A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

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A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:27 pm

This is the tree that changed my bonsai life. I found it on the sales table at a local bonsai nursery back in 2006 as collected, unstyled stock. The trunk and deadwood on this tree was/is amazing, as was the sales price. I had never owned or worked on a tree that had 1/10 of the character and quality of this tree, which was quite intimidating. Never the less, realizing what a great opportunity I had here, I purchased the tree. It was re-potted in 2007, and here is the tree after it had it's first styling in 2008.



Last edited by Dave Murphy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:02 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : ep)

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:33 pm

Here is the tree the following year after it was placed in an old Tokoname pot. This was a significant moment, as the root system of the collected tree was entirely one sided, extending almost 2 feet away from the main trunk as one solid 2 inch thick root before dividing, and there was much doubt as to whether this material would ever allow itself to be placed in a descent pot.



Last edited by Dave Murphy on Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:04 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : sp)

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:39 pm

Here is the tree in November, 2010, 5 months after moving from Massachusetts to Georgia. This tree, that spent centuries in a region with long, cold winters and hot, dry summers, didn't seem to mind the longer, more humid summer.



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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:46 pm

The tree has continued to grow well in the southeast USA. Here it is last October at the North Carolina Bonsai Expo, my first show (the tree's first, too). Walter Pall, who had helped me re-pot this tree for the first time back in 2007, was the guest artist for the expo then, and was able to see the tree for the first time in 4 years and remarked on how healthy it looked.


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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:01 pm

Last November, I participated in a half day workshop with Ryan Neil. We decided to make the tree a bit more compact. I applied rafia and wire to the apex and main right branch, and with the help of Ryan, moved both into better positions closer to the deadwood.






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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:05 pm

Here is the tree in December after I finished wiring it out...


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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:08 pm

Here is the tree this morning. Extending foliage was pruned back last week, except for the lowest right branch, which needs to gain strength.


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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Jesse McMahon on Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:49 pm

Beautiful tree, Dave. I had the pleasure of seeing it at the Expo last year in person. Definitely liking the refinements that you and Ryan have made to it since then.

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:38 pm

Thanks Jesse. I agree that the changes made since last fall have really improved the tree, taking it to the next level. I'm hoping to show it at the expo again sometime in the future.

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  JudyB on Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:09 pm

You sure have taken something that could've been problematic and turned it into a jewel.
Good going, and glad to see that it's doing so well with the change of growing conditions. Did you have to change your tactics at all?

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:38 pm

I don't think I've had to change tactics, but I've had to be more aware of issues like watering and fungal disease. Even though it's much hotter here then in MA, the higher humidity, combined with a few hours less direct sunlight, seemed to reduce all of my tree's need for water. I use 100% inorganic soil for most of my trees, but even with temps at or over 100F for a week, I only had to water once a day. The increased humidity has also increased the incidence of fungal tip blight and rust in most of my junipers. This tree has had both over the last 3 years, so I'm now spraying regularly with a copper fungicide. Also, since winters are pretty mild, this tree will actually grow year round. This speeds up development but also means I need to wire/remove wire more frequently...mind you, I'm not complaining!

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Fore on Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:23 pm

Beautiful tree Dave, love the refinement work with Ryan. It's going to bea fantastic tree!

And I too have had a prob with tip blight, how often do you spray copper as a preventative?

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:15 pm

Right now, I'm spraying every two weeks...I started 3 weeks ago an will continue for another month, depending on the weather. I neglected to spray this past spring and really wish I had.

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Fore on Tue Sep 04, 2012 10:16 pm

Not sure that would've helped Dave. I did spray everything with insecticide and daconil as a preventative. Still had tip blight on seV trees in which I lost 2 trees. Fort for me they weren't anything special or expensive, but still, this is one hard disease to get rid of and it spreads so quickly too. Thanks for sharing your treatment plan, and Good Luck!

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  dick benbow on Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:44 pm

this year was a good one for tip blight with my RMJ's. i alternated sprays between ortho Max and ferti-Lome that i found readily available at lowe's.

Thanks for the progressive pictures, keep up the good work Smile

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  stagz on Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:39 am

ryan is the master of RM junipers. i love the smell of them, especially when carving

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Fore on Thu Oct 18, 2012 6:55 pm

Dave, given your experience. May I ask a question? Peter Warren and I gave my RMJ it's first styling in Aug. All the tips are growing, but I'm loosing a few small branches, weaker interior branches w. juvenile foliage. No evidence of disease at all. Is it normal to loose some of these kind of weaker branches after it's first styling...with a lot of major bending taken place? Just not sure I should be spraying for something or not...hard to say for me given it's growing at all the tips.

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:12 pm

I suppose any kind of styling during the heat of the summer could lead to some injury and subsequent die back, and the more aggressive the bending the greater the risk. My tree here has unfortunately experienced a fair bit of die back since I pruned back extensions in late August. It was still quite warm here- upper 80's to low 90's each afternoon, but I thought it was ok. Nothing else has changed so I assume it was the (ill-timed?) pruning. The fact that your tree is growing is good, though, so I wouldn't worry too much.

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Brian Van Fleet on Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:11 pm

Wow Dave, looking great, really advanced a lot this year.

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  marcus watts on Thu Oct 18, 2012 9:46 pm

Hi

wiring and styling definitely leads to older inner growth dropping off quicker than it did before working on many juniper species. The tip growth remains ok and you just need to feed well and let the tree recover - then it sends out inner buds in branch forks etc - these are the future pads once they strengthen and you can slowly cut back to them. The only time to worry with a juniper is when tip growth starts browning and dropping off

This i think is the best reason to work on a tree once and do it well, then let the tree rest and recover for a few years.

cheers Marcus

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:32 pm

Hey, Brian. Yes, this tree has come a fair way this year. Unfortunately, some of the small branches I lost after the August pruning were mainly in the weaker right side of the tree, so...maybe a small step backwards, as well.

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:34 pm

Hi, Marcus. Thank you for your comments, and I couldn't agree more with them.

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Fore on Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:34 am

Dave, Thanks for sharing your tree and experience. It was reassuring Wink After the styling, I had it in full sun and started noticing some interior browning. Left it there another couple wks with about the same. So I've moved it to a mostly shaded area for now. Seems to like it there so far.
And I am happy about all the new growth, knowing I didn't kill it lol I've got a long way to go, but you've shown what can be accomplished in 'just' 5 yrs. ThumbsUp

And Marcus, Thank You also for chipping in with some excellent information...as usual Wink Just glad it wasn't anything serious, and also learned what to expect in the future.

And I'm definitely going to let it rest for at least 2 yrs and keep it thriving and green, and keep a watchful eye on the wiring as to avoid marking. Seems simple enough Very Happy

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Dave Murphy on Sat May 24, 2014 2:16 am

I thought I'd add a picture here showing the tree at the Atlanta Bonsai Society spring show last week a the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.  The tree continues to grow well, enjoying the southern climes of Georgia, and becomes more refined with each year.

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

Post  Andrew Legg on Mon Jun 09, 2014 7:13 am

Hi Dave,

Great job mate. The tree has come a long way since being owned by yourself. My question is what's behind all that deadwood? For me, it looks like a lovelys green top growing on a dead stem. Is it possible to rotate the front a bit to show some more of the live vein? Just a thought. Cool tree.

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: A collected Rocky Mountain Juniper

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