I found this tree at a plant nursery in Stuart Fl. that is no longer in business, I
think the name was Green Please. Anyway, they had a section where they kept
their junker trees and stuff, probably between a quarter and a half acre of stuff that
bonsai nuts love to go through. I seen these green bushes six or eight feet, tied to a
post to keep them from falling. They were leggy with brown-outs and the color
was pale. When I got into them they had heavy trunks and good roots, what more
do you need. I made my choice and gave the man his money.
This tree was in a 15 or 20 gallon nursery container in Aug. 2003, it was a twin
trunk about 8’ tall. One trunk was chosen for it’s taper and the other removed, the
top and all unnecessary branches were removed. A new apex was formed by wiring
and bending up a small branch. The heavy left and right branches were left on
to keep the sap flow. They will be removed at a later time. The tree was potted in
a 18 1/2” X 14 1/2” X 5” Japanese brown unglazed pot Dec. 4, 2004.
Whenever there is an action there is a reaction. The reaction from removing the
second trunk was all the growth in the sap line on that side of the tree died as did
the roots on that side. The new apex that was brought up in the front is getting it’s
nourishment from the roots in the front of the tree.
The sap line should always be kept in mind when pruning branches from the
trunk. When cutting a heavy lower branch you must consider the effect it will
have on the roots. Going slow is always a good idea. Jin, Shari and Uro (hollows
in the trunk) are in progress. The back of this tree might be the front one day. With
bonsai things never stay the same.
Height of the tree was shortened again and a new apex was formed by bring up a
small top branch. The first branch was pretty long and leggy, fortunately a sprout
grew under the main branch about an inch from the trunk. The sprout was encouraged
to grow and at the right time the main part of the branch was cut off.
The sprout now receives all the energy from the sap flow, and grew very fast. The
tree is now left to grow, gain strength and settle in.
As you can see the first branch is growing very well. A new front branch has
started to grow just above the heavy branch on the right, so the right heavy unnecessary
branch was removed at this time. The left heavy unnecessary branch will
be removed later.
Left branch is now removed, it was left on for the front branch to get all the benefit
from the sap flow that it was drawing. The position of the tree in the pot was
moved to the right a little also. The normal maintenance for junipers was steady
being performed, pinching new buds and trimming branches to keep them compact.
I use Turface for bonsai medium, this means the tree has to depend on what I
give it to be sustained in the proper manner. My routine is; I keep trees in full sun
always. Water every day aggressively, in the summer twice a day. I water the
whole tree. The foliage, trunk, soil, pot and surrounding area. I water so that it is
pouring out of the drain holes. Junipers love water, a lot. I feed aggressively,
every week all year, one quarter strength. Feed lots of nitrogen in the growing season
for the foliage (lots of foliage means lots of roots) and lots of phosphate in the
so called non growing season to strengthen the roots. CAUTION; You must have
very well draining soil for this routine or you might loose your trees.
This is what works for me. It might not work for you. Bonsai is an art and what
one artist uses another will frown upon and possibly never even think to apply
such a radical technique. One needs to find their own niche.
Spring 2006 Fall 2006
The tree is doing well, it is ready for a major re-wiring and branch arrangement.
Oh yes the moss…. Some people like it some don’t. I could take it or leave it. It
seems to grow naturally on my trees so I leave it until it gets out of hand then I
just pull it off. But wait a minute. When I pulled it off on the right side of this juniper,
lo and behold there were hair roots growing right under the moss. So I put
the moss back and let the hair roots get a little thicker, then I removed it and covered
the roots with Turface soil. Guess what, you got it, the moss is growing back.
Comparison for size. I am 6’9” tall and weight 500 lbs.
“I am smiling”
Nov. 13 2006
Height: from the top of pot 29” high, total
height is 34”
Container: Japanese brown unglazed 18
1/2” X 14 1/2” X 5”
Style: Formal upright Eastern Red Cedar
Weight: 54 lb.
The trees autumn period of renewed root growth was very good, resulting in a
burst of new fine foliage. The amount of pinching that was needed was surprising.
You can see on the right side is where I pulled the moss and new surface roots are
growing under the new moss.
After pruning and rough wiring.
Front Right side
Back Left side
At EPCOT Back from EPCOT looking
very healthy. Needed to be
pruned to prevent apical
dominance. The top branches
needed thinning real bad.
Something went very wrong. Foliage started turning brown for apparently no reason.
I first checked for spider mites. It was clean. Then root rot. I needed to see
the roots, it was not the proper time but I had no choice but to pull the tree.
The roots were perfect.
So I started pruning the brown foliage and dead branches. Leaving the first
branch with no foliage. I knew that was the end of that branch and everything below it.
As you can see the first branch and everything below is gone. There were a few
other branches that were lost but only the branches and not any of the trunk.
When something like this happens it really takes the wind out of your sails and
knocks you back a few notches. It was like a forest fire. In fact, it was fire blight.
It begins with a browning of the tips of the leaves and spreads until it covers and
kills the tree. Prune affected area, destroy all infected parts and spray with a copper
based type of fungicide. 15 days later repeat. Newly developing needles in
the yellowish-green stage are especially susceptible (juvenile growth), while
more mature, darker green needles are not.
I now take the precaution Juvenile Mature
of spraying after heavy
Late spring of 2009
I will let the tree grow freely and get healthy before re-styling and carving of the
new dead wood. Some trees you have to keep a close eye on. The Florida Eastern
Red Cedar is one of them.