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Good looking tree. It's great to see these progressions...thanks for posting!! Good luck in the show!
 

Poink88

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Nice progress and nice tree.

I somehow see a different tree from it...either just w/ the lower foliage mass or just the top mass seems better than both for me. Of course the dead wood may need to be reworked if the lower mass is chosen.

Maybe keep both but drastically modify the lower foliage mass.

Again, I am the only weird one I guess to point this out or see it this way. :eek:
 

nathanbs

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Amazing transformation and progression but I agree with Dario that lower foliage needs to be dramatically reduced or eliminated.
 

fore

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What a fantastic transformation and grafting Eric, very impressive. I had one thought/question, why did you and Boon not put a graft more along the front/sides of the living vein instead of putting them on the backside?
 

Poink88

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For your consideration...
 

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Eric Schrader

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why did you and Boon not put a graft more along the front/sides of the living vein instead of putting them on the backside?

Thanks all for the kind comments. The tree is young as a bonsai so I'm sure there will be many changes in the future as the branches mature more. I had considered a while ago eliminating the entire upper foliage mass in favor of allowing the lower one to grow higher into what would be considered a more traditional trunk. Reduction of the foliage at this point I think would be counter productive since relative to the trunk size it is still rather small in mass.

As to the location of the grafts - I don't personally ever find the graft union, even when done as well as is possible, to be an attractive part of a tree. I would rather that it be hidden in one way or another than right out in plain sight. The grafts on this are by no means hideous but the bark transition is there and there is a slight bulge. If they were right on the front of the lifeline they would be even more obvious and the foliage would not hide the bases of the grafts.

Apart from that, I find the idea of a classical structure in a juniper to be laughable, or perhaps unattractive. With junipers styled to be rugged and full of deadwood it seems unrealistic that the branching would be 1-2-3- normal like in the pine tree model.

If you want to make interesting junipers I feel that you should interplay the foliage with the deadwood but not worry about how it gets there. Eliminating the large branching from collected junipers and replacing it with small branching that hugs the deadwood is basically how modern yamadori juniper bonsai are made. Separation of the foliage from the deadwood by large spaces causes distraction to the eye and makes the tree feel unbalanced to me.

I should also say - sometimes you just have to work with what you have. I don't typically go out and spend thousands of dollars on material to work on. My friend gave me this tree and I thought that I could make it a bonsai by grafting it. I struggle with decisions about whether or not to graft trees, but this was one of the few that I didn't hesitate on since the natural foliage was non-native and not attractive or easy to work with.

In hindsight I think that I could have found better material (and I have since) but in the interest of actually making a mature tree from start to finish I tend to follow through on these things until they are show-able before analyzing what might be more ideal for the particular plant. 4 or 5 grafts might have allowed for better design options but I didn't think of that 6 years ago and I'm not sure re-grafting it now would be beneficial.

Thanks again for all the comments, I'm not trying to be dismissive. I frequently have a knee-jerk reaction to suggestions for modification to my trees but then later find them useful.

Cheers,

Eric
 

pwk5017

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Eric,

Awesome example of a relatively ordinary landscape tree becoming a respectable bonsai. And in a pretty short timeframe! My only critique is to really highlight the contrast between the live vein and the deadwood. To me, junipers are all about the contrast between life and death within the plant. Bright green foliage against sun bleached deadwood. Same goes for the typical red/brown sanded live vein against the light deadwood. Maybe the live vein isn't visible from the front on this tree, but the whole trunk looks to be the same color, and I never pick up on a distinct live vein. Other than that, this one should progress nicely. It's still a young bonsai despite its size. Thanks for a nice example of urban yamadori.
 

drew33998

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What a fantastic transformation and grafting Eric, very impressive. I had one thought/question, why did you and Boon not put a graft more along the front/sides of the living vein instead of putting them on the backside?

Thanks all for the kind comments. The tree is young as a bonsai so I'm sure there will be many changes in the future as the branches mature more. I had considered a while ago eliminating the entire upper foliage mass in favor of allowing the lower one to grow higher into what would be considered a more traditional trunk. Reduction of the foliage at this point I think would be counter productive since relative to the trunk size it is still rather small in mass.

As to the location of the grafts - I don't personally ever find the graft union, even when done as well as is possible, to be an attractive part of a tree. I would rather that it be hidden in one way or another than right out in plain sight. The grafts on this are by no means hideous but the bark transition is there and there is a slight bulge. If they were right on the front of the lifeline they would be even more obvious and the foliage would not hide the bases of the grafts.

Apart from that, I find the idea of a classical structure in a juniper to be laughable, or perhaps unattractive. With junipers styled to be rugged and full of deadwood it seems unrealistic that the branching would be 1-2-3- normal like in the pine tree model.

If you want to make interesting junipers I feel that you should interplay the foliage with the deadwood but not worry about how it gets there. Eliminating the large branching from collected junipers and replacing it with small branching that hugs the deadwood is basically how modern yamadori juniper bonsai are made. Separation of the foliage from the deadwood by large spaces causes distraction to the eye and makes the tree feel unbalanced to me.

I should also say - sometimes you just have to work with what you have. I don't typically go out and spend thousands of dollars on material to work on. My friend gave me this tree and I thought that I could make it a bonsai by grafting it. I struggle with decisions about whether or not to graft trees, but this was one of the few that I didn't hesitate on since the natural foliage was non-native and not attractive or easy to work with.

In hindsight I think that I could have found better material (and I have since) but in the interest of actually making a mature tree from start to finish I tend to follow through on these things until they are show-able before analyzing what might be more ideal for the particular plant. 4 or 5 grafts might have allowed for better design options but I didn't think of that 6 years ago and I'm not sure re-grafting it now would be beneficial.

Thanks again for all the comments, I'm not trying to be dismissive. I frequently have a knee-jerk reaction to suggestions for modification to my trees but then later find them useful.

Cheers,

Eric

To each his own. Great work
 

Bonsai Nut

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What a fantastic transformation and grafting Eric, very impressive. I had one thought/question, why did you and Boon not put a graft more along the front/sides of the living vein instead of putting them on the backside?

I love this series of photos because it shows what progress can be made in a few short years. I was going to ask the same question about the branches in the back, but Eric's explanation makes sense. With maturity and future development the branch structure may change...
 

armetisius

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Landscape Juni

This is one of the best "change of clothes" I have seen done. Kudos :D
 

fore

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I love this series of photos because it shows what progress can be made in a few short years. I was going to ask the same question about the branches in the back, but Eric's explanation makes sense. With maturity and future development the branch structure may change...

Totally agree BN. I'm not that familiar with grafting, and long term experience with grafts. So Eric, Thanks for the explanation. Makes good sense.

And btw, I too am very impressed with what you've been able to accomplish. Nice job!
 

KennedyMarx

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Great transformation! I've never put much thought into grafting, but results like these are getting the gears turning.
 

Eric Schrader

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The 2014 BIB show is history and this tree was among some amazing trees in the part of the show that is for large size. The tree was dwarfed by many of the other trees in the room, and alas was not even "nominated" for a members' choice award.

In the run of displays:

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the single display:

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And the winner of the large conifer award? Perhaps you've seen it before if you follow Boon on Facebook; an amazing Japanese Pot:

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A crazy good root base and trunk:

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A huge and amazingly powerful tree with a great canopy, congrats to Jeff for his hard work on this California Juniper over the last decade:

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Cheers,

Eric
 

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