Rocky Mountain Juniper

grouper52

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#1
Here's a RMJ I collected n Wyoming on a trip with Dan Robinson, Larry Jackel and Eric Ridgeway three years ago.

It's been recovering in this colander, and all I've done besides the transplant is make sure the jin didn't break. :) Now, it's been putting out new whips for two seasons, which tells me it's established enough to start working on. It'll stay in the colander establishing further roots for a few years while I do so - not great roots on these guys, and overall they're a bit temperamental here.

This variety of RMJ has rather unimpressive foliage. Normally, here, we would graft the much more attractive Shimpaku juniper foliage onto it, which also improves the survival of desert junipers in our uber-wet rain forest. However, there is some sort of disease attacking Shimpakus here the past few years. Still may do it anyway, We'll see.

Enjoy.
 

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MN
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#2
very sweet dancer. I agree it looks plenty healthy. I have only one and I just got it gifted to me last year so I am nervous to have it.Years ago I collected and watched expire a dozen or so wonderful RMJ with meger roots collected off sedimentary dust stone. I was soo discouraged I averted my eyes from them for ten years.
 

Dav4

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#3
This variety of RMJ has rather unimpressive foliage. Normally, here, we would graft the much more attractive Shimpaku juniper foliage onto it, which also improves the survival of desert junipers in our uber-wet rain forest. However, there is some sort of disease attacking Shimpakus here the past few years. Still may do it anyway, We'll see.

Enjoy.
I've been working with some collected RMJ for the last 5 years or so, and I have a very old one that has/had foliage very reminiscent of yours. Though the jury is still out, The foliage on my juniper has become less coarse and 'softer' as the canopy has developed and ramification has increased. 2 years ago, I was convinced I was going to graft shimpaku on it....today I'm not so sure. Cool tree.
 

grouper52

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#5
Thanks, guys. I'll probably leave it in the colander for safekeeping for the next few years while I start the initial shaping. I'm hoping that the foliar changes you describe, Dav4, will take place, and I plan to feed adequately to encourage that as well. We'll see.
 
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#6
looking exceptionally healthy.... I still remember the intense care you took in collecting it and protecting that very delicate jin through out the entire trip... :) :)

looks like its going to turn out extremely great !! ... :)
 

grouper52

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#7
looking exceptionally healthy.... I still remember the intense care you took in collecting it and protecting that very delicate jin through out the entire trip... :) :)
LOL!! Soooo . . . . did I collect this before or after I "collected" those many hundreds of cactus needles? :eek: I think before, but I don't recall exactly where. Was this from that low, flat area down towards the water, or was it an earlier collect on "Cactus Ridge"?
 

JudyB

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#8
ouch! hmm, can't find an emoticon for cactus needles ...
but a small price to pay for such a lovely RMJ.
:)
 
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#9
Very nice trunk. I would love to work on that tree! It looks healthy, but still perhaps a bit sparse to me. Although it could just be the nature of the tree. The foliage of my Canadian RMJ (collected near Kamloops BC) looks quite different.
 
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#10
LOL!! Soooo . . . . did I collect this before or after I "collected" those many hundreds of cactus needles? :eek: I think before, but I don't recall exactly where. Was this from that low, flat area down towards the water, or was it an earlier collect on "Cactus Ridge"?
I thought you collected this one the day before??? if not there it was from that low spot with the bull snake that freaked me out....
 

grouper52

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#11
I thought you collected this one the day before??? if not there it was from that low spot with the bull snake that freaked me out....
Your memory is undoubtedly more clear than mine on that trip. Except for that last Pondy I got high on that back ridge the last day, my memories are not about trees at all!
 
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#12
Collecting does provide us with lots of good memories. I have two collected in wyoming as well. One is now styled and the other, like yours, is in the process of being stabilized. I really do enjoy working with native trees.
 
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#13
I thought you collected this one the day before??? if not there it was from that low spot with the bull snake that freaked me out....
I think your exact quote in reference to this last night was something along the lines of screaming like a g***. lol
 

grouper52

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#15
Well, this guy has gotten some vigor back: Stands upright on his own (previously held up with guy wires erased in Photoshop), and the foliage is bouncing back. Here it is today, a bit trimmed up -- not a glamor shot, but the progression is evident.

The foliage on this variety is exceedingly lame, even for a RMJ. I have two choices, neither one all that appealing: either send it down to California to have Shimpaku foliage grafted on, or start pinching the foliage to thicken up and make denser the natural foliage. I'm not a fan of pinching - the topiary-like pom-poms that result are not at all a natural looking foliage. With Shipakus, for instance, I like to trim in a fashion similar to a hinoki, in order to get a more sparse and natural look. I like the same idea on most RMJs as well, but this guy is already far too sparse and spindly looking, and I might just see what a season or two of pinching back produces on this guy.
 

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San Francisco, CA
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#18
The foliage on this variety is exceedingly lame, even for a RMJ. I have two choices, neither one all that appealing: either send it down to California to have Shimpaku foliage grafted on, or start pinching the foliage to thicken up and make denser the natural foliage. I'm not a fan of pinching - the topiary-like pom-poms that result are not at all a natural looking foliage. With Shipakus, for instance, I like to trim in a fashion similar to a hinoki, in order to get a more sparse and natural look. I like the same idea on most RMJs as well, but this guy is already far too sparse and spindly looking, and I might just see what a season or two of pinching back produces on this guy.
I'd advise against pinching junipers. Pinching RMJ is not a technique that will give you good results. You need to allow the tips to run so the tree gets strong. Once the tree is strong, when you cut back it will fill out. If you pinch, the tips will start dying back and eventually the tree will die. Your tree looks weak so I'd advice a couple (or more) years of nothing but fertilizer and water.

I have a small Utah that I dug with a friend, he pinched it to try to keep it compact. After a couple years he gave the tree to me and said that he was worried because it had stopped growing. I repotted it into a larger container and started doing nothing to it but watering and fertilizing. It took 3 years before the tree was strong enough to wire and start styling again. But when I did so I didn't pinch the tips, I thinned and then wired the branching so as not to slow the metabolism of the plant.

As for grafting - get yourself some shimpaku cuttings and start practicing on San Jose understock. Once you have the technique down (scion or approach) then do it to your RMJ if you want. But, I'd also mention that you can try grafting an RMJ with better foliage onto this one, or even a western or sierra. Just because you're grafting doesn't mean that you have to put kishu or itoigawa on the tree.
 
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#19
Even though the tree was collected 5 years ago, I think Eric is right, it still needs another couple years of fertilizer and water to really get it growing strong. It may be sulking because it looks like you repotted at least twice or more in the 5 years. Most junipers will do nothing the year, sometimes 2 years after repotting. If possible, don't repot this tree again for another 5 or more years, so you can get 3 years of vigorous growth out of it.

Once you have it growing vigorously you will be much happier with the foliage. And the foliage will respond to the once or twice a summer cut back pruning (not pinching). This tree does not look vigorous in its current state.

By the way, I do like the current pot and planting angle, much better planting angle than in earlier images.

Feed this baby more heavily this summer, and see what it does.
 

grouper52

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#20
Great info, Eric and Leo - thanks!

Juniper grafting simply doesn't work very well up here - very short, cool growing season for such work, apparently. Maybe some have figured it out, but everyone I know, whether they tried regular grafting or approach grafting or whatever, has had bad luck with juniper grafting here, and sends their trees down to Central or Southern California to have it done. I do have RMJs with much better foliage, and a very healthy Utah juniper as well, but I don't know if I'd even bother trying, although it would risk little to see if I could do it while the tree is gaining more vigor over the next few years. I'll give it some thought. Thanks.

G52
 

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