Small Town - Big Juniper

Boognish

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My wife and I were heading to our cabin this weekend and while going through a small town we stopped at a small mom and pop nursery. I spotted this Juniperus procumbens nana and asked them about it. They said that they were getting rid of all of the trees and shrubs so they could just focus on flowers. This juniper was the only one they had left and it had been sitting in a mulch pile at the back of the nursery for a few years. They said that they would like to get $10 for it.

This is my first bonsai that I'm not approaching as a practice tree so I'd like some guidance as to what I should be doing and when. Any suggestions for styling are appreciated also.

The pot is 7" tall. From the top of the pot to the top of the tree is 10". There are 3 cascades and each measures 33" - 38". The trunk has a 5" diameter.

I marked the pot with tape and numbered the sides.

View 1



View 1.5



View 2



View 2.5



View 3



View 3.5



View 4



View 4.5



 
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Boognish

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Looks nice. Any question? Got a plan?

Honestly, I'd say I was initially a bit overwhelmed. I trimmed the top off of the pot to clean out all of the debris and see what the undergrowth and trunk looked like. Then I took the photos. For now I'll just keep it alive until winter unless there is something else I should be doing with it. Probably save any pruning, trimming or styling until spring. In the meantime I will be looking for some photos for inspiration and doing some sketching. I guess buying time until I figure out what I should do with it.

I was thinking about getting a pond basket to start getting it ready for a training pot, but that will probably wait until spring.

Any suggestions are welcome.
 

digger714

Shohin
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Good looking tree. Here, in my climate, i would go ahead and clean out the tree, taking all the foliage off close to the trunk and branches to see which i liked the best. It will take a couple days to be able to see the branches, so that would be a good start. Looks like youll have some really nice deadwood also, so if you take any foliage off, leave the wood until you decide what you want to keep. Have fun.

I wouldnt mess with the bottom now. Wait until spring and you can take half of that rootball or more and get it in a shallow pot, but if your gonna be doing a cascade, then you will probably want a taller pot, but smaller around. Youll know more what to do after you work the shrub down to a tree. How much longer do you have in your growing season? We still have 2-3 months, but you are much closer to winter than me. You could do some cleaning up like i said, but i would wait to do any root work.
 
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Boognish

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i would go ahead and clean out the tree, taking all the foliage off close to the trunk and branches to see which i liked the best. It will take a couple days to be able to see the branches, so that would be a good start. Looks like youll have some really nice deadwood also, so if you take any foliage off, leave the wood until you decide what you want to keep. Have fun.

I wouldnt mess with the bottom now. Wait until spring and you can take half of that rootball or more and get it in a shallow pot, but if your gonna be doing a cascade, then you will probably want a taller pot, but smaller around. Youll know more what to do after you work the shrub down to a tree. How much longer do you have in your growing season? We still have 2-3 months, but you are much closer to winter than me. You could do some cleaning up like i said, but i would wait to do any root work.

Yeah, I think it would be best to wait until spring before I mess around with the roots or repotting. I should be able to get away with exposing more of the trunk and work my way down to the main roots. It would be nice to see what the whole trunk looks like and how tall the tree actually is. I'm going to go ahead and do the cleaning up like you suggested. I'd say October is it for the growing season here.
 

Boognish

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I started to do a little cleaning on it. So far I am concerned about the trunk being a bit on the short side but I haven't started exposing much of it yet. Does it look like I am at the main roots or do you think they are further into the soil? Not sure about the main branch structure either because it is sort of a warped + sign. There are some branches and dead wood I don't know how to address. Still waiting for something to emerge so I haven't decided on the front or a style. What should I do next?

View 1


View 2


View 3


View 4


Trunk view 1


Trunk view 2


Trunk view 2.5


Branch structure


Branch structure top


Mostly dead cascade at 3.5


Canopy
 
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I think that personally, I would definitely brake out the rolls of wire for this one... and rather than go for the cascade, I would choose a windswept design. With the amount of branches that you have, you will probally end up having to reduce them greatly in order to make a really nice cascade, and I have a feeling that most of your foilage is spread over all of these branches. Reducing your branches, will end up reducing alot of you foilage. Without actually seeing in person, I think with a windswept, you might end up retaining alot more of what you have, and at the same time gain some wonderful styling experience !!!
good luck!!!
 

jk_lewis

Masterpiece
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It is a very nice plant with some potential.

But if you're new at this, you may not want to do what you should do for it. That tree, for all its size today, should end up as a shohin bonsai.

1. It seems logical that it will become a cascade (but see below!). In that case, it should have only ONE tail. So, once you have cleaned off the trunks and can see the branch lines, you will have to decide which of the tails will stay and chop the rest off short (6 inches, or so, for now. These MAY be future jins.).

1.a. Once you have done that, you may -- MAY -- see something other than a cascade. There is a possibility of a small informal upright tree in there, I suspect.

Steps 1 and 1a can be done now, if you like.

2. With that short trunk, you will get an older looking tree if the cascade you select is also shortened considerably -- perhaps by as much as 2/3, or even more, so work it back and study it after every cut. I'd wait for spring here. If you can stand it, I'd also wait to do root work in the following year. First get the top cut back and thoroughly wired, then let it grow into itself for the summer.

Remember, this needs to be a shohin, so your root work maybe should be done over two seasons. That'll depend on what you find after you lift it from the pot.

You can have a lot of fun with this one.
 

Boognish

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It is a very nice plant with some potential.

But if you're new at this, you may not want to do what you should do for it. That tree, for all its size today, should end up as a shohin bonsai.

1. It seems logical that it will become a cascade (but see below!). In that case, it should have only ONE tail. So, once you have cleaned off the trunks and can see the branch lines, you will have to decide which of the tails will stay and chop the rest off short (6 inches, or so, for now. These MAY be future jins.).

1.a. Once you have done that, you may -- MAY -- see something other than a cascade. There is a possibility of a small informal upright tree in there, I suspect.

Steps 1 and 1a can be done now, if you like.

2. With that short trunk, you will get an older looking tree if the cascade you select is also shortened considerably -- perhaps by as much as 2/3, or even more, so work it back and study it after every cut. I'd wait for spring here. If you can stand it, I'd also wait to do root work in the following year. First get the top cut back and thoroughly wired, then let it grow into itself for the summer.

Remember, this needs to be a shohin, so your root work maybe should be done over two seasons. That'll depend on what you find after you lift it from the pot.

You can have a lot of fun with this one.

I am new to this but I think I see what you are saying about how it should be a shohin cascade. With the short trunk it does make sense. I was thinking I could wire the cascades I'm not going to use into shape for over the winter then air layer them in the spring.
 

Boognish

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I did a bit more work on the tree. Still trying to figure out what will stay and what will go. I'm thinking that this may be the section to keep but I'm also still looking.



Here's how it sits today.







 

Boognish

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This is one of the possibilities I see. The removal of the two branches may look weird unless I do some carving. Any thoughts?




 

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