Shimpaku first steps

grog

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This is a Shimpaku I received from Brent at http://www.evergreengardenworks.com/. Ridiculously nice material. I just have to hope I can manage to bring out its potential. I did initial work on this at the workshop Chris was kind enough to host recently. Chris was a fantastic host and it was very nice to meet up and pick his brain along with Frank Kroeker from Sonlight Nursery plus all the other guys who attended.

Initial work consisted of cleaning up the bark and removing unneeded/unwanted foliage and discussing possible future directions of the tree. I recently repotted into a cheap but large (approximately 10"w X 6"d X 4"h) mica pot, wiring it in tight and using a mix Chris was kind enough to send home with me.

No wire yet, the plan is to bring it back down next year after it's had a year to recover in its new home. Plans are in the works (I believe) for Michael Hagedorn to do a workshop and we decided it would be best to let someone with his level of expertise decide what can and what can't be arranged into a future design.

It's been said before and I'm sure it'll be said many times again but I really don't think the pictures do it justice. Some before and after pics.
 

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waltr1

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Brent does have some nice material and this one has potential. I've gotten a number of good ones from him.
How about a picture of the whole tree, at least to see your starting point.
walt
 
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This is an exceptional piece of material. Its primary challenge is that the large, thick branches reach out without taper to the edge of the foliage. I would need a great deal of time and study to figure out how to work this one, and I'd love to see what Mike or Boon or Suthin or Walter Pall would do with it. It has a nebari, a thick trunk, and lots of potential.
 

Vance Wood

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Kinda looks like an octopus trying to grow an afro at the moment.
You are going to have to sit down with this tree for several hours, days, weeks, how ever long and contemplate the tree. There is no traditional style that this conforms to, so you are going to have to look for inspiration in connecting lines and carving jins in your mind. Take your time look at it from all angles even from below. Tip the pot this way, that way and turn it round and round; somewhere in there is a bonsai wanting to get out, you just have to find it.
 

grog

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Thanks Vance. I know it's in there, it's just kind of teasing me at the moment though.

There is a fairly straightforward 1st branch, 2nd branch, back branch, apex design possibility in there with some heavy duty bending. That would involve removing the heavy branch from the base though and I'm not sure I want to do that. It might end up coming off but it's a possible design feature and I want to be very sure it's not part of the final image before it comes off.

If you're still going to be down around Des Moines this summer and we get a chance to meet up I'll be sure to bring it along and see if you have any ideas.
 

JasonG

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Man, you had to start with the toughest stock you could possibly buy didn't you?? haha

I think if it were mine I would cut back the foliage very hard to get it to back bud as much as possible on the trunk. I know there is a bonsai in there but I really don't think it is in the current set of branches. What you bought from Brent is nebari and a fat little trunk with a future. You could also have someone like Marco, Suthin, Mike H., Boon, Kathy S., etc... do some grafting down low for you.

I think those branches are going to be a bit to much to bend like you want, now ofcourse this is all said based off pics.....

Best of luck with this!

Jason
 

anttal63

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none the less jase i think this is an extremely interesting point you have brought up. what we need to sacrifice now to get better later. is it worth it or do we just have to make a tree now?
 

Vance Wood

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Thanks Vance. I know it's in there, it's just kind of teasing me at the moment though.

There is a fairly straightforward 1st branch, 2nd branch, back branch, apex design possibility in there with some heavy duty bending. That would involve removing the heavy branch from the base though and I'm not sure I want to do that. It might end up coming off but it's a possible design feature and I want to be very sure it's not part of the final image before it comes off.

If you're still going to be down around Des Moines this summer and we get a chance to meet up I'll be sure to bring it along and see if you have any ideas.
I will most definitely be in Des Moines this summer. Date not set yet. probably the last week in August. I look forward to seeing you and your tree.
 

grog

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Nothing exciting, just an update. It's not brown and crispy so I'm content. Hoping to impose on Chris's hospitality again this spring and taking another look after a year in the pot.

Vance,
Still planning on hitting Des Moines later this month? I've been meaning to get up and see DaSu for quite a while and it's just a bit up the road.
 

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riprap

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Thanks for the update. I'm late to this thread, but I do have some questions -- as another guy with a strong interest in junipers. These are also for anyone looking in who has the experience to answer.

(1) It looks like you removed the outer, shaggy layer of the bark, exposing that smooth, red-leathery surface that is characteristic of fine, finished shimpaku bonsai. Is there a reason to do that this early in the training? (I always thought of it somewhat like frosting the cake -- late in the process.)

(2) Was it important to get it out of its growing can at this stage, and before putting some major styling moves on the material? Until the roots re-establish in their new container, they will not give much purchase against which to do strong bending/training.

Thanks for any answers. Good luck with what I see as a challenging design project. (I am a fan of Brent's material and did a bit of spending at his place a few days ago.)

Barry
 

Smoke

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Lot of tip toeing going on here.

My teacher's first words would be:

"Lot of branch here..not much trunk. You choose better next time"

Cheers, Al
 

Vance Wood

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Nothing exciting, just an update. It's not brown and crispy so I'm content. Hoping to impose on Chris's hospitality again this spring and taking another look after a year in the pot.

Vance,
Still planning on hitting Des Moines later this month? I've been meaning to get up and see DaSu for quite a while and it's just a bit up the road.
We came and went already. My sister-in-law's computer had crashed right before we arrived and I had no way of contacting you. I really feel bad about this. Hopefully next year will give us a better opportunity.
 

grog

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Barry,
Sorry but the best answer I can really give you is I was doing what someone with a lot more experience thought I should do. I can say that cleaning the bark along with removing a lot of unnecessary foliage made the existing lines a lot more visible. As to the training pot it's in, if it looks like the best bet is to chop away and regrow all the brances then it'll be moved into a bigger pot.

Al,
I appreciate your frankness, tip toeing makes me think someone's going to bash me over the head! As to the material. The choice I made was who to go to for the material and advice on intial work. I trust Brent gave me the best bang for my buck with what he had available and I trust Chris's advice on where to go with it in the future.

I don't know much about this "bone sighing" stuff so I do my best to read a ton and listen to and trust what people who've been doing this for a while have to say. Which means I'll be filing away your advice on choosing better material next time as well. I hope/think/pray I've got something decent here but your point is well taken. If I'm able to do what I've planned and get to a workshop Mr. Hagedorn is doing in Kansas this spring we'll see what happens there. If he says to chop off everything and regrow the branches that's what I'll do.

Vance,
No problemo. The mugo I posted last summer croaked but I've got a couple more potted this summer and some still sitting in nursery pots. No need to feel bad about it. Maybe I'll even have fewer stupid questions by next year.:D
 

riprap

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Barry,
Sorry but the best answer I can really give you is I was doing what someone with a lot more experience thought I should do. I can say that cleaning the bark along with removing a lot of unnecessary foliage made the existing lines a lot more visible. As to the training pot it's in, if it looks like the best bet is to chop away and regrow all the brances then it'll be moved into a bigger pot.
Thanks for your replies. I don't need to say much, because you are working with a person whose vision you trust -- that's the concept of sensei/teacher. And it's not good to mix bits and snatches of advice from too many sources. But, yes, when I look at this tree I think about picking a trunk and growing a new set of branches. You should have many to choose from if the plant is growing vigorously. (Sorry if I tiptoed ...)

Barry
 
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I don't normally post here any more, but we cleaned the trunk in order to get a better view of everything. Cleaning the bark is a last effort for show, but it also reveals life lines where the dead portion might by concealed by flaking bark. The old bark is also a good hiding place for spider mites.

I look forward to seeing this one in spring again.
 

JasonG

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Did you guys trim the long growth back to induce back budding? You had to do more then just clean bark??? That is cool that you guys get together and work on trees as a group.....

Jason
 
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