Are You Too Good For A Procumbens Juniper?

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Are You Too Good For A Procumbens Juniper?

Post  thomasj on Sun Mar 27, 2016 3:38 pm

I know many people shun the procumbens juniper as just a mallsai and completely overlook their potential for a nice bonsai, especially a shohin bonsai.
Three yrs ago I was given the task from Dallas Bonsai Gardens to do an article about the procumbens juniper and what could be done with them. The first pic shows what kind of material I had to work with, your basic mound type juniper. Because of this and because of my own love for cascade type bonsai, I decided to make them as such.

Now most people and especially beginners will take the longest whip from this kind of material and and wire it down and call it a finished cascade bonsai.
Not the ideal thing to do. What I did and I'm sure most experienced bonsai enthusiasts would do was look for where the best potential part of the tree was and cut back there and begin styling looking ahead and not at the present.

So now after three years here's what I saw looking into the future with a few of those procumbens as they came out exactly as planned. :-)

Before material



Pics taken today.







For me it's very easy to get scale type foliage on my procumbens, an added benefit I really enjoy. The pic below was also taken today, my first procumbens purchased 18yrs ago also a 1gal type like the recent ones. :-)


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Re: Are You Too Good For A Procumbens Juniper?

Post  Thomas Urban on Sun Mar 27, 2016 10:32 pm

Nice tree : )

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Re: Are You Too Good For A Procumbens Juniper?

Post  steveb on Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:47 am

Great transformations!  I love the last three especially.  Thanks for sharing.

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Re: Are You Too Good For A Procumbens Juniper?

Post  JimLewis on Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:32 pm

Very nice tree.  LOVELY table!

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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: Are You Too Good For A Procumbens Juniper?

Post  Leo Schordje on Fri Apr 08, 2016 6:24 pm

You make the point perfectly, procumbens is a good species for bonsai. I really like your oldest one. The first of the newer ones is a bit raw, but the rest have all the right parts, and just need time. How quickly did the foliage change over to mature? What causes the change? Is it just slower, restricted grow?

And I love your display table. Japanese import? Or USA made? and if USA made, by who?

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Re: Are You Too Good For A Procumbens Juniper?

Post  thomasj on Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:42 pm

As for the display stand, I've had it now for about 10yrs and don't remember much about it. It looks to be Japanese made and I know I bought it from someone here in the states, that's all I remember, sorry.

As for the scale like foliage it usually comes after a few years, why exactly I don't know but I am not shy about pinching my junipers to shape, but it needs to be done correctly. If not done correctly you will get dieback as the branch will be weakened. That I learned the hard way too. Sad

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Re: Are You Too Good For A Procumbens Juniper?

Post  M. Frary on Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:01 pm

Pinching? Oh my!
You know some say that's wrong.
I don't but there are some that are totally against it.
The scale foliage is the adult foliage. If you pinch or cut back too hard it will revert back.

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Re: Are You Too Good For A Procumbens Juniper?

Post  thomasj on Sat Apr 09, 2016 1:50 pm

Yeah I've been reading a lot lately about how wrong it is, never let it bother me though as the "proof is in the pudding". Very Happy

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Re: Are You Too Good For A Procumbens Juniper?

Post  Leo Schordje on Sat Apr 09, 2016 8:47 pm

M. Frary wrote:Pinching? Oh my!
You know some say that's wrong.
I don't but there are some that are totally against it.
The scale foliage is the adult foliage. If you pinch or cut back too hard it will revert back.

thomasj wrote:Yeah I've been reading a lot lately about how wrong it is, never let it bother me though as the "proof is in the pudding". Very Happy

I've been following the debate. I did kill a J. chinensis 'Blaauw' by over zealous pinching.

One factor is climate - under favorable climate, like California, some parts of Texas and other more mild regions, junipers are vigorous enough that they can deal with "pinching" and other abuses.

Second thought, one man's pinching may be quite different than another's. If done judiciously, and not pinching every single growing end, it can work out. It is a technique needed for refined trees in final preparation for a show. And there are times one might want to pinch even a younger tree. Pinching is removing new growing ends before it has had a chance to extend and harden off. Pruning allows growth to extend, harden off some, and prune back. If an area gets "pinched" only occasionally, with being allowed to grow out some years, pinched for only a season, or only once per season, you can get away with it and it can have good results.

But I am in the "great white north" as is Mike, and for us the growing season is too short for pinching to be used without stressing the tree. For northern growers, more so than southern growers, pinching is probably a bad idea most of the time.

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