Costanza
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Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:57 am
Location: Ontario, Canada....eh?

Juniper: Fine up front....bare in the back

Just received a 2 yr old Needle Juniper as a gift and it's your typical "mall bonsai" kit for the beginner...perfect for me and I love it but the foliage is all on one side of the tree with very little to the back. The branches look like they had shoots coming off of them but they're all brown and dried out. I've attched a picture so you see what I mean....first thought was hardly any light was getting to the back when it was sitting in its package, but again I'm not sure. How can I get it to regenerate and get it bushier in the back (if that's at all possible) ??

[url=https://img208.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sa400001mj2.jpg][img]https://img208.imageshack.us/img208/7052/sa400001mj2.th.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://img57.imageshack.us/my.php?image=sa400015ne3.jpg][img]https://img57.imageshack.us/img57/7128/sa400015ne3.th.jpg[/img][/url]

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Gnome
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Costanza,

It doesn't look that bad, perhaps a bit bare. I think I see new growth that could fill in down the road but a two dimensional picture makes an appraisal difficult.

All trees have styling issues, or are they opportunities? I think a season of growth will open up more options than you realize. Branches can be wired into position but this is an acquired skill. This is still a young tree and if you do well with it it will eventually need a re-styling.

A few other questions come to mind though. Is the wire on the trunk really doing anything for the design? I ask because the trunk seems a little straight and the wire does not appear to be serving any purpose.

The soil appears to be rather heavy in peat as these trees often are. Are you intending to re-pot it in the spring? In the meantime be very cautious about your watering as Junipers can suffer from root rot.

And finally, Junipers are not really suited to indoor culture but at this point in the season it is probably too late to make any drastic changes. How are you managing it with regard to temperature? Also can you be a little more specific about your location?

Norm

Costanza
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Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jan 12, 2007 12:57 am
Location: Ontario, Canada....eh?

Hi Gnome,

Thanks for the quick response.

I would like to do some shaping but biting my lip at the same time...don't want to jump too quickly. As you've said I'll probably wait a year before starting to make some decisions and give it a chance to grow more. I have an idea of what I'd like to do which I attached - not incredibly ambitious but something simple yet appealing for a first tree...so I can get the hang of the care and basic maintenance.

[url=https://img206.imageshack.us/my.php?image=juniper005qa5.jpg][img]https://img206.imageshack.us/img206/246/juniper005qa5.th.jpg[/img][/url]

I agree the wire on the trunk isn't doing much....this was the best of a few attempts to wrap the trunk in order to get a bend started. I found the copper wire supplied with the kit difficult to wrap snug around the trunk with my fingers...I know there's different sizes and materials and the medieval "trunk bender"...what would you recommend?

The soil came with the kit and after reading some books once I planted it, realized that it probably wasn't the best media...since then I have really watched how much water I give it and will definitely be repotting in the spring. I got a suggested mix from a Peter Chan book for Junipers of Akadama, peat and a grit (don't recall the portions)...

I got the tree for Xmas and being in Southern Ontario, Canada our winters (while rather warm so far this year) can still get pretty cold. Didn't want to kill it right away so I'm keeping it in a window for now but will gradually move it to a more outdoor tree in the spring.

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Gnome
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Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Costanza,
I agree the wire on the trunk isn't doing much....this was the best of a few attempts to wrap the trunk in order to get a bend started. I found the copper wire supplied with the kit difficult to wrap snug around the trunk with my fingers...I know there's different sizes and materials and the medieval "trunk bender"...what would you recommend?
When wiring, the wire needs to be secured in some fashion. Sometimes this means another branch is used as an anchor point. Or the trunk is used to secure the wire that then extends up the branch. In your case the wire should extend into the soil, I can't see in your photo if it does or not.

If the wire will not hold the branch in place a wire of a larger diameter can be used. Another option is to double up the wire, placing a second wrap adjacent to the first. Finally, to exert the most holding capacity the wire should be placed in 45 degree wraps around the branch, your wiring is too close to the previous loop. Here is a link that may help:
[url]https://bonsaihunk.8m.com/Wiring.html[/url]

In all honesty, your tree has had pretty rough time of it lately. It has been uprooted, put in a box, put on a truck, kept on a store shelf for who knows how long and now potted in less than ideal soil, and a re-pot is in order in the not too distant future. I think I would leave the styling for later. Let the tree have a chance to recover from its ordeal.

Norm

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