Author Topic: My Rocky Mountain Juniper  (Read 25841 times)

Dave Murphy

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My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« on: October 10, 2011, 03:14 PM »
I purchased this tree over 5 years ago as rough, unstyled collected stock.  It had an extremely one sided root system, exaggerated to a degree that many, including Walter Pall, thought the tree may never amount to descent bonsai stock (some may remember a thread about this tree on Bonsaitalk from 5 years ago).  As luck would have it, I was able to successfully re-pot into a mica pot at a Walter Pall workshop the following year and the tree has progressed nicely since then.  Here is a pic of the tree after its' first major styling, done in March of '08'.
 

Dave Murphy

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2011, 03:20 PM »
These are several other pics of the tree over the last years showing its development.  The first is from 2009 when I got it into a good bonsai pot...
 

Dave Murphy

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2011, 03:21 PM »
The second is from 2009, after my move to GA...
 

Dave Murphy

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2011, 03:24 PM »
This last one was taken in April of this year, after I wired up the secondary branching...
 

Dave Murphy

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2011, 03:51 PM »
So, one afternoon about three weeks ago, I received a call from a friend of mine from the Atlanta Bonsai Society.  We are one of the clubs that is invited every year to display some trees at the North Carolina Bonsai Expo every year.  He was hoping I would like to have one of my trees take part in the show this year.  I hadn't really been planning on it, but given the history of this tree, and the fact that Walter Pall would be the guest artist this year, I decided to bring this one.  I spent the last 3 weeks removing the wire, cleaning up the deadwood and bark, basically making the tree as show ready as I could.  Here is the tree on display during the Expo, photo courtesy of Wayne here at BSG.  I'd love comments from everyone, and then I'll let you all here the critique it received from Walter.  Have fun...
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2011, 06:08 PM »
First, I really like the tree.  I think in it's current orientation I may like to see it shortened some.  In the earlier pictures, before scrolling down, I was wondering what it would look like tilted more to the left.  It looks like you went the other direction, which seems to work, too.

Waiting to hear what others, and especially Walter, had/have to say.

Thanks for sharing.
 

John Kirby

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2011, 06:26 PM »
I remember this tree, you have done very well with it. I am impressed with the quality of foliage for a Georgia RMJ, they really tend to get leggy. Nice work. Still miss the cold?

John
 

MatsuBonsai

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2011, 06:27 PM »
That was the other question I had.... What's the secret with the foliage?  Soil?  Water?  Fertilizer?  Looks really good.
 

Dave Murphy

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2011, 06:55 PM »
I remember this tree, you have done very well with it. I am impressed with the quality of foliage for a Georgia RMJ, they really tend to get leggy. Nice work. Still miss the cold?

John
Thanks John.  I'm glad you remember this tree...that thread on Bonsaitalk really knocked the wind out of me and your advice both within that thread and via pm really helped me get through that initial rough patch. 

Walter also commented on the "healthiness" of the canopy.  In all honesty, I've been flying by the seat of my pants since moving to Georgia but have been pleasantly surprised that the tree's responce to it's change in locale.  In my estimation, the tree has continued to grow well here in GA, and without the leggy growth, which may be because it gets pinched back every 6 weeks starting in April.  It only gets between 4-5 hours of direct midday sun a day, filtered sun otherwise.  It gets full strength miracle grow and fish emulsion weekly during the growing season. 


Yes, I miss the cold and snow...no, I don't miss paying my heating oil bill or shovelling.
 

John Kirby

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2011, 10:20 PM »
Cool, you have done well. Will be fun to see it in 5 years........
 

Dave Murphy

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2011, 10:33 AM »
So, Walter's critique of the tree was brief and to the point.  His biggest issue with the tree was that the canopy in the current design was drawing the eye away from the natural deadwood.  His suggestions included reducing the apex by one half, as well as shortening/reducing the foliage on both main branches by at least 50%.  He went as far as to say that the right branch could be removed completely, which was something I had considered when initially styling the tree.  He absolutely hated the lime sulfuring I did to the deadwood (I applied lime sulfur to the deadwood 2 weeks ago mainly to blend the newly cleaned deadwood, that had previously been covered by old bark, with the old.)  He also said the current pot was too deep.  At least at this time, the current root system would not allow a more shallow pot, and I kinda like this one ;), so I'm going to keep it in this one for a while.

I do think the tree would look more powerful with a significantly smaller canopy, and I am leaning toward losing that right branch.  If the branch were to go, rotating the trunk slightly to the left would make the deadwood portion of the trunk wider, more impressive, as well as showing a larger portion of the live vein.  What do others think.  I Included an old pic from the angle I am considering.
 

Chrisl

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2011, 11:02 AM »
Dave, why do you think limiting the amount of direct sun it gets daily amounts to denser foliage?  Just curious.
 

Dave Murphy

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #12 on: October 14, 2011, 12:33 PM »
Dave, why do you think limiting the amount of direct sun it gets daily amounts to denser foliage?  Just curious.
Chris, I was merely pointing out the tree's current growing conditions.  Honestly I would expect reduced sun exposure to cause weaker, more leggy growth.  Previously, this tree was intitially in 9-10 hours of direct sunlight when I lived in MA, which is exactly what one would want for a juniper like this.  However, the house we bought in GA has a heavily wooded back yard on a steep hill which only allows for a limited amount of direct sunlight.  My initial concern was that this tree, along with my other conifers, would weaken due to the reduced sun exposure, but the fact that they are in intense midday sun for part of the day seems to have helped in that regard.  I'd prefer more morning sun but that aint gonna happen in my yard :'(...but as long as the trees do well, I can live with it.
 

Chrisl

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #13 on: October 14, 2011, 12:44 PM »
I was thinking the same, limit the sun=leggy growth.  That's why I was curious.  Interesting though how the tree has responded so well to limited, but intense sun over more sun that is less intensive....never thought of that before.  Thanks for answering Dave!
 

coh

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Re: My Rocky Mountain Juniper
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2011, 06:55 PM »
Nice looking tree with great dead wood! Can see what Walter's saying about the foliage masses, but it's hard to imagine the tree with that right branch entirely removed.

Any chance you could post 2 additional photos - (1) the tree from the current front with a plain background (the show phot has some distracting background items), and (2) a photo of the tree rotated as you're thinking. Both photos would make it easier to imagine the changes you're contemplating (and do photoshop virts as well).

Chris