Tall Torulosa..Chop it?

Ichigo

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I picked up a torulosa (hollywood) juniper at my local home improvement store because it looked interesting, but I need some styling recommendations.



It is very tall. Should I chop it down some or just wire it to bend more thus reducing the overall height? Any good torulosa transformation pictures?
 

Bill S

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What are your goals and expectation for this?

If you want some size to the trunk, No, let it grow unrestricted, and try to keep the lower branches UNshaded.
 
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It's impossible to give an opinion based on this photograph. Please post one taken at soil level or slightly above, showing the trunk, preferably the side which shows the most movement in the trunk. At that angle, we can see the thickness of the trunk, any existing movement, branching, possible new leaders, etc. As it is now, we could only guess.



Will
 

Ichigo

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It's impossible to give an opinion based on this photograph. Please post one taken at soil level or slightly above, showing the trunk, preferably the side which shows the most movement in the trunk.
Will

Thank you for taking an interest. I took some that can hopefully provide a better perspective.

 

Brent

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Before you get too invested in this tree, I think you should consider that Juniperus chinensis 'Torulosa' is almost never used for bonsai. Personally, I don't have any prejudice against it, and I have several enormous ones that I am trying to develop, but it will probably mean grafting them over to something else like 'Shimpaku'. When something like this isn't used, there usually is a good reason, and in this case, it is probably the coarseness of the foliage and its lack of 'twigginess' or difficulty in ramification. Just for the hell of it, I just googled Juniperus Torulosa Bonsai in the images section and came up with only one decent looking bonsai as far as I could tell, but the picture is so small, I can't even tell for sure if it really is 'Torulosa'.

You may want to just use this for practice, they are tough as nails, but I don't think that's such as good idea either since we have a way of getting attached to our efforts. There are several very common species that are suitable for bonsai that would make better choices: 'San Jose', J. prostrata, 'Sea Green', 'Lemon Hill', J. sargentii, J. procumbens 'Nana', and anything else that you can find that small scale like foliage as opposed to spiky sharp foliage, although some of these are used too such as 'San Jose', 'Foemina', 'Ridgida'. Ones to stay away from (that are very common) are Pfitzeriana (and its cultivars), tamariscifolia (YUCK!), J. conferta (nice trunks but difficult), J. squamata and its cultviars, most ground cover types unless you can find a very old one with a good trunk, variegated ones, stiff upright ones like J. communis 'Compressa'. If you ever find any young 'Shimpaku', snap them up.

Brent
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see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com
 

Brent

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I found this picture on the net and figured in the long term and with time I could turn it into something like this maybe.

http://www.outcide.com/juniper img_1403res.jpg

Good find. You can already see what I am talking about. This foliage is not going to ramify into something 'bonsai like', but keep that shaggy appearance. Pretty nice trunk and possibly a candidate for grafting over.

Brent
 

Attila Soos

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I picked up a torulosa (hollywood) juniper at my local home improvement store because it looked interesting, but I need some styling recommendations.

I agree with Brent,
It is a total waste of time to spend the next 10 years on this, when there are much better suited varieties out there readily available. It's like training your Chihuahua to become a police dog. You may succeed, but it will be a tough road ahead.

But they make nice landscape trees, if planted in the ground.
 
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Ichigo

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Thanks for posting that page. It gives me some ideas. I don't know, it is still a good looking tree even if I don't make the most amazing bonsai out of it.
 

Attila Soos

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Not to disagree with the consensis here but look here for some unusual trees done as bonsai , the Hollywood is represented and notice how long they took http://www.bonsaiwest.com/gallery/index_masterpieceBonsai.html


Thanks Dwight for the wonderful gallery. It shows that in the hand of great masters almost any species can be made into a masterpiece.

The key word here is "experience". The worst combination is: inexperience combined with difficult species. Difficult species such as Hollywood juniper requires much more expertise than the average bonsai material. That's why I believe that a bonsaist with limited experience can put his time to a much better use using species that respond well to bonsai training.

There is another issue here that needs to be recognized: I have a strong suspicion that the hollywood junipers in the gallery shown above were not started as seedlings. When Shig Mya started working with his hollywood juniper, the material had some attractive features already. When one finds such material, the positive features may compensate for the shortcoming of the species, so the artist decides to give it a try. A good example is Nick Lenz's collected Eastern White Cedar. You don't see too many bonsai made from this species, but the character of some collected material is so magnificent that it outweights the problems caused by the shaggy foliage. But it's a safe bet that Nick Lenz would never try to grow an Eastern White Cedar from seed.
 
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Bill S

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Keep in mind that Michael has been at this for a very long time, his workers have started I believe at least 2 other bonsai "stores/nurseries", and most of those don't have the foliage I like in a "specimen "bonsai. As Brent mentioned they don't look terribly well ramified.
 

Dwight

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I was impressed by the time invested in these more difficult species. I wonder if the choices were out of necessity ?
 

Brent

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Boy, I don't know, the Hollywood's look like the least interesting specimen on that page of really nice stuff. There are some nice looking trunks on a couple of them, but the branching and foliage leaves a lot to be desired. Which again brings me back to my belief that they may be suitable for grafting over.

Brent
 

Dwight

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Brent , you mentioned " Sea Green " as one of the acceptable species. Are you referring to the common J.c. " sea green " seen at every garden center ?
 
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Ichigo,

Don't be discouraged, remember that at one time or another almost every North American Species was thought to be inferior to the established "Eastern" species. Japanese Black Pine was and still is thought by many to be a superior species for bonsai, but it really isn't, compared to other pines, I personally think the fascination with this species comes from the sole fact that the Japanese used it. However, one must consider that they did not have a wide range of material to choose from, the tree was native, easily accessible at the time, and there were plenty of old trees in nature to collect..

As artists work with new species, new techniques are developed that work well with that particular species, bonsai is still growing and we see many new species being used all the time.

But, as Brent pointed out, a beginner may well be better served learning on species that have a established track record and plenty of documentation to guide them.

We can be sure that quality examples of Hollywood Junipers will be shown in the future. At one time Eastern Red Cedar was thought to be a junk tree, but now we are seeing examples of excellent bonsai created with this species, the same can be said of other species thought as junk.

Bonsai, as an art, is not limited by the material, but only by the imagination and talent of the artist.



Will
 

Brent

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Dwight

Yes, 'Sea Green' would make a good practice juniper. It has the right kind of foliage and is tough as nails, grows fast and buds back everywhere. It wouldn't of course be my first choice for a specimen, but would be a lot better than 'Torulosa' for a beginner.

Brent
 

Ashbarns

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Ichigo This is my Hollywood Juniper which is about 12 years in training. After the initial styling I put it in the ground for 3 years and then into this pot 2 years ago. Still a lot of refinement to be addressed but slowly getting there.

Ash
 

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Graydon

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Japanese Black Pine was and still is thought by many to be a superior species for bonsai, but it really isn't, compared to other pines, I personally think the fascination with this species comes from the sole fact that the Japanese used it. However, one must consider that they did not have a wide range of material to choose from, the tree was native, easily accessible at the time, and there were plenty of old trees in nature to collect..

Until you show me a diverse group of nishiki and/or yatsubusa form of any other (even American) pine I respectfully disagree. Still king just based on the unbelievable amount of diversity in the cultivars alone.

I will completely agree as to your theory of collectibility and therefore traceable linage of the various cultivars of JBP, not to mention the stately old collected ones. And unlike the collected to extinction shimpaku I bet there are still some great ones in the wild in Japan.
 
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Dwight

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Dwight

Yes, 'Sea Green' would make a good practice juniper. It has the right kind of foliage and is tough as nails, grows fast and buds back everywhere. It wouldn't of course be my first choice for a specimen, but would be a lot better than 'Torulosa' for a beginner.

Brent

See new juni thread
 

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