Juniperus - Questions to the experts

Messages
1,437
Likes
1,555
Location
Athens, Greece
USDA Zone
9a
#1
This is a Juniperus sinensis which I bought yesterday from an ordinary nursery.
Healthy, vigorous growth.
The soils is not that bad BUT it's completely occupied by small roots, at least on the surface part of the mass.
There are three trunks coming out but I need only one of them for my project.

This is the tree after some reduction of branches lengthwise and removing some of the surface soil.
This is covered with flower buds ALL over!
I believe I have to remove them.
Jun2.jpg

This is the one which I want to keep.
Its circumference is 21cm at its wider (as much as I have revealed)
Circumference of the three trunks together is 42 cm again as much as revealed.
Jun3.jpg

What to keep (if any...) or what to remove from the unwanted trunks is a puzzle, too.
But I think I can leave the styling for the next phase because first thing I would like to do is give the tree some space and good substrate.
Jun4.jpg

You can see how terrible it looks...
Jun5.jpg Jun6.jpg

Don't know how to proceed, though.
1) Remove some of these surface roots in order to check what is beneath? I mean if there are any nice fat roots... In my climate/country I know I can do this now. Mild hot weather is continuing well until end of month (even into November...)
2) Cut off a piece from the bottom and dig into the rootball in order to spot the tap root and reduce it?
3) Some obviously out of the design branches have also to be removed. Can I do it at the same time?

Thank you so much in advance!
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
18,617
Likes
23,365
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
#2
Nice piece!

I'm no expert...but here's my thing....

They need all their foliage left to regrow roots after repot...
So you can repot first...Probly next summer..
And style it after top vigour returns.

Or chop it down some, and wait for it to grow all that foliage back before repotting.

Pot first IMO.

The "straight from the nursery" vigour is the energy we need to get it potted.
Especially for a tree large enough to start styling.

Sorce
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
18,617
Likes
23,365
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
#4
I just checked on my 70% root removed and Bonsai potted in summer pimpin shimpaku .....

It's growing roots up out the pot....

4 days of rain. waning moon.

Rain and Wane.

There's my repot success story.

Nature's shade and water.

The waning moon helps certain.

Rain and Wane.
Rain and wane.
Rain and wane.
Rain and wane.


Sorce
 
Messages
685
Likes
715
Location
Grants Pass, Oregon, USA
USDA Zone
7
#5
An interesting note, having been reading several articles on the subject of Juniper. Invariably the articles were written one to two years after the artist first received the tree, depending on the trees condition at the time. First they were put into good soil and allowed to grow for the year or two.
The problem with nursery stock to begin with is that they do not tend the roots. The more the better if it is for the landscape. The habit of topping off the pots, as opposed to removing the tree and putting soil under the roots, causes the roots to grow up into the new soil, creating the mess you see. The base of the tree is usually about two inches below the nest of surface roots.
I would tend to the roots first. Leave as much foliage as possible and plant in a growing container. Let it grow out to regain its vigor and health. Have fun with a great tree!
 
Messages
1,437
Likes
1,555
Location
Athens, Greece
USDA Zone
9a
#6
@RKatzin if I remember correctly I have read a post by you on old IBC regarding cultivating by the moon, just like @sorce suggests.
Following this moon calendar https://www.timeanddate.com/moon/phases/greece/athens here in Athens we are in the correct time now, aren't we?
... ...The problem with nursery stock to begin with is that they do not tend the roots.
... ...The habit of topping off the pots, as opposed to removing the tree and putting soil under the roots, causes the roots to grow up into the new soil, creating the mess you see. The base of the tree is usually about two inches below the nest of surface roots.
I would tend to the roots first... ...
I have the same problem with my J. Acer.
In order to tend the roots at the base of the tree, I have to remove all the small surface roots above the base. Correct?
The mass of the surface roots will be added to the mass of the rootball which is going to be cut off, or it will not?
I mean if let's say I decide to remove 2/3 of the rootball, this will be calculated with the surface roots, isn't it?
 
Last edited:

Adair M

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
8,314
Likes
14,847
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
#7
Lessee...

Take the surface area divided by the number of square roots in the rootball, subtract the roots circulating around the circumference, multiply by the number of holes in the new pot, unless it’s a round pot with only one hole which in that case you cut the square roots into Pi...

Come on, people! You know the answer!

“It depends”.
 
Messages
1,437
Likes
1,555
Location
Athens, Greece
USDA Zone
9a
#8
Come on @Adair M don't make fun of me, please :)
It's the first time I am encountered with such a mess of surface roots.
If you guide me through this, then I'll have the experience to do the same with the J. Acer next spring ;) which is the same mess.
Could you kindly mention some parameters after "it depends"
Depends on : 1, 2, 3....

Well, let me write down what comes in my mind...
Depends on general health status? -> The tree is vigorous
Depends on local climate conditions? -> 13-16C lower and 21-26C higher for the next 20+ days is fine weather for fall repottings.
Depends on aftercare? -> Can be kept in protected bright place out of direct sun and wind into a clear plastic tent to provide humidity
Depends on experience? -> I have done many successful repottings with root reduction (in spring and fall) but this tree's rootball looks like a puzzle for me, though. :confused:
What else?

I forgot to mention that the nursery pot is 15L (if this is of any use)
 

Adair M

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
8,314
Likes
14,847
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
#9
Come on @Adair M don't make fun of me, please :)
It's the first time I am encountered with such a mess of surface roots.
If you guide me through this, then I'll have the experience to do the same with the J. Acer next spring ;) which is the same mess.
Could you kindly mention some parameters after "it depends"
Depends on : 1, 2, 3....

Well, let me write down what comes in my mind...
Depends on general health status? -> The tree is vigorous
Depends on local climate conditions? -> 13-16C lower and 21-26C higher for the next 20+ days is fine weather for fall repottings.
Depends on aftercare? -> Can be kept in protected bright place out of direct sun and wind into a clear plastic tent to provide humidity
Depends on experience? -> I have done many successful repottings with root reduction (in spring and fall) but this tree's rootball looks like a puzzle for me, though. :confused:
What else?

I forgot to mention that the nursery pot is 15L (if this is of any use)
Why can’t I have a little fun?

Ok...

Are you planning to transition it out of nurseryman’s soil and into inorganic bonsai soil? (Recommended)

Then you need to do a reduction and HBR repot.

Start off by pulling it out of the plastic pot, digging down to find the surface roots (which it appears you have done) figure out where the root flair is, and determine what you want for your nebari. If there are little roots above your preferred nebari, just cut them off.

Saw the bottom half of the root ball off. Look to see if there are any really heavy down ward growing roots. If there are, you want to soften them. Now tease the circling roots off the sides. Once you have them spread out, cut them off.

Now decide which half of the rootball has the worst roots. That’s the side we’re going to bare root. Using your room hook and bent tip tweezers, gently loosen up the roots on one side of the rootball. Try to get all the way under th trunk! You may use a gentle stream of water to help. Just be sure when using the water, to only wash the soil off the “bare root” side. The other side keep whatever is there.

Once you have it HBRed, then go to the remaining side of the rootball and tease out one to two Cm of roots. So that the side of the rootball is fuzzy. The bottom, cut smooth flat. No fuzzies.

Prepare your pit and put a layer of drainage soil, them make a little mound of bonsai soil. Place the tree on the mound, and apply pressure while you wiggle the tree down into the mound. Check to make sure you have it down far enough, and where you want it in the pot. It should be on the center line front to back, and a little off center side to side.

Now firmly tie the tree into the pot. So that it does not wiggle. In fact, you should be able to lift the tree by the trunk, and the pot lifts up, too! Then backfill with bonsai soil. Chopstick the soil in to fill the bare area, and around the outside of the remaining rootball. Once you think you have it all in good, tap each side of the pot with the meat part of your fist. The soil will settle more! Add more soil. The idea is you want the soil to be level in the pot, no mounding, and leave 1/2 cm of the interior rim showing. That will keep the soil from washing away when watered. Water well, until the water runs clear.

Then put it back into FULL SUN! Yes, I know that’s a surprise! But full sun will stimulate the roots to grow because it warms the soil. Over the next couple weeks, keep it watered, maybe a couple times a day. You don’t have to mist it, but it wouldn’t hurt to wet the foliage when you water. After about 3 weeks, resume fertilizing.

Easy peazy!
 
Messages
1,265
Likes
2,788
Location
Australia
#14
You can take a lot of roots from junipers. I just dug up 50 this spring after having cut roots 6 months before. There was not much left. I healed them in a sand bed for 2 months until the weather warmed up. Then potted in 90% sand and put under shade. In other words, the correct season and after care is important. The more roots you take off the more you treat it like a cutting afterwards. Lots of misting and almost no watering after the first time for a few weeks. You give water freely only when you see good new growth.
 

Adair M

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
8,314
Likes
14,847
Location
NEGeorgia
USDA Zone
7a
#16
You pluck off the male pollen cones?
I never have, just leave them to fall off. That doesn't mean much but I could have sworn I saw a boon FB post this summer saying to just leave them to fall. Maybe it was someone else or just a dream.
He was talking about he pollen cones on JBP.