Juniper find

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Juniper find

Post  Michael Cooper on Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:00 am

Hunting around the back of  old nurseries I always dreamt of a find. Now I think I might have got one.
Four foot across weighs a hell of a lot,


and will I be able to sneak it in without my Wife noticing. And then where do I start?
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Re: Juniper find

Post  BrendanR on Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:02 pm

Hi Michael

It is in the bargain bin for a reason. It does not look to be in good health. So your only priority now must surely be to get it healthy again?

I agree that it is going to be a really great find, as the trunklines look brilliant.

I'd start by removing all the ead material from the foliage masses, and then remove any weak shoots or those that are growing in off places.

Go read this excellent blog about junipers:

http://dj-bonsai.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/thinning-wiring-and-styling-of.html

You will get an idea of what you may want to cut away in this rescue phase. Not too much, and always with a view to promoting back-budding and the survival of the lower and closest growth to the trunk. Long useless thin branches with green only at the tps are of little use. Id cut those back but leave a stub to create a shari in the future. Leave an inch or 2 but strip the bark back to the trunk.

That will hopefully allow a lot more light into the trunks. Just remember that juni's need leaves to grow - take too much off and you will slow it down.

Once it is cleaned up you may be able to slip pot it into a new container that is about the same size but that has better drainage. You must be careful not to remove much of the root mass - max 10%. If there are obviously dead roots get them off. Any super long circling roots might be worth chopping too?

Then, as you are in the UK, I'd buy some Tesco low dust cat litter and use it to fill any hollows etc when you re-pot it (or even when you put it back in that pot). If you put it into the same pot poke a load of holes in the bottom and sides. Lots of small holes all over would be the way I'd go, so that the roots can get air and to promote some new fibrous roots growing.

Then I'd spray it with a systemic insecticide, and let it stand for a few days. They I'd hit it with a good fungicide. You must spray it with a fungicide before the spring as these are at risk of getting a rust fungus from pear trees. You must buy something containing a mylcobutanil fungicide.

Then leave it to put out new growth. If it does, feed it.

Then post more pics with lots more angles etc so that you can get ideas about styling!

Good luck - I'd love to find one like that.

Cheers

Brendan


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Re: Juniper find

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:55 pm

yeah michael... if you can salvage the health, then this will be really fun material !

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Re: Juniper find

Post  Michael Cooper on Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:25 pm

Thanks Brendan I am thinking along the right lines then, I had already stopped to buy two bags of Tesco's finest on the way home, actually I always do use that. Checked out those web links,one in particular looks very helpful. Know of Bonsai4 me anyway always consulting that.
I had been wondering about making a container but your idea of adding many holes will probably do thee trick. Hadn't thought about spraying, thank you must do that.
Think it was in bargain bin because old customer used that to bring it in some long while back as part ex for garden(not bonsai related) stuff
Many thanks Brendan.
Michael
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re juniper find

Post  geoffm5eay on Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:46 pm

Michael,
looks like a nice find. Pity about the cat litter, as for sneaking it in it's a bit big but should be easy enough. Are you bringing it tonight?

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Re: Juniper find

Post  Michael Cooper on Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:52 pm

Picked up the Juniper today they kindly knocked it out of the pot and put it temporarily in a smaller one 21 inch diameter so we could get it in the car


Got it home, took it out again shook of some more rather heavy peaty compost and cut back a couple of thick 1/2 " 1" roots a couple of inches so it would settle in the pot better. Replaced it with a fair amount of it's original compost plus two whole bags of Tesco Finest Dust free and a good amount of Pine Bark


Trimmed off some obviously dead twigs and branches that were hanging on by a thread. Intend to Jin some of the old cut off branch stubs,make more drainage holes and feed with high nitrogen fertiliser fairly soon.Roots looked quite healthy and the foliage though sparse in some places and too thick in others has some healthy growth.

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re juniper find

Post  geoffm5eay on Fri Feb 17, 2017 2:48 pm

Good start Michael. To me there are two trees here, one is the one or two trunk upright and the other is a semicascade/cascade. I am not sure whih way I would go thoug without a close look.
Geoff.

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Re: Juniper find

Post  Michael Cooper on Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:44 pm

Hello Geoff. I have been cleaning loads of dead needles of today, a lot left to do, and generally tidying up, wired to strengthen a couple of weak areas. I think it is going to keep me occupied for quite a while.
The upright shape I could see as a possibility yesterday but the cascade I don't know, that branch emerges from the main trunk above ground level.
Adrian is coming over to have a session with me soon he has a good eye for things
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re juniper find

Post  geoffm5eay on Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:54 pm

Yes, as I said it is very difficult to see without being there. I do prefer the upright view, I would remover the lower branchand depending if there is nebari below the soil level I might to a jinn of it. I do tend to be a bit radical as the members of my group will testify. Adrian will put you right though,
Geoff.

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Re: Juniper find

Post  breck on Sat Feb 18, 2017 8:53 pm

looks to me as if all three trunks can be used giving you a very nice semi cascade with a powerful second line upright top, lovely material

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Re: Juniper find

Post  Michael Cooper on Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:13 pm

Thanks Geoff and Breck, thanks for your thoughts, the semi cascade was my first hope on seeing it at the nursery. At least I know it has got 'Capabilities' as Mr Brown used to say.
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Re: Juniper find

Post  Vance Wood on Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:22 pm

Very nice. Looks like Blue Star Juniper. Look forward to watching the work on it if you would be so kind as to document your efforts as you proceed.
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Re: Juniper find

Post  Michael Cooper on Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:40 pm

Thank you Vance. I certainly will it was my intention to keep a record of this project, it might even impress my Wife if she can see that I have achieved something with all the time I spend pampering my little collection. Even my Sue can see this is already more than just another twig in a pot. Smile
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Drastic pruning starts

Post  Michael Cooper on Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:07 pm

Had the help of Adrian one of our club (Taunton and Somerset B.C.) most experienced members today  and together we managed to get the tree up onto a table and look at it at a better angle.


Adrian pointed out a number of weak points that I was aware of and made various suggestions. He burrowed down to see how much trunk might be buried below ground level, there were  hardly any large roots near the surface around the outer (Left on photo) side but a very large one just below the ground under the main foliage and heavy branch side.


We decided that the long heavy branch competed with the main trunk in width dimensions and distracted from a main visual focus point of the tree. All the growth at the end of that branch was very weak so off it came leaving a stub to work on later, work then progressed in the following order.


Now standing there amid offcuts of Juniper around our ankles I was really committed, more than half the tree had gone.  We wired up one branch to start some degree of height and then I took the next two photos with Ade holding up a white screen.

After all these nerve racking decisions and work we then retired to the pub about 1oo yards away for me to recover from shock.
The following two images are my attempts to do computer visuals showing where the next cuts might possibly be.


The tree had about a 20% root pruning when I acquired it in order to get it into this pot, which is still over 20 inches in diameter, I will soon give it some fertiliser and then leave it for a fair while to recover from all todays work. Thanks Ade you are a star.
The good thing was that my dear Wife Sue who had been looking out of the window now for a month at the tree  did not throw up her hands in horror over a bonsai massacre, which I had been expecting,  but said that she could seen now that one day it will make a really good bonsai.
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Re: Juniper find

Post  Richard S on Sat Mar 18, 2017 2:13 pm

That tree was a great find! Juniper of that size don't turn up already in a nursery pot very often (although there's a few growing in local gardens that I eye up enviously whenever I pass).

That was brave cutting off the low branch/second trunk as well. I'm a bit timid when it comes to big decisions like that myself but it's often true that "less is more".

Anyhow, thanks for the update.

Regards

Richard
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Re: Juniper find

Post  Vance Wood on Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:46 pm

Michael Cooper wrote:Hunting around the back of  old nurseries I always dreamt of a find. Now I think I might have got one.
Four foot across weighs a hell of a lot,


and will I be able to sneak it in without my Wife noticing. And then where do I start?

Juniperus Squamata Blue star probably.
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Re: Juniper find

Post  Michael Cooper on Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:58 pm

Yes Vance I forgot to mention in that last posting that my assisting club member agreed your earlier suggestion that it is a Blue Star.
Regards
Michael
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Juniper phase 2

Post  Michael Cooper on Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:12 pm

Juniper Project Phase 2

It has taken a lot longer than I thought just taking out the dead needles one by one with  tweezers and I still have not finished that. However I have gone on to trim off more unwanted poor, lanky and damaged twigs and small branches and started preliminary wiring so I can see the wood for the trees so to speak.
I have removed  upward and downward growing needles growth and much of this present wiring will require improving but at least I can now see areas of foliage emerging ,it would be a help if I knew were the front was going to be.
Due to the weight I cannot lift it onto the stand we worked on when I had help last time and do not have the best eye level for seeing the composition of the trees structure without lying on the ground Smile
It is certainly proving an interesting challenge.





Never worked on a Juniper of any size before ,hope I am doing the right thing,
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Re: Juniper find

Post  bilbo on Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:35 pm

A very nice find indeed and great work on it so far.

If I could, I'd suggest caution from here.
Although it looks terrific now, remember where you found it, and the health it was in initially.
Aside from plucking dead needles, you might consider nursing it and letting it grow the rest of the summer.
If you've waited this long for a great nursery find, you wouldn't want to over stress it too much.

You no doubt know far better than me, but when I get involved in a big project, I sometimes benefit when somebody suggests I might have lost sight of the forest by focusing on the trees (pun intended).
Embarassed

Good Luck!

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Re: Juniper find

Post  Michael Cooper on Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:56 pm

Just what I was thinking Bilbo, hope I haven't gone too far. Gave it some low nitrogen a week ago going to do that fortnightly now for a while.
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Re: Juniper find

Post  augustine on Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:20 pm

I agree with Bilbo, you've done a huge amount of work on this tree. While the amount of root pruning seems reasonable a lot of foliage has been removed. A juniper's vigor comes from its foliage.

I'd leave this alone for 2 years. Watch for spider mites. They like juniper and a stressed tree draws them. Spray it with a vigorous blast from the hose a couple of times a week to keep mites at bay.

Use of seaweed emulsion/kelp meal is a good tonic.

Not criticizing. About 5 years ago I bought a chunky juniper in a 3 gallon nursery can (nice but not nice as yours) and reduced it slowly over a couple of seasons. I got impatient about 3 years ago and cut it down to size. it is fine but the growth virtually stopped and the foliage is just starting to get vigorous this season. I'm sure it's health was compromised and luck was a factor in survival. One doesn't find trees like yours everyday.

Good luck

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Progress report

Post  Michael Cooper on Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:58 pm

Touch wood all seems to be going quite well.I have fed it with High Nitrogen fertiliser , removed my initial wiring and re wired and new growth is coming on well.
Not sure how full the foliage pad should be as regards the depth of needles they are getting a bit bushy though I am thinning them out a bit.
The top is giving me some trouble there as a nasty little split just beneath the upper growth so I really should leave that for some time.
Photo background blacked out to save confusion with garden behind
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Re: Juniper find

Post  augustine on Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:50 pm

Michael,

I am glad your juniper is doing well, it looks very good.

I'm not positive what you mean by a "split." But if the branch/leader is split, you can put a drop of wood glue or superglue inside the crack and tie wire around it to press it together. Replace the wire if it starts to cut in too much.

Best,

Augustine

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Re: Juniper find

Post  Michael Cooper on Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:58 pm

Cheers |Augustine
Yes it is a vertical split where the topmost small branches(twigs) leave the trunk and that is just what I was going to do .The original wiring thee is holding it in place but when I redo that I should be able to get at it and run glue down into it.
Michael
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