Shimpaku Juniper - Creating dense foliage

Mame-Mo

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I just purchased a this shimpaku from a local club auction and although I do intend to go back and seek advice from locals in my area it will be about 2 months till I can make a meeting. I would like to find some general suggestions on how to promote more dense foliage. As you may be able to see the left "trunk" (which may one day become a jin) and the upper canopy have full foliage, whereas the majority of the remaining branches have very spindly and unhealthy foliage. Is there a way to promote these weaker areas of the tree to back bud and become more full as well?
 

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coachspinks

Shohin
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Some far more experienced people will probably be able to help you more than I can, but here is what I did with several shimpakus this year....
1st - a lot of sun, mine get at least 6 hours of full sun
2nd - good, well draining mix. You need to water A LOT but they can't sit in that water. The internet is full of articles and thread written on what this mix should be but you can search that subject. I would stick to discussions on this site though. There is so much bad info out there. Here at BN you will get honest opinions from some very experienced people. They won't always agree but in most cases they will be well thought out.
3rd - fertilze well throughout the growing season. Last year I used commercial slow release. This year I used a variety of organic "cakes" and pellets. My tress grew exponentially better with organic.
My shimpakus are a deep, deep green with a lot of new growth this year. One was a little "jaundiced" when I bought it in June. It is now so green it almost glows.
You should go ahead and put your location in so that we know where you live.
 

Mame-Mo

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Awesome! We aren't in terribly different zones. I was curious if I would need to pinch the ends to try to force it to grow further down the trunk but if it's just a matter of waiting and fertilizing that sounds easier. I have always been wary of fertilizer as it's somewhat out of my range of experience. I have some little organic pellets I put on my Garden Junipers, but other than that I really don't know how to properly fertilize. Is the growing season simply spring and fall when the weather isn't at it's extremes?
 

coachspinks

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I consider the growing season late winter until very late fall here. We can get warm spells that stimulate growth in January. It is 98 here today so maybe we won't have a winter this year at all!
I have some small organic pellets I will put on in a couple of weeks. That will probably be it until February or so. I bought these from Stone Lantern.
My philosophy on pinching or trimming has been to just let them go and get super healthy. The juniper above may have some work done on it soon so I will pinch or trim the whips while I do that. I will either post pics here or take it to Adair at the end of October but he doesn't know it yet:)
 

leatherback

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Seems there could be a quicker better tree in that left trunk.
Exactly my thoughts. Make the tall stick your short Yin -Or layer it if you do not have too many trees-. And make the left your tree. A nice ccurve from the roots into the trunk, and probable another bend higher up.

It is well worth sitting down with someone who has a lot of experience and letting them help you form a view of the tree in there. The main trunk is not per se the best.
 

Mame-Mo

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I still haven't had the opportunity to find someone with more experience, but this has filled out more than I could have expected this year. Still hoping that the lower "pads" can fill out more and probably going to remove the bottom left branch. I am curious to know whether thinning out the top might redirect growth to the lower branches in the fall? or maybe spring of next year?
 

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bonsaichile

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Awesome! We aren't in terribly different zones. I was curious if I would need to pinch the ends to try to force it to grow further down the trunk but if it's just a matter of waiting and fertilizing that sounds easier. I have always been wary of fertilizer as it's somewhat out of my range of experience. I have some little organic pellets I put on my Garden Junipers, but other than that I really don't know how to properly fertilize. Is the growing season simply spring and fall when the weather isn't at it's extremes?
pinching will only debilitate your plant. Instead, let it grow, learn how to thin the foliage (the key for backbudding and therefore density), and give plenty of sun and fertilize properly
 

bwaynef

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Your tree is gaining strength. Shimpaku will get dense before it starts to elongate, ...or grow runners. Wait until you see those runners before you prune it back. Don't pinch. Prune. ...But wait until the tree's ready to accept the pruning.

In the meantime, sun, water, and fertilizer (without going too crazy) are top priorities.
 

Mame-Mo

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pinching will only debilitate your plant. Instead, let it grow, learn how to thin the foliage (the key for backbudding and therefore density), and give plenty of sun and fertilize properly
Your tree is gaining strength. Shimpaku will get dense before it starts to elongate, ...or grow runners. Wait until you see those runners before you prune it back. Don't pinch. Prune. ...But wait until the tree's ready to accept the pruning.

In the meantime, sun, water, and fertilizer (without going too crazy) are top priorities.
Thanks! That's a very helpful way to think of their growth.
 

Mame-Mo

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Alright, so we've just passed the year mark for owning this tree and it's become apparent that the akadama mixed into the soil has turned into what looks like a solid hunk of mud. Should I hold off until spring to repot or is fall acceptable? I could have dug around for an answer on that one, but I am also curious if anyone has any ideas on what type of pot might better suit the tree? I think I will ultimately remove the bottom two branches on the left when the time comes if that helps with imagining the composition. I don't think it's advisable to do that anytime soon, but I believe it may look better.
 

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