Junipers

Junipers are probably the easiest of the genus for the beginner. All of the species will make good bonsai, but particularly Chinensis (illustrated) Pfitzerania and its sub species and for a somewhat 'spikier' tree Squamata.

Many Junipers produce two types of foliage, the normal adult foliage, which is close and compact and the juvenile or 'oxycedrus' growth. Both types can occur on the same tree, indeed on the same branch. Juvenile foliage is often seen as a result of hard pruning. or heavy feeding and will soon dissapear.

In pots they will benifit from a grittier compost than you might otherwise use.

Pruning is carried out throughout the growing season, with the foliage 'plucked' off, rather than cut, as this will cause any damage to the needles and spoil the looks of the tree. Conifer tips should be plucked out between the ball of the thumb and the first finger, not pinched off.

Pruning Junipers presents its own set of problems. You may assume that, as with deciduous trees, if you remove all the growing tips of the foliage the tree will 'backbud', unfortunately this is not the case with Junipers. Removal of all the tips on a particular extention will cause the tree to stop putting energy into that section, killing it. They are like Pines in this respect.

The main objective of pruning Juniper like foliage is to make the tree 'backbud', producing compact foliage pads.

The illustration to the right shows a section of a juniper pad ready for pinching out. The illustration to the far right shows the juniper after pruning. You can see roughly how much to remove. The lower image shows the result of removing all those growing tips, backbudding onto old wood and the beginning of a good compact foliage pad, which will improve over the years.

Mature and Oxycedrus foliage from the same jiniperus media x 'Kaizuka'.

Over-vigourous pruning of Junipers can cause some of the foliage to revert to 'Oxycedrus', or juvenile foliage. This will take a few years to correct.

Allen. C. Roffey Monday, August 6, 2018 15:38