Very odd juniper collection

grog

Shohin
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So the greenhouse here at work has received some fairly major renovations. A polycarbonate frame was built around the old frame and the old one was removed. With the move a lot of old benches and whatnot were torn out also. During the course of this some odd plants were found in out of the way or buried places. Probably the oddest one found is a fairly large (3-3 1/2 in" diameter) juniper. It was not growing in a cool section, it was actually near one of the steam release valves. It was also completely obscured from the sun by some out of control wandering jew and spider plant. I asked the person who runs the greenhouse how long the juniper had been there and he wasn't sure but he thought about 10 years.
Needless to say I was a bit flabbergasted. This juniper had been living without a dormant period for 10 years and very little sun for at least the last 3 years.
Anywho... the bench the juniper had been on was one of the ones that was torn out. I found the tree in a pile the day after the bench was removed. It had quite a lot of other greenery piled on it which I hope kept enough moisture close to the roots for it to hang on. It had been growing in pure sand so after I cut roots that absolutely had to go I potted it up into a large nursery can with an almost pure sand mix with a little oil-dri mixed in.
I believe the horticultural term for this tree's chances of survival is "screwed". However since it's already survived where it had not business doing so for the last ten years it was worth a shot. I have pics taken, just have to figure out how to get them from the camera to here, hopefully later tonight.
Two questions about what I should do.

1. Would it be best to add some chopped sphagnum moss and pack it in near the rootbase to encourage feeder roots?

2. Lots of differing opinions by very knowledgeable people over whether or not foliage should be reduced to match roots lost. What are your experiences with such?

Thanks much for any input.
 

John Hill

Mame
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Grog,
Here recently I found some junipers on the side of the road and I bagged them up and took them home re potted and they seem to be doing good. Still green anyway and spring will tell the tell. If they put out new growth them I am hopefull.

I usually use an all lava or haydite mix with cut spagnum moss mixed in. This has been very giving for me. Most everything that I have used this on have been good to me. Sometimes I will mix some horticultural charcoal into the mix. Don't know if this helps or not.
I wish you luck on these junipers and I look forward to your pics.

A Friend in bonsai
John
 
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So the greenhouse here at work has received some fairly major renovations. A polycarbonate frame was built around the old frame and the old one was removed. With the move a lot of old benches and whatnot were torn out also. During the course of this some odd plants were found in out of the way or buried places. Probably the oddest one found is a fairly large (3-3 1/2 in" diameter) juniper. It was not growing in a cool section, it was actually near one of the steam release valves. It was also completely obscured from the sun by some out of control wandering jew and spider plant. I asked the person who runs the greenhouse how long the juniper had been there and he wasn't sure but he thought about 10 years.
Needless to say I was a bit flabbergasted. This juniper had been living without a dormant period for 10 years and very little sun for at least the last 3 years.
Anywho... the bench the juniper had been on was one of the ones that was torn out. I found the tree in a pile the day after the bench was removed. It had quite a lot of other greenery piled on it which I hope kept enough moisture close to the roots for it to hang on. It had been growing in pure sand so after I cut roots that absolutely had to go I potted it up into a large nursery can with an almost pure sand mix with a little oil-dri mixed in.
I believe the horticultural term for this tree's chances of survival is "screwed". However since it's already survived where it had not business doing so for the last ten years it was worth a shot. I have pics taken, just have to figure out how to get them from the camera to here, hopefully later tonight.
Two questions about what I should do.

1. Would it be best to add some chopped sphagnum moss and pack it in near the rootbase to encourage feeder roots?

2. Lots of differing opinions by very knowledgeable people over whether or not foliage should be reduced to match roots lost. What are your experiences with such?

Thanks much for any input.
Some of those who collect junipers regularly should jump in here, but here's my two cents' worth.

The old saw about matching root removal to foliage removal or vice versa is one of the old-school myths that American bonsai enthusiasts have perpetuated for 60 years or more. It will bring your tree's development to a complete halt. Suppose you had a trident maple that you wanted to trunk chop. Would you then remove 100% of the roots, too? Of course not! You need those roots to drive a great deal of new growth to rebuild the top of the tree. Likewise, if you cut roots and match the amount of foliage you remove, the tree has no need to produce new roots, it has all it needs.

The key is not to remove too many roots all at once, or too much foliage all at once. Each act forces new growth where we want it. So with Juniper, the principle shows itself even in the way we pinch and prune. That's a topic for another thread.

Now this is a general rule, and should not be applied to every species and every circumstance, otherwise we end up making mistakes. You have to learn the demands of the specific tree you are working on. Just keep in mind that when cutting on a tree, we are doing so to replace what's there with better in most cases. We want to force the growth.

I suggest you care for this tree by not reintroducing it to full sun all at once. Bring it a long a little at a time, let it adjust.
 

cbobgo

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I agree with Chris, in general. My rule of thumb is you need to do the least damage possible. If you are removing alot of roots, then leave more on the top, so the tree will be able to make what it needs to grow new roots. If you are forced to remove alot off the top of a tree, try to leave the roots alone, so the tree can use stored energy to grow a new top. If you are just touching up a healthy established tree, you can remove growth from the top and bottom usually without a problem.

In your specific case, I would leave the top alone. If there are not enough roots to support your foliage, the tree will decide how much it can maintain and the rest will die back. If you try to decide for the tree, you may remove what it thinks it can keep, and leave what it has already decided to discard (obvioulsy I'm anthropomorphising, the tree doesn't actually "decide" but you know what I mean.)

Looking forward to those pictures.

- bob
 

grog

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Pics, hopefully

First time posting pics, hopefully done right.
 

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grog

Shohin
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Yuck, time to start looking for something to use as a backdrop. Photography is definitely not something I'm familiar with.
 
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The trunk on this one looks like San Jose, but the foliage is way off. That may be because of its growning conditions. I highly recommend looking at this tree as yamadori, tip of the hat to Vance Wood for that. I like the base of this tree and think it has very good possibilities. Try cutting down the nursery pot almost to the level of the soil.

You continue to amaze me. You are obviously the reincarnation of a very famous Japanese bonsai master, or at the least, prolific enthusiast.
 

cbobgo

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yeah this looks like one of those more "thready" foliaged junipers . . . will try to think of the name . . .

- bob
 

grog

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Yeah the growing conditions were pretty bizarre which I'm sure affected the growth in quite a few different ways. I'm thinking of this juniper as if I were adopting a dog with parvo- take good care of it but don't get too attached. It's not getting any direct sun, it's in pretty much identical substrate to what it was in before(sand), and everyone at work knows that if they so much as look at it cross-eyed much less try to water it they will be the lucky recipient of some severe blunt force trauma. I think it would have been smarter to chop up some sphagnum moss and pack around the roots but I wasn't sure so I didn't do it.

Thanks much for your help and input. It is a massive help getting different views and advice.
 

grog

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Just in case anyone is ever browsing through the forums and sees this thread I thought I would add the obituary for it so they didn't think 'Whoa, juniper can be grown indoors!" I still think it's bizarre and rather interesting that this juniper survived as long as it did in a constantly heated greenhouse but it threw in the towel almost immediately after being potted up.
 

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