Shimpaku Juniper- Live Vein Cleaning and What to do with Leaders?

BeebsBonsai

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Pic of Shimpaku 1.JPG Pic of Shimpaku 2.JPG Hello all,

I have a Shimpaku Juniper (Pics above) that I acquired from a local Bonsai nursery in January. I repotted it in late winter and it has responded with very vigorous growth (The leaders you see extending have grown 2 inches since March). I have a few questions with this tree that I was hoping I could get some input on. Please see them below:

1.) I know now is the opportune time to clean the bark off of the live veins of the tree, but am wondering if the tree is still to young to even worry about doing so. I estimate the tree to be 4-6 years old based on the thickness of the trunk and the mass of the foliage. I would hazard it is closer to 4 years than 6. Should I worry about live vein cleaning yet?

2.) I am a subscriber to Bonsai Mirai and watch just about everything I can on Junipers and cannot find an answer to this question. When I decide those leaders have reached the height I want them to be for the design of the tree, how do I prune them to begin the process of ramification of the apex or apices? I would say that for the final design, I don't want those leaders growing more than another 4 or so inches.

Any input would be great, and I am hoping to style this in a twin-trunk style. With two of those leaders becoming a two step apex. When I can, I will draw my vision for this tree and post it.

Thanks,
Beebs
 

Brian Van Fleet

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1. Way too early to think about live veins. This thing is so young, the whole trunk is still a live vein.
2. The question suggests you need to do more homework on how trees grow, their response to pruning by back-budding, and how big sacrifice branches really need to get in order for them to have any appreciable effect on trunk thickening.

Some reading material:
Look at how the foliage is being compacted; pushed closer to the trunk, by selective pruning, and using the resulting back-budding:
Part 1
Part 2
A development thread over several years: Shimpaku Project
And a bit more on how to correctly thin/prune Shimpaku, and how to wire shoots into the pads they're known for:
https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/juniper-pinching-pruning-and-wiring/
 
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1. Way too early to think about live veins. This thing is so young, the whole trunk is still a live vein.
2. The question suggests you need to do more homework on how trees grow, their response to pruning by back-budding, and how big sacrifice branches really need to get in order for them to have any appreciable effect on trunk thickening.

Some reading material:
Look at how the foliage is being compacted; pushed closer to the trunk, by selective pruning, and using the resulting back-budding:
Part 1
Part 2
A development thread over several years: Shimpaku Project
And a bit more on how to correctly thin/prune Shimpaku, and how to wire shoots into the pads they're known for:
https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/juniper-pinching-pruning-and-wiring/
Brian, that's a magnificent transformation.
 

BeebsBonsai

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1. Way too early to think about live veins. This thing is so young, the whole trunk is still a live vein.
2. The question suggests you need to do more homework on how trees grow, their response to pruning by back-budding, and how big sacrifice branches really need to get in order for them to have any appreciable effect on trunk thickening.

Some reading material:
Look at how the foliage is being compacted; pushed closer to the trunk, by selective pruning, and using the resulting back-budding:
Part 1
Part 2
A development thread over several years: Shimpaku Project
And a bit more on how to correctly thin/prune Shimpaku, and how to wire shoots into the pads they're known for:
https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2015/07/25/juniper-pinching-pruning-and-wiring/
Thanks for the links. The did help me see the results of the work. This is my first year in bonsai. With exception to the thinning and pruning article at the bottom, the other two only showed the actual product, not what the process and thought behind the work was. Any input would be helpful. What I have been able to gleam from what I can find is this: Trim the leaders/branches to your desired silhouette. If fertilization and watering was done properly, this should stimulate back-budding along the interior of the now-shorter branch. Stimulation of back-budding creates density in the proposed pad, and you can prune back the secondary and tertiary branching to increase density in those pieces of ramification. Remove unnecessary interior foliage along the branch, and keep the foliage that forms the pad. Being sure to always keep some older growth for proper hormone distribution throughout the tree.

Thanks for the help
 

Adair M

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Thanks for the links. The did help me see the results of the work. This is my first year in bonsai. With exception to the thinning and pruning article at the bottom, the other two only showed the actual product, not what the process and thought behind the work was. Any input would be helpful. What I have been able to gleam from what I can find is this: Trim the leaders/branches to your desired silhouette. If fertilization and watering was done properly, this should stimulate back-budding along the interior of the now-shorter branch. Stimulation of back-budding creates density in the proposed pad, and you can prune back the secondary and tertiary branching to increase density in those pieces of ramification. Remove unnecessary interior foliage along the branch, and keep the foliage that forms the pad. Being sure to always keep some older growth for proper hormone distribution throughout the tree.

Thanks for the help
Wow! You've learned all that in your first year? Fantastic!

Now... forget all that and:

LET IT GROW!!!

Oh, you might want to wire some curves into those trunks, but then, LET IT GROW!!!

All that stuff you wrote doesn't need to be done on this tree for 5 to 6 years! Meanwhile, LET IT GROW!!
 

BeebsBonsai

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Wow! You've learned all that in your first year? Fantastic!

Now... forget all that and:

LET IT GROW!!!

Oh, you might want to wire some curves into those trunks, but then, LET IT GROW!!!

All that stuff you wrote doesn't need to be done on this tree for 5 to 6 years! Meanwhile, LET IT GROW!!
LOL Adair. That felt like when you first get decent at golf and start hitting the ball really straight and long and then you think, "Hmm. Lets get a lesson or two." So, you go to the lesson and the instructor watches your swing and after three swings he says "Well, first we gotta rebuild your swing because it's terrible." LOL. What I outlined is the basic idea though right? You can just reply with a yes if you think I have a decent grasp on it. Thanks for the help on my two posts. This forum is amazing for beginners. People genuinely seem to care and want to help. I love it. I just look forward to the day I can pay it forward.
 

Adair M

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LOL Adair. That felt like when you first get decent at golf and start hitting the ball really straight and long and then you think, "Hmm. Lets get a lesson or two." So, you go to the lesson and the instructor watches your swing and after three swings he says "Well, first we gotta rebuild your swing because it's terrible." LOL. What I outlined is the basic idea though right? You can just reply with a yes if you think I have a decent grasp on it. Thanks for the help on my two posts. This forum is amazing for beginners. People genuinely seem to care and want to help. I love it. I just look forward to the day I can pay it forward.
Yes, all that stuff is about refinement. Your tree is just not ready for all that yet.

Bonsai has a bunch of "Catch-22s". Beginners want to work on advanced trees, but advanced trees are real expensive, and they don't want to kill them. Young trees are cheap, but since they take a long
time to grow, the beginner get bored. Trees don't like to be messed with, it stresses them. Beginner bonsai enthusiasts want to "do something" with their trees, and so they mess with them.

Alas... what can you do?

Ok, so let's take your tree. As you said it's probably about 4 or 5 years from being a cutting. To make a really good tree out of this would require planting it in the ground for a decade! I'm assuming you do t want to do that...

So, let's use it to learn on. Basic things like wiring, fertilizing, watering, pests. Etc.

I suggest you watch Colin Lewis's wiring tutorial on www.craftsy.com. It's free, but you do have to register. No big deal.

And for basic bonsai techniques, I suggest Boon's video "Bonsai 101". It's cheap. Go to www.bonsaiboon.com. He also has one on junipers if you wish. You can buy DVDs, or stream them.

Once you get a foundation, then you can revisit the refinement stuff.
 

drew33998

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Let me save you five more years which is where i am. Put that juniper in a 3 gallon pot. Wire some movement into the branches and forget about it for 5 years. I have 5 year olds that started out looking like yours. They are just now 1/2"-3/4" diameter and just this spring did i notice they have become rootbound in the 3 gallon pots i planted them in 5 years ago. No repot since then
 

BeebsBonsai

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Let me save you five more years which is where i am. Put that juniper in a 3 gallon pot. Wire some movement into the branches and forget about it for 5 years. I have 5 year olds that started out looking like yours. They are just now 1/2"-3/4" diameter and just this spring did i notice they have become rootbound in the 3 gallon pots i planted them in 5 years ago. No repot since then
Drew,

Thank you for the input. Unfortunately, i dont hv enough room for a 3 gallon container atm. I am already planning on slip-potting this guy into a container thats probably a gallon or so and will promote better radial root spread. I will make sure to limit repotting. I assume i will only need to once in the next five years.

Question: I already have a final size in mind for this tree, which is about 2 feet tall. Is it okay to prune the ends off of the strong leaders when they reach my desired final height? Space is a concern for me right now so i cant have the amazing and beautiful 3 foot tall trees i hope to have some day. Again. Thanks for the input. I really appreciate it.

Pics of the 5 yr olds?
 

drew33998

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No. Do not prune them at all. Let it grow untamed for a couple years. But do wire out those leaders to give them shape. The idea is that the leaders will grow and fatten the trunk. Your tree will be made from a branch that is lower down on the tree. The strong growth will be turned into jin and shari aka deadwood features. I will try to post some pics of mine
 

drew33998

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Ill post some better ones tomorrow. This was before they started putting on good growth this year. Mine were started from cuttings taken from the shoots that you see in the photos. 20170415_171714.jpg
 

drew33998

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Heres what it will look like if you keep trimming it and in a smal pot. Wont gain much girth20170515_220030.jpg
 

hemmy

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Here is an interesting technique, starting with a young flexible tree. It's from Linsday Farr's World of Bonsai YouTube shorts, series 2, episode 2, part 1 at the 2:05 mark.


Although it is hard to believe that this tree is only 5 years old!
IMG_3135.PNG
 

drew33998

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These were thinned a bit this year to let light and air into the interior. 20170618_201644.jpg 20170618_201727.jpg 20170618_201745.jpg 20170618_201829.jpg
 

drew33998

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This one was a little further behind and didnt get thinned.20170618_203458.jpg
 

Brian Van Fleet

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To give you an idea of what you can expect growing out Shimpaku over time, these are...
2 years:
6174652496_IMG_7781.JPG
6 years:
6174652496_IMG_7771.JPG 6174652496_IMG_7772.JPG
15 years (container-grown):
IMG_1144.JPG
30 years (it's sibling is for sale here):
IMG_1146.JPG IMG_1147.JPG IMG_1148.JPG
 

drew33998

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Hoping to sell some of mine to get a 30 year piece. Not quite there uet though. Couple more years for the trees and i to mature.
 

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