Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Shimpaku Juniper Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: GBHunter on December 31, 2012, 08:56 AM

Title: trunk
Post by: GBHunter on December 31, 2012, 08:56 AM
I have a shimpaku juniper but the trunk is very thin. It currently resides outside in the snow. Its planted in a 5gallon container. How long does in usually take to fatten up the trunk? I have only done bonsai for 1 year and so far much of my attempts have been failures. I did belong to a local club but the members were never willing to help, all they would do is point out all the negatives but never give advice on how to avoid it or fix it.
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: John Kirby on December 31, 2012, 10:52 AM
Where are you located? Generally. Shimpaku don't grow like weeds, but they can be made to grow well.
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: GBHunter on December 31, 2012, 10:57 AM
I'm in southern Michigan
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: boon on December 31, 2012, 12:10 PM
trunk is the soul of bonsai,  for shimpaku, you will need curve first.  bend and twist then let it grow.  use 2 aluminum wire.  it will give you more support.  aluminum wire will allow you to do more bend when training.  for styling and refining, use anneal copper wire.
root is the most important organ for bonsai,  without strong, healthy root,  your bonsai will not grow.  tree will get weak and die without good root.
leaves or foliage will produce food and keep the tree strong.  when you want thick trunk do not pinch or prune.  feed and let grow.
when you have refined tree then learn how and when to pinch. clean old needles, and cut back.
have fun growing bonsai.
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: GBHunter on December 31, 2012, 01:27 PM
Darn, the tree is about a foot tall and is not twisted. Is there a way repair this or perhaps cut off the trunk and use a branch as a new trunk. Illl post a pic when i can. I got this tree from a friend so I'm not sure if its good material or not.
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: boon on December 31, 2012, 01:47 PM
the best is to start from 1-2 year old  rooted cuttings then wire and twist them in late winter.  then grow in clay pot or in the ground.

do not try to fix bad tree. you will waste more time.  it can be a pretty tree with bad trunk.  does it consider 'pretty bad' lol
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: GBHunter on December 31, 2012, 02:43 PM
With the smaller trees what are we talking time wise?
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: paulpash on December 31, 2012, 02:54 PM
Hi GB. Why not take cuttings / air layering of the whip and do this? :

http://bonsainut.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-4767.html (http://bonsainut.com/forums/archive/index.php/t-4767.html)

If you are growing your own material you need to make sure that you keep & gross grow ALL the low branches as close to soil level as you can... so bend and create lots of movement in the main trunk and leave another main branch close to soil level that will help to thicken your main trunk and DO NOT PRUNE IT. More leaf volume = greater thickening. This means that you get a big base then remove or jin the sacrifice branch down low... just make sure it doesn't shade your main trunk.

I did this a few years ago and just left the sacrifice branch ... now i wire / bend that the sacrifice and air layer it rather than just prune it away once it has done it's job.
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: paulpash on December 31, 2012, 02:58 PM
With the smaller trees what are we talking time wise?

That depends on the size of the tree you want, your patience & growing conditions. I don't think Michigan has a really long growing season so it might take a while. Mine has been in the ground 3 years and is now racing away. I am planning on the tree being around 12 " in height.
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: Yenling83 on December 31, 2012, 03:09 PM
With the smaller trees what are we talking time wise?

Here's a great example of what Boon is talking about.  This tree was grown in the U.S. and is owned by a forum member John Kirby.  The tree was wired as a young whip and planted in the ground for around 14 yrs before being dug(if my memory is correct).  Of course you could grow something for say 5-10 years a still have a decent tree, just not as thick of a trunk.  Also, the variety of juniper you grow will affect the growth rate as well as fertilization, amount of sun light, and soil type.   

http://bonsaistudygroup.com/shimpaku-juniper-discussion/jim-gremel's-shimpaku/ (http://bonsaistudygroup.com/shimpaku-juniper-discussion/jim-gremel's-shimpaku/)

In Taiwan there was a grower who grew very large junipers using a similar method of wiring crazy movement into trunks and letting them grow out for a long time making very large trees-I heard somewhere around 40-50 years.  But that could not be true.  I also heard he made tons of money off these trees.  Here's a link to a great artist in Taiwan who has worked on and refined these trees. 

http://www.sidiao.com/index_e.htm (http://www.sidiao.com/index_e.htm)
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: GBHunter on December 31, 2012, 04:25 PM
Is this something that can be learned or are some people just not able to do bonsai? I can't see the finished product. I can't imagine it. I have done this for a year and still can't see anything when I look at a tree. This bugs the crap out of me.
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: boon on December 31, 2012, 04:40 PM
Is this something that can be learned or are some people just not able to do bonsai? I can't see the finished product. I can't imagine it. I have done this for a year and still can't see anything when I look at a tree. This bugs the crap out of me.

Yes, you can learn this.  Some faster some slower. You need to find a good source of info.
You need to grow the trunk that has curve, twist and taper. For now just put curve and twist. Find a few trees you like and then copy the curve and twist on the trunk. Then let them grow. Post the picture next year then we can discuss about it
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: GBHunter on December 31, 2012, 04:45 PM
Thanks
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: Don Dunn on December 31, 2012, 07:54 PM
GBHunter
I am new to Bonsai also and I know what you are talking about. It seems to me that there is a hole in the information for beginners. There is tons of information about reshaping or maintenance type work on Bonsai, If I need to find out about ramification or nebari or something like that there is plenty of information. The problem is where do you start, a little plant they sell at the drug store, that's no good. You can get a gallon pot at Home Depot wire the trunk try to pick your primary and secondary branches on around and work your way up. Wire the branches to get some shape, round the top and point the branches down to make it appear  older. If you get all that correct then you are still probably 10 years away from a good Bonsai. I am almost 60 years old I could be dead before that. If you start with a 5 gallon pot the the lowest branches are usually to high. I can't afford to pay $500 dollars to get something from a Bonsai nursery. I can't afford to pay thousands of dollars to learn from the greats like Boon or Ryan Neil or move to Japan. Bonsai is not a cheap hobby so it's hard to do on a budget. Maybe somewhere you can find an article that will take you from beginning to pre bonsai, I haven't found a good one yet. That is why I am trying to learn air layering, then I can start with a good size trunk. I am fortunate enough to have a large supply of plants in my yard to dig or air layer. If you don't have that option maybe your family or friends would let you do some experiments in there garden. I know that Bonsai is a slow Methodical  art  that requires a lot of patience. However it is a little embarrassing to show some one your little pathetic plant and ask what you need to do next. You just  hope they understand and remember what it was like for them when they were just starting out. I am thankful for this forum and these kind and understanding people that have been willing to help me along so far. We just love plants and love the thought of being able to manipulate a tree into a beautiful Bonsai.
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: MatsuBonsai on December 31, 2012, 07:58 PM
Is this something that can be learned or are some people just not able to do bonsai? ...

I think, broadly speaking, anyone can make good bonsai.  Some will find it easier to produce beautiful, even world-class bonsai.  I'm still very much relying on memory and old kokufu books, trying to mimic or interpret the better parts of trees that I've seen.  I often spend hours pouring through books looking at high quality trees.  I think exposure to really good trees helps improve your own eye.

To those new to bonsai I often recommend focusing on the horticulture (keep the tree alive) while learning the fundamentals (wiring, repotting, watering, fertilizing).  That might mean that you miss important ground work (curve and twists to young junipers, etc.), but you've learned how to keep the tree alive.  So, when it's time to apply technique that you now have mastered (hopefully), you can start over from a better starting point (new/better material).  

I've turned over my collection of trees 2 or 3 times through the years, always having learned something with the prior batch of trees, replacing the old with better trees with more potential.  If I had kept my original trees my collection would not be of the same quality that I have now.  If I had started with what I have now I'm sure I would have killed or ruined some good trees.

Don't give up on the local club yet.  Seek out those that have knowledge to share and suggest a small study group with those individuals.  I've gotten far more out of my study group that I ever have from the club, but the study group members are direct recruits from the club.
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: Don Dunn on December 31, 2012, 09:20 PM
John
I wish I had more opportunities to see good Bonsai I am excited for the next meeting so hopefully I can see and learn more from them. I can't wait for spring so I can get to some shows.  I presently spend several hours a day reading articles and watching youtube. I have watched some several times making sure I have the concept down correctly even though I don't have good trees to use those methods on. If I cram enough information into this thick head some of it is bound to stick. I am hoping to find some place where I can from time to time purchase a decent tree with out having to take a loan out. I have seen some fairly good prices on line but by the time you pay shipping you can double the price. I need local growers.
 Thanks for your input
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: MatsuBonsai on December 31, 2012, 09:28 PM
Kokufu books from eBay make great Christmas present suggestions for the family. ;)
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: nathanbs on December 31, 2012, 09:46 PM
Darn, the tree is about a foot tall and is not twisted. Is there a way repair this or perhaps cut off the trunk and use a branch as a new trunk. Illl post a pic when i can. I got this tree from a friend so I'm not sure if its good material or not.

I'm curious how thick is the trunk on your 1' tall "shimpaku" juniper?
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: GBHunter on December 31, 2012, 10:09 PM
I will let you know tomorrow once I get it out from under the snow.
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: Dan W. on January 01, 2013, 06:29 PM
GBHunter, I think Boons DVD's may help you speed up on the learning curve :)

Here is the one to start with: http://www.bonsaiboon.com/pages/shopping/shopping-101.html (http://www.bonsaiboon.com/pages/shopping/shopping-101.html)
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: GBHunter on January 02, 2013, 06:50 PM
I will be getting the DVD. The trunk is about 1/2"-3/4" thick.
Title: Re: trunk
Post by: nathanbs on January 02, 2013, 07:18 PM
you can still bend the holy heck out of it then. If you want to be on the safe side then wrap it with raffia and wind a decent amount of a good size wire snuggly around it and twist and bend and coil away. Try to model it after something you find online.