It’s that time again for a prune and clean up for this juniper and I like doing this work in the summer period. Originally thought to be a Needle Juniper it’s now identified as a Foemina Juniper. Here’s the tree before the work –
It’s a large tree and starting show some maturity now which is really pleasing. One thing a needle juniper will teach you is to be delicate which your handling of the bonsai or you’ll pay the price! There was a lot to clean out in the pads too as they had grown way too thick and there was no light or airflow which will result in foliage dying. Here’s the after pics –
There was quite a lot removed and the work was performed over a 3 day period.
This Large Tosho Needle Juniper Bonsai has been really well fed, given loads of sun and plenty of water with no work done since being repotted. The focus has purely been on the health and vitality of the tree. I followed the basic principle of patience…
But January 2018 is the time for the Summer maintenance which is primarily pruning to shape and removing wire as needed. Here is where the tree started before work commenced –
It looks very full and I’ve been waiting to give it a clean up for a long time now but did not want to rush the process. All good things come to those who wait.
So starting at the apex and working my way down the tree, I started cleaning up the pads. Here’s about half way from the side view –
I am really pleased at the volume of foliage this tree has now but not so keen on the sharpness of the needles. All work was performed using scissors and tweezers so it’s not so bad.
The foliage that had grown had some scale as well as needle and it was pointed out to me that it may be a Juniperus foemina. This may well be as this scale foliage has only occurred in this growing season.
And after 2 long sessions over 2 days here is the final result –
Just to see how far this tree has come, here is a photo from July 2015 showing how the tree was purchased. It just reinforces my belief that to develop good bonsai you just cannot rush the process. Correct actions taken at the right time will end in a better bonsai.
The time has come to put this Tosho Needle Juniper Bonsai into a bonsai pot for the first time. Enough time has passed since any work has been carried out and the tree is very healthy.
Obviously the first job was to remove the tree from the nursery pot. It was jammed in there nice and tight so I knew there’d be plenty of roots.
The tree is so tall and generally big that I needed to work the roots on a low barrow. First inspection of the roots showed very promising results. There were no thick roots and plenty of the fine feeder roots. I deliberately selected a first training pot that would not mean a massive reduction in the root mass to help with the transition from the plastic nursery pot. I want to minimise the shock as much as possible and this first pot is not the forever pot. Further reduction can occur at a future repotting session.
Checking for size. You can see the fine feeder roots.
The tree was then secured into the pot.
Then the mix was added and worked into the pot using a chopstick. The surface was covered with sphagnum moss and thoroughly watered. And ta-da! Done.
I’m really happy with the progress of this Tosho. The pads are starting to form on multiple levels and there is still more work to be done on the shari and deadwood but that will come. For now it’s shelter for 3-4 weeks with minimal exposure to the elements then feeding heavily.
Well it’s taken quite some time and a few blood transfusions but the initial first rough styling is done. The main task at this point is to bring down the branches which are all quite thick. So heavy copper wire and guy wires have been used. There was no need for raffia and there were no tears or breaks.
So here’s a refresher of where the tree was before any work was done.
And here it is after. There is still a very, very long way to go but it’s a great first step. The lowest right hand branch may be removed but my concern is the branch above it on the right side points to the rear of the tree so it will have to wait for the next session.
A lot of the Tosho I’ve seen have large areas of shari but I’m not sure that will be the case with this tree. I’m not ruling it out but I really like the lower trunk and the flakey bark it has developed.
Time for a rest, good feed and some recovery.
Oh, and one lesson I’ve learned with the initial styling of a Needle Juniper…wear long sleeves.
Tosho or Needle Juniper Bonsai are not very common in Australia, well not as common as they are in Japan so when I came across this one recently (July 2015) I snapped it up. It’s been field grown for 15-20 years by a bonsai professional and is in fantastic health.
Here’s how the tree was when purchased.
As it is here it stands approximately 1.3m tall from the soil surface.