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Sabina juniper yamadori 1 year 1 month ago #54060

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Allow me to jump in here and start a progression thread too. I hope I can get some useful comment and advise.

Some of you may remember this picture from a previous thread.

It's a plant I happily bought from Kaizen Bonsai a couple of months ago, and it will be my first "serious" attempt at styling an already mature plant.

The photo is the one from kaizen itself, it pictures the plant basically in exactly the status I received it in, and it's a much better photo than the ones I took, so I'm keeping that as the initial reference.

The first round of interventions comprised cleaning up the deadwood and the flaky bark, and performing some initial styling:

  • I brought down that long branch you can see on the right side and tried to bring it forward; the plan is, in the future, to use it to get some pads on the side while letting it elongate enough to get additional pads near the base of the trunk, close to where the deadwood section begins
    I twisted one of the branches bringing it down on the left side of the tree, as everything was growing towards the right and the result looked out of balance; I'll try to use that to build some structure on that side too
    lowered one brach towards the back, as all the foliage was on the very top of the tree and that makes it lack depth

Finally, I gently trimmed the roots and moved the tree to a better soil, as the original one was IMHO always too damp: moved it to the same mixture of akadama, pumice and lava rock I use for my other, smaller junipers. The pot is too deep for the tree (I'd go for a drum-style pot later on) but that's about the size of the rootball I left on, as I didn't want to go too aggressively with root pruning from the beginning. Next year, possibly.

This (poorly made) virtual should more or less give an idea of the shape I have in my mind.



Things that still puzzle me:
after bending in basically every possible direction, the last part of the trunk -where all the greenery originate- is just straight and, even worse basically horizontal; not sure if I should just hide that with the foliage or if I should try bending it to add some movement: my choice so far would be for the first option
those pads that my brain wants on the left look a bit too symmetric with the ones on the right; however, the room for their placement is limited. I'm confident that this is a false problem as when they've grown they'll be different enough (in size, shape, etc) that the symmetry would just not be as evident as it seems from the virtual.

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Sabina juniper yamadori 1 year 1 month ago #54062

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the bending off the left branch looks, to me, unnatural. on the first picture you can easily imagine a tree , swept by the wind and elements, it has a good flow, after the bending of the branch the tree go in all directions.
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Sabina juniper yamadori 1 year 1 month ago #54064

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This is a very nice tree, i like a lot the work you did to the trunk, the dead wood and the live vein!
I hope you manage to do the same high level work to the foliage, which look so very healthy.
Good luck to your project!
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Sabina juniper yamadori 1 year 1 month ago #54065

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FrankC wrote: the bending off the left branch looks, to me, unnatural. on the first picture you can easily imagine a tree , swept by the wind and elements, it has a good flow, after the bending of the branch the tree go in all directions.


The way it looks now, I agree; but I want to get away from the fukinagashi aspect it originally had

In particular, all the foliage is coming out of that straight piece of trunk you see on top: if you want to give it any depth you need to move those branches from right to left, and with that would be exactly in the opposite direction...

So better get away from that entirely.

What I may end up doing, tho, is tilting the tree a bit to the right; that would take away some vertical/horizontal lines while also removing that unconvincing symmetry I was pointing out.

For the next repotting tho...

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Sabina juniper yamadori 1 year 1 month ago #54070

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Admitted that this is not an easy tree to work with, I have to agree with FrankC.
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Sabina juniper yamadori 1 year 1 month ago #54071

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Auk wrote: Admitted that this is not an easy tree to work with, I have to agree with FrankC.


I don't disagree at all :-|
simply decided that I'll let it grow and see what comes out of it...

turning it into a jin is always an option...

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Sabina juniper yamadori 1 year 1 month ago #54078

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You are aiming at a way too big a crown for that trunk,
You got yourself an excellent material I think which could make for a wild looking natural literati.
Would help to see it from all sides, but here is a quick drawing of one of possibillities with foliage closer to the trunk.
I think that it would be possible to make it even now with some bends.

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Sabina juniper yamadori 1 year 1 month ago #54079

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Hi, nice work cleaning up the trunkline!

I am slightly concerned with your styling, but .. and this is why I have not responded yet, I cannot put my finger on what it is that bothers me.

you state yourself that there is a straight norizontal section in the crown. I think this might be breaking the flow of the tree. Why have you not bend it to a better shape/position? Have you not considered it? Or do you not know how to do this? I think I would have brought the branch more upwards and used the quircky trunkline to maybe make a literati out of it with long, fluid lines, and a very narrow crown. For sure, the crown is now very broad with very little trunk to support it. As such, it looks juvinle. Making the crown narrower will emphasize the trunk giving it more expression and presence.

I would have not styled the tree this way; Have you discussed your ideas with someone? I always find it helpfull to share my ideas with more complex pieces such as this with multiple people and hear their thoughts.
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Sabina juniper yamadori 1 year 1 month ago #54083

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leatherback wrote: Hi, nice work cleaning up the trunkline!

I am slightly concerned with your styling, but .. and this is why I have not responded yet, I cannot put my finger on what it is that bothers me.

you state yourself that there is a straight norizontal section in the crown. I think this might be breaking the flow of the tree. Why have you not bend it to a better shape/position? Have you not considered it? Or do you not know how to do this? I think I would have brought the branch more upwards and used the quircky trunkline to maybe make a literati out of it with long, fluid lines, and a very narrow crown. For sure, the crown is now very broad with very little trunk to support it. As such, it looks juvinle. Making the crown narrower will emphasize the trunk giving it more expression and presence.

I would have not styled the tree this way; Have you discussed your ideas with someone? I always find it helpfull to share my ideas with more complex pieces such as this with multiple people and hear their thoughts.


Thanks a lot! This is indeed the type of comments and suggestions I'm looking for, and yours is perfectly in line with Mimo's virtual, that I do find intriguing.
Hadn't discuss it with anybody yet: that was indeed the point of bringing it here.

About "how it's been styled" I went for the minimal approach possible so far: apart from a general cleanup of crotch growth and a couple of trifurcations in the fine branches, the tree is just as it came. The only "styling" so far was moving down the right branch and the one you can see guywired in the back, and try to find a position for those odd ones on the left. I did consider bending the trunk as you suggest, but I'm still not sure how I'd want it to be, and since this will be the first winter this tree will spend at my place I didn't want to do anything too drastic and leave it at least one year to adapt.

It must also be said that I do get, from the real tree, a very different vibe from what I get from any picture I took so far, and I can't find a way to make a decent photo that can transmit the way this tree "fills the space".
Hope this can do a better job at that: deghe.io/Jun.mov

My plan for now would be to just let the tree be, heavily fertilize in the next growing season and let it adapt to the local climate.
Meanwhile, collecting ideas and try to make a plan on where I can bring this.

So, please, keep going ;)

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Sabina juniper yamadori 1 week 4 days ago #63847

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Thought it's about time for an update about this fella.

After giving it a lot of thought, I ended up flipping its position almost entirely, compacting it by bending the upper, straight portion of the main trunk and rearranging the foliage from there..



And sorry for the poor photo, lacking depth. Taking a decent photo of a plant is much harder than it seems. :-P

A lot of work on the foliage will still be needed, but for the time being it's going to be left alone to recover and grow some new green stuff.

The rootball is all on one side too, and that why I had to plant it so close to the rim of the pot; so part of the maintenance job for the next years will be slowly promoting a different direction of growth to the roots in order to rebalance.

But given where I started from with this dude, I like the way things are going...

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