Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => North American Juniper Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Dave Murphy on December 23, 2011, 07:41 AM

Title: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: Dave Murphy on December 23, 2011, 07:41 AM
I thought I would start a seperate thread on this tree.  I've owned this tree for 5 years and started styling it 4 years ago.  Here are some pictures taken in 2007.  The trunk is mostly deadwood...the living portions are comprised of 3 seperate live veins, each about 1" wide.
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: Dave Murphy on December 23, 2011, 07:52 AM
This is the tree after the first styling.  In retrospect, I should have waited another year or two before removing so much foliage.  My biggest complaint with this tree is the ropey, coarse foliage apparent in the early pictures.  I repotted the tree 2 years ago for the first time and was quite surprised to see a rather poorly developed root system.  The roots were healthy but sparse and filled less then 1/3 of the pot.  My hope is that as the root system strengthens, the tree will act less stressed and produce tighter, more mature foliage.
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: Dave Murphy on December 23, 2011, 08:00 AM
I have considered grafting this tree with shimpaku, but was talked out of it, perhaps temporarily, by Ryan Neil.  My plan is to continue styling the tree with its' own foliage while optimizing its health.  This picture was taken about 2 weeks ago, just as I began wiring...I'll update when I'm done ;).
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: bwaynef on December 23, 2011, 09:09 AM
I have considered grafting this tree with shimpaku, but was talked out of it, perhaps temporarily, by Ryan Neil.

What was it he said that convinced you?
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: Dave Murphy on December 23, 2011, 09:38 AM
Ryan believes that with proper horticulture management and pruning techniques, any Rocky Mountain Juniper can have more tight, compact, mature foliage then the typical long, floppy growth we see on collected trees.  First, the tree needs to be healthy...to be healthy, they need a good root system...to grow a good root system, they need to have enough foliage in the canopy to manufacture carbs destined to grow the roots.  Wiring out every bit of the canopy, so that each bit of foliage gets direct sunlight, is also important to maintain strength.  He also doesn't reccommend pinching tips...it results in a stressed tree that resorts to survival mechanisms that stimulates juvenile growth.  Instead, prune back within the canopy with scissors.  Finally, full sun/feed and water aggressively...repeat was necessary.
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: John Kirby on December 23, 2011, 10:07 AM
Dave,
Ryan's advice is right on, sounds like the approach of all of the Japanese trained folks for managing juniper foliage. Don't pinch until the year it will be shown, always prune to lignified tissue and feed and water heavily. Also sounds like what Walter Pall would tell you as well. I think you have shown that you can get good foliage in your climate, your approach seems to be working well. Like California junipers, my taste is for shimapku to be grafted on to these, but that is just my taste. The trees in the Rockies (like Larry Jackel's trees) have really tight and well structured foliage, I think the issue many of us have is that the growing season is just to long.
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: Dave Murphy on December 23, 2011, 11:02 AM
Thanks John.  I personally would love a tree with a trunk like this AND foliage like shimpaku...I just don't want to wait the 5-10 years it would take to replace the existing canopy.  IF I can really tighten up the foliage AND the foliage doesn't seem too susceptible to fungal disease (70F yesterday with dew point of 65F :o), I'll run with it.  If not, I will graft.

Happy Holidays,

Dave (sitting at a terminal at work :-\)
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: Dave Murphy on December 28, 2011, 11:36 AM
I thought the tree looked nice in the sun this AM so I snapped a quick picture.  Still plenty of fine wiring left to be done but no time to do it right now.
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: John Kirby on December 28, 2011, 11:51 AM
Very nice, remember, tips up, keeps em growing. I hear that all the time..... John
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: Dave Murphy on December 28, 2011, 03:50 PM
Will do John.  I'll hopefully finish wiring out the tips of the foliage over the next few weeks.
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: Dave Murphy on January 08, 2012, 12:56 PM
Done for now.  It still looks a bit unkempt but I deliberately kept alot more foliage then I might have if the root system was more vigorous.
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: John Kirby on January 08, 2012, 09:31 PM
Very nice, you are doing good work!

Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: Dave Murphy on January 09, 2012, 07:21 AM
Thanks John!
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: Chrisl on January 09, 2012, 08:33 PM
That is an excellent job wiring that tree.  It's looks so much better! 
Dave, have you considered changing the planting angle in the future?  Tilted to the left, it might add some movement into the trunk.  Though you would loose some nebari on the left side.  Not perfect either...just a thought. 

Either way Dave, this, and your other RMJ I've seen here, are fantastic trees!

Keep up the inspiring work!

Chris
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: Dave Murphy on February 19, 2013, 02:37 PM
Last spring, I spent a day with Ryan Neil.  This was one of several trees we worked on.  He suggested a slight change in planting angle, which I agreed with, so the tree was wired out and pruned with that in mind.  Extensions were cut back late last summer.  I commissioned Sara Rayner to make a square pot for the tree, and the tree was re-potted yesterday.  The canopy needs maturing, and the tree will be potted ever so slightly higher to show more nebari at the next re-potting. 
Title: Re: Another Rocky Mountain Juniper
Post by: John Kirby on February 20, 2013, 05:19 PM
Hey man, don't you know that RMJ don't grow in Georgia?