Shimpaku juniper newbie styling and pruning advice

ManSkirtBrew

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Just picked up this fella from Rosade bonsai nursery this weekend (happy birthday to me!). I'm still *very* new to junipers, so I'm trying to absorb all the advice I can.

I made a little spinaround video so you can see the whole tree.

This is currently the front of the tree:

20180530_140413.jpg

I kind of feel like the movement from this angle is more interesting:

20180530_140421.jpg

Back and other side:
20180530_140425.jpg 20180530_140429.jpg

I know junipers don't back bud easily, so I've been taking my time thinking about it before I do much pruning. Once I choose a front, my plan was to prune any branches growing straight down, or crossing the trunkline, and re-evaluate from there.

Which brings me to a real question: most of the foliage is small, but some of it is super leggy, like these pictures. Is it just that I need to keep on top of pruning the growing tips, or is it a growing issue with the tree?

20180530_140439.jpg 20180530_140445.jpg
 

augustine

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Nice tree. I know you're dying to get to work but let it grow a bit before pruning. If it were mine I wouldn't think of pruning til mid-July.

Junipers have to extend and gather energy through their foliage. It looks very healthy, keep it that way with fertilizer and sunlight.

You could prune now but it will slow the tree down.
 

ManSkirtBrew

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Thanks, I'll do that. As for the leggy foliage, should I be maintenance pruning it to get bushier foliage like the rest of the tree, or just let it go crazy?
 

Bonsai Nut

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I made a little spinaround video so you can see the whole tree.
This is EXCELLENT! I was originally going to say one thing, but I took it back after I saw your video.

You have two primary branches both exiting the trunk at the same level. We call these "bar branches" and they aren't a good thing for your design and one of the two will have to go.

But wait! You can't decide which of those two branches you are going to keep until you decide your trunk line - and where your apex is going to be.

You want your trunk line to be interesting and show movement, and the line of the trunk should lean forward towards the front of the design. Assuming you are going for an informal upright, your apex should terminate the line of the trunk at a point in front of the nebari (the base of the trunk including the surface roots). You never want a trunk that leans away from the front of the design, nor do you want an apex that leans towards the rear, or is in the back of the design.

Looking at your video, I see two possible trunk lines, with two possible apices. (Bonus points for knowing the plural of "apex") Think about your trunk, decide on an apex, and then you will know which of the two lower branches will need to go.

If you are handy with Photoshop you can draw a line on the trunk up to the apex, and you can share it with us before you actually prune anything.
 

thomas22

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Very nice tree. Lots of options. I think ten different people would go in ten different directions. Find an interesting trunk line, a good first branch, and an apex like BNUT described and have fun. I would remove the weak foliage.
 

ManSkirtBrew

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You have two primary branches both exiting the trunk at the same level. We call these "bar branches" and they aren't a good thing for your design and one of the two will have to go.
I agree, which is why I was thinking the side view I noted would be a better choice for the front of the tree.

If you are handy with Photoshop you can draw a line on the trunk up to the apex, and you can share it with us before you actually prune anything.
Perhaps something like this:

20180530_140421.jpg
 

ManSkirtBrew

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While I have you fine folks here offering advice, I've got another question I've been chewing on.

If I want to prune for overall shape--removing major branches, setting the basic outline of the tree--that's best done in early spring, yes?

If I'm pruning for branch ramification and to keep the foliage small and compact, do I do that for the whole growing season? Or do I let it grow unhindered for a while and prune it back in early summer?

Besides this little guy, I ask because I have another big procumbens in a nursery pot that I was advised to just leave alone, because it was too late to repot or do major pruning work on. It's happy and growing vigorously, so I want to make sure I'm doing the right things for it at the right time.
 

ManSkirtBrew

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Little evening bump with some extra photos. I used the flash to make the trunkline pop out.

I still think this is the best angle for the tree if I'm doing an informal upright, which I think it wants to be.

20180601_215902.jpg

So I did a little photochopping to cut out a few branches. I feel like what is now the back branch is going to be too heavy in relation to the main branch on the left, but I'm thinking if I cut it off, the tree will be very two-dimensional.

20180601_215902 - Copy.jpg
 

sorce

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This is a nice tree...bitchin in fact.

A short bit on mine as its similar.
Left full (but with more runners/energy than yours) and repotted the first waning moon after the solstice with about 70-80% root removal.
Initial single trunk design idea changed to 2 trunks....
Then the dog peed on it and I was slightly upset...
But after trimming the black off yesterday I found a tree that will be even more interesting than the previous 2!

So whack whatever bar branches (thru summer dormancy should be safe) and just wait!
Chances are you'll end up finding a good design.

My biggest concern is the shape of that pot....
Which may mean saving any whacking until next year....if you may have to remove a substantial amount of roots to get it into a suitable pot.

The depth alone isn't bad...
But the depth and narrowness of the rectangle together...if allowed to get "rootbound" in that shape....
It may be a much more dangerous operation in the future to get it in a better pot....

So, since the foliage can be worked anytime in the future....

I might just feed it a lot till it begins to throw juicy thick runners....and get it wired tightly into a good pot (at the appropriate time) when it does.

Runners....beyond signs of energy....
They are new trunks...
Ryan Neil speaks of ....I forget exactly...
'having energy to sustain' (your tree)
And 'having energy to add foliage'

These "runners" are the tree having enough energy to grow entire new trunks....
They ARE the trunkline, where the tree wants to add and sustain entire new sections of itself.

This tree has a lot of foliage to be completely lacking runners.

I would be very hesitant to due much at all till you get them... As this is a dope peice.

Any knowledge of how long it's been in that pot?

Crucial Crossroad.

Pruning Work may not kill this tree....
But it will Damn sure prevent good future backbudding....
Lessen the safety of a repot if neccesary.
And generally add a bunch of uneccessary years onto this project.

I dont see a need to prune anything yet.

Lotta staring...lotta fish....

Sorce
 

ManSkirtBrew

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Thanks for the helpful advice everyone. I'm mostly taking this first year to soak up information and care for my trees, so the heavy pruning is more future planning than chomping at the bit to chop. I just didn't want to do anything that would jeopardize the future of my little juni by not pruning it if I should. Cheers!
 

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