Styling suggestion needed - small JWP

dcbonsai

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I bought this small 5 needle JWP online in this past Spring. (Variety 'Gyoko sho hime')
Since it's an online order, cannot pick and choose, I ended up getting this one.
Any suggestions how I could style this one? The trunk and left branch are not bendable. I hope to start to work on it before every branch is hardened and not bendable.
Thanks a lot
 

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Housguy

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You can probably do big branch bending and left branch for sure and all you need is a little movement on the trunk and big branch bending probably will work there, remember not much is needed to give it character and then you can always pot the tree a different angle as well to help with the movement. Look up bonsai big branch bending and videos of how to do will pop up. Enjoy!
 

BonsaiNaga13

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Maybe you could use a branch splitter and raffia to make it bendable? Peter chan has tutorial vids on using splitters to bend pines
 

dcbonsai

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Thank you BonsaiNaga13.

Split to bend or cut to bend both are too advanced techniques for me at this point.

I went ahead and removed the biggest branch on the left, and wired it. Used some brutal force, did some damages to branches in several places. Attached is the result. Not happy with it, but will leave it as is for now. When repotting in spring, will work on it further. May consider to remove the whole left side all together (or right side).

This tree looks like plastic, kind of strange. But the needles are short and nice.
 

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Housguy

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Agreed, let it rest a bit and I do agree with removing one of the sides and looking at it, I vote for the right to be removed and use the left to create your bonsai. I would even incorporate that little clump of foliage in the middle into your new design. Enjoy!
 

dcbonsai

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Thanks!At this time, I sort of plan to just remove the tallest branch on right side only, then adjust and use left side big branch as apex, however, yesterday while wiring, I heard snapping sound on two main branches on left, worried both branches might die off. We will see.

If I can end up with something bonsai-like out of this "plastic Xmas tree like" tree, it proves everything can be bonsai😀
 

Japonicus

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1607016613501.jpeg
I know this doesn't look like much here but combined with keeping an apical leader is the best way to gain taper and
increase trunk caliper. I could not tilt picture and save, but to tilt to left so that 1st tiny bud on the trunk is pointing a bit
more downward will cause a more interesting trunk line. Of course leaving it as is for now, then coming in next or following
Fall and removing the left fork.

Why keep one fork of the trunk over the other, more specifically the right over the left?
The close proximity of the secondary branches (you now have wired), to the main trunk.
Keeps foliage more close into the trunk to develop a tighter bonsai. Develop branches/pads from infancy with greater control.

I would wait to remove the left fork, till when when the knuckle showed signs of being a problem, leave a good stub at that time.

The inside left shoot that is wired would be the new apex and not touched for some time.
So the central small shoot would be the 1st and bottom left branch. If made up of several individual small shoots
coming from the trunk, reduce to maybe 2 keeping one as a back up to your preferred selection.
But for now keep all the foliage you can to generate new roots when potted up.
Change the planted angle to tilt left 30-45º and forward some.

Whatever direction you go, do not remove the apical leader so to thicken the trunk.
Leave it and all the side shoots/branches that make up that apex.
 

Japonicus

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The trunk and left branch are not bendable
Split to bend or cut to bend both are too advanced techniques for me at this point.
So here's your chance to get a feel of how much you CAN bend a branch once you're ready to remove it..
I'm guessing the left branch is 3/8" thick and should bend more than you think.
At this age JWP is more flexible than a few years older.

With some wiring practice over the next year or two on other material
you'll be able to better wire around this central shoot and not damage it.
That's most important...

Using #8 annealed copper wire minimum, probably #6 (gotta practice 1st)
coil your wire at about 60º spacing rather than 45º. 45º is more springy.
Ideally you would want to use one wire to wire both forks and coil counterclockwise
out the right fork to rotate that fork counterclockwise, but that would mean beginning
your wire on the front of the trunk where that central shoot is. I cannot see, if there's room
to start your wire there over top of the shoot or if you need to start on the back side and coil the right fork clockwise.


It helps to move your hand out to the end of the wire when you can to coil it working with thicker wire.
Support the branch underneath with one hand and keep an eye on the shoulder of the branch
as you bend it with your primary strong hand palm down, fingers spaced along the branch and try bending
the branch in the mid section. Ideally you do not want a rainbow arc in a branch, but you're learning the flexibility
of a particular species at a particular age.
Keep an eye on the shoulder and feel the branch as you bend it. If the top of the shoulder begins to pull away from the tree
it will not kill the branch but a good time to stop that action and try lateral bending.
If or when the branch snaps, you have a better idea as to how much bending a branch at this size and age can bend.
It's a branch I would remove anyway myself, so why not practice on it?

2 other methods would be 1 a guy wire and 2, cutting into the trunk at 45º right over the shoulder deep enough
till you get enough flexibility at the union/shoulder to bend it down by hand or guy wire, and guy wire it into position,
or place an inorganic spacer into the void to heal. Some use a proper sized pebble to leave in permanently.
I will be doing the cut over branches (not under) next March on an Eastern WP that is very brittle.
Branches smaller than 3/8" that are older on it, snap like a deciduous tree.
 

Japonicus

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yesterday while wiring, I heard snapping sound on two main branches on left, worried both branches might die off. We will see.
Often time undersized wire is the culprit to breaking a branch or over working it.
These videos on wiring will help immensely. One of the 5, Wire like a professional play it over and over again.
Get something to practice on even in your landscape or juniper when it comes available at your garden centers.
Myths and Mistakes is good too. Play them all.

Julian Adams from Adams bonsai handed his work over to Jeremiah McKinney and trained him how to anneal
copper wire in the same fashion Julian has been doing for years. Jeremiah only takes orders by email and payment
through PayPal. He's legitimate, very friendly and quite fast to answer emails and ships next day usually.
ambonsaiwire@gmail.com and there's a telephone contact number under contact us tab here >
Hope that helps. Most common sizes I use are 8, 10, 12 and 14.
You're welcome
 

Hack Yeah!

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@Japonicus or anyone with experience, what is the likelihood of backbudding from the trunk with a tree like this if/when the left fork or sacrifices are cut off?
 

Japonicus

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@Japonicus or anyone with experience, what is the likelihood of backbudding from the trunk with a tree like this if/when the left fork or sacrifices are cut off?
Back budding on the trunk? Pit near nuthin' 0%, but do notice the little bud on the left side of the trunk.
Of course we are left in the dark as to where the graft is on this tree, so no idea if that bud is rootstock
or scion. Looking at the right side of the trunk at the top where that central tuft of foliage is,
there's a slant, making me think this is a pretty high graft and the shoot on the left side maybe rootstock
quite possibly Strobis. Another reason to go with the right fork of this tree, not to mention branch damage on the left.
My Strobis does back bud on old branches, but not a given.
Never on the trunk in last 12 years I've had it. 15 years with the one in my avatar, never a back bud anywhere on the trunk.
This is why I liken the JWP to Hinoki characteristics including cold hardiness. Does not back bud on old wood.
 

dcbonsai

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For this particular tree, the graft point is right in the middle, a tad beneath the center cluster of foliage, so both left and right branches are from the scion. Judging from the thickness of the branches, the left side main branch (which I already removed) can be consider the original trunk.

The seller told me, it's "grafted to Pinus strobiformis (SW white pine)"
 

dcbonsai

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I also bought this JWP from same seller (Conifer Kingdom), different variety (Kagami). I really like this one, and it's a lot more workable (flexible). Only that at the graft point there is a huge knot.

I did some simple wiring. For now, Pic1 is front, pic2 is back. Originally I felt the current back is more suitable as front, but I really could not stand the big knot.

Pic3 is the close-up of the long branch on right. Thought about to remove this long branch, tree would be more balanced and also could reveal the natural dead branch. (But really really hesitating)
 

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Japonicus

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Thought about to remove this long branch, tree would be more balanced and also could reveal the natural dead branch. (But really really hesitating)
Are you talking about the one that throws off in the sharp bend in the trunk?
If so, no do not remove it, but...
You don't want a branch thicker than the trunk. Some put % rules on it like more than 1/3 the trunk size
is too big for a branch, even 1st main branch...
Since that curve throws this branch there I would preserve that branch but really work it down
allowing the apex free reign as well as the bottom branches, to thicken up the scion at the graft.

The 2nd coil of wire on that branch damaged a precious bud/tiny shoot.
Cant tell if there's terminal buds on the small shoot in the middle of the 3 branches in that one spot,
but I would remove the lower of the 3.
DCB JWP2.jpg
The branches can be cut further back if not flush after they wither and dry, or jin.
The robust one may even bud out inside that cut, but I suspect it will die, but leave the stub to heal for now.
Now, with these branches removed, it redirects strength to the other parts of the tree, and the branch will
in short time, not over power the trunk. Left to its' own devices, it will be 2 awkward trunks.
You have cut paste?
 

dcbonsai

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Are you talking about the one that throws off in the sharp bend in the trunk?
If so, no do not remove it, but...
You don't want a branch thicker than the trunk. Some put % rules on it like more than 1/3 the trunk size
is too big for a branch, even 1st main branch...
Since that curve throws this branch there I would preserve that branch but really work it down
allowing the apex free reign as well as the bottom branches, to thicken up the scion at the graft.

The 2nd coil of wire on that branch damaged a precious bud/tiny shoot.
Cant tell if there's terminal buds on the small shoot in the middle of the 3 branches in that one spot,
but I would remove the lower of the 3.
View attachment 343000
The branches can be cut further back if not flush after they wither and dry, or jin.
The robust one may even bud out inside that cut, but I suspect it will die, but leave the stub to heal for now.
Now, with these branches removed, it redirects strength to the other parts of the tree, and the branch will
in short time, not over power the trunk. Left to its' own devices, it will be 2 awkward trunks.
You have cut paste?

Nip it in the bud. LOL 🤣

I do have cut paste, used a little on the cut. Not very sure if should use it or not though.

The lower of the three is the dead branch. One of the options that I was thinking about is to remove the whole right long branch including the small shoots, leave the dead branch only. The end result is the that virtually most green foliages are all on left side, when repotting tilt a bit to right, adjust the apex. Seems could be an option. But a bit drastic to my taste and really hesitate.

2nd option is to cut the long branch short as your shown. I am leaning towards this option, however, the small shoots are all at awkward position.

I am a 1.5 year newbie. Still in the mood afraid of cutting off any significant branch. So I am still trying to save that branch as 3rd option. But I know eventually I will go with either 2 or 1.

Thank you again @Japonicus. Have a wonderful weekend!

Btw, I just saw you also bought 3 JWP from conifer kingdoms. That #3size one looks great. The 3 pines I received overall are acceptable, but probably I would try local nurseries first in future.
 

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