Going Old School with this Juniper

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Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  stacy allen muse on Wed Dec 05, 2012 4:13 am


Recently acquired this San Jose Juniper with the intention of using it as a wiring exercise...
How ever when the tree arrived, it soon became apparent that the tree had other plans. Smile

It has was cut from taller material to about a foot and a half tall, which then left alot of
very old amazingly thick branches at the top, of course...

At first, I thought to remove these in favor of newer, much smaller, workable
branches, seeing that I did plan on doing alot of wiring and styling of the tree.

But...

I soon began to realize that the best features of the tree needed to be kept, and that
I was going to have to change my approach and go with a more traditional style.

First pic is where it is now, second is a vert I did of where I want the tree to end up.
Obviously, needs some years of filling in, I plan on keeping the bark, not removing it
as one often does with junipers. No shari's, with only a very little carving to resolve
the stump issue.

Going Old School with this Juniper. Cool

stacy allen muse
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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  Jkd2572 on Wed Dec 05, 2012 5:03 am

Don't remove the bark on San Jose. The one I have rivals jpb.......

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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  Andrew Legg on Wed Dec 05, 2012 7:39 am

Hi Stacy,

Do you think you could add shari on that trunk to give it an appearance of more taper?

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  Vance Wood on Thu Dec 06, 2012 2:41 am

I'm hesitant to post, but I agree with Andrew. Your trunk has the tapper of a telephone pole and something has to be done to impart some sort of feature that suggests tapper. That probably means carving down a portion of the trunk from the top down and deciding on a style a little more Literatiesque and a little less classical semi formal upright. I don't think you are going to be happy with the virtual you created in the long run mostly because of the nature of the trunk, secondly because San Joses, as I have found, are slow to respond to the kind of training necessary to create the image you desire. Also the top branch on the right is going to give you a lot of trouble with proportions unless you decide to transform it into the new apex, leader, or top of the tree.

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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  marcus watts on Thu Dec 06, 2012 7:02 am

hi,

in your virt you have 'filled in' the narrow pinched trunk base to make it look similar to the trunk above. With no low branches in the area to grow as sacrifice what is actually going to make this area fatten ? i think with all the big branches near the top and the planned large increase in foliage on them the top of the trunk will fatten faster, or at the same rate, so you will never lose the inverted taper

Uncarved i think you are stuck with this trunk shape and proportion - leaning it over could hide some of the less pretty bits.

excelent practice tree though, have fun with it

cheers Marcus

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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  Vance Wood on Thu Dec 06, 2012 1:17 pm

marcus watts wrote:hi,

in your virt you have 'filled in' the narrow pinched trunk base to make it look similar to the trunk above. With no low branches in the area to grow as sacrifice what is actually going to make this area fatten ? i think with all the big branches near the top and the planned large increase in foliage on them the top of the trunk will fatten faster, or at the same rate, so you will never lose the inverted taper

Uncarved i think you are stuck with this trunk shape and proportion - leaning it over could hide some of the less pretty bits.

excelent practice tree though, have fun with it

cheers Marcus

A lot of the problems you have pointed out could be resolved by realizing, though the trunk has problems, it is still beefy enough to warrant an effort to graft in some Shimpaku scions and totally replace the San Jose growth with a more reliable form of Juniper. This mean scarping altogether any particular design plans and view this tree as an experiment in transforming difficult material into something that could be remarkable.

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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  marcus watts on Thu Dec 06, 2012 6:42 pm

hi,
i agree that changing the foliage would make life easier when it comes to creating pads that will behave better but they will still be attached to the same trunk, so only half the job has been achieved - if the tree is a practice and learning piece then enjoy it as it is - there are some pretty good san jose bonsai about, grafting shimpaku isnt the answer to everything otherwise the fantastic diversity of the juniper species becomes lost as one tree after another ends up looking the same.

i see the heavy top branch could become a dropping extension to the main trunk maybe -

cheers Marcus

edit

quick play - once you lean the trunk the narrow bit looks less of a problem



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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  Vance Wood on Fri Dec 07, 2012 12:03 am

marcus watts wrote:hi,
i agree that changing the foliage would make life easier when it comes to creating pads that will behave better but they will still be attached to the same trunk, so only half the job has been achieved - if the tree is a practice and learning piece then enjoy it as it is - there are some pretty good san jose bonsai about, grafting shimpaku isnt the answer to everything otherwise the fantastic diversity of the juniper species becomes lost as one tree after another ends up looking the same.

i see the heavy top branch could become a dropping extension to the main trunk maybe -

cheers Marcus

edit

quick play - once you lean the trunk the narrow bit looks less of a problem



This might be an option if the top branch in question were not so large and what appears to be wire scarring. This will hinder it being bent downward without breaking and the actual size of it would make proportions a problem. If it were possible to put some bends in it would increase the visual possibilities but here again we are talking about bending a branch in yet an additional angle other than down as you described, something I don't think is going to be possible, all thing visible being considered. I could be wrong and I am sure some of the artists on this site could prove that to be so if the material had enough interest on its own to make the effort worth their time. The bottom line; the trunk has enough mass that if it had some growth further down nearer the base it would be an easy decision to reduce it down, jining the top and making something really interesting out of it by totally regrowing the entire tree from some grafted stock carefully placed further down the trunk.

Vance Wood
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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  marcus watts on Fri Dec 07, 2012 7:35 am

why so obsessed with grafting? this is a chunky trunk and it will develop quite nicely as a san jose - top branches will come down easily, just cut a notch in the top, raffia the joint tightly and lever it down - by looking closely you can see it is probably not wire scarring either, to me it looks like newly applied wire. adding scions of shimpaku low down would make a different usable tree that may just have enough foliage and new branch girth in 5-6 years to have its first styling, but while the tree would be different in all honesty would it be actually better, for me no.

You will learn more about juniper care working with the original tree as you can see what conditions produce needle growth and then the care routine that makes mature scale growth dominate. To work with a scale chinensis of the shimpaku variety just go and buy one, then you will have 2 different junipers, far more rewarding and interesting in my book.

variety is the spice of life Very Happy

Marrcus

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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  JimLewis on Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:13 pm

why so obsessed with grafting?

I keep wondering that with so many trees. What do you have after you've grafted branches of x onto trunk y?

It's not even a hybrid?

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  Vance Wood on Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:30 pm

Just the arguments I guess.

I offered my advise, opinions, and possible solutions. It's up to Stacey to accept or reject it's his tree. Some of you want to bend down the very heavy top branch? Look at it, do you really think this will work or---would you do it yourself if this was your tree?

Another question seems to remain. How many really good San Jose Junipers do you see floating about in the bonsai world? Yes you can go with the tree the way it is and try to arrange the existing branches into some form of a bonsai but in the end all you really may be doing is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Most of the existing branches are too heavy or damaged to be manageable, and if they are successfully moved what will you have in the end? Five years down the road a tree that is less than what you had hoped in the beginning?

Another problem I have is with the foliage of the San Jose Juniper. The mature foliage is coarse and unpredictable, probably the main reason you don't see many mature San Jose Juniper bonsai. I await to be proved wrong on this issue---------------?

I have one other point that I think should be addressed. This site is noted for the artists who regularly post here with some of the most adventurous and wonderful transformations seen anywhere in the World, and bending down the top branch is the best we can come up with? Is there anyone who can, with a straight face, tell me that this direction is going to lead to a good bonsai? Can anyone tell me that a good bonsai can be made without doing something to reduce the mono-width nature of this trunk? While we see masterpiece bonsai being created all around us we continue to suggest local bonsai club solutions that lead to next year's raffle sale.

Personally I think something nice can be made of this tree but what has been suggested ain't it, sorry I am probably not making any friends here.

Vance Wood
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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  stacy allen muse on Sat Dec 08, 2012 5:45 am

Wanted to thank everyone for their replies.
I will keep you all updated with follow-up pics
as it progresses and the foilage begins to fill in.
Smile

stacy allen muse
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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  marcus watts on Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:45 pm

Good luck Stacy and enjoy the tree - it is a good piece of material to learn on, practice on, chop bits off and bend as far as you think possible. (the old school 'hand of buddah' style does have appeal too Very Happy). Branches / trunks beyond wrist thickness can be moved down if you want to - just remove some heart wood, wrap well to protect the remaining live vein and use a lever or turnbuckle to bring the branch down over a week or two.

Vance i think this time you could be mixing up a tree and person wanting to practice the art of bonsai to just gain experience and enjoyment with an advanced hobbyist who wants to use any and every technique to build a typical and somewhat stereotypical tree. Blinkered thinking results in believing there can be no good san jose bonsai so they must change foliage.... I feel this singular train of thought will not expand and improve American bonsai and its appretiation, it will only standardise it further.

keep us posted with the tree, and above all have fun with it

Regards Marcus




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Re: Going Old School with this Juniper

Post  Vance Wood on Sun Dec 09, 2012 10:05 pm

It will take years no matter which path is selected so we shall see in five years.

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