Zombiefreak
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Japanese Juniper (Observations)

There are it seems alot of people on here who have juniper as there first Bonsai. First and foremost juniper is an outdoor tree, unless you intend on spending lots of money and extrenous amounts of time to care for it indoors.

Outdoors only, indoors for no longer than two days for display purposes. I have had my Juniper now for several months and I want everyone to realize that any Bonsai purchased or potensai "hate this word" require a long term commitment.

My observations that I will be posting hopefully will serve to educate others on the Junipers growth,and additional conditions. All Bonsai have potential for infestation the easiest way to take care of this is basically innoculating your trees on a regular basis. How regular if you currently have an infestation follow the recommended dose on you bug killer for lack of a better word. Get bug killer that is recomended for trees, plants or any other such botanical. Read all directions carefully and start with your infestation regimen immediatley.

Now unless you have a current infestation I would say that preventative measures with bug killer about every 3 weeks to a month should keep your tree free from pests. Alright now I will get more in depth with my specific observations of Juniper.

Don't be over zealous with thinking your tree is dying. The darkened part around your trunk is probably just young wood exposed from the soil it has not yet fully matured and you will probably notice root growth from this region. The area nearest the base of the tree at the top of the soil is the area in which I am referring to. In this area on my tree I have some small but healthy rootage growing.

The Juniper as a Bonsai is recommended for beginners and I would agree with this notion. I agree with that on a whole because juniper will teach you to be and observer of nature and will teach you the basics of Bonsai horticulture without to many errors.

I want to discuss now foliar growth and "browning" Its seems that some new people may be mistaking the browning on the branch stucture as dying juniper. While not impossible this is improbable with careful observation and a set of tweezers you can remove these browning needles along the brach line what you will notice under those needles is a duplicated scale like growth which will harden and become a part of your trees branch structure.

With your tweezers I only recommend removing the brown foliar needles not the entire scale you can do this by gently pulling the needle in a backward to the scale direction this needle will then be pulled gently in a reverse forward motion this should remove that needle. Do not force it, finess is a gentle and kind way of handling this process, Juniper tend to be relatively forgiving in this manner. If indeed you do remove the whole scale plus the needle you will see green scale like bark which will later turn the shade of the bark. Do not do this in mass reductions or you may likley lose the branch or the entire tree.

Humidity is good Juniper seems to love humidity and it seems to aid very well in all areas of growth a humidity tray or twice daily misting seem to do this very well for the tree. I mist, I then have more control over how the tree recieves this moisture, as well misting will provide foliar areas with a good means to keep from drying out. Do not mist during the heat of the day with direct sun on the tree. This may cause foliar damage and browning as the tiny water droplets would magnify the sun and possibly scorch the trees foilage. If you do mist during the heat of the day I would recommend doing direct sun only about once a month that way it may help to toughen the tree up "MAY" being the key word and I would take into account the health of your tree before attempting this.

Watering Juniper about every three days seems to do ok as long as the soil that it has provided for it has good drainage. My current mix for soil is 70% coarse akadama and 30% peat and organic mix. Still continuing the tooth pick method seems to be the most beneficial. Other general juniper care direct sun for about 4-6 hours max is where I currently have my tree situated it is also not recommended to have juniper in a higly winded area as this has a tendancy of drying the tree out.

I will post more and continue with this at another time but for the moment I'm running out of dicussion topics and I will arrive at this again with a clear head and new thoughts for the furthering of this discussion.

JoeLewko
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If i may add something zombie(if you don't mind)...keep in mind that since a juniper will probably be kept outside, waterting will probably be needed more often in the heat of the summer, and less often when it gets cooler. As long as you have well draining soil, i would always keep it moist when it's extremely hot out. About winter care, i was talking to a bonsai retailer who has been in the business for 40 years, and he said as long as it doenst stay below the 20's (day and night) for a few days, it's fine outside. Otherwise, a garage would probably be the best place to keep it.

Just one point about trimming a juniper, when cutting, don't cut through the needles, cut the branch
so that you are not cutting the needles. Otherwise, the ends will turn brown, and give it a not so pleasing appearance.

Zombiefreak
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By no means is this post complete yet. Joe thats cool but from what I understand Juniper roots like to dry out to a certain degree if over watered the tree will have "wet feet" and possibility of root rot foliar misting is a better alternative because Juniper especially are prone to root rot. As far as the pinch vs prune I tend not to agree so much.

I think the biggest problem is that the whorls of leaf "needles" are are very close if you could get a super sharp super fine set of scissors you could carefully and very delicatly remove extra foilage in this manner.

Pruning, I'm glad you mentioned it because when people say prune it is being used as a generic term. Pruning for foilage cloud shape and shaping of bonsai foilage can continue through out the "growing seasons" Branch pruning should be carried out at specific times of year. This is usually done so that the tree has little stress to handle and so that you have a full seasons growth for scars to appear and wounds to heal. As far as winterizing trees there are a lot of ways to handle this what you mentioned being one. Mostly you are just trying to avoid root freeze for extended periods meaning a 3 or 4 days of continous freezing conditions, any of the books but especially Bonsai Workshop deals with a few ways to winterize your trees.

Thanks Joe for your commentery as well. Most of what I have put in this post is truly my obeservances of my tree and a handful of it is from the books but like my soil mix were probably at a 70% to 30 % mix.

Experience being first and book knowledge being second. Regardless this is all about the learning process as I have experienced it and hope to help others utilize My Japanese Juniper experiences there seems to be a huge lack of information about this sometimes scorned tree but these trees are wonderfull despite that fact. Thanks again
Z=0M8*!3

JoeLewko
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its weird, because as this is what most people think of as a bonsai, there is so little information on it. As for pruning, i use a set on bonsai shears that loook like this

https://www.bonsaiboy.com/catalog/media/a1073.jpg

they're very sharp, and a good investment.

Also, moss is great to put on the soil, because it insulates from the cold, and stops the water from evaporating too quickly, so the soil doesnt dry out as much in the intense heat. If moss is to be used, the bonsai must be watered using the soaking method, not from the top. and the moss must be kept moist, preferably using a misting system, so that it doesnt die. If it dries out, it may come back with misting. Otherwise, nature provides a ton of moss, so shortage shouldnt be a problem.

femlow
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When adding moss to a bonsai, it should never cover more than about 2/3 of the top of the soil, or should not touch more than 3 out of 4 sides. You need to be able to continue to monitor the soild. And moss, especially after it has been established in the soil, can actually pull moisture away from the tree, so you may end up needing to water more, and thats why its important that the moss not cover too much of the soil (so you can tell if it needs water more frequently). So while it can be a beautiful addition, its important to be aware of problems it can cause.

fem

JoeLewko
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i recently purchased a bonsai from the retailer at bonsaiofbrooklyn.com he has been in the business for 40 years, and all of the bonsai he sells are completely covered with moss. the soil he uses drains very well. I think it is ok to completely cover the soil with moss, as long as the soil drains well, because then the tree can be watered more frequently, without the roots rotting. Also, the soil can still be monitored, a tootpick can squeeze in where the pieces of moss come together (its impossible to get one piece over the whole pot..)or against the side of the pot, between the side and the moss. I think the benefits of the moss outweight the potential problems, as long as proper care is given.

femlow
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I'll have to disagree. The benefits of moss are not that great beyond aesthetics. Moss requires a great deal of moisture to be kept alive and healthy. Once it is established, it will pull out far more moisture than it helps keep in. When you use the toothpick method, though it is a good general test, you still aren't able to monitor the soil when it is covered by moss. The most common problem with moss is that it prevents water from reaching all of the roots, and sticking a toothpick in a few spots will not necessarily show you that. You can use the soaking method, but it will cause a great amount of mineral build-up unless you buy or make distilled water. Without distilled water, the mineral build-up caused by the soaking method will have the same effect of making it difficult for water to reach all of the roots. It will more than likely cause sections of the roots to die, which can in turn cause sections of the tree above the soil to die. It may help with cold issues during the winter, however it will also turn brown during the winter (which is far less attractive), and there are other methods of keeping your tree from freezing to death.

fem

JoeLewko
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i guess we should agree to disagree, and get back to junipers.

JoeLewko
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just a quick thought on trimming. It seems if you are cutting a woody piece of branch, use scissors, but don't cut through the needles. Otherwise, if it is new buds, just rip them off. If you want more specific details on the process, I got this info from

www.bonsaiofbrooklyn.com/tip6.html

it's tip of the week #6. I tried it and it seems to work.

On a completely unrelated note...as you can see here, everyone has a different opinion on almost everything. Find what works best for you. Don't be afraid to try new things. A juniper or ficus that are good beginer bonsai, are usually very hardy...this doesnt mean they can be neglected, but it is ok to try new things. Remember these are still full grown trees, and trees will survive given any oppurtunity they can get. If the worse happens, and a bonsai does die, think of it as a learning experience. What i am trying to say it read everything you can, take in everyones opinion, and find what works best for you and your bonsai.

Zombiefreak
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This is inline with Joe's point, as he says there are many different views or methods for doing each Maintenance task for Bonsai. The best is to become a student of nature and observe your trees carefully. IMHO if your not spending at least 1/2 hour a day obeserving then your missing the point. The idea of Bonsai is both of learning and pure satisfaction from participating in this art. Buying a tree because its "neat" the novelty soon begins to wear off unless you apply yourself to becoming a serious student of Bonsai. Then in turn it is no longer a novel idea it is pure enjoyment and commitment to a chosen art form. I myself have always been artistic, I have drawn and painted played music wrote poetry and stories, so just like crafting any of those things it all takes practice and a learning curve. Listen to nature it will speak to your subconscious and your sensibilties and guide you gently through this art form. Another thought that I have pondered is that I think most Bonsai that die soon after purchasing were probably already on there way to death before you bought them. Even with mall bonsai etc etc keen attention to details and good observation of your selection will help improve your odds of sucess with this art.

JoeLewko
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thanks zombie..thats what i was going for...i just couldnt think of the right words....i just figured id bring it up, as there seems to be a lot of different opinions on the thread...let alone the entire bonsai forum...

Sharp
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Zombiefreak wrote:This is inline with Joe's point, as he says there are many different views or methods for doing each Maintenance task for Bonsai. The best is to become a student of nature and observe your trees carefully. IMHO if your not spending at least 1/2 hour a day obeserving then your missing the point. The idea of Bonsai is both of learning and pure satisfaction from participating in this art. Buying a tree because its "neat" the novelty soon begins to wear off unless you apply yourself to becoming a serious student of Bonsai. Then in turn it is no longer a novel idea it is pure enjoyment and commitment to a chosen art form. I myself have always been artistic, I have drawn and painted played music wrote poetry and stories, so just like crafting any of those things it all takes practice and a learning curve. Listen to nature it will speak to your subconscious and your sensibilties and guide you gently through this art form. Another thought that I have pondered is that I think most Bonsai that die soon after purchasing were probably already on there way to death before you bought them. Even with mall bonsai etc etc keen attention to details and good observation of your selection will help improve your odds of sucess with this art.
A huge part of the appeal for me is the long term commitment. Sure anyone can go out and buy a really nice speciman tree, but it takes years to create one. I want to have my ficus big, not only for the artistic and beauty of it, but to enjoy the work that went into it. And i really enjoy the artistic part of it.

I know this is really nerdy but i listen to the Last Samurai soundtrack on my ipod when i either paint pics of my trees or work with them. Im nerdy, but not afraid to show it. :roll:

Zombiefreak
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:D Thats funny I listen to alot of traditional Japanese Music while working with my trees or painting. Bringing yourself into the correct frame of mind through music and maybe even meditation is probably a good thing. Everything the Japanese do they do as an art form. That conotation brings with it the higher intellect that we should all strive to bring into every aspect of our everyday lives. I am absolutely obsessed with Japanese Culture especially the Samurai. I play Shogi as well and lots of other studies in Japanese Culture Shogi is Japanese Chess it is far cooler and alot more active than western chess, the game is purely excellent.The only reason I haven't mentioned this stuff before is because this is a Bonsai sight.

JoeLewko
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Well it's bonsai related in that you're in a japanese state of mind...and thats good, because the japanese really contributed the most to bonsai...

Zombiefreak
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I recently removed some candles on my japanese juniper a key thing that I did before cutting the candles was to mist the tree pre cut then cut off the candles and mist again this reduced the chances of the cuts turning brown, it turned a light yellow instead but in terms of being able to notice it is harder to notice than if the candle cut had turned a nasty dark brown. Moisture is obviously helping to keep the cut candles from browning to heavily f4rom die back at the cut.

JoeLewko
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i noticed how you said you cut the needles. i found that pulling them off stops the browning further. (unless you're careful not to cut through any needles, then cutting works too). The only part that gets sort of brown is the stem. I also remove any needles that die afterwards with a tweeser. I also have noticed that japanese juniper seems to be a slow grower...is this true for anyone else? or is it just me (maybe i need to fertilize...)

Zombiefreak
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Thank you for the correction, I didn't mean exactly the needles but I will try to post pictures of what I'm talikng about whne i get my new camera, Hopefully this week or next.

JoeLewko
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sounds good

llmichell
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reshaping Japanese Juniper

I have a 30 yr old Japanese Juniper that seems to have grown uncontrollably this year. I had it re-potted and reshaped with wire last year but it just seems like it got a little too ungainly. How do I reshape? Do I cut the new growth? It seems to have grown new shoots?What do I do with these?

Zombiefreak
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The unfortunate part about these Juniper is there a huge lack of information on these trees. That being said I have yet to attempt much shaping on my Japanese Juniper. I know what I want to do but I need to purchase atleast two new tools to attempt my shaping. The only thing I see as feesible is unlike leaf foilage you would possibly prune back the unwanted growth to the branch as I'm afraid that foiliar pruning incorrectly would leave browned ends on the foilage. I know there has to be a way to do that type of shaping but I'm not sure exactly how yet. just another thing for clarification when I say pruning I don't mean full on hard growth pruning. Alot of of people with pine and Juniper recommend pinching back new growth this is workable but you might have to read an article or in a book to properly understand it completely. In fact now that you mention this its makes me want to make an attempt in small scale just to see what the results would be. I will do so and get back to you on my results. This should take no more than a few days I will first need to do this then to see the results. I'll keep you posted.

llmichell
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I usually do pinch off the new growth but I was lax this yera & it seems to have sprouted new shoots. I will do some more reading bto see if I can find anything. I really should have done a better job at maintaining the shape...

JoeLewko
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well i was gone for a week, and im kind of lost in all the posts..but ill try to help.

as zombie said, you need to pinch back new growth to maintain the shape...seein as how you didn't do this this year, and you now have new shoots, you can eityher cut those with conclave branch cutters, or wire them to further shape the tree.

if you're looking to cut them back, use the cutters i mentioned before, just be careful not to cut through needles, so that the edges don't brown. If you do, cut throu them (accidentally) i find removing dead or dying needles with a tweezer works. I also remember zombie saying misting it before cutting or pinching new growth helps reduce browning.

Zombiefreak
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I think what joe has recommended will work beautifully. The only reason I didn't answer the question the same way was because I was thinking in terms of my tree which is small and only 3 vs 30 yrs old. So the scale of things is much smaller for me. I plan on getting bud cutters to remedy my situation. Concave cutters as prescribed for you should work wonderfully. Also joe mentioned that I mist before cutting, be aware that this may rust your tools if not dried and cleaned after use, I would oil them as well after cleaning.

Just another thought on tools and metal, carbon steel retains a sharper edge than stainless,generally high carbon which needs to be oiled. True 100% stainless steel is nonmagnetic. Also stainless being said doesn't mean it can't rust sometimes its only a coating, or polymer coat on tools which over time could wear off.
Image

JoeLewko
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while we're talking about tools, i found that even though i don't know the long term effects of this, alchohol removes caked on dirt that is otherwise unremovable...i made the mistake of not cleaning my bonsai scissors, and pretty soon they were so full of dirt and other...."stuff", they got dull, but simple rubbing alchohol cleaned them up really well.

Zombiefreak
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I believe I read something in a book about that exact thing I would still also coat my tools with oil just to be on the safe side though.
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ynot
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There is an unbelievable amount of erroneous information being dispersed here as fact!... BUT, I only have a bit of time here so:
The unfortunate part about these Juniper is there a huge lack of information on these trees.
'Eh?...No there isn't....There is literally absolutely tons of info on junis out there.
Zombiefreak wrote:The only thing I see as feesible is unlike leaf foilage you would possibly prune back the unwanted growth to the branch as I'm afraid that foiliar pruning incorrectly would leave browned ends on the foilage. I know there has to be a way to do that type of shaping but I'm not sure exactly how yet.
Ok, l never prune Junipers [Foliage] with scissors/clippers THIS is what causes the browning. Use your fingers instead to pinch the new growth. [They are not candles.]
Zombiefreak wrote: Alot of of people with pine and Juniper recommend pinching back new growth this is workable but you might have to read an article or in a book to properly understand it completely.
Pines and Junipers are two entirely different animals wrt to pruning.[/quote]

Only Pines have 'candles' Junipers have juvenile foiliage that is distinctly different than mature foliage-They are not 'candles' however.

Joe, You are wrong about the moss [Period], 'Insulation' ?... :roll:

Here is a bit about The care of Junipers:
https://www.bonsai4me.com/SpeciesGuide/Juniperus.html
Joe wrote: Well it's bonsai related in that you're in a japanese state of mind...and thats good, because the japanese really contributed the most to bonsai...
Joe, The [allready ancient] Chinese art of Penjing was introduced to the Japanese during the Tang Dynasty. This then became known as 'Bonsai' in Japan.
The word 'bonsai is Japanese, The art of growing trees in pots goes beyond it's history in Japan.

ynot
Last edited by ynot on Fri Apr 06, 2007 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JoeLewko
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Joe wrote:

Well it's bonsai related in that you're in a japanese state of mind...and thats good, because the japanese really contributed the most to bonsai...

Joe, The [allready ancient] Chinese art of Penjing was introduced to the Japanese during the Tang Dynasty.

ynot
yes but they really created and advanced many of the styles we know of today.

ynot
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JoeLewko wrote:
yes but they really created and advanced many of the styles we know of today.
er...
I assure you I am not included in your version of 'we', That is revisionist history at best IMO.

The Japanese did with bonsai what they have done in many instances, Taken it and put their own stamp on it. [The auto for example]

But bonsai history goes further than that and renaming a style doesn't mean you created it. [IE}
ynot

t.akiko
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Moss w/Juniper bonsai

Hi - I just read your informative post - what if you have moss that's cracked and turning brown? Is there a way to save it? Or should I replace it? Thanks.

JoeLewko wrote:its weird, because as this is what most people think of as a bonsai, there is so little information on it. As for pruning, I use a set on bonsai shears that loook like this

https://www.bonsaiboy.com/catalog/media/a1073.jpg

they're very sharp, and a good investment.

Also, moss is great to put on the soil, because it insulates from the cold, and stops the water from evaporating too quickly, so the soil doesnt dry out as much in the intense heat. If moss is to be used, the bonsai must be watered using the soaking method, not from the top. and the moss must be kept moist, preferably using a misting system, so that it doesnt die. If it dries out, it may come back with misting. Otherwise, nature provides a ton of moss, so shortage shouldnt be a problem.

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T.
Hi - I just read your informative post - what if you have moss that's cracked and turning brown? Is there a way to save it? Or should I replace it? Thanks.

I don't really use much moss. It seems to be at odds with much of what I try to provide my trees. Moss is frequently used as decoration on trees that are being displayed.

If you consider moss temporary and decorative the real question is are your trees ready for this type of display or are they still under development?

Norm

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