First Post! First Tree! First Set of Questions!

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First Post! First Tree! First Set of Questions!

Post  slash on Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:50 am

Hello everyone, looking for a bit of input on where to go with this juniper. I've researched Bonsai over the past few days before finally deciding to give it a try. This is my first attempt and I just picked up this plant earlier today. I've cleared what I believe may be called the undergrowth to give it the appearance of having a trunk, but I'm unsure what to do with the upper portion of the tree. I realize it doesn't go from nursery shrub to bonsai overnight (I wouldn't want anything to do with it if that were the case, too easy!), but I'm really not sure what to do from here. I apologize that it's a very general question, I'm going to continue researching, but figured it would be nice to have some more direct input as well.

[Several Pictures to follow]









Another question I have is related to the trunk of the plant. I don't know very much about the physiology of trees or plants in general so I'm unsure what the bumps are that are covering the trunk. Are these failed branches? Hopefully I didn't do irreparable damage to the plant by cutting them off... I am curious how some trunks look so good. Is it through age or do some just look better than others?







Compiled questions:

1: What should I do now that I believe I've taken care of the lower portion of the tree? It seems that a large chunk of the foliage at the top needs to come off, but I worry that I'm going to take 'too much' off. That's why I've left it looking like a shrub...lol
2: What are the bumps on the trunk and is it damaging to cut them off?
3: How long can I keep the tree in the nursery pot? I've read that it's fine to keep it there for a bit.

Thanks for tolerating such basic and newbie questions...any comments/advice is highly appreciated.

As a side note, I will be picking up a pair of gloves before the next major trimming of a juniper...My hand is still slightly swollen from all of the needle holes. No pain, no gain...I guess?

slash
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Re: First Post! First Tree! First Set of Questions!

Post  Marty Weiser on Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:04 am

1. You can probably cut back the top a bit. Think of the foliage like the branching on a maple, elm, or similar tree where you can see the branching. Go in and cut out the long central leader and the last couple of side shoots from the main branches. This will reduce the size and encourage additional inner growth. Next year you can do the same with smaller branches.
2. I believe those are buds that never developed into shoots. They may or may not develop. I would leave them - they add character to the trunk.
3. I like to start repotting nursery stock fairly soon after I get it. My suggestion is that you do it next spring. At that time, pull it out of the can and scrape off the surface soil using your fingers and chopstick until you find any surface roots. Cut off the bottom 1/3 of the rootball - an old serrated knife from a second hand store works great. Use the chopstick to loosen the outer inch (2.5 cm) or so of the root ball. Use a pot or box that is about 3-4 inches (7.5 - 10 cm) wider than the original rootball and about an inch deeper (you can use a slightly deeper pot and not fill it completely). Use a moderately small grained (3 - 7 mm) bonsai mix so it does not dry out too much faster than the old nursery soil. Once the roots start to fill the new soil you can start replacing the sections (1/2 if you are aggressive) of the old soil when you repot every other year.

Marty Weiser
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Re: First Post! First Tree! First Set of Questions!

Post  Jkd2572 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:44 am

Next time I would recommend removing foliage from the top down not the bottom up.

Jkd2572
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Re: First Post! First Tree! First Set of Questions!

Post  JimLewis on Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:04 pm

I've researched Bonsai over the past few days before finally deciding to give it a try.

And keep working on that research, including somewhere OTHER than the Internet which can be useful but also can be VERY harmful. I suggest the library, the book store, a local club or (if you're lucky) a nearby bonsai nursery.

It takes a bit more than "the last few days"; I started my "research" 40 years ago and I'm still at it.

One of those bottom two "V" shaped trunks probably will have to go. Eventually.

_________________
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: First Post! First Tree! First Set of Questions!

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