first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

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first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  remist17 on Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:42 pm

This is my first juniper I have ever done. Can you give me some suggestions on how to improve or change it.

Thanks

NEW PHOTOS BELOW

















Last edited by remist17 on Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  Orion on Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:14 pm

What do you see in it for the future? What do you want out of it? I noticed you did some cutting...don't cut anymore, leave it alone until you know the direction you wish to take the tree. Don't try to do too much too quickly. A lot of times when we get material, we go into a cutting frenzy. Your best bet is to leave as much on foliage as possible and encourage backbudding. With more on it, you'll see more options open to you, then you should start to form its direction. Wait until spring and repot it, but don't overwork the roots or it very well could die.

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  drgonzo on Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:30 pm

Stick it in the ground. Stop now and stick it in the ground, take whatever that is behind it (looks like it could be a cotoneatser) stick that in the ground too! I don't mean to be pedantic but at this point in the season its best to establish and foster the vigor of the tree and re-visit these next spring.

I'm a big stick it in the ground' kinda guy Laughing
-jay

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  drgonzo on Wed Sep 07, 2011 11:32 pm

Actually that really does look like a Cotoneaster back there, definitely don't do anything this late in the season to that tree, just stick it in the ground.

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  Curtis on Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:37 am

You probably dont want to hear this but if you cut a bunch off from the middle of the tree, you probably cut off some branches that could have been valuable to the design. Live and learn.

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  remist17 on Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:09 pm

Actually I did not cut anything off the center accept some dead. The juniper looked great at the store but it had a really bad bend which I cut off (suggestion from wife) and the middle opened up. I was hoping some of the upper branches could come down. But I will stick it in the ground until spring.... I gotta learn but this is crazy... Seems like every branch I cut is the wrong one. I hope it gets easier.

I do not really have the free time to take a 1 hour drive and then 1 hour back for regular meetings so I am trying to learn on my own...

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  coh on Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:30 pm

A few thoughts coming from a relative beginner...

1. Even if you don't have time to drive the hour "regularly", you would benefit immensely if you can manage to make it to a couple of meetings, workshops or classes. There's nothing like hands-on learning under the guidance of more experienced individuals.

2. I would advise against planting the juniper in the ground now, unless you are planning on leaving it there for a long period of time (years). Why plant it now and then dig it up in the spring? It won't gain any vigor that way, it will only stress the plant. You could bury the whole pot in the ground for winter protection, though.

3. When removing branches, you need to really think about the design - where you want to go. I think that is the toughest thing for us beginners, to see the potential/finished tree in a piece of raw material. The "paper towel" trick is very helpful - if there's a branch you're considering removing, cover it up with a towel (any kind will do, but paper are light and easy to work with) and see what the tree looks like without it. If you're really unsure, don't remove it! Wait until you are sure. Also, make sure to move all the branches around to simulate what things will look like when wired.

4. In terms of design on this tree - it looks like you've got 3 branches all coming out at one spot on the trunk - one to the left and two to the right, including one that is wired across from the left to right. That's generally a no-no and will tend to create a bulge in the trunk at that location. Probably 2 of those would best be removed. Then there's a rather straight, long trunk segment with no branches...don't know if you'll get any back budding there or if that section of trunk can be bent enough to add interest. It's hard to tell because of the busy background - best to photograph trees against a plain white or black background and from a number of sides so we can see the structure.

Chris

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  drgonzo on Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:27 pm

Hello remist17

don't worry it really does get ALOT easier in time, I used to fret over every branch, now I can move much quicker, and with more confidence you pick up speed.

as Chris said, "You could bury the whole pot in the ground for winter protection, though."

and thats one of many good Ideas he has offered you.
-Jay

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  Dave Murphy on Thu Sep 08, 2011 4:51 pm

remist17 wrote:Actually I did not cut anything off the center accept some dead. The juniper looked great at the store but it had a really bad bend which I cut off (suggestion from wife) and the middle opened up. I was hoping some of the upper branches could come down. But I will stick it in the ground until spring.... I gotta learn but this is crazy... Seems like every branch I cut is the wrong one. I hope it gets easier.

I do not really have the free time to take a 1 hour drive and then 1 hour back for regular meetings so I am trying to learn on my own...
Probably the most important thing you can do to improve your styling ability is to expose yourself to GOOD bonsai. This is best done in person, but you can see beautiful, well styled trees online here or elsewhere, in magazines, and in some books. Get the exposure wherever you can.

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  remist17 on Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:44 pm

I posted new photos. Can any one save the plant I have now or is it a loss?

I will try and get to a class, but I really do not have the means to travel a hour and half to regular meetings. I am trying to learn from sites and books.

Can anyone try and make some corrections to this one?

I will put it in the ground with the pot.
I like the towel trick... Iwill do that in the spring.
Does anyone know of a english magazine onBonsai?

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  JimLewis on Fri Sep 09, 2011 3:19 pm

There are several. I recommend Bill V's "International Bonsai."

_________________
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 juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  Orion on Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:53 pm

It's not a loss, there's almost always something to get out of it. One way to help is to see progression on others material. There are a huge number of personal websites and blogs out there from all over the world. One in particular that may be of interest is www.bonsaicafe.be. It's a collection of personal sites, some in English, some not. There are numerous other links to these sites as well; check each site out and go to their links. What you will see many times is how the artists "work" their material; many times you'll see the progressions beginning from very rough stock. It's not that you want to copy what they are doing, but you'll begin to understand how they see progression-some of the progressions are astounding-and, over time, you start to get those "aha" moments.

Another excellent source is here. Perform a search of what ever species interests you and you can see what other members are working on.

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  remist17 on Fri Sep 09, 2011 9:12 pm

Could anyone maybe recomend something for the top? I will cut some of the lowers and wiresome down. Should I cut the long branches back?

This is really a learning one so if it gets destroyed well im out 3 dollars.

Any helps or drawings would be helpfull.
I am just getting discouraged at this time.

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  Smithy on Sat Sep 10, 2011 7:55 am

Hi Remist,
If this only cost you 3dollars then you have nothing to lose ,just have some fun with it and wire up the top and see what you come up with . Its not untill you have ruined a few trees that you will get the hang of it. Everybody has had to do the same unless they have been lucky enough to have a club near by and someone to teach them from day one.
I did the same as you trying to get the hang of it from books but it was when i went to a show and finally studied the trees there in real life that i started seeing what i was trying to achieve.
My nearest club is a couple of hours a way and i try to get there a couple of times a year ,and i always learn a lot in the time i am there.
Don't get disheartened yet and keep picking up cheap material to practice on and remember to have fun . Very Happy

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  remist17 on Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:54 pm

thanks for the warm suggestion. I live with a limited bonsai budget so I can only pickup the onsale items. I am a perfectionist so its hard for me to not know what I am doing. MY wife thinks the tree looks great. well thats my wife being nice....

I will look for some more sites and photos of junipers and try and make mine as shown. Any suggestions on good wiring books?

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  Smithy on Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:49 pm

remist17 wrote:thanks for the warm suggestion. I live with a limited bonsai budget so I can only pickup the onsale items. I am a perfectionist so its hard for me to not know what I am doing. MY wife thinks the tree looks great. well thats my wife being nice....

I will look for some more sites and photos of junipers and try and make mine as shown. Any suggestions on good wiring books?

If your wife thinks your tree looks great then thats okay Very Happy she the one who is going to see it the most. My wife is my biggest critic and will soon tell me if she doesn't like what i have done. She also doesn't know any of the 'rules' and just goes by waht she likes the look of.
Keep going ,I know its frustrating at the beginning but you will look back at the pics in a year and realise how much you have come on.

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  remist17 on Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:32 pm

Can anyone tell me how far to cut the lower branches back? I was also thinking to cut the top off ?
Suggestions anyone can put in vertual for me

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Re: first juniper suggestions on how to improve?

Post  lordy on Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:09 pm

Are you anywhere near Harrisburg? Jim Doyle at Nature's Way nursery offers instruction and probably there are clubs nearby.
Regarding your question of how much to cut off, try to envision a full-grown mature evergreen. Many are much taller than wide, with branches that have a droop in them due to trying to support heavy foliage for years. That over-simplification is basically what shape I would suggest you try for. First you must wire the branches in order to train them downward, to droop if you will. Then prune the lower branches, then the ones above it get pruned even more to attain the loosely triangular shape of an ancient conifer.
As mentioned above, for the small purchase price, this is cheap education. Trial and error will show you a lot when you cannot go to have personalized instruction by someone who has done it before.

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