Purpled over juniper, wire now or in Spring?

sfhellwig

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I have a Juniperus Horizontalis Andora that I had in a small grow flat last year. After deciding which would be the "trunk" I would keep I planned to style it this winter. Being a shrub type plant all of the branches come from the same basic place. I would remove two, leaving an upper one to style and a lower as a thickening sacrifice branch. When I say style I mean similar to the instant bonsai demos you see done often resulting in a nice small juniper that will always stay nice and small. But thats why I esatblished mine for a year in a flat and planned. I don't want to work it as heavily and maybe let it grow ito a larger tree. However near the end of the summer it seams to have become unhappy, turning purple quite early. I work with ERC some (it's free) and they can purple over quite hard and still come back in Spring like they were not hurt at all. Should I go ahead and wire it now thinking it is already a bit stressed or should I wait until it greens up in Spring. I lost a Green Mound last year from working too fast and would like to insure this one's survival. I don't mind waiting till Spring, would this be the smartest course?
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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Winter is a great time to prune/wire junipers. The purple color is not an indication of stress at all; it is a natural response to cold temperatures and should not be a cause for concern.
 

sfhellwig

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So it is purely dormancy and not an indicator of stress? I guess I just always understood it incorrectly. Several of my potted ERC turned purple very early with the Horizontalis and I figured it was a sign of my poor end-of-season watering habit. One of my larger ERC actually kept some green and appeared to put on a little growth. And we have not had a mild winter at all so far. The two Green Mounds I have are still in deeper developing pots and appear to have taken a short break and are growing now.

I will proceed with my preliminary styling when the weather lets up a little. If everything goes well this will move forward to a tree worth looking at instead of hiding it in the corner.
 

Bill S

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Where are you keeping these that they are growing now? I can't see the temp.s or daylenghts in Kansas are any better than here on the east coast, where everything temperate is asleep, with a couple of months still ahead of them till they come around again.
 

sfhellwig

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These are outside, with mild windbreaks but open to all of the sun and snow. I am quite surprised that the one ERC had green still in it. The larger in ground trees don't care and even multi-year natural seedlings purple over. This one had a bad time last year and is in a wide but shallow flat. To see it stay green has perplexed me. And the Green Mounds aren't quite pushing spring like growth but they are certainly not sitting still. Everything temperate is of course deeply dormant. The fruit buds swell and recede, I just somehow got away with a few junipers that are trying to act bigger than they are. These are of course small observations that I missed last year and will watch more closely next year.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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So it is purely dormancy and not an indicator of stress?

Correct...my understanding is that it has to do with a withdrawal of sap/chlorophyll from foliage into the roots during dormancy; not unlike D-trees changing color in the fall. Except it doesn't lead to leaf-fall.
 

serpentsgarden

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thought

some trees also produce natural antifreeze to protect the plant. I will look into that a bit but i think i remember something of this in a class a few years back.
I have to admit that i am a bit jealous never getting any weather than rain. I have for a few years hoped for a good snow show with the trees i have. But to no avail.. =( just rain.
 

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