Making a
Juniper Bonsai

Pruning and wiring a 20 year old Juniper

Learn how to make a Juniper bonsai tree! In this article and video we show you how to prune, wire and repot a Juniper tree of about 20 years old.

Bonsai can be created in many different ways, from seeds (which would take at least 5 years before you can start working on your tree) or buying a ready-made Bonsai in an online store. Another way is to purchase nursery stock (from a Bonsai retailer or garden center if you are lucky) that has Bonsai potential. By applying techniques like pruning, wiring and repotting you can turn that nursery stock into a nice looking Bonsai tree!

In this article we show the steps we took to make a Bonsai from a rather old Juniper Bonsai tree - with great potential and hence a price tag of around $200 USD. This tree is around 20 years old and has been prepared to be styled as a Bonsai for about 10 years already.

Make a Juniper Bonsai
This plant is a Juniper, it is about 20 years old. It’s got a nice big trunk and has been in this small container for many years already. As you can see there is a lot of long shoots, so the tree is healthy and ready to be styled today.
Make a Juniper Bonsai
The first step now is pruning and then once we’re done with pruning, some branches will be wired.
Make a Juniper Bonsai
This branch has grown too thick and will be removed. We will use younger branches instead, because these can still be bend and shaped.
Make a Juniper Bonsai
To make the tree appear a bit older, we are removing the bark off these pruned branches.
Make a Juniper Bonsai
Alright we have almost finished pruning the tree. As you can see it is much more open now, and you can see the trunkline - which is quite elegant. This is what we took off in total, which is quite a lot, but the tree is very healthy when we started with it and it is definitely able to cope with around 30% to 40% of the foliage removed.
Make a Juniper Bonsai
Before we apply the wire, we remove dangling growth and small branches that are growing downwards. This basic cleaning of the branches will make it much easier to wire the tree. Try to select pairs of branches that are more or less the same thickness, and wire these with one piece of wire.
Make a Juniper Bonsai
Start with wiring the main branches, and slowly work your way up the tree. Smaller, thinner branches, need a thinner wire as well.
Make a Juniper Bonsai
Now we prepare the pot, by covering the drainage holes with a mesh. We also attach two long wires, which will be used to anchor the tree to the pot firmly.
Make a Juniper Bonsai
This tree was growing in a partly organic soil mixture, in the future we'll slowly replace the old soil with a new, inorganic soil mixture. We also prune some of the old roots, which can be distinguished by the dark, almost black color.
Make a Juniper Bonsai
The soil mixture we use is a blend of Akadama, Lava rock and Pumice.
Make a Juniper Bonsai
Alright, we have finished styling this tree.

DIY: Making a Juniper Bonsai tree (video tutorial)

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