Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Shimpaku Juniper Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Adair M on August 01, 2015, 10:15 PM

Title: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 01, 2015, 10:15 PM
I happened upon this one at Plant City Bonsai. Steve took in a collection, and this root over rock Itoigawa was part of it. Imported about 8 years ago by Brussel's, Steve bought it from Brussels, and sold it to a collector. Who, unfortunately, was ill informed about keeping Itoigawa happy.

He sheared it. Not just pinched it. Sheared.

Some gory pictures:

Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 01, 2015, 10:25 PM
Not only that, he was training it backwards. That is, he had a mudman on the tree, and I'm assuming the mudman would be on the front. Well, that side was really the back, because the apex was definitely going back from ghat angle.

So, brown tips everywhere.  Lots of juvenile foliage. Excess soil mounded up from the edge of the pot. No thinning had ever been done, at least not in six or eight years. Some ineffective aluminum wire was placed on the largest branches. But it was wired one branch at a time. No anchor. So, while it was fairly large aluminum, without an anchor, it didn't do anything.

But the rock is nice.

Here's the rock:

Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 01, 2015, 10:44 PM
Ok, so I bought it. I figure I can rehab it, take it to a couple shows, then sell it.

First step was to go in and trim out all the dead twigs on the inside of the canopy. That took several hours. Removed the aluminum wire. My hands kept brushing the top of the soil, do I swept off the excess soil. It completely filled a one quart zip lock bag!  Now that it has level soil in the pot, it already looks better.

So, I started wiring. I know the first thing to do is clean the branches removing all the weak inside stuff and downward growing stuff, but this was ALL growing either straight up or straight down. You see, it was sheared all these years trying to keep it the same size. So, the branches all crowded together. And rather than growing sideto side, they grew up/down!  So as I wired, I had to twist the branches to have them branch side to side. Which means that until I made the twist, it was difficult to figure out which side branches would be pointing down until after I made the twist.

And also, lots of the branches just exploded with many many branches from one spot. I had to thin considerably to get them down to just two branches.

Here's a picture of the excess soil, a bad tuft needing thinning, and my progress in wiring. For now, I'm just focusing on getting the wire on, and thinning as I go. Once all the wire is on, I'll come back and set branches and create individual pads.

Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: M. Frary on August 02, 2015, 08:16 AM
   Kind of like talking to yourself here Adair.
 Need to post some pictures of tumbleweeds on here.
 
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 02, 2015, 10:35 AM
Much less activity here than the Nut, for sure. But there are a few who post here and not there that i greatly respect.

Their comments are worth waiting for.

I'm wiring again this morning. And have already called Jim Gremel for a wire refill!
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Judy on August 02, 2015, 11:30 AM
Looks like a really fun project Adair.  Which cost more the tree or the wire?  :D
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 02, 2015, 03:01 PM
Lol!! The tree.

I've put a ton of 18 gauge wire on it, and I'm nearly out of 20. So I ordered more 16, 18, 20, and 22. I've never used 22, may never really need it. Maybe for guy wires. And some detail wiring.

Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: John Kirby on August 02, 2015, 07:52 PM
Bargain. I am sure that you will have long runners soon. When do you repot Junipers in your neck of the woods? February/March? I look forward to seeing this one progress, I really like Root-Over-Rock Junipers, as rare as they are. Good find.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 02, 2015, 08:20 PM
We repot Junipers feb/Mar. This one was recently reported, or do I was told. The soil looks reasonably fresh. However, assuming the previous owners repotting skills were similar to his pruning skills, I think I'd better plan on a half bare root repot next spring!

After today's work:

Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: John Kirby on August 03, 2015, 10:22 AM
time for a  mint Julep.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 03, 2015, 12:56 PM
Indeed!

Wiring, while tedious, is the easy part. The thinning... That's another story!

There's two issues here. One is no selective pruning has been done in a decade. It's been in the hands of the collector for 8 years, and prior to that in quarantine for 3. So, there are zillions of branches. I'm wiring them all for now. The second issue is the foliage. Since its been sheared, all the current foliage is on weak stems. It's been sheared, and sheared, and sheared. Sure, it has back budded, back to a crotch. And budded again at the crotch. Over and over. Many of these have 10  or more weak little stems. And I'm trying to prune them back to the strongest two. Even then, lots of them "hang".  Especially on the lower branches.

And a third issue:  all those crotch buds all competed with each other for the sun. So they arranged themselves one on top of the other. When wired down, they align in a vertical alignment. So, I have to twist them to get any kind of side-by-side arrangement.

Well, I got this partly as a learning experience!  I got my money's worth on that part!
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: bwaynef on August 03, 2015, 01:28 PM
As we learned this weekend, if you need an extra set of hands, I'm not as far away as I thought I was.

This looks like its going to be a really fun project for you ...and equally as fun for us if you'll share it with us. 

Can you go through your thought process when it comes to thinning this tree?  Pictures preferred, but I get that's a lot of work. 
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 03, 2015, 08:34 PM
My thought as I was thinning?  I'm thinking, "Geez, how could this guy go 8 years without thinning this tree?"

Ok, sorry...  (I DID think that a lot!).

I'll see if I can find that overgrown tuft, now that I've thinned it. And photograph it.

Generally, I found it easier to thin the top of the tree than the bottom. The top is stronger, has almost all mature scale foliage. The bottom is really weak, with a lot of juvenile. The catch 22 is, it produced juvenile foliage because it's weak. So, if I prune it, it weakens it more!  So, I tried to thin out the hanging foliage and leave as much as I could on the bottom. I was a lot more aggressive on the top. It's really full up there (or I should say, it WAS full) so thinning will let a lot more sun inside, and stimulate the bottom of the tree. Also, pulling the branches down opened it up. You can now "see through" the tree.

Hopefully this will all help send the juvenile foliage away!

I'm almost finished wiring. Just a little left to do in the apex. Then, I'll set pads.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Owen Reich on August 03, 2015, 09:28 PM
Where did the mud man go?!?!  Gotta create some asymmetry.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 04, 2015, 01:51 AM
Steve Cratty kept the mudman!  He had a nail glued to his bottom to keep him in place. The mudman used to hang out on the backside of the tree, under an overhang of the rock.

If I were to show this at the NC Expo show, maybe I could stick a toy Bambi there. They'd like that there!
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 04, 2015, 11:31 AM
Here it is after initial wiring. It's a lot more open. As you can see, sunlight can now penetrate to the interior. I wonder how long it's been?

I can still tweek the wiring once Gremel gets me some 20 gauge!

About the lack of assymetry:  Owen is right. The two lower left branches are half as thick as the two right ones. And they're the ones with the juvenile foliage, too. I could Jin them!  And add some shari to an otherwise plain trunk.

For now, I'll leave it alone. And let it recover.

And maybe a Frozen Martaritta! More my style than a Mint Julip.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Owen Reich on August 04, 2015, 11:41 AM
Now now, the Asheville Expo is what we make of it.  How about a redneck mudman with Rayon hat and lawn chair?

Seriously though, that event is a proving ground for novel display concepts.  Working out my display now, but here's my Virginia creeper in Hagedorn container:
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Owen Reich on August 04, 2015, 08:16 PM
Something like this might be nice:

Just a thought.  After those cut-backs, something in scale with the trunk size and height may be appealing. 
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 04, 2015, 09:03 PM
Something like that would be nice, Owen. Unfortunately, right now, there is no foliage within 4 inches of the trunk. And that's up at the apex. Down low, more like 6 to 8 inches.

It will be a while before there will be sufficient interior growth to be able cut back that far.

Now, I could bend the branches back and forth to "shorten" them, but then they would be all out of character with the trunk.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Owen Reich on August 04, 2015, 09:49 PM
Right.  I'm talking two years out.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 05, 2015, 12:07 PM
Gotcha, Owen, thanks.

Now that I've got it all wired out, you can see the branch structure when looking inside. And it's kinda like looking back in time. Kind of like an archeologist.

Looking in, most of the branches branch about 2 inches from the trunk. Then they go on a couple or 3 inches inches, then they
branch again into the multitude of crotch branches, all weak, and again about they are 2 to 3 inches long.

So, my take from this:  when the tree left Japan, the foliage was at where the first set of branching is. Closest to the trunk. Then, it sat in quarantine for three years with no maintenance. And the branches grew to where the second set of branches start. The ones with all the crotch twigs. And from there, these have elongated slowly over the past 8 years as he sheared back.

What would be interesting would be to see if I could get the canopy reduced back to the way it looked when it left Japan. Or close.

I bet that would be close to Owen's virtual.

Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: 0soyoung on August 05, 2015, 12:26 PM
Looking in, most of the branches branch about 2 inches from the trunk. Then they go on a couple or 3 inches inches, then they
branch again into the multitude of crotch branches, all weak, and again about they are 2 to 3 inches long.

So, my take from this:  when the tree left Japan, the foliage was at where the first set of branching is. Closest to the trunk. Then, it sat in quarantine for three years with no maintenance. And the branches grew to where the second set of branches start. The ones with all the crotch twigs. And from there, these have elongated slowly over the past 8 years as he sheared back.

It is too bad you don't have a pic of this.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 05, 2015, 01:02 PM
Hard to show something like that in a photo, Oso, here's the best I could do. Seeing it live, you see it better, especially when put on a turn table and turned.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: coh on August 05, 2015, 01:39 PM
I'm very much looking forward to seeing how this evolves, particularly how much backbudding occurs (and how quickly).

Chris
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: 0soyoung on August 05, 2015, 03:49 PM
I'm very much looking forward to seeing how this evolves, particularly how much backbudding occurs (and how quickly).

Chris
Me too!
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 05, 2015, 05:20 PM
Me three!

I'm thinking that more thinning is required, especially on the lowest branches. There's just a lot of redundant branches. Long spindly ones with just a tuft of weak foliage at the end. It doesn't have well structured branches 2 with left/right alternating sub branches and then tertiary branches.

I've allowed sunlight in. Now, nature needs to do her thing. And I'll continue to thin and cut back.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: John Kirby on August 09, 2015, 07:40 PM
Too many branches GrassHopper. If you pruned it like Owen Suggests, it will be in scale but without ant scale foliage as it will most likely completely revert to juvenile needle foliage. Prune it after it gets strong again. Nice tree.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Owen Reich on August 09, 2015, 09:37 PM
Right.  I'm talking two years out.


I suppose I should have written "I would cut the shimpaku back closer to this design in the coming two years once healthy". 

Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: John Kirby on August 12, 2015, 12:09 AM
Understand, most of yhe brginner lurkers won't. I like the plan.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Herman on August 12, 2015, 08:27 AM
word
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: M. Frary on August 13, 2015, 10:34 PM
Understand, most of yhe brginner lurkers won't. I like the plan.
    So why doesn't anyone explain it so the beginner lurkers can understand? And maybe not just lurk on the outside looking in.
   Or is it because you guys don't like beginners in bonsai?
    It's because of this kind of attitude to newcomers that you only have maybe 2 posts per day. And it's all just the same guys that are posting on this thread. Patting each other on the backs.
  I thought the lurker challenge was all about getting people who don't post here to do so. But this kind of thing here keeps them away.
   Word.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Herman on August 14, 2015, 07:15 AM
Helloooooo Mike :),

why all the negativity?

best regards
Herman
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 14, 2015, 02:05 PM
Mike, I just reread this thread in its entirety. Maybe because I am the author of most of the posts, it makes perfect sense to me.

I tried to show what the problems were, what I did to remedy them, and discuss what's to be done in the future.

Owen came on and offered a nice virtual, and I agreed that something like that is my long term goal, but it's going to take some time for the backbudding to occur. Kirby offered encouragement, and also agreed that more needs doing, but only after it recovers.

Now, Kirby and I have the same teacher. That teacher insists that we only "work" on material that's strong and healthy. So, we're on the same page. The things I've done so far are all intended to get it strong for the next step in the process. I want to see the tree replacing the juvenile growth with scale growth. I want to see interior back budding. I want to see runners. Before I start cutting back. Kirby is right, there are way too many redundant branches. But there's no rush to remove them.

If I missed something that newbies should know, please let me know. The purpose of this thread is to educate, not pat myself on the back. Also, if anyone has suggestions on how to improve the tree, or how I can improve my technique, I'll be happy to hear it.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: bwaynef on August 19, 2015, 04:19 PM
Understand, most of yhe brginner lurkers won't. I like the plan.
    So why doesn't anyone explain it so the beginner lurkers can understand? And maybe not just lurk on the outside looking in.
   Or is it because you guys don't like beginners in bonsai?

I'll go ahead and call it quits on anymore of this line. 

To recap: Owen said something, then decided to clarify.  Kirby, in reply to Owen's clarification, said he understood what he meant in the first post but others may not have.

What you're wanting clarification on was already clarified before Kirby pointed out (and after Owen himself realized) that it might not have been crystal clear with his first stab at an explanation.

Capisce?

All skill levels welcome. 
Leave the vitriol somewhere else. 
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: akeppler on August 19, 2015, 08:18 PM
I was looking forward to some more explaining but as usual a stake has been driven thru the heart of lively debate.

I'll check back next year,  probably same thread will be in "new posts"

 
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: M. Frary on August 19, 2015, 10:16 PM
    So...... end of discussion? That's it? Kaput. Finis.
 You explained it so no more to be said on the matter.
 Capisce!
     I'm out.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 20, 2015, 01:39 AM
Mike, do you have a specific question about the tree?

Or suggestion?

It's doing well, it will be a while before I get any significant backbudding.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: bwaynef on August 20, 2015, 09:49 AM
Oh come on!  Both of you.  I wanted to put an end to the vitriol, which was misplaced.  Not the discussion.

There is an explanation already.  If it doesn't make sense to you, ask a question about it. 
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 20, 2015, 07:44 PM
Here's a minor update on the progress of the tree. Some runners are beginning to form. I took a picture of bit of foliage where you can see where the juvenile growth is changing back to scale. It's at 5 o'clock on the photo. It's happening all over, EXCEPT up at the apex!

The apex had been sheared more than the rest of the tree. So, there's a lot more truncated tips and stems up there. Before I wired it out, it was very dense. Now, sunlight can get in, and I'm seeing backbudding on old wood up under the crown of foliage. I'm not seeing much of that in the lower portion of the tree.  
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Owen Reich on August 20, 2015, 08:18 PM
Mike, I understand your concern about beginners not understanding.  It would be great if people on here continued to provide links to other pages and blogs that explained techniques.  This has been done in the past by many, including Adair M and Bwaynef.  One issue is that not everyone agrees with the resources suggested.

Many people who post on here regularly study with Boon, so they will likely agree.  I have never studied with Boon.  My opinions are just that.  Yours are appreciated as well.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Owen Reich on August 20, 2015, 08:35 PM
https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/trimming-junipers-during-the-growing-season/ (https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/trimming-junipers-during-the-growing-season/)

Below are two projects I worked on in the past.  Both junipers below are Juniperus chinensis var sargentii (Shimpaku).  As you can see or hopefully agree with in the photo, the apex of each juniper has grown faster than the middle, and especially lower branches.   

The styling work I did was to recreate each in an image I (and my teacher) wanted.  As restyles go, lots more branch removal and heavy pruning occurred.

In the maintenance phase of working with junipers that precede major styling and also after a juniper that was restyled has "settled" from the rework, shoot thinning or in some cases, pinching will occur.  My experience is that pinching terminal foliage is best carried out the year before and year of exhibiting a juniper bonsai.  Other than that, I never do it for canopy maintenance.  If you are happy pinching your junipers, great.  I do not except at the points in styling phases I mention above.

The juniper Adair rescued had been pinched and sheared to within an inch of its life.  Restyling the juniper in a way that I suggested assumed that the tree would be healthy and growing well much like the two junipers in the "before" photos below.

The only ways I know of to revamp junipers are to graft new shoots onto existing branches or to allow the juniper to grow freely and occasionally shorten the "runner" branches to increase secondary shoot formation.

Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Herman on August 25, 2015, 07:36 AM
Hello Adair, Wayne, Owen everyone

I have a question if I may?
The buds that seem to sprout from the crotches of branches, I have in the past used these, sometimes, to replace leggy growth, but it looks untidy, do you guys ever use them to shorten leggy branches?

best regards
Herman
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: John Kirby on August 25, 2015, 07:03 PM
So, I view this site as a sort of living document. There is a huge amount of extremely useful information here. However, it is only available if you go and look for it. My assumption is that folks who want to find out more information on a specific topic will read some of the prior threads and find the common themes.

One such theme is don't do major work on weak trees, other than repotting to reinvigorate or some limited pruning to redirect energy. Owen and I were very close on how to move the tree forward. My concern was that a new person, or someone who had limited experience would attempt to prune the tree so hard now because they had seen the recommndation of Owen. A major cutback will happen, but only after the tree has recovered. I know Adair wasn't going to leap. But was concerned others would, my comment to Owen was just a cautionary one, you have to be careful when the opportunity to be taken out of context exists. Trust me it can and will happen.

Read the prior threads, with few exceptions, the logic runs throughout. If someone wants to disagree for sport, sorry I am not interested. Nice progress Adair, as they say, let it grow, let it grow, let it grow.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: DorianJF on August 26, 2015, 07:31 AM
Hey Adair.

Great purchase and I believe it is going to be a winner again very soon under your care.

I actually think you explained what you were doing nicely and I think the feedback from all is helpful and beneficial.

I personally would love to see more people on this forum but if the lurkers are not going to jump onto the forum and ask the questions, then that is the way it goes.

Keep on updating this thread.  Going to be watching.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: John Kirby on August 28, 2015, 04:19 AM
So what does a healthy Shimpaku look like? Here is a before and after of a Juniper that Mr. Akio Kondo worked on during a visit to my home this month. Notice the long and strong growth on the branch ends. Akio was pleased with this plants growth, making it easy to work on. For those who don't know Akio Kondo, he was Mr. Kamiya' first apprentice and was one of Boon's Seniors in Japan. He won the Sakufu-ten Professional Bonsai Creators Award this past year, the highest award given to a  Bonsai Professional in Japan.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: Adair M on August 28, 2015, 12:39 PM
Thanks for the kind words, John.

I'd like for this tree to grow out like yours did to regain strength.

And I like how Akio has some Jin extending beyond the canopy of your tree. That's the effect I was trying to describe with my "lightning bolt" comment.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: bwaynef on August 28, 2015, 02:34 PM
Kirby, you ought to start a thread on HOW you get your trees so healthy and strong. 
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: John Kirby on August 29, 2015, 02:57 AM
Wayne, there is no secret. You have heard it from Boon, me, Adair, John C, Owen, etc, etc, etc. Good  roots in rapidly draining soil, generous water, generous fertilizer, control fungis and pests. This tree was cut back pretty hard last year for cuttings as well.

No secrets.

John
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: bwaynef on August 30, 2015, 10:25 PM
Wayne, there is no secret. You have heard it from Boon, me, Adair, John C, Owen, etc, etc, etc. Good  roots in rapidly draining soil, generous water, generous fertilizer, control fungis and pests.
So there's hope for me stuck in the shade?
Quote
This tree was cut back pretty hard last year for cuttings as well.
Now you're just showing off.
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: John Kirby on August 31, 2015, 10:12 AM
No, not showing off, just showing how well they can grow, even in a suboptimal location like New England. But you need sun!
Title: Re: An over pinched Itoigawa
Post by: bwaynef on August 31, 2015, 04:09 PM
But you need sun!

The two tree services I called said they need >$5,000.  I've pared down my collection in the meantime. :)

And now, back to an over pinched itoigawa...