Juniper is one of the fullest looking ones you will ever find among many different types of bonsai trees. With its fuller look, you also get the option to style it in different ways. Now, if you are new to growing bonsai, it’s easy to get confused and be unaware of what to do.
That’s why here I will tell you how to style juniper bonsai to give it the look you want. There are specific techniques and procedures you will need to follow to style your tree perfectly. So, without wasting further time, let’s get started.
Why do you need to style a Juniper?
Well, there are lots of reasons for styling your bonsai and trust me, it’s not just about the looks. It’s also essential for the proper growth of your tree. Since you are opting for a bonsai rather than a regular tree, you will need to take care of it more profound.
Styling a tree gives it the strength and maintenance it requires to have average growth. It also keeps the tree healthy. You must do some styling in your Juniper if you have gotten it from any commercial store. Because in those cases, the trees aren’t in the best health condition and indeed lack care there.
So, you must opt for styling your Juniper if you haven’t already. Aside from this practical need, you will surely want to style it, so it looks better.
In terms of beauty and grace, Juniper is one of the most potential bonsais out there. And if you are not styling it at all, then you are just wasting all the tree’s potential. This is why styling a Juniper is always a go-to option for all the Juniper bonsai owners out there.
Styling a Juniper bonsai
For styling a Juniper bonsai, there are two things you will need to do typically. One is pruning, and the other is wiring. Both these techniques work together to give your Juniper bonsai the perfect style you would want to see in it.
Now, I will go through both these techniques and tell you how you can do these on your Juniper bonsai. To do this, all you will need are some aluminum wires for the wiring and some shears for the pruning.
Once you get all the tools, you can follow the below process.
Pruning a juniper bonsai
Okay, so the first step to styling your Juniper bonsai is pruning it. Now, there are two things to consider while pruning a Juniper bonsai. One is pruning the weaker foliage first, and then you have to move on to the more robust foliage. Here’s how you do the whole thing –
Typically, you will have weaker foliage in between branches. These become weak due to a lack of light or water. Whatever the reason may be, these more fragile shoots add no value to the shape or appearance of your tree. Instead, they make it look uglier upon closer inspection. So, the best thing to do is to remove them.
Take your shears and remove these weaker shoots thoroughly from the tree. You don’t want spoiled branches; you want them completely clean. That’s why you have to make sure you get rid of all the weaker foliage stuck between the branches.
Once you are done with the weaker ones, you can move on to the stronger foliage. As a beginner, it might be a bit tricky to choose the ones you should remove from the tree. But it’s not that difficult to identify which one you should remove.
Just look for the ones with a small twig attached to a ball of foliage. The foliage ball usually stays and the end of the twig, so you can quickly identify that. All you have to do from thereon is remove the tips you find in the middle of the ball. Doing that opens the foliage up and lets light get in correctly.
This is very important for the balanced growth of your tree. When you do that, you will not end up with weak and strong parts in the tree. Most of the parts will have the proper strength and stability as they would receive the same treatment throughout the whole thing.
After you are done with the whole pruning session, you will notice a significant difference in how the tree looks. It should look more open and freer. Also, it will have a lighter appearance with all the unnecessary foliage being removed.
If you are growing your Juniper in a colder climate, you have to be aware of something. You should never remove foliage from your Juniper more than 20% at once. When you remove anything over 20%, it can significantly weaken the tree.
Wiring your Juniper bonsai
After you have opened up the tree through pruning, it’s time to give it the perfect shape that you desire. For this, you can use any wire you want but, using anodized aluminum wires is the best option in most cases. It’s cheaper than copper wires and also easier to use. With the anodized coating, you don’t need to worry about corrosion either.
While we are on the subject of wires, always pick brown wires as they can easily blend with the tree’s bark. So, enough about wires, let’s get in the process.
Now, when you are wiring your Juniper bonsai, start with the primary branches. Once you are done with them, you can move to the secondary ones. Here’s how you will need to apply the wires –
- Make sure to maintain a 45-degree angle when you are wiring. The angle should be towards you, not the other way around.
- Turn up the ends of the branches of your tree while you arrange them. This gives them the proper shape to hold onto.
- Also, remember not to apply the wire too tight lest it might damage the bark. Keep it lightly on the tree. Put just enough pressure to hold the branches.
Follow the same things for your secondary branches as well, and you should be good. Typically, this kind of wiring should stay on your tree for about 2 to 3 years. But your best bet is to keep checking the wires. You have to make sure that the wires aren’t damaging the bark in any way.
When it’s time to remove the wires, make sure to use a wire cutter for that purpose. Also, avoid any tool that can potentially damage the tree in some way.
And that’s pretty much it for the basic styling of your Juniper tree. With these two techniques, you can simply turn your boring Juniper into something much fresher. Once you do this, you will immediately understand the value of styling your Juniper bonsai.
Different bonsai styles to try on Juniper
There are lots of different types of bonsai styles out there. Since bonsai is an art, you get the freedom to go for different styles and not get stuck on one. So, keeping that in mind, here are some popular styles you can try out on a Juniper bonsai.
Formal Upright Bonsai
This is one of the easiest shapes to style your Juniper bonsai on. As a beginner, you will have no difficulties with this one. It follows pretty basic techniques, so this is a great shape to begin your bonsai styling for sure.
Informal Upright bonsai
The informal upright bonsai shape is excellent for making your tree look and feel like a bonsai. It adds dynamics to the look of your tree, and it’s easy to do simultaneously. This style features an “S” shaped trunk, which makes the Juniper look as if it grew through very rough conditions in nature.
Just imagine the formal upright bonsai, hit by a strong wind and slanted in one direction. That’s what you get in this style of bonsai. It creates a unique appeal in the tree and gives you the illusion that your tree has gone through a rush of heavy wind. Also, it’s suitable for beginners so that anyone can try this out.
Now, with Juniper, these are the top three shapes you can try out. All of these are easy to do, even for beginners. So, you don’t need to have any additional knowledge of advanced pruning and wiring techniques. It’s pretty basic.
All in all, now that you know how to style juniper bonsai trees, you can begin with your bonsai growing journey. Just remember not to overdo it, and don’t change the shapes and styles too much. While bonsai is a creative art form, you are still working with trees.
So, you will have to follow the proper timelines for doing stuff. Such as, you can’t start pruning whenever you want or whenever you see any extra foliage. You have to do it at the proper time. The same thing goes for wiring as well. If you do all things right, you should end up with a beautifully styled Juniper bonsai that you will feel proud of.