JBP and Sargent Juniper

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JBP and Sargent Juniper

Postby dannik » April 23rd, 2017, 7:27 pm

Hey guys,

I've been lucky enough to come across (imo) some great pre-bonsai stock and thought it might be worth getting some advice and opinions of some of the members here on how it might be styled.

I am very much a beginner and trying to learn as much as possible (any feedback is good feedback). I did prune and decandle the JBP as it was considerably overgrown and dense.

I feel as if this may be the front of the JBP
JBP Front.jpg

JBP higher angle.jpg


Front of the Juniper
Juniper Front.jpg


Side of Juniper
Juniper Side.jpg


Top of Juniper
Juniper Top.jpg
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Last edited by dannik on April 23rd, 2017, 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: JBP and Sargent Juniper

Postby shibui » April 23rd, 2017, 9:05 pm

You have started with a difficult species in Black pine. They do need specific pruning and management because of the way they grow. The one you have chosen is typical of many commercial black pines. It has almost no taper, very little movement in the trunk and many long bare branches. unfortunately that is going to make it a little difficult to make a good bonsai.
Fortunately there are a couple of branches that still have reasonable ramification and you will be able to use them to develop a worthwhile bonsai with luck and good management. the first left branch is straight, thick and has very little ramification. I'd take it off completely.
2nd left and another one just above have enough growth closer to the trunk to be useable. I think I'd cut the trunk above one of those and develop a new apex with whichever you decide to go with. This sort of pruning gives both taper in the trunk and a change of direction ( movement) in the trunk to add some interest.

The juniper appears to be a bit older and has achieved some trunk thickness so it should make a good bonsai. At the moment almost all the branches are reaching vertically. Some will need to be lowered to achieve an aged effect I think. I cannot get a good enough 3d idea from 2d photos to offer an opinion on the best shape to aim for with this one.
I think that personal help from someone who can see the trees is best. You can get this from a club or, if you are willing to pay, from a bonsai nursery or workshop.

Good luck with developing bonsai with these.
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Re: JBP and Sargent Juniper

Postby dannik » April 23rd, 2017, 9:28 pm

shibui wrote:You have started with a difficult species in Black pine. They do need specific pruning and management because of the way they grow. The one you have chosen is typical of many commercial black pines. It has almost no taper, very little movement in the trunk and many long bare branches. unfortunately that is going to make it a little difficult to make a good bonsai.
Fortunately there are a couple of branches that still have reasonable ramification and you will be able to use them to develop a worthwhile bonsai with luck and good management. the first left branch is straight, thick and has very little ramification. I'd take it off completely.
2nd left and another one just above have enough growth closer to the trunk to be useable. I think I'd cut the trunk above one of those and develop a new apex with whichever you decide to go with. This sort of pruning gives both taper in the trunk and a change of direction ( movement) in the trunk to add some interest.

The juniper appears to be a bit older and has achieved some trunk thickness so it should make a good bonsai. At the moment almost all the branches are reaching vertically. Some will need to be lowered to achieve an aged effect I think. I cannot get a good enough 3d idea from 2d photos to offer an opinion on the best shape to aim for with this one.
I think that personal help from someone who can see the trees is best. You can get this from a club or, if you are willing to pay, from a bonsai nursery or workshop.

Good luck with developing bonsai with these.


Hi Shibui, the photo I took may be slightly deceptive as the first left branch does have ramification. This may be a better angle to show.

JBP higher angle.jpg
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Re: JBP and Sargent Juniper

Postby shibui » April 24th, 2017, 8:10 am

I did note that the first branch split into a few small ones but it is a long way from the trunk and the first part of that branch is quite thick and very straight also with no taper. I'm not sure what you envisage the branch will look like in future but I can't see it becoming an impressive first branch. There's always other ways of looking at a tree. You may have some good ideas to develop these into a great bonsai. Maybe you could draw a picture to show what you imagine you can make from this tree.
You are probably aware that pines will not usually bud on bare wood so any bare spots are always going to be bare of foliage. Pine growth habit means that they can only get longer as they grow. You need to have inner buds so that branches that get too long can be cut back and replaced by shoots growing closer to the trunk.
Many other types of tree can bud on old wood so when they get long we just cut and force new shoots where we need them. That does not work with pines so you need to plan and tackle them differently.
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Re: JBP and Sargent Juniper

Postby dannik » April 24th, 2017, 10:57 am

It may be a silly question, but could the first left branch be potentially turned into a jin?

Given what you have said I was thinking that slanting style may be appropriate with the branches starting higher up the trunk. The trunk does have some slightly better movement but at different angles (I've been told that this should be the front as it is slanting forward and should not slant backwards).
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Re: JBP and Sargent Juniper

Postby shibui » April 24th, 2017, 11:10 am

Jin is always an option for redundant branches on conifers and some other species however jin should not be applied haphazardly. It needs to fit into the overall design and be a realistic part of the entire tree.

Your information that the top of the tree should be slightly forward is good. It helps with perspective when viewing the tree. Your pine should still be relatively flexible so you should be able to bend the top in any direction you wish if needed. Earlier I mentioned cutting the trunk down to a side branch and making a new apex. this would also allow you to change the direction at the top of the tree.
plenty of options and food for thought.
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Re: JBP and Sargent Juniper

Postby dannik » April 24th, 2017, 11:51 am

Obviously not the same, but the below black pine has some similar features to mine when turned to the side. Branches also start higher up on the tree.

Image
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Re: JBP and Sargent Juniper

Postby dannik » April 24th, 2017, 6:45 pm

Sorry for posting so many photos, this is what I originally wanted as the front but was advised by another that it's not desirable...

You can see there is much more movement in the trunk at this angle.

JBP other front.jpg


JBP top inside.jpg
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Re: JBP and Sargent Juniper

Postby shibui » April 24th, 2017, 7:37 pm

Photos are good. It means we can all see what we are talking about.
Your new photo shows a much more interesting trunk. I'd certainly look hard at that side to see if I could use it. Branches can be moved, apex can be moved or made from a side branch but the trunk and nebari are much more difficult to manipulate.
This new photo shows even more clearly that the top is very strong with lots of thick branches - not very desirable as apex so moving away does not really matter because we can remove it and build a much better top from another part of the tree. You can see in your example pine that the top is made of thinner branching rather than very thick bits.
I think this area has potential.
dannik pine.jpg

It also looks like there are many branches growing from one place on the trunk. This is also common in pines but will lead to bulges and reverse taper which is not good. Try wherever possible to remove excess branches and just leave the main trunk/branch and 1 side branch at each fork.

All this is far easier to talk about and show in person rather than online but I hope some of it makes sense.
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Re: JBP and Sargent Juniper

Postby dannik » April 27th, 2017, 8:47 am

Hi guys, I've removed some branches which are a bit too long and did not work into the style of the tree as far as I could see. I'm at the stage now where I am having inner conflicts as to which side of the tree should be the front, I'm hoping to gain some further guidance from more experienced people on this forum.

JBP1.jpg


- This side has the trunk slanting forward slightly (desirable), but does not show off the curves in the trunk as much as I'd like
- I've wired down a branch (guy wire) which can be utilised as a rear branch and hopefully provide depth
- The first two branches on the trunk can possibly be used as deadwood
- Unsure as to where the apex should be

JBP2.jpg


- This side still has the trunk slanting forward (a bit more to the side) and shows off the trunk a bit more
- The branch i've wired down on the right can be used as a side branch rather than a rear branch (but is pointing backwards)
- Thinking the first two branches can be used as deadwood
- Unsure where the apex should be

JBP3.jpg


- I believe this angle shows the best curve in the trunk, but the trunk is now slanting slightly backwards (i'm not sure whether it will be possible to bend it forward using wire, trunk is about 3.5cm wide at the base and approx. 2.5-3cm near the middle)
- The branch i've wired down can be used as a good side branch (it's actually a bit lower now than what the photo shows)
- Not sure if anything can be done with the first 2 branches that I originally wanted to use as deadwood
- At this angle a few more branches would need to be removed on the trunk as they are pointing directly at you
- Unsure where the apex should be

JBP4.jpg


- Unsure on the angle here, was thinking to use the wired down branch as a first left branch
- Nice curve in the trunk but bending backwards
- Unsure where the apex should be

JBPscale.jpg


- Here is a photo to show scale and size of the tree and trunk

jbp inside trunk.jpg


- Shows the inside of the trunk where Shibui mentioned could be the apex of the tree (notice the bulge in the trunk) but also the unsightly knob which seems to have been a branch
- Looking for guidance as to whether this can be rectified.


I know there are a lot of questions here guys.
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Re: JBP and Sargent Juniper

Postby shibui » April 27th, 2017, 7:57 pm

I get the impression you are still looking at the full height of this tree Dannik.
The top part really cannot be part of any good bonsai :imo:
The upper area circled is just too thick to be used on this tree.
Dannik preferred.jpg

You really need to be looking at the lower trunk - the area in the thicker circle. The rest of the tree will be replaced.

Trunk angles can be changed. Simplest is just to change the angle when you repot the tree. To see how this will look just tilt the tree a bit to front, back or either side. Many of us have wedges to prop the pot up so we can see the trunk at any possible angle. How far you can tilt the trunk depends on the roots. You don't want roots on one side to be sticking up into the air. Best to keep them clinging to the soil surface if possible.
There are many other ways to bend even thicker trunks so very little is impossible.
Branches can also be repositioned. Proper wiring can bring a branch from the back to fill the role of a side branch or from near the front to the side, etc.

I actually like the look of this angle.
Dannik 2 .jpg

The arrow points to the branch I think would be the new apex. You would cut off the entire top of the tree and bend that branch upward to develop into a new apex. This will give several benefits:
Shorter tree.
Gets rid of the thick top.
Brings the apex forward a bit.
More ramification in that branch replaces a bare area in the current upper trunk.

Please note that I can only see a 2D picture to assess these ideas. You may need to modify/discard my ideas if the actual 3D tree does not lend itself to this.
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