Trunk Splitting a Shimpaku Juniper

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Hi all,

About a year and a half ago I saw a visiting Chinese Bonsai(not Penjing) practitioner split a juniper trunk once, twice, three times and then four times(In effect the trunk was split into 8 pieces). The trunk was about inch and a half diameter.
He then tightly bound the trunk with string in the direction of the intended bend and twist; then wrapped with electrical tape; then wire.
He bent and twisted the branch into shape no worries.
I have since done 2 cuts(trunk cut into 4) numerous times without any deaths on Junipers. (He said don't do it with pines)
Anyone out there done the 4 cuts(into 8 pieces) on Junipers and with what result?

I split a 2 inch diameter Shimpaku juniper into just 4 pieces on the weekend and it was a bugger to bend as it was still too stiff.

Grant Bowie.
 

Bonsai Nut

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I am waiting to hear responses - though I have seen trunks split before I cannot recall if I have ever seen one split into eight...
 
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Hmm,

no responses yet so i presume it is not a widespread practice amongst hobbyists.

We will wait and see if anyone has had experience in this technique.

Grant
 

discusmike

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Yes,i believe seeing photos of a white pine split in my bonsai today PINES book.
 

jk_lewis

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He bent and twisted the branch into shape no worries.

Hmmmm. Has anyone seen the tree lately? Demo trees often have quite short lives after the demo.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Hmmmm. Has anyone seen the tree lately? Demo trees often have quite short lives after the demo.


Why is that Jim? If the tree ends up dying due to what was done during the demo, why would they be teaching a technique with an end result such as death??
 
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I would have to agree withe ryan on this one... If a demo tree dies I would have to kinda question the one giving the demo... since before anything, the tree's health must be considered. Having said that... the above mention technique should not be a prob. as long as proper care is taken to nurse the tree back into good health after such a severe operation...
 

Brian Van Fleet

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There is a distinct difference between conducting a demo to share techniques and teach the audience a little about principles of styling...and a demo where the stylist rushes through a styling session for the impact of "finishing" a rough piece of material to wow a crowd. The latter usually ends poorly, and the former tends to bore crowds that didn't know what to expect in the first place.

Demos are very western...maybe because some don't have patience to see a tree that has gone only one or two steps down the path to become bonsai. Maybe because some don't have the vision to picture what it will look like in several seasons.

Then, there's the raffle effect. Somehow it seems that the tree used is raffled off and ALWAYS goes to the new couple that showed up for their first meeting and ended up with a 400 year-old collected juniper that won't fit on their TV set, and it's dead in a month.

When Peter Warren was here in April, he did a demo with a pine, and when he was done, you had to use your imagination to see where it was headed. If you paid attention, you could learn VOLUMES just by watching HOW he approached the design work. Because he did the former, the tree is thriving in my yard, having not lost a needle...just waiting for next spring to continue the journey.
 

Kirk

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Not to hijack trunk splitting... On the subject of demos and dead trees, the Atlanta club has moved away from the format of a visiting artist demo each month. Club members bring trees for critiques. The visiting artist can critique the tree or, if the member (and artist) elects, work on the tree a lot or a little. At the end of the meeting the person that had work done to their tree can give a donation to the club. It seems to work well. You get lots of info on different species, styles, etc.

This approach also keeps an artist from being stuck with sub-standard or uninspiring material.

Kirk
 
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I agree with you brian, I have seen this happen time and time again... and perhaps the whole practice should be questioned... that why individuals doing demos are often encouraged to finish a tree, reguardless of it's health... having said that the tought of seeing a tree finished and winning it through a raffle does bring the people in???
 

jk_lewis

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Why is that Jim? If the tree ends up dying due to what was done during the demo, why would they be teaching a technique with an end result such as death??

That because many audiences (and still a few practitioners) want to see a "finished" tree -- top work, root worth, the whole nine yards. Many -- if not most -- trees don't like that -- especially at the odd times of year some demos are held in.

It also is because the demo tree is almost always auctioned off afterward, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the times that a person with sufficient skills in bonsai have actually won the chopped-up demo tree. All too often it is someone who just walked in off the street.

Personally, I think demos are usually a great waste of time. Workshops, on the other hand . . .
 

jk_lewis

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Not to hijack trunk splitting... On the subject of demos and dead trees, the Atlanta club has moved away from the format of a visiting artist demo each month. Club members bring trees for critiques. The visiting artist can critique the tree or, if the member (and artist) elects, work on the tree a lot or a little. At the end of the meeting the person that had work done to their tree can give a donation to the club. It seems to work well. You get lots of info on different species, styles, etc.

This approach also keeps an artist from being stuck with sub-standard or uninspiring material.

Kirk

VERY nice idea!
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Kirk, I think this one's been hijacked and landed in a completely different country! But you bring up an interesting point and I may start a new thread about clubs' monthly meeting topics, tips, and best practices...seems it's ALL been done, but the challenge is to appeal to new without losing the experienced.

S.A.M, our club doesn't do the raffle thing, but I know of several that do. Years ago I watched a very well-known (and well-respected) artist reduce a beautiful old landscape yew to a big pile of sawdust in about 12 minutes, and had it completely wired within 2 more hours. I cringed as he zipped through, across, and into live veins without stopping, then called it "done" when more than 90% of the foliage was on the floor. My buddy and I sat there exchanging those "it's dead" looks. It was. I think anyone who was coming was coming irregardless of the raffle, and unfortunately for that reason, the raffle might attract the "wrong element".
 
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Hi all,

The tree in question was not to be raffled and was not repotted on the day(Usually the death of a tree after a severe operation like that).

I will be visiting that part of Australia(a mere 1,000 kilometeres away (625 miles))in about three weeks and will enquire how it went.

I have done lots of trees with trunk splitting in the mean time but just not the 8 split yet. You also have to watch out for live veins if the juniper is an old one.

And I definately agree about not raffling demo trees. It is a waste of material.

At club demos if I can I take my own material and keep it. Conventions are another world unfortuneatley .

I am the Curator of the Australian national collection and so very careful with what I practice and teach.

Grant Bowie
 

ericN

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I have seen this done at the Chicago Bonsai show last 2009 by Hiro Yamaji. I have no idea if the tree is still alive though.

Hope that helps
Eric
 

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Freebird11

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Juniper :

Of all the species of trees used for bonsai, perhaps none has been subjected to a greater variety of advanced techniques of the juniper. Junipers are holders of a variety of foliage, ranging from fine textured, dark green foliage of the Juniper or Juniper Sargent Shimpaku, the foliage thick, fibrous Juniper California. Junipers are very durable wood, and in the wild tend to die back in adverse conditions. As a result, old junipers in nature tend to curve fantastically dead wood, carved in nature by wind and sand blown by the wind and sand. Unfortunately for the artists of bonsai, juniper wood is also very hard, making a double oldest branch of a very difficult proposition.
On this page, three techniques to work on junipers will be discussed: Deadwood height, branches of the division that bend, and the graft to improve the foliage of juniper.
 

fore

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It looks good all wrapped in blue and wired up, but I have to not only wonder about the viability of the tree, but also the bark. Each of those new trunks will have only a portion of aged trunk. Seems like they'd look awful after unwrapping it all.
 
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I agree, it would be good to know if it survived and how it looks in a few years time.

it will probably take years to come to some equilibrium and then be carved etc.

Grant
 

edprocoat

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Its sad they split the trunk on that beautiful tree in the post above. It had an aged looking trunk and a decent height, I would have been happy to enjoy it as it was.

ed
 
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