Identifying Juniper live veins

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Identifying Juniper live veins

Post  Andrew Legg on Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:59 pm

Hi All,

Down here in South Africa we're not that big on junipers (particularly the deadwood and live vein types), so I have a question I'd like to bang out there for some help. I have a common garden juniper that I acquired as a urban yamadori and I am trying to identify where the live veins are. I have tried to remove the flaky outer layer of grey bark and see if I can identify the nice red live vein by using a wire brush, but I'm uncertain about what it will look like, what colour it will be and how this will compare to the dead areas. I'm uncertain about exactly how much I need to scrub off. I want to avoid brushing off alive parts of the tree in my efforts to find them, so any guidance you can provide will be much appreciated.

The tree is currently about a meter high and has a trunk diameter of about 12cms at the base. All the growth is at the top, so it's going to be either radical bending or Shimpaku graft practice that will make something of the tree.

I don't have a photo of the tree here now, but can post if it will be of any benefit.

Thanks,

Andrew

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Re: Identifying Juniper live veins

Post  marcus watts on Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:50 pm

hi Andrew,

if the juniper has bark 'all the way round' it will not have dead areas and defined live veins yet but it will be like a normal tree. Under the weathered grey bark everything will be reddish brown and under this bark will be living cambium so you dont want to start scrubbing and scraping at random.

a true weathered yamadori has a section that gets battered by the wind, ice, sand etc and this will be the deadwood areas while in the lee side from the weather the narrow living veins become defined & swollen. In created bonsai terms the path from a main root is traced directly to the main branch above it - imagine there is a drinking straw connecting the root and branch following the curves, twists and turns of the trunk. When you find one of these paths it MAY be slightly fatter than the section of trunk either side but not always so. Either side of the 'path' the bark can be carved away leaving the important living strip intact. Over the years the vein can be carved narrower and it will swell away from the dead trunk more and more as the foliage increases.

most important is to trace all the veins supplying the main branches that you want to keep in the design before carving anything away so you need a clear plan before starting.

some pics of your tree may help

here are a few pics of veins on a couple of my trees

this is now well defined - it is most likely a created live vein done very well many years ago in japan


this is a true yamadori from the Italian alps (as yet unstyled) and the live vein is tucked away under the centuries of deadwood - it is the lowest section of shaggy bark, furthest away from the intense weathering


this one is a proper japanese yamadori where again the live vein is tucked away in the sheltered area under the trunk


cheers Marcus




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Re: Identifying Juniper live veins

Post  leatherback on Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:38 pm

Hi Marcus
That is a nice long overview of live veigns. One thing I have been hearing about fairly regularly is the ability of Juniperus to move the live veigns. In other words: One could create a spiralling veign by trimming bark away in spirals, over time. WOuld you agree with this? And if so, are there specific junipers for which this works?

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Re: Identifying Juniper live veins

Post  marcus watts on Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:58 pm

leatherback wrote:Hi Marcus
That is a nice long overview of live veigns. One thing I have been hearing about fairly regularly is the ability of Juniperus to move the live veigns. In other words: One could create a spiralling veign by trimming bark away in spirals, over time. WOuld you agree with this? And if so, are there specific junipers for which this works?

hi,

that is the opposite to what i have been told and taught. I believe juniper sap flow is mostly direct from root to branch so cutting through or snapping off the supply section of the cambium leaves a high probability off the branch above severly weakening or dying. This is why it is important to closely study the trunk before cutting into the bark to trace the routes. There is a far more gentle way to create a spiral live vein by slowly encouraging the sap to a new route though and that is to wind several tight wires up the trunk and let them cut in - this is a safer slow process rather than instantly cutting off the sap flow by carving, and this is the method used on the trunks and branches to commercially make the popular corkscrew junipers

Pine sap flow is totally multi directional though - you can snap more than half a pine branch or trunk and the sap will re-route to the intact area then back to the branches that require it.

i think if you let certain branches grow freely you can increase the size of live veins that supply them before carving the rest of the trunk - that is the safest route to take when possible.

cheers Marcus

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Re: Identifying Juniper live veins

Post  Ashiod on Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:03 am

Very informative. Answered a few questions I had planned to ask in the future regarding live veins(particularly the corkscrew idea). Slightly jealous of your tree collected in the Italian alps, looks like it will be a lot of work and yield something interesting Very Happy .

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Re: Identifying Juniper live veins

Post  Andrew Legg on Wed Nov 28, 2012 7:29 am

Marcus,

Thank you for your comprehensive response. I'm going to have another look at the tree with this in mind. I'll take a few photos and post them up when I find my battery charger for my camera.

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: Identifying Juniper live veins

Post  Sakaki on Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:11 am

Well explained...
I would ask a similar question in a few months, but got the answer before asking Smile
Thanks marcus!
Taner

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Re: Identifying Juniper live veins

Post  leatherback on Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:47 am

marcus watts wrote:
that is the opposite to what i have been told and taught. I believe juniper sap flow is mostly direct from root to branch so cutting through or snapping off the supply section of the cambium leaves a high probability off the branch above severly weakening or dying.

Thanks, that supports my suspicion & 'gut feeling'. Might grab a cheep garden-variety mugo and try what happens there when doing some annual peeling Wink

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Re: Identifying Juniper live veins

Post  Sakaki on Wed Nov 28, 2012 10:46 am

Sakaki wrote:Well explained...
I would ask a similar question in a few months, but got the answer before asking Smile
Thanks marcus!
Taner

Marcus, may I also add/ask that: when peeling a string of outer grey bark by pulling it from one end upwards or downwards, is the path that bark string being peeled follows also the path where cambium containing living veins also follows?

Taner

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Re: Identifying Juniper live veins

Post  Fore on Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:41 pm

marcus watts wrote:
leatherback wrote:Hi Marcus
That is a nice long overview of live veigns. One thing I have been hearing about fairly regularly is the ability of Juniperus to move the live veigns. In other words: One could create a spiralling veign by trimming bark away in spirals, over time. WOuld you agree with this? And if so, are there specific junipers for which this works?

hi,

that is the opposite to what i have been told and taught. I believe juniper sap flow is mostly direct from root to branch so cutting through or snapping off the supply section of the cambium leaves a high probability off the branch above severly weakening or dying. This is why it is important to closely study the trunk before cutting into the bark to trace the routes. There is a far more gentle way to create a spiral live vein by slowly encouraging the sap to a new route though and that is to wind several tight wires up the trunk and let them cut in - this is a safer slow process rather than instantly cutting off the sap flow by carving, and this is the method used on the trunks and branches to commercially make the popular corkscrew junipers

Pine sap flow is totally multi directional though - you can snap more than half a pine branch or trunk and the sap will re-route to the intact area then back to the branches that require it.

i think if you let certain branches grow freely you can increase the size of live veins that supply them before carving the rest of the trunk - that is the safest route to take when possible.

cheers Marcus

Does the wire stay in permanently Marcus? And good question Sakaki

Fore
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Re: Identifying Juniper live veins

Post  Jkd2572 on Thu Nov 29, 2012 2:31 am

I'm trying something on a juniper with no dead wood. I cut oval circles out of the live wood all over. I'm then going to make them larger every year. The live veins then grow thicker were I have not cut oval circles out of them. I saw this done with great success. In another forum. So far the tree has remained very healthy.

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Re: Identifying Juniper live veins

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