Species Specific > Shimpaku Juniper Bonsai Discussion

Juniper Media Blaauw


Hi All,

I’d like to share this with you.

It was around 1990 that I got the Book “Bonsai Masterclass” by Peter Chan.
I was ‘busy’ with bonsai for a couple of years already, though my efforts consisted of putting seedlings in a small pot and waiting until it becomes a Bonsai.
Needles to say….

In the book by Peter Chan there was a recipe for an “Instant Bonsai”. He showed how a JuniperusMedia Blaauw, a cultivar of Juniperus Chinensis, as purchased in the garden centre could be transformed into a Bonsai
Seeing the pics I strongly felt ‘I can do this’ so a few weeks later I had my own Juniper bonsai. I remember that it was not so easy to get the trunk straight, but I was very happy with the result.

I found two old pics, before and after.

I was taught to pinch juniper foliage. Just take a Pompon of foliage between thumb and index finger and pinch everything the same length.
So this tree became fuller and fuller with foliage, until it was only a silhouette without branches.

To change al this I decided to thin the foliage, cut some branches and thus change the tree.
This was 2008. The immediate result was the growth of very much juvenile foliage, of which a little portion is still on the tree.

The ugly base of te tree began to bother me more and more, and in 2011 I decided to ground layer it to shorten the distance to the first branche and to get rid of the ugly base with the vertical root.
I made a ringwound and covered it with sphagnum. And…. Nothing happened. Except the tree just began to look worse and worse. The foliage wasn’t green anymore and more and more tips of the shoots turned brown.

In 2012 I opened it all and made the ringwound deeper with my knobcutters. Covered it all again and waited.
During the following summer multiple root tips emerged trough the mesh. Seemed successful at last. I decided to unwrap the roots next spring but that winter the tree seemed very much stressed. It looked worse than ever. It hadn’t grown foliage all summer, and it lost a lot of foliage that winter.
So in December 2012 I decided to take of the wet wet wet sphagnum and repotted it in the pond basket it is in now. Kept it inside my house in an unheated room to protect it from freezing.

some more pics

This summer finally it decided to grow. Not only roots, but foliage also. Finally I begin to like it again. Next spring it will go into a bonsai pot. I can then remove a part of the old trunk under the new roots, that I kept on to be able to tie the tree in the pot.

So now I’m planning how to make it into a bonsai as well. I already thought of splitting the trunk to make a twin trunk tree. Or maybe shorten it drastically, leave one or two branches with foliage and make jins and shari.
Well. This is what I wanted to share with you all.
Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Dirk, excellent post. This tree has been through a lot. I think i like the tree somewhat shorter as well though I'd be inclined to keep more foliage on it. Here where I live in Canada Shimpaku seem hard to come by but a local nursery has Blaauw so I may give one a try.   Jim


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