#Motivationmonday : Juniper maintenance

Morning hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I did not work on any tree this weekend just watered them and fertilized on Sunday with a half dose. It was all about the mothers in my life this weekend.

This week I will be doing some maintenance projects. Weeds are starting to pop up like crazy and moss are taking over the soil surface. I know we like the look of moss on the soil surface but I normally clean it all of as winter starts. Moss just takes out all the oxygen out of the container and allow the water to dam up in the container. It makes the soil mixture more dense causing water to build up as it finds its way through the soil.


This was how the tree looked before I started to work on the tree. You can see that the tree is very healthy and that it was sending out new shoots. The new growth was left to grow. It is now time that it was brought back. If it was left any longer the active nodes closer to the trunk would have died back as the new stronger shoot are using all the growth. New vigorously growing shoots pull all the sap towards the tips of the tree. This is good when you need a certain part of the tree to gain growth but in this case the trees growth needs to be controlled as the shape of the tree is set. I need to grow in pads now. I need these pads to be closer to the trunk. I also need to bear in mind that the foliage pads can not be to dense as the tree is tall and slender. It has a type of Literati style that leans it self more to the movement and elegant trunk than nice foliage pads. This is quit challenging to maintain as you need to let the tree grow out a bit every now and then to regain strength. A common mistake that people make is to think that a bonsai has to look good at lot time. Any bonsai tree goes through stages and as the tree ages the style of the tree changes. Sometimes it might be small changes on the other side it can be big changes as the tree might change owners. Different artist have different ways at which they look at a tree and the possibilities that the tree has to offer. This is unique to each artist as their experience and the skill determines the limits to the possibilities.

I have noticed this in my work as well. At first tended to stay in my comfort zone and bend small branches and repot trees. There was no huge bends or drastic changes made to the angle of the tree. As I attended more workshops and club meetings the possibilities multiplied. Trees that I had no plan or long term goals for suddenly became experiments to my newly gained inspiration. I saw new designs in old tree that I have given up on. If I look at my collection now I can count on my one hand the amount of trees that I have not completely redesigned. I am no longer looking for new trees to work on but I look for new designs in the trees I already own.


I know when you look at these photos after I worked on the tree. It looks as if the tree has been through ‘hell’. I had to remove the amount of foliage from the tree as the new growth was well outside the line I had in mind as to where the foliage line was going to be. I left the brown dead needles on the tree as they will fall of on their own later. If you remove the dead needles now and damage the bark new growth will not appear along this branches. If this happens the chances of this branch dying of will increase. Sometime new growth will appear in between these dead needles.


In this close up side angle photo you can see the movement in the trees branches. You can see that I trimmed the branches as far back as possible but not past the green of the new shoots. I left a number of green shoots on each pad to ensure the survival of all the branches. Now I just have to wait and see what happens.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Please feel free to leave you comments below.





    1. It has no purpose in the design. It’s just left on for the health of the tree. If I try and remove it. I may hurt the tender bark under it. The tree is not going to a show or anything like that any time soon so a bit of dead growth does not bother me. I think we try and want the trees to always look on their best but in reality they need time to recover on they own time. To often have I removed these dead leaves in a harry and then an entire branch dies.

      There is no right or wrong here. If you like a clean looking tree you can remove the dead needles. Just take great care when doing it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks you so much to have coming back to me and I appreciate your feedback. I haven’t think that the way you are thinking and perhaps is the most effective way don’t know. I am kind of novice in the area and every and each spaces is different. I wish to see your tree next year to see what the differences are but looks good and I believe if managed well you will get a nice peace of art!


      2. I have seen you have kind of knowledge there have you seen my last post? What you think on the way I have styled the tree? Any tips/suggestion?


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