Bonsai Tonight

Witnessed in a recent workshop – grafting follow-up and junipers

Posted in Bonsai Development by Jonas Dupuich on July 29, 2011

You can’t have too many branches on ume – or at least I can’t. Getting ume to ramify has proved difficult for me. I made several grafts this year and fortunately most of them took. See “Ume – cutback and grafting” for details about the grafting process. My job now is to help the scions develop. To do this, I cut back the branches onto which the scions have been grafted.

Ume - July 2011

Ume – before cutback

Ume - after cutback

Ume – after cutback

I’ve left the grafting tape in place to keep the scions secure while they are fusing. If the branches continue to grow well, I’ll remove the tape in fall.

New graft

Grafting tape holding scion in place

The following photos show the new scions and the original branches onto which they have been grafted. The new shoots look a lot like the old shoots – why have I bothered? The new shoots bear fragrant white flowers – the old shoots, double pink.

New graft

Scion on left, original branches on right

New graft

Original branch on the left, healthy scion on the right

While I worked on the ume, I noticed both large and small junipers taking shape. Jeff brought in the big juniper below for a tune up.

Big juniper

Getting the tree into place


Prostrata juniper

A much smaller juniper was showing some real progress. The shari had been added to make the trunk more interesting and the branch pads were developing well, showing off the shimpaku foliage to great effect.




Shari – note how the curves exaggerate the natural flow of the trunk

Branch pad

Branch pad showing good ramification

While I was inspecting the shimpaku, Boon called me over to witnes a sap bubble that formed where a shoot was cut on a black pine. Apparently this happens occasionally on hot days.

A bubble of sap after decandling on a warm day

Sap bubble

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6 Responses

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  1. Daniel Dolan said, on July 29, 2011 at 7:12 am


    Thanks for this most interesting post. Would love to know where you acquired your Ume. Having visited 30 Bonsai Nurseries in the past 3 years I have never even seen one in person.

    In the photo with the sap bubble….what accounts for the brown tips on the needles?

    Best regards,


  2. Fr. Tom Davis, OSA said, on July 29, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Very nice post! Thanks for sharing.
    I would love to learn how to make those twisted trunks on Shimpakus.
    Any suggestions as to where I can find some instruction regarding this process.


    Fr. Tom

  3. xwires said, on July 29, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I acquired this ume as part of a workshop many years ago. I believe the tree came from Muranaka Bonsai Nursery in Nipomo, CA.

    The brown tips on the pine needles are evidence of cut needles. This tree was likely shown at an exhibit in the past year and the long needles were trimmed to improve its appearance.

  4. xwires said, on July 30, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Hi Fr. Tom – Creating twisty shimpaku from scratch isn’t tricky: take young junipers, wire them for a year to give them some shape, then plant them in the ground until they reach the desired size. I don’t know about any articles with actual details about the process – someone else may have a suggestion.

  5. Rusty said, on July 31, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Jonas, I got an Ume from one of the Florida nurseries this spring. It is probably the most vigorous tree I have ever seen – I took it back to 4 inch shoots 3 times this year and each time it pushed 18 inches more in a matter of a month or two. It must have been on steroids.

  6. Albert W. said, on July 31, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    another great post jonas. I was going to ask if you got it from muranaka bonsai. But you already hoping by next year to tag a nice field ume.
    Lucky for me I live less then 10 miles away! By the way, have any other nice short, n fat shohins to post?

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