A few years ago, I acquired a tall Sierra juniper with interesting deadwood along the lower trunk. I repotted the tree and let it grow freely to encourage as much root growth as possible.
The tree is now full and healthy – so much so that it’s time to thin the foliage.
After thinning dense the areas, I reduced a few branches that won’t be used in the final design.
Branch that won’t be used in the final design
After removing the foliage
Here’s the tree after cutback, thinning, and wiring the lowest branch.
After cutback – 39″
Why wire just the lowest branch? One idea for the tree’s future is to jin the upper portion of the trunk. This leaves a single branch to work with in this area, so I grafted two branches to help fill in the future silhouette.
Small shoot on a grafted branch
I placed one graft on each side of the trunk and will let them grow freely for a year or two before they are wired. Once the grafts are better established, I can reduce the foliage on the top half of the trunk to create additional deadwood features. In the meantime, I can continue to develop the lowest branch while the rest of the tree fills in.
Here’s a close-up of the lower section of the trunk.
New Podcast Episodes Available
Michael Hagedorn and I interviewed each other about our recent books for the Bonsai Wire Podcast this month.
2D vs. 3D teaching, tips for bonsai photography, and long lines at Kokufu make appearances in the episode focusing on The Little Book of Bonsai, and the Bonsai Heresy episode dives into horticultural topics investigated in the book.
Listen to both episodes on your favorite podcast player (where you can subscribe!) or at: The Bonsai Wire Podcast.
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Dane Buxbaum says
Two grafted branches – jeez, how long did that take in rehab to grab hold onto life? Also, what size were they and from where did you get them?
Jonas Dupuich says
The grafts were struck last winter and haven’t grown much at this point – it’ll take several years for them to fill in. They’re from the same tree so I can keep maintain this as a Sierra juniper.
Joe G says
Hi Jonas, thanks for another great post!
I have a shohin yamadori RMJ, with coarse foliage. The specimen is very valuable so I’m cautious about grafting.
I have success with pine bud grafts, but havent tried juniper. I’m close to Montreal Canada (loved your review of the book of the botanical garden!)
What would you suggest on timing for bud grafts and can i wrap with parafilm as opposed to bags like I would pines?
Jonas Dupuich says
Thanks, Joe! I’ve found the best luck with grafting to be late winter or early spring. The grafting texts often recommend using a host that is active and scion material that is still dormant. Parafilm or Buddy Tape are good alternatives to the bag technique. I did all of my grafting with Buddy Tape and had good success this year.