Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Common Juniper

Common Juniper (Juniperus communis) is defined as a shrub, but tends to display a low growing creeping habit similar to a groundcover, especially when young.  Specimens can be difficult to establish after collecting, assuming you actually can locate one that is both worthy and possible to collect. 

Here is a photo I took of one growing on the side of a bluff in Wyoming last year.  The deadwood is not related!
I purchased this yamadori communis from Dave Lowman of DaSu Bonsai Studio in 2011.  The container was also handmade by him.  It was sold to me as a Needle Juniper without a scientific classification, but since the tree was reputedly collected in the U.S., I landed on communis. 

By spring of 2012, the tree had acclimated nicely to the climate here and was ready for some work just in time for Suthin Sukosolvisit's visit to Lincoln.  The front was changed and the tree was fully wired by Suthin. 

I don't have a photo of the tree after styling, but here is the tree about four months later after filling out.

The tree was root pruned in the spring of 2013.  At this time, I adjusted the angle of the tree to match the new front and it was left to grow freely for the remainder of the year.  It became very dense and full, especially after its flush of growth this spring. 

Last month, Peter Tea and I evaluated the tree and thinned it out drastically.  Secondary branches were chosen or discarded for creating foliage pads.  The growth at the tips of these branches was left untrimmed until the pad was fully wired.  Then, the branches were cut back to a bud at the desired point to create a fan shape.
Peter wired the lowest branch on the right side to guide me in styling the remainder of the tree.
After several additional days of work, the tree was finally completed.  It has recovered very well and is back-budding profusely and pushing new growth from the existing buds.