Receiving 20 year old Pre-Bonsai Shimpaku Juniper..what next??

scglasser

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Hey everyone! Excited for joining this forum! I am not new to bonsai but I am definitely not a pro. This would be the first tree I would be starting from scratch (wiring, potting, etc.). The person I bought this tree from online is a reputable person and tree is currently dormant, which I shall be receiving this week. From my studying and research I am aware that I can safely wire a Shimpaku Juniper during winter/dormancy and that I would be potting this tree in a training pot early spring including root prune. Also please correct me if I am wrong because I definitely could be. The more I learn the more I am understanding how you have to do things in step so the tree won't get too stressed. I will include picture so you can see what this tree looks like. It is 28 inches tall with a 1.75 inch truck at the base. It 20+ years old and is currently in a smaller pot size compared to its size/height.

$_57-2.jpg$_57-3.jpg
$_57.jpg

So my questions are....

When can I wire, repot in bonsai pot, and prune (along with larger branch pruning)? Taking in consideration that the tree might be stressed from shipping...or is that not a factor when it's dormant? Also, I live in North Dakota so winter goes until sometimes April.

And what style this tree would fit best from my initial favorites? (Formal Upright and Informal)

I have done a lot of research but almost every site is different on information regarding when you can do these things. So I appreciate everyone and anyones expert opinion!:cool:

These are the styles I like...

ed_formal_juniper.jpgNk1028350697.jpg

Again, I am appreciative for the information and want to successfully start a great tree! Thanks everyone!
 

Dav4

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When can I wire, repot in bonsai pot, and prune (along with larger branch pruning)? Taking in consideration that the tree might be stressed from shipping...or is that not a factor when it's dormant? Also, I live in North Dakota so winter goes until sometimes April.

And what style this tree would fit best from my initial favorites? (Formal Upright and Informal)

I have done a lot of research but almost every site is different on information regarding when you can do these things. So I appreciate everyone and anyones expert opinion!:cool:

These are the styles I like...

View attachment 45397View attachment 45398

Again, I am appreciative for the information and want to successfully start a great tree! Thanks everyone!
Congrats on your first bonsai. You can wire/style junipers year round. Having said that, extreme heat and extreme cold will potentially damage recently wired branches. Have you got a designated winter storage location for the tree? Shimpaku are quite cold hardy, but would be unlikely to survive a N. Dakota winter without significant protection.

Re-potting can be done from mid spring on into early summer...again, the best time is when there are no extreme temps, so after your typical last frost but before hot summer temps arrive.
I think the styles you like would suit this tree...but...don't be in a rush to start cutting off branches. Take your time and really study the tree to find the bonsai within. This could take 5 minutes or 5 months, but that's fine. In the end, you've got a nice piece of stock there and taking your time is warranted. Have fun.
 

M. Frary

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What part of the country is it coming from? If it is from down south or California or someplace similar it should be kept where it isn't too extremely cold your first year. I would worry it would it would be a big shock for a southerner.
I just got a San Jose juniper a few weeks ago. It came from North Carolina so I put it in my basement with my Seiju and Chinese Elms where it stays right around 35 to 40 degrees F. Next year it can go outside to freeze with everyone else.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I try not to repot in the same year I do major work on a juni. And...I try to get to know a tree for a while before I do much to it. My most recent shimpaku took almost 2 years before I was ready to do anything with it. But now, I am confident in the direction it's headed. Have fun, shimps are great to work with!
 

scglasser

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Congrats on your first bonsai. You can wire/style junipers year round. Having said that, extreme heat and extreme cold will potentially damage recently wired branches. Have you got a designated winter storage location for the tree? Shimpaku are quite cold hardy, but would be unlikely to survive a N. Dakota winter without significant protection.

Re-potting can be done from mid spring on into early summer...again, the best time is when there are no extreme temps, so after your typical last frost but before hot summer temps arrive.
I think the styles you like would suit this tree...but...don't be in a rush to start cutting off branches. Take your time and really study the tree to find the bonsai within. This could take 5 minutes or 5 months, but that's fine. In the end, you've got a nice piece of stock there and taking your time is warranted. Have fun.
Thank You! That was very helpful! I'll be storing the bonsai in my garage that will have sunlight. Yeah I need to get my tree first before I consider anything. How about Heavy pruning...early spring??? I ask "heavy pruning" since I am assuming I will be taking off a good amount of branches/foliage (around 30%). With repotting and heavy pruning is this ok to do at the same time?

What part of the country is it coming from? If it is from down south or California or someplace similar it should be kept where it isn't too extremely cold your first year. I would worry it would it would be a big shock for a southerner.
I just got a San Jose juniper a few weeks ago. It came from North Carolina so I put it in my basement with my Seiju and Chinese Elms where it stays right around 35 to 40 degrees F. Next year it can go outside to freeze with everyone else.
It is coming from Connecticut. Which is at 30 degree right now and North Dakota at -2 degrees without wind chill.
 

scglasser

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I try not to repot in the same year I do major work on a juni. And...I try to get to know a tree for a while before I do much to it. My most recent shimpaku took almost 2 years before I was ready to do anything with it. But now, I am confident in the direction it's headed. Have fun, shimps are great to work with!
Really? I suppose that might be too much stress if I do both in the same season! Thanks! I am looking forward to working with this bonsai!
 

scglasser

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I have been doing a lot of research. And I understand people can write anything on the internet so I am trying to diversify my sources to get the most consistant answers. I am certain I can wire a shimpaku during winter as long it is not too cold, since the branches can be damaged when being bent if too cold. I am not aware of all the term so that's the reason I am double checking...does styling mean wiring or pruning or both? I appreciate any advice. And I want to apologize if I am being repetitive, but I want advice from people who have experience so I don't do something that would stress the tree out too much or possibly kill it. There are 3 things I need to do since the tree is a pre bonsai and not in a bonsai pot. It has never been wired either.

  1. Heavy prune the branches and foliage (30-40%)
  2. Wire to shape and style
  3. Repot and root prune into bonsai pot

I plan to wire the tree in the next couple of weeks. Since the pruning to the branches and foliage is going to be 30-40%, I was going to wait until late April when the tree becomes more active. I plan to root prune/repot at the same time (late April) as the branch/foliage pruning to balance the tree out. From my research this seems to be best for the tree to stay balanced and respond correctly to the heavy pruning.

This seems to be controversial in a lot of the research that I have done since some say it stresses the tree out too much and to split heavy pruning and repoting/root pruining into 2 different growing seasons.

I am not a pro and won't claim to be. The balanced pruning seems to make sense but maybe I'm wrong. Any advice is welcome! Thanks!
 

wireme

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In my opinion, forget about pruning and wiring for now, focus your research towards the repotting and substrate to repot into. Root pruning into a bonsai pot may not even be your first step depending on existing substrate and root health. Likely you will want to gently tease out some existing soil without pruning roots get the tree into good substrate to get a good healthy root system. You cannot expect to fit the tree into a bonsai pot every time during this first step. Pruning and wiring can wait until you know you have a healthy vigorous tree esp in the root system.
 

scglasser

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In my opinion, forget about pruning and wiring for now, focus your research towards the repotting and substrate to repot into. Root pruning into a bonsai pot may not even be your first step depending on existing substrate and root health. Likely you will want to gently tease out some existing soil without pruning roots get the tree into good substrate to get a good healthy root system. You cannot expect to fit the tree into a bonsai pot every time during this first step. Pruning and wiring can wait until you know you have a healthy vigorous tree esp in the root system.
Yeah that does make sense. I have been reading a lot and I am learning how important it is to have a healthy root system. Thanks you!
 

Bonsai Nut

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Nothing that is good for bonsai happens quickly :) Since this is your first tree assume you will kill it. Then ask why it died. Then make sure you don't do what you might have done to kill it :)

I am joking, but I agree with the recommendation that before you do anything else, you focus on keeping the tree alive - and better than that - keeping it THRIVING and bursting with strength. Any time you repot there is a risk you may weaken the tree. Proceed cautiously, and err on the side of being conservative in terms of the root mass removed, etc.

The first error many bonsai enthusiasts make is to kill their trees with kindness - to literally "overcare" for them. Too much pruning, too much wiring, too much fertilizer, too frequent repotting, etc. Be patient, move slowly, and learn to listen to your trees and provide them what they need to be healthy. A potential cure for "overcare" is to buy another (or several more) trees. If you have more to play around with, it tends to take the pressure off a single tree that might otherwise get 100% of your time and attention. Most of my trees I touch only twice per year...
 

Shimpaku

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Bonsai Nut articulates the best advice so well.

Leave it alone for a year. Don't mess with it other than to learn how to water it and understand how it cycles through the seasons.

Interesting thing about a Shimpaku is that you can kill it yet think its still alive for quite a while.......ask me how I know.

Keep it alive, get it to thrive, then take baby steps with it and possibly have an experienced bonsai hobbyist with you during the first repot.....which I don't think you should do for at least a year.

If you feel the need to do something allllllllll the time in this hobby, you'll need a LOT of trees. Otherwise, take up racquet ball.
 
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