Shimpaku - root over rock?

somegeek

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I've not seen many Shimpaku root over rock plantings. Are these less common?

I have a nice rock that I think would accommodate a root over rock planting nicely and I'm pondering a Shimpaku on this. There is a groove in the top about 1.5" deep that runs from the upper left to the lower right in the second picture(roughly parallel to the proposed front of the rock) that would hold the base of the trunk nicely to grow in to. This rock is roughly 10" tall.

Appreciate any input.

somegeek
 

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pjkatich

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somegeek,

Root-over-rock junipers are not very common.

One probably reason that I have found is that the roots remain very flexible and they do not really grasp the rock very well. From my experience it takes a long time (10 years or more) before the roots develop a good hold. Even when the roots have stabilized over the rock, they do not spread out over the rock like the roots of a maple.

None-the-less, that looks like a great rock for a root-over-rock composition. I would encourage you to give one a try.

Regards,
Paul
 

somegeek

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Thanks for the reply, Paul.

Here's a few more pics.

This is the groove on top on the backside where the main trunk would rest. Would the trunk grip here after a while as it grows and gets a bit pinched in there?



I'd like to have this come over the top to have a small cascade.



This is the front exit to the groove above.



Newbie question... Over time, is it possible that the root would grow large enough to choke itself if I routed one through this hole? Similar to a tourniquet? Or do roots behave differently?

somegeek
 

rockm

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The root will not "choke itself off. It will grow to the size of the crack then over the edges. It may even split the rock.

The issue with ROR junipers is TIME. Conifer roots are not nearly as vigorous as deciduous tree roots. They take longer to adapt to the rock.

Also, to get a good ROR planting you generally have to start with a very small tree with a very underdeveloped root system that can be convincingly combined with the tree over time. Plunking a three year old sapling with splayed or wide root bases results in a crappy looking ROR, as the roots don't grip the rock from the nebari. ROR with rocks simply inserted into gaps in a bigger root mass are never convincing and look odd permanently.
 

somegeek

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The root will not "choke itself off. It will grow to the size of the crack then over the edges. It may even split the rock.

The issue with ROR junipers is TIME. Conifer roots are not nearly as vigorous as deciduous tree roots. They take longer to adapt to the rock.

Also, to get a good ROR planting you generally have to start with a very small tree with a very underdeveloped root system that can be convincingly combined with the tree over time. Plunking a three year old sapling with splayed or wide root bases results in a crappy looking ROR, as the roots don't grip the rock from the nebari. ROR with rocks simply inserted into gaps in a bigger root mass are never convincing and look odd permanently.

Thanks for the reply, rockm. I rooted a 6" cutting earlier this year that would fit the bill here I think to start anew.

somegeek
 

bretts

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I have been doing a juniper root over rock for about 4-5 years now.
When I uncovered it last year it was holding on pretty well and the roots where molding well but with my rough handling doing a first styling it eventually came loose. So wrapped it up tight agian with the new roots that had been emerging and come back in a few more years agian :)
It is a long term project.
 

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somegeek

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Nice sanity check to see others are doing this. :)

I thought this was an interesting way to secure the roots.

somegeek
 

rockm

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For what it's worth, the method on the link isn't the best. I allows the tree to push more adventitious roots away from the rock (which is entirely too big and clunky for a good ROR, by the way).

One of the most effective ways is to use non-adhesive plastic tape--they sell it at garden centers. Wide plastic tape can be wrapped around ALL the descending roots along the rock, forcing them downwards. The whole package, wrapped roots and all, can be planted in elongated containers that allow gradual removal from the top down...Those containers can be anything from stacked wooden frames, to long plastic weave bags used for sandbags...as you remove the top layers over the years (and it does take a few years, even with trident maples), the soil is also removed, forcing the roots to seek the lower soil level...
 

Brian Van Fleet

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The whole package, wrapped roots and all, can be planted in elongated containers that allow gradual removal from the top down...Those containers can be...long plastic weave bags used for sandbags...as you remove the top layers over the years (and it does take a few years, even with trident maples), the soil is also removed, forcing the roots to seek the lower soil level...

Now That's a great idea! I did a couple ROR tridents this spring, and my "mental bookmark" on the project was "a good start, but will need to re-wrap whatever grows next year." I'll probably plant them in the weave bags on the ground next spring and let them go for a few years...
 

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