Shimpaku juniper initial styling

Drjd

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Hello everyone! I wanted to see if anyone had some initial styling advice for this medium/large shimpaku juniper pre-bonsai I picked up (yes I have potted it). I’m trying to practice following as many of the formal Japanese rules as possible in terms of styling. I have little issue with styling smaller trees and following the rules but this is the biggest tree I have worked with now. I have a feeling I will need to remove a large portion of the length of the branches because the height is currently much taller than 6x the width of the trunk.

Currently I feel blinded by my bias that all I can make is a informal upright, but the far left branch is the branch I would consider using as the main trunk continuation but given the stiffness bringing the apex back over midline would be quite difficult. To describe some detail that may be lost in the quality of the photo, essentially there are three main branches off the main trunk and the first branch on the right has many very straight branches that can not be bent with wire. I am planing on air rooting them and removing those. The middle large branch is the most likely to fall midline in an informal upright style but I find the shape less interesting. I have also considered a semi-cascade but again I feel I would need to bend the far left branch farther than possible to make the angle that it would need (even with re-potting on its side).

If anyone has any other options they think would work better, or any advice for or against what I have said I would appreciate it. Iv read multiple bonsai books and watched hours of education videos, but I am very new and my actual skill level is obviously novice.

Also, I understand the photo is not excellent, please do not bash me for this. Please trust that currently it’s the best photo I can provide, I understand I need to take better photos in the future for posting. I am really just asking for a general guidance as to where I should start with this tree in terms of shape.I true my appreciate any and all help!
 

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Wires_Guy_wires

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I suck at design advice. But my approach with any juniper is to just start wiring and bending. The tree will let you know what it wants to be, whats needs to be removed.
If you repotted recently, do take into account that heavy bending might disturb the roots, since you're wiggling the tree around.
Just because some parts are woody and stiff, doesn't mean they can't be bent. Just watch for tearing or use raffia or rubber tape.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Much better photo this time. Can you take some of other sides as well? If you’re looking for design advice, it is good to have multiple fronts to consider.

Regardless of the front, some tips to consider, numbered on the photo:
1. Remove downward-growing branches.
2. Remove one or two of each set of branches emerging in more than pairs
3. Remove weak, spindly shoots that hang down...but

Do not simply thin out all the interior growth, leaving the tree with tufts of foliage out on the tips. Instead, trim long runners back to tufts and as you go, make each cut to compact the design, pushing (leaving) as much foliage close to the trunk as possible. Work outside-in, keeping as much as you can inside the yellow line, while still working your way through 1-3 above.
C88615FB-9F67-4CA2-A39F-84EAE6702A7A.jpeg
An older post that you may find helpful:

Also, as you go, here is the way individual shoots are cleaned up in preparation for wiring, and then wired into place. So, while you may not have a design in mind yet, you can prepare the tree in this manner. Notice how the branch is reduced to tufts of foliage which emerge alternating from side to side along the branch, and they are kept along the full length of the branch, while the tip is removed:

49062430-BE80-4FA5-93C1-0ADE806D92B4.jpeg
 
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Drjd

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Much better photo this time. Can you take some of other sides as well? If you’re looking for design advice, it is good to have multiple fronts to consider.

Regardless of the front, some tips to consider, numbered on the photo:
1. Remove downward-growing branches.
2. Remove one or two of each set of branches emerging in more than pairs
3. Remove weak, spindly shoots that hang down...but

Do not simply thin out all the interior growth, leaving the tree with tufts of foliage out on the tips. Instead, trim long runners back to tufts and as you go, make each cut to compact the design, pushing (leaving) as much foliage close to the trunk as possible. Work outside-in, keeping as much as you can inside the yellow line, while still working your way through 1-3 above.
View attachment 346741
An older post that you may find helpful:

Also, as you go, here is the way individual shoots are cleaned up in preparation for wiring, and then wired into place. So, while you may not have a design in mind yet, you can prepare the tree in this manner. Notice how the branch is reduced to tufts of foliage which emerge alternating from side to side along the branch, and they are kept along the full length of the branch, while the tip is removed:

View attachment 346740
Brian once again you have outdone yourself. Thank you for the incredible response! Very detailed and helpful. I will certainly follow your instructions.
I have done some basic wiring since the photo and I have experimented with guy wire to lower the long runing branches. I certainly learn from experimenting, and I have been able to bend the tall branches to a level around the yellow line.
As for the spot you marked as 1 to remove. It is the easiest to bend (obviously as it is thin), and I was considering making it my first primary branch by bending it horizontal and keeping with the basic rules. This plan would then incorporate making a Jin out of the parts of the other thicker branches later on. Would you advise against this and continue to cut the one labeled 1?
Any advise about which of the three thick branches connected to the trunk to keep? Is it best to keep all of them or will a more likely outcome for design require one of them to be removed?
 

sorce

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Yours is similar to mine, without the downfall of all 3 trunk eminating from the same point.

I believe I have finally settled in on a one trunk design. After 3 or 4 years? Haven't lost any abilities with it yet either. It's still pliable.

So long as your interior is lit and your branches can be bent at the trunk, you have time.

Sorce
 

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