ONE MORE TIME! Yamadori Style Junipers

Smoke

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The process for yamadori style junipers is fairly easy. The time factor is what makes it not so romantic for most people. After work I came home after being away at BIB yesterday so I wanted to catch up on threads. It seems that this process needs documentation ONE MORE TIME!

Start out with a juniper whip. This whip is one that was left over from a few years ago when I was taking cuttings. I just want to move away from junipers in my area, I just don't have the time to really keep up with them, and when I get one really looking good, it seems that spider mites move in over night and they are grey the next morning.

This juniper is a little old for this procedure, as I like them at about 1/4 inch across at the soil to really get some twisting in the plant. As we will see, twisting on this one was not possible. This tree was about 3/8" across at the base.
 

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Smoke

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Start with a bag of craft raffia. This can be bought at a craft store. If you can't get you hands on raffia, then vet wrap will work or cloth electricians tape.

With the raffia, select about 4 strands of the wider stuff and gather it together and tie in a knot at the top. Make two of these. You might not use both, but not having one to continue wrapping will just make you cuss like a sailor.

Soak the raffia in warm water for about 10 minutes or longer. begin at the base and make a wrap over the knot to secure it at the base. Continue wrapping it barberpole fashion, just overlapping to the top of the tree. When you get near the top and the trunk is matchstick size you can tie off the raffia. Tie it off with a loop and pass it through and pull tight. Cut off the excess.

Lots of copper wire is needed when doing this type of plant. For this tree I used no. 10 copper. I secure the base of the wire with a couple wraps of wire to allow the future bending. It needs to be secure and this small root ball (in plastic bag) will not hold the wire for what I am going to do!

Trust me...I have had the base of the wire thrust out of the rootball and gouge the hell out of my hand....more cussing and expletives. Wire all the way to the top and if the plant wyes, wire the largest trunk with the largest wire all the way out. make a loop with the wire at the end so the damn thing can't unwind, cause it will if you don't!
 

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Smoke

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So the raffia trunk is wrapped with the wire. It is wrapped as tight as possible. This wire can't slip, and it can't have space beneath or the branch or trunk will break. With the raffia wet, as the raffia drys it will also tighten on the trunk and help hold it all together. It also works as the cushion for having the wire so tight. When the raffia rots, it will be time to take the wire off.
 

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Smoke

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Wire any larger branches that wye from the trunk. These can be wired with one wire and do not need raffia if the are around 3/16" or less. Smaller than 1/16" can wait till later for wire.


At this point I bend the smaller branches to get them out of the way. It also means that by having them pre bent, they will sometimes be worked into the bends made in the trunk by passing over and around spirals made in the heavier trunk. These size branches can just be bent by using the fingers as pressure points, as they are small enough to bend without breaking.
 

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Smoke

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Now the fun part.

First you need two really large Japanese wire pliers. If you don't, make sure your pliers have thinner jaws and will not slip while holding wire. The Japanese pliers are like a bulldog and will hold like glue. I have three pair of Japanese wire pliers 14 inches long just for bending branches by bending wire.

If you are still styling trees by bending branches with your fingers, you will improve overnight just by learning how to bend branches by bending wire instead. (hot tip, mail checks to Al Keppler)


So key points:

* Make sure raffia is wet
* Wire tight against trunk
* Bend smaller branches first
* Make bends with wire pliers on the wire, not the wood
* Make one bend and move on. Do not move in opposite direction after bending, it will kill the trunk
or branch.
* Bend in the direction of the wire. If you bend the other direction you will open wire up and break the branch.
 

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Smoke

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In a week I will come back and bend in between some of the areas that have not been bent. This is where I will compress or squash the plant. At that point it will have relaxed and will be much easier to bend. This is what I did on the pine I did two years ago. It worked out well.

The plant is potted out in a three gallon terra cotta planter full of ag pumice and a top layer of finer soil for moisture retention. If I was sure I was staying put I would have planted this in the ground. This pot is large enough so I think I can do the whole thing in the pot.



OK, I hope this concludes the questions about where to find step by step of the process on the net. I did this tonight after work, had to work fast to beat the dark and lost serious beer time while doing it. In about five years we can start thinking about the shari and building of the water pipes so sought after in this process. First things first, just get one and bend it up. Hurry your losing valuable time!


so....your welcome!
 

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Smoke

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In about 6 years if everything goes right we may have something like this.
 

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Brian Underwood

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Very nice write-up Al, all key points in the creation of these trees was covered thoroughly. Sorry to hear of your spider mite problem.
 

Smoke

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Great details. I've never used pliers for bending. I will try it next time.

It is hard to explain but if you can take your left hand and hold it out, pretending that you are holding the tree by a lower part on the trunk with your plier grasping the wire. Then take your right hand and pretend to go straight in to the plant grasping the wire about a 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch above where your left hand plier is holding a spiral of wire. Now move your hand in a twisting, turning motion and look at the range of movement you have. You can't do that by holding a plant traditionally. Your hand will actually be able to spiral and bend branches in ways you never thought possible and just can't do by hand.


....and I can get those pliers in places my hands just can't go!


Sorry, I thought most of this was fairly common knowledge by now.
 

Smoke

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Very nice write-up Al, all key points in the creation of these trees was covered thoroughly. Sorry to hear of your spider mite problem.

Down on the south side where normal people fear to tread is the "Spider-mite Union". Huge guys that smoke cigars and roll their flannel shirts up. They drive pick-ups with rifle racks in the back glass. Try to cross the line and you will lose your plant.

Keep the peace and maybe they will only take half of it.....damn bastards......


I have sat on my patio and tried to pick them off with a pellet gun but they are too crafty. They say things are big in Texas...hell we have spider mites so big here that yesterday I saw one flat footed screwin a chicken!:eek:
 

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You are in rare form tonight, Al. I dearly love your progressions and info-threads. I have got to try this. Damn you, like I need another project tree.
You lost me in a couple spots but it's one in the morning after a hard nights work so I'll have to reread this tomorrow when things aren't so blurry.
Thanks Al, these are the best step by step instructions for something I've often wondered about.
Mary B.
 

DaveV

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Thanks for the instructions Smoke! I always look forward to reading your posts. Have you ever used a systemic insecticide to control the mite problem or insecticidal soap? I have used both on my shimpakus and it works great. Thanks again.

DaveV.
 

ghues

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Al,
Many thanks for taking the time to do this post, so that others (like me) can get inspired and gain knowledge from your experiences. I’ve got a few Shimpaku cuttings that I struck last year and will try my hand (OK… pliers) at it this spring;).
Cheers Graham
 

sean f

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thanks al , i have a cutting a few years old i'm going to to try this on. nice to see a step by step,i'm in PA. so i still have a couple months to do any work.
thanks for the info... sean
 

grog

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If we had stickies this should be one. Thanks for the writeup. One of my relatives lives in Florida and shoots those humongous roach looking bugs with a blowgun, maybe that would be effective on your spider mites.

If a person didn't have some extra cuttings available would it be fair to assume liner plants would be a good subject to try this on? I'm putting together an order with linersource.com and they have shimpaku, procumbens, and paroni in a couple different sizes.
 

Smoke

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If we had stickies this should be one. Thanks for the writeup. One of my relatives lives in Florida and shoots those humongous roach looking bugs with a blowgun, maybe that would be effective on your spider mites.

If a person didn't have some extra cuttings available would it be fair to assume liner plants would be a good subject to try this on? I'm putting together an order with linersource.com and they have shimpaku, procumbens, and paroni in a couple different sizes.

These were liner size three years ago....

That would be perfect.
 

digger714

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See Al, everyone was looking for your expertise in this. So, the wire has nothing to do with creating the live vein at this time. Thanks alot. Very good descriptions. Like i said, ive got alot of them, so cant wait for a few more weeks to do this, or when ever it dries up. Thanks again.
 
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That was some of the best advice about wiring I have ever read. Thanks for that. I tend to break branches because I do not plan the wraps to coincide with the area of bend, duh right. I just have wrapped and bended arbitrarily. I need some instruction on this stuff by a live man, or woman:D.

Good write up.
 

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