When it comes to juniper bonsai, spring is great for watering, fertilizing and letting new shoots grow freely. It’s also a good time to remove newly formed berries.
Chinese juniper grafted on California juniper – 17″
Chinese junipers, or shimpaku, can produce both male and female flowers on the same plant. The male flowers, which take the form of pollen cones, naturally dry up and fall away on their own. The female flowers can produce a berry that takes longer to mature. I pick these off when I see them.
After removing the berries
I don’t know that this makes a lot of difference, but I do know it’s a good opportunity to closely inspect the foliage for signs of weakness or infestation.
This juniper is recovering from a stressful summer a few years back so I’m letting it grow freely this year. Removing the berries is the biggest task I have lined up for the tree until it starts producing more vigorous growth.
The pollen cones dried up and fell away a few weeks ago. All that remains are the stems that support the cones. These too turn yellow and brown before falling away.
Stems that supported pollen cones
Healthy pollen cone stems
After checking the foliage and removing the berries I put the tree back on the bench.
After checking the foliage and removing the berries
When it comes to the foliage, I’m looking for shoots that extend beyond the tree’s silhouette. At this point the tree has many new shoots, but they’re growing slowly, a sign that the tree has yet to regain its full vigor.
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Michael I says
You said you were trying to regain vigor on this tree. How long do you plan on growing this tree freely? What kind of trimming would you do on this plant if any, and at what times?
Jonas Dupuich says
Great question Michael! I’ll let the tree grow freely until I see shoots/runners extending beyond the tree’s silhouette. My guess is that I can do some minor thinning of weak foliage in either fall or late winter.
Hi Jonas….i can help re-purpose those berries if you save them for me in a paper bag!… I use them in curing meats for salumi…