The best strategy for creating junipers with interesting deadwood is to add twists to the trunk while the tree is still young.
Some people begin by twisting young whips before they add movement. The alternative is to twist the trunk while setting the initial bends. Here’s what this looks like on a rooted cutting that has been wired but not twisted.
Ready for the first twist
I start by twisting and bending the base of the trunk. Here’s the tree after creating a full revolution in the lower trunk.
One full twist
I attached a small wire to make it easy to see how many times I twisted the trunk and added another turn.
Two full twists
At this point, I’d only wired the bottom few inches of the trunk. Next came the middle and upper sections of the trunk.
Three full twists
By creating so many twists, I’ve given myself the opportunity to create interesting shari down the road that wraps around the bends of the trunk.
If you wire enough trees like this, you might notice that the movement can become repetitive or corkscrew-like. To vary the movement, you can twist the top half of the tree in the opposite direction.
Changing the spiral half-way up
Here’s what this looks like on a young juniper.
The direction of the spiral changes behind a branch
Even these cursory tips on creating twists in the trunk or branches can provide insight into how some of the most dramatic shohin junipers in Japan are created.
Shohin juniper displayed at the 2017 World Bonsai Convention in Saitama, Japan
New Episode on the Bonsai Wire Podcast
I recently talked with Andrew Robson about the creation of his bonsai garden, Rakuyo Bonsai. Andrew’s goal for Rakuyo is to create a space for the development and exploration of deciduous species as bonsai.
It was great to catch up with Andrew and learn about his plans for Rakuyo as he lays the foundation for his burgeoning collection. You can listen to the episode at Bonsaiwirepodcast.com.
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