Species Specific > North American Juniper Bonsai Discussion

RMJ Bark Cleaning?

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I read somewhere (cannot for the life of me find it again) that it's good to rub off the flaky bark on these. I am wondering if it's just for aesthetics (to show off the reddish bark underneath) or whether there is a practical reason (does it help back budding or anything else related to health?).

I am asking because the RMJ I collected this past spring is looking pretty shaggy bark-wise. I haven't done anything with it except water and feed - since it's newly collected. Just wondering if it might help the trees health to rub off the flaking bark or anything.

Thanks, Jodie

In general it's mostly done for aesthetics and to make the tree look nice.  However, it's possible insects could hide inside the bark, but not a huge concern IMO.  In general you just want to remove this outer bark no more than about once per year, and be careful when removing it so you don't damage the live vein.  

Brian Van Fleet:
Some RMJ have rougher bark than others.  I have left mine intact so far; first to help retain moisture getting it through its first year after collecting, and second, because it looks pretty cool.

It does look pretty cool, I've left it for now. It's newly collected and I feel that rubbing it might disturb things too much. And if it helps retain moisture, then all the better!

I will probably try and rub it off in the spring (if it survives) when I do some carving etc.

Ryan taught us to remove it after the trees growing actively.  I've been cleaning two rmj's lvein this summer...and I found two borers so far.  So it's a health issue.  Oh, these are 2 yrs out of the mountains.


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