Styling options for (semi) cascade San Jose juniper

rawlyn

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Picked up this San Jose juniper (my first juniper ever) last summer on clearance.

20200813_224949.jpg

When I got home, I repotted and lightly wired the main descending branch with an eye to eventually creating a full cascade at some point. Then left it pretty much alone for a year.
Now feel like it may be time to begin doing something more to move it along, but as I study the tree, I am a bit conflicted. Last year, the main branch seemed to be the really obvious candidate for cascade, with a pronounced curve from left to right that I tried to enhance a bit, and an overall length already bringing it below the base of this training pot. Together with the first major horizontal branch moving left to right above the pot rim, I felt there was good potential to eventually create a decent visual effect. (Recognize that most of the foliage topside will eventually have to go, but figure I'm better off leaving it for now to continue feeding the branches I will eventually keep).

Now, however, I no longer feel that the main branch curvature is sufficient in either extent or interest, and I'm worried I won’t be able to add any new movement to the core branch without breaking it.

So, I'm wondering if it would be better to abandon the current end of the main branch and instead wire the side branch marked with blue (which is *much* more pliable than the main branch) as the new trunk leader, breaking to the left, rather than continuing the steady curve to the right, thereby shortening the descending branch & then reorienting the whole tree slightly in the pot to render it a semi - rather than full – cascade.
20200813_224949~2.jpg

Does that make sense? Or should I stick with the original plan?

Many thanks in advance

- Mike
 

sorce

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At this point either could work.

Seems they are both cut?

I would leave one uncut, let them runners go, and use it to keep strength up.

Make the tree with the weaker one.

Seems it's a waiting game to see which will be which for now.

I'd prune the top more than the bottom.

Sorce
 

rawlyn

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Thanks much for the quick reply @sorce.

Seems they are both cut?
Actually, the shorter/blue one that curves toward the left is not cut at all. The longer, lower one broke during wiring last year 🙄 - lost another 2-3 inches.

I would leave one uncut, let them runners go, and use it to keep strength up.

Make the tree with the weaker one.

Seems it's a waiting game to see which will be which for now.

I'd prune the top more than the bottom.

So, are you suggesting I should go ahead and remove one of the two lowest endpoints right now? Or should I be waiting "to see which will be which" first - then removing the loser later?

Also, by "let them runners go" do you mean leave all the other/topside foliage in place? Or get rid of most of it now?

(Apologies for not fully comprehending on first pass - on "vacation" now - so brain not operating at peak effectiveness 🥴)

Thanks

- Mike
 

sorce

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Yes.
waiting "to see which will be which" first -
For years!

Then this 👇will be one of the 2 cascade branches, as a sacrifice, left on for now.

I would leave one uncut, let them runners go, and use it to keep strength up.

This 👇the other cascade option. Cut to style.

Make the tree with the weaker one

Of the top, it should just have less mass than the cascade, to keep the cascade strongest. But you don't really want to remove any of that either, rather, keep it at it's current mass while doubling the mass of the Cascade part. That should even the masses.
Then you'll end up pruning the top more, just to maintain more mass in the cascade.

So far light pruning only, building good forking branching, which will add to the seasons it takes.

Once your cascade section is about 6 times the top. You can remove the uglier of the 2.
That leaves you a 3/1 bottom top ratio, which keeps you in very slow, but very certain control the strength you will use to put the wires to it and do a major styling. Allowing you to prune ugly branches from the cascade and still have at least a 2/1 ratio.

That's in like 4-6 years, a real heavy styling.

Sorce
 

rawlyn

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Thanks, Sorce. I truly appreciate the comprehensive response. Seems like a plan that makes sense, and (best of all) one I can stick with.

- Mike
 

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