Is this perfect? No. It’s not. That’s why it’s called practice. Welcome to Appalachian Bonsai. Today, I’m going to be working on this juniper. You’ve seen it a couple of times before in update videos. This is a Pfitzer juniper, which is a hybrid. It started off as landscaping material that you could purchase at a nursery. It has some interesting shapes and features about it that I liked, and I was able to acquire this.
It hasn’t been wired in over a year. It’s about time to have that happen again. I’d like to do that before springtime hits. So, we’re gonna do that today. I have a few issues. My puppy dog, Rocky, has broken off several branches. That is… it’s unfortunate. This one over here has been broken, so I have to be careful when I wire that one.
This one’s completely gone. There are a few others, but we’ll make do with it. Let’s begin. I’m gonna start by pruning. It’s going to be some basic pruning to shorten some of these needles up. This has scale needle foliage, and we’re just going to shorten it, bring it back into shape, and then I will wire it and place the branches. It’s had some strong growth. It needs to be pruned back I’ve got this really nice long leaflet here, if you will, and I’m going to shorten it back and reduce it to a couple of forked branches here. The reason we’re doing this instead of letting it grow long is we need to compact the foliage in. The more compact the foliage is in the older the tree looks.
It’s it’s kind of strange. The more you reduce this foliage towards the trunk, the more you make it more compact, the older the tree looks. Younger trees have a lot of long growth, very leggy growth, but older trees have grown large and therefore the foliage appears more compact. So we need to make this appear more compact too. I just took off that nice fanned section of foliage and we’re left with I believe this little stub here.
I can probably reduce it down a little bit more but I’m going to wait until I get this all pruned up and then we’ll come back and refine. I have two inside of this branch that will allow me to prune this long leggy one back, like that. I have some pieces on the inside here that’s gotten really wild and out of hand mostly juvenile foliage here this may be part of the damage done by that puppy dog. When a juniper is stressed it can produce this juvenile foliage. The stressing comes from many things.
It can come from pruning. It can come from repotting. It can come from poor watering, and it can come from a dog getting into the bed, the winter bed, and disturbing it. I’ve got a lot going on, which you may see. I have buds here and here and here and here, and little branching structures, and this really long section that I don’t need to be long. I can reduce this back, like that. I have this long section there we’re gonna split these off and leave a couple of terminal buds there. Then I have this inner growth here which is good. I’m gonna leave that. There’s a branch kinda coming back toward me that I believe I can wire out and so I’m gonna save it until then. I do have some that’s growing downward that I don’t want. If it’s in a position where I can wire it out and upward that would be good.
That is not the case with this. I don’t want that. Again, I have some really strong growth happening here. I’m happy to see it strong. It’s been in this pot for several years, which means that the root structure is very strong. It’s healthy. I have some poor looking buds below and I have the healthier buds above, so I’m going to keep the healthier buds and remove that unhealthy one. This is really lively. It’s got a good color to it. I’m going to try and prune this in a little bit there to that bud. And now we’ve reduced that branch in. Long leggy structure there Sorry if you’re not able to see that. Let’s move on to this next section I do have two little buds here and there. Let’s clip that one It’s a long and leggy. You see how long and leggy that is. I really should have pruned this sooner, but did not. I didn’t do the pinching like I should. We’re just gonna try to do our best to correct that now.
This is really really long. Pruning it back some, and hopefully it’ll produce some buds further into the branch. Some say you should pinch buds. Others say you should prune buds. I say do whatever you need to, but I think pruning leaves a nice clean cut. You’re not gonna bruise the the foliage like you will if you pinch. If you pinch, you’re squeezing, you’re just crushing. Crushing is not good for your plant. Imagine crushing leaves on a deciduous tree. You might be able to pinch with your fingernails, but use the scissors. They’re sharp. I’ve got this branch coming up. I kind of like it, because there’s not much going on here to fill in this spot. Whenever I wire this down I kind of like this coming up it’ll fill in a nice padded area there. It doesn’t all need to be flayed out where I can look directly on top of it, especially if I’ve got nothing happening in that area.
I can thank a dog for that. This branch is kind of growing a little bit on the underside. I can move it and have it fan this way, which I will. I’m going to prune it back. Same with this long branch here. I’ll be able to lay it open and display that. I could probably bring it in really really close but bring it into there for now. Yeah. Just bring that in much closer. There we go. Reduce these down. Bring this in a little bit closer, like that. Splay that out. This foliage here could be reduced way down. This branch is super heavy. It’s had a lot of wiring done to it. I’m already seeing an area that’s needing some work. This is kind of a crotch area, right there. This has a lot of branches moving in and out I’ve been working on that for a while but it’s also got a lot of buds that have filled in the area.
In the crotches, and they need to be removed and reduced. What else have got? Some ungainly growth. As I said, I should have pruned this out this last year. I did not take the time to do that. Somebody said that I won’t be able to get this Pfitzer to back bud. They were wrong. I’ve been working on this for years. It back buds just fine. I have branches that are kind of growing back out this way. It’s almost as if they’re crossing each other. I don’t want that. I’m gonna be removing them. I’ll wire them out… They’re kind of ungainly. So they’re gone. There’s too much going on in this little area here. I have a nice branch that’s coming out this way and then I have this little guy which I was promoting at one point, but I have another stronger one that’s healthier on the back side.
So, now I’m getting it to fill in this area which I don’t want at this moment. I’m just gonna remove that. so now it’s a little more open and cleaned up. I have this one right there I can promote if I’d like. It’s got this juvenile foliage though. I don’t like that. The other end I do have this one underneath and I’ll leave that alone for now. This guy here… Yeah, just gonna remove the strength of that one. Don’t be afraid of this, folks. This is a necessary part of your bonsai Yeah, you might lose some branches that you didn’t expect to do, but how are you ever gonna learn unless you do it? Is this perfect? No. It’s not. That’s why it’s called practice. Watch your fingers! Okay, it’s better. Let’s work our way up. This right here is, again, the section where the dog has ripped off sections of my tree.
It is unfortunate. It does happen. Accidents happen, folks. So I have a branch that’s starting to grow right there that I can promote. Maybe it can come across this way so I’m going to leave this to grow long. It’s not going to be really good and pretty for now, but you know, it’s at least gonna grow in time. That’s what I want. You might see some crotch areas in here that needs some work. I’ll clean that little section out. I was hoping this would be a little bit more dense and refined, but it’s not. My fault. There we go. I’m taking really strong shoots out of here & bringing it to a more compact form. Again, don’t be afraid to cut it back. Your tree will only look better with time. If you hear the squeaking of my tool, it does need a little oil. But, you know… whatev. Bonsai pruning shears are some of my favorites. These are made in Japan. I do have these little Fiskars that were given to me.
These work pretty well, too. I have used them quite a bit. They work great, so whichever one you feel like getting, go for it. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what I was doing before . I had this branch over this branch coming across. I don’t like the direction that’s working at the moment, because it’s shading this lower branch. I have branches coming up from up here that are growing strong and then I have this nice little branch down here that I don’t want to lose because it’s not getting enough sunlight, so I’ve pruned that out and now I’m deciding what to do with these. I have branches above it here and then branches over there. Am I gonna lose anything by removing them? No. I can remove, I can lose this branch. It was an optional. I have one, two, three. I’m probably gonna just give it a little crunch and then maybe peel that back. This is kind of nice. Let’s see what we get. What I’m gonna try to do is ‘collar’ this.
Maybe you’ll be able to see. By ‘collaring’ I am gonna remove some material here just by rotating my scissors around that point. All I’m doing is trying to break the cambium – not cut through the branch. The cambium is just a layer of the bark. I’m gonna cut it there. That’s gonna give me a clean cut. Then I’m gonna take a pair of pliers, I don’t have them… do i? I do! I’ve got a pair of needle nose here. These are old needle nose. These do need oil. I’m going to peel this foliage back. Start by crushing. You know, just taking the pliers and pinch pinch pinching. Remember I was talking about pinching, how it crushes the foliage? It also crushes the bark, but in this case I want it to crush the bark. Then peel that bark away. I can peel it with my fingers after it’s crushed. There we go. Then, where I made the nice cut above it’s clean. There. Now we’ve got this exposed bit of branch there, and I can carve it up.
I can cut it I’m gonna cut it for now. Then I’ll carve that out. I don’t have my razor blade on me. I’ll try with this. Yeah, a little bit sharper point. It can be reduced a little bit more. That’ll be just fine. It’s gotten really strong and long here but it’s not going anywhere except in the way of other things. So, I’m gonna prune that way way back. In fact, I’ve got a better branch underneath that I can wire that way if I choose to have more growth in there. Prune it back even further if I want. A branch growing into itself. I don’t like that. And this one can be reduced there.
I have buds that have just blown up right here. What do I do with them? Hmm… I think we’ll play with that in just a minute and reduce it as we need to. There’s still going to be some more pruning while we’re wiring it, but let’s go and get to wiring it next. I love you! Like, Share, & Subscribe! Follow on Instagram & Facebook! .