Upright juniper

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Upright juniper

Post  JimLewis on Thu Aug 07, 2014 10:48 pm

This was dug from my front yard about 3 years ago.  It stands 22 inches tall from the pot rim and, as you can see is VERY slim, but it does have some taper, though it is hard to see in the photo for some reason.  I've "p-shopped" away a large sacrifice branch down low on the trunk, which seems to have been some -- but not much -- help in fattening the bottom of the tree.  There is a small, flaring root base down there, but it currently is covered.  

I'm thinking seriously of removing that uppermost heavy live branch.  It's too fat to be that high in a tree and there is so little foliage on it that it's likely to die anyway, so I might as well control its demise.  At the same time, I'd reduce the thickness of that branch and bring the shari down to the rather straight jin on the right side, taking care that I don't damage the two nice live branches as I carve past them.  What say you all?



This is Juniperus virginiana.

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  evanB on Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:32 am

I think you should keep the branch.  If possible I would shorten it some though (virt below)..  I don't know what you had in mind with the design..  But, in the wild when (for example) trees get struck by lightning their apex will die (at least) and a new apex will start sideways then straight up.  Here's a picture to explain what I'm talking about...  (Source) Just me but I'd remove the bottom left branch (virt).




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Re: Upright juniper

Post  DougB on Fri Aug 08, 2014 2:39 pm

Jim, at first thought, I would lose it. It creates uncomfortable attention to itself. But it is an interesting tree.

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  SamC on Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:19 am

I'd tend to keep it, because it IS an interesting focal point on the tree. I think it provides a unique counterpoint, small and living sinuous even, to the straight angular, almost structural deadwood.

If it dies, there is less work to do. If you change your mind, you can always remove it later.

I've seen such trees hundreds of times in nature, but very few such examples in bonsai.

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  JimLewis on Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:00 pm

Thanks, all. I think I'll keep both the upper and lower branches for the time being, the top because I think one is needed there, and I may be able to make it look smaller, and the bottom (for now) because it may contribute a bit to a bigger trunk down low. But I think it may go some time in the future.

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  bottasegreta on Sun Aug 10, 2014 3:03 pm

Any plans for improving nebari?

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  JimLewis on Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:04 pm

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when words are sent with the picture, it may pay to read them, as MY words said in first mssg there is a fairly nice base buried in the sand for now.

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  appalachianOwl on Mon Aug 11, 2014 2:16 pm

Yes Jim, that uppermost branch is the only thing I find remotely off putting about the tree. Reminds me of the Eastern North American Junipers (my new name for them haha) I see on the cliffs when kayaking the Watauga river.

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  bottasegreta on Mon Aug 11, 2014 4:52 pm

So is that a "no?" You said you pulled this tree from the ground 3 years ago, with little taper, but a nice flaring root base buried in the soil. You also have a sacrifice branch at the bottom to help thicken the base. So I'm not really clear what your plans for the nebari are. You've got the tree in a very nice pot, but it's quite small. Is this a training pot, is this a final pot? Why is the nebari buried? Are you developing it? And if so, how? Do you have a plan, a plan for developing the nebari? At this point I don't really care because you've decided to be so rude about it. In the future it may pay to read questions before condescendingly dismissing them. Maybe next time I'll post a picture of the question instead....

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  beer city snake on Mon Aug 11, 2014 6:03 pm

JimLewis wrote:They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but when words are sent with the picture, it may pay to read them, as MY words said in first mssg there is a fairly nice base buried in the sand for now.

WOW...  Rolling Eyes 

somebody swap vitriol for your vitameatavegimin ???

and this is all you really said in 1st post:
"There is a small, flaring root base down there, but it currently is covered."

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  JimLewis on Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:57 pm

I'm not sure why you are so worried about the "nebari" / base on my tree, but yes, I AM letting it grow under the soil.  I (at least) thot that was fairly clear when I indicated it was under the soil -- 'There is a small, flaring root base down there, but it currently is covered'.  It doesn't amount to a lot now, but I suspect it will -- at least a much as any juniper base.  OK?

This was just an unused pot, but I may keep it in it for a while.

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  bottasegreta on Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:27 pm

Well, I'm relatively new to bonsai, I've only been at it for a five years or so. Most of the trees I have now are superficial at best, as they are really just impatient attempts at "instant bonsai." Recently I've been working on being more patient and uncompromising about creating real quality, and as part of that I've decided to make a strong effort to learn to develop nebari, as I think it could pay dividends in the future.

I've got lots of trees that were developed from nursery material. Many have been styled as "literati" or "naturalistic" style trees, but these descriptors are just superficial, as I didn't have the patience or skill to develop the material into real quality bonsai. I am using these trees to experiment with different nebari development techniques, and am curious to see if and how much the grade of the trees will be improved. Right now I don't know if I even have the skills to perform the techniques.

So anyway, that brings us to your tree. I really like your tree, it's totally my style, and reminds me of some of the trees on my bench. I've seen tons of your posts before and knew that you are not a superficial artist, so I thought I might pick your brain a little bit. I was under the impression that a tree will develop a nebari faster with more room to grow, so I was a little confused by your pot choice. The tree was so young and you were keeping the base buried so I wondered if it was still a work in progress or maybe there was some mitigating factor that precluded any further development. Just wanted some insight.

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  rrubberbandman on Tue Aug 12, 2014 2:22 pm

Nice looking cedar!

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Upright juniper

Post  Precarious on Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:40 pm

You could jin and narrow that top living branch, but are you convinced it is on its way to dying? Assuming it is viable (I'm going to show my lack of experience here), can you keep it and grow out the lower branches to thicken them, then later prune those brances back to desired length?

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Re: Upright juniper

Post  JimLewis on Thu Aug 14, 2014 2:28 pm

To my eye, the lower branches do not need to be thickened. They are in proportion to the rest of the tree. It's that top one that is so obviously out of place. I may be able to thin it w/o killing it. And if I can't . . .

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Re: Upright juniper

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