Bonsai Made Easy – DIY Juniper Procumbens

So here we are this is the number four project in our abc bonsai series and again you may have seen one or two of our videos where we use this variety of plant this is the juniper procumbens procumbens juniper when i visited canada and the united states i found that in quite a few flower shops and in little garden shops and even in the shopping malls or the malls they sell these indigenous junipers which are obviously created by local gardeners or local bonsai people and it’s a very popular uh species of tree for making bonsai very easy although this is a chinensis juniper juniper’s chinensis it’s called juniper uh chinensis procumbens nana some people call it juniper procumbens nana meaning it is a prostrate procumbens you know it is creeping on the ground and it never gets tall so it is ideal for making bonsai because it has this creeping and twisted habit now again such a lot of foliage on these plants and these plants are about four years old i think grown from cuttings and it’s in quite a large pot so we’re offering this i don’t know what the price is going to be but we’re going to offer this on our website so you saw me do what i did was to just remove the pot because the roots are quite compact and all the roots will hold the soil together so the first thing i do is to remove the soil from around the base of the tree to reveal the trunk you will invariably find a lot of trunk there so the object is to see what trunk i have below the soil surface i will show it to you in a minute i’m just working from the back so you can see by removing the soil from the top can you see the trunk there the trunk is visible so that’s what i’m trying to do you can go as low as possible what you must never do is remove all the soil from the root ball because i conduct so many workshops and classes on the nursery i find that people come to the class they’re so enthusiastic so when i tell them to remove the soil from around the trunk they remove all the blooming soil and you end up with nothing so that is a dangerous practice never remove all the soil because it will stress the tree so all i’ve done is remove it from the top you can see the trunk now can you see what a lovely chunk it’s as thick as my small finger i can still go a little lower i won’t go too low as long as it’s got reasonable trunk i’ve got now a trunk which is about inch and half high can you see and the trunk is clearly visible so we will use this now i’m trying to find the main trunk and what have i got in mind i’m going to do what is commonly known as the s-shape or the bonsai terminology is the informal upright shape so i find the central leading chute what do i mean by the central leading chute every tree has a main trunk that goes up just as some of these deciduous trees like oak trees have a tap root so most trees have what is called a leading chute so with this trunk if i can show you properly see that is the trunk going there and that is the main trunk going up so i found the main trunk so i will try and use this as the central stem or the column on which all the branches hang and lo and behold it’s got a beautiful trunk all i now do is remove the extraneous tiny branches and stick with the thicker branches on the trunk and work with this again as with some of my earlier projects like the hinoki project you notice that you can often create a shape simply by pruning with scissors you may not even need wiring i know the wiring helps see what i’ve done i’ve removed the extra branches what i call extraneous branches and i now have you see can you see the trunk you can clearly see the trunk just by pruning a few extra branches out of the way i’m not going to remove these long ends in case i need it as i promised i’m going to work with two trees so that you get a completely different result okay now i’ve got a choice to make there are two big branches at the bottom two branches here one there one there so i’m not sure which one to keep i don’t need to keep both i’ve got another branch coming here so as long as i keep space between the branches that would work okay i’ll remove this branch can you see i’ve got one branch coming up here because i’m working from the back i can’t see this is one branch here and there’s another branch there i don’t need both so i’m going to remove one of them so i’m going to remove this one which is quite a major branch look at that i’ve removed all that i know that beginners find it very difficult to decide whether to cut or not because it is a dangerous not dangerous [Music] a process i how to put it a process that is uh irrevocable that means once you cut it you can’t put it back can you you can’t put it back but fortunately with plants the tree will continue to grow and it will grow again so all is not lost all is not lost so i’m trying to create alternate branches on this tree i’ve already got that alternate bronze structure you can see the shape of the tree coming along i’m now going to work really slowly so that you don’t feel that i’m cheating you or doing sleight of hand or magic i’m cutting that off it’s hard to get the camera in the right angle such a lot of branches i’m trying to achieve a shape by not wiring which is difficult but after that i will wire to just to improve it just to show you the principle that this familiar cut and grow process which the chinese have used for years can be applied to bonsai as well i’m just going to cut some of this shorter can you see if i pull this leader up you can see the bottoms are shaped how can i show it against the white background can you see close up i think this is a very good environment better than working in my workshop in the back the light is quite good i’m just trying to remove some of the unwanted foliage so that you can see clearly the bronze structure okay i’ve achieved that shape without putting any wire on i think i need to put some wire on in order to enhance the shape i need to pull this because it’s a prostrate tree it always keeps creeping down i can change the direction of the growth by putting a piece of wire and making it grow upwards so let’s do that so for this i will use i think maybe one and a half one and a half or two millimeter two millimeters a very popular size of wire now i think i’ve changed my mind i’m going to use two and a half just to be on the safe side so i’m going to put the wire into the soil you can see what i’m doing the wire is inserted into the soil near the trunk adjacent to the trunk and i’m going to wire the trunk very tightly don’t worry about it marking or anything in fact the marks on the trunk with junipers and pines add to the character of the tree avoid trapping the branches that’s what i’m trying to do working from the side or from the back is hard to see but i’m just trying to make sure i’m not trapping anything very easily done again i repeat i my way of working i wire anti-clockwise but it doesn’t matter which way you are i’ve cut a piece of wire which i hope will be long enough i’m always able to judge the correct length of what i need this comes from experience no harm if you waste a bit but you will soon learn i don’t like to waste because wire is expensive to buy okay now that i’ve wired it i can pull it up to give it a more upright shape there you go can you see the shape now that is the back this is your front now i’ve got to wire the branches in order to get this s shape or the informal upright shape now this situation i have a branch which is very low whether i use it or not i will have to decide i will use it first and i will then show you that i may not need it if you keep the lower branch you will help to take in the trunk no matter but it’s one of those situations where you can decide to keep it or don’t keep it right i don’t like to be indecisive so i will cut it off it’s too low i’ll catch that so problem solved once i’ve cut it off it’s not there it’s not going to worry me worry my mind so i’ve cut that off i’m now going to wire the branches as i said i’m working from the back of the tree which is a bit difficult so i’m just looking for pairs of branches to wire i’m so conscious of being like a gramophone or a record player as they call it the gramophone is very old-fashioned expression that means you keep repeating yourself you’re like a grammar form so this is what i’m doing i’m trying not to do that i’m just going to find a pair of branches to wire together so these two are a pair so i’m going to wire those two and because the branch is not so thick i can use i think one millimeter wire so i found a pair wrap it around the trunk once to give it stability and then take it out to the second branch so i’ve got one branch again you got to be careful not to trap the little branches try and avoid it take your time and do it take as long as you like some people say that they take 10 times as long as i do but i do it because i’m used to doing it it’s not a race life is not always you’re not competing with anyone and then the excess wire in this case i’ve got two inches too long so i cut that off so i’ve got that in place now let me find another pair of branches as long as they’re in pairs that’s fine thin it out a bit so that it doesn’t look too bushy fortunately there’s such a lot of branch material that whatever we cut off won’t hurt the look of it at all it will soon go these are such vigorous trees that you have a job keeping on top of it again i’m going to use the one millimeter wire and i’m going to wire two branches i’ve got two branches there this and this can you see these two i’m going to wire together always find two branches simple if it’s too bushy i’m just going to thin some of the bush out so i wired those lower branches you see by eliminating that very low branch i’ve done the tree a favor because it was conflicting too much or you couldn’t see the trunk so well so i’ve got that out of the way there’s still a lot of foliage i don’t need all those thin branches will eventually become big branches so you can keep a few to grow on there’s not much more to do i’ve just wired two branches that means with two wires i don’t think i need to do more i’ve got just one side branch and the apex to do the rest i can no i can do those two see there are two branches okay i will show you what i will do with the apex as well the wire changes the way the tree grows creates the shape the desired shape that you want in some forms of gardening like topiary and even the pruning of your garden plants like roses you’re pruning it to create a shape a desired shape so bonsai is no different not cruel to trees like a lot of people commonly imagine you’re pruning trees you’re pruning roses you’re pouring the cutting the grass and we farm vegetables to eat the vegetables so i don’t think there’s anything cruel about that now i don’t even need to wire the top if i don’t want to already it’s looking very credible i will show you what i do with the top you see it’s sticking up at the top a lot of people never know what to do but i will show you what i do i will just bend it downwards now i’m going to switch to the uh one millimeter where is it no one will do i think even yeah one will do very thin wire so i’m going to link it to an existing piece of branch you can always find an existing branch that you can wire find the right length so i’ve got one branch there take that to the top it’s all about giving the branch and the trunk the shape that you desire so that piece sticking up what we call the crown should always be bent downwards you can either take it to the side can you see it’s going to the side there i can bring it to the side or i can bring it forward like that so i’ve made it create a rounded shape so there you are that’s the tree done i’ll just put it in a pot uh what pot shall i use i will probably use a slightly larger pot this time again you notice i’m not cutting any of the root this root ball fits this pot i’ll just loosen the soil a bit because there is too much soil and most of our plants are so healthy and look at the roots on that look at the roots beautiful roots and i’m going to plant it at the correct angle the angle of planting is very important i can plant it forward it doesn’t look right i can take too far back it doesn’t look right so it should always lean slightly towards you and you should be able to see the bronze structure now one thing which i didn’t show you on the other projects was how to tie the tree in you don’t have to tie the tree and i keep telling people that you don’t have to tie it in many of these commercial trees that are grown in china and japan they have so many thousands of trees they know don’t have the time to tie everything in but for the sake of your own peace of mind you can tie it in so that it can’t get yanked out or the cats and dogs pets won’t pull it out birds won’t pull it out so while the roots are getting established it’s a good idea to tie it in so they don’t dislodge from the pot so what i’ve done even though that i’ve put some soil in i push the wire from the bottom of the pot you see these plastic pots have little holes there i pushed it from underneath the pot and the two wires have come out and then i will just make a little knot around the trunk of the tree and that is so secure i can lift the whole thing and the tree won’t fall out so that’s what i’ve done so this is a classic s shape in form upright shape again these are the sort of projects i can do in three minutes but as i said i’m not trying to show off it’s not a race it’s just to make the point that it is so simple to do all i’ve done is to find the appropriate branches create spaces between successive branches and that is your classic pod size shape me give you the correct angle it looks better in real life than there so that is your tree done okay so that is using the procumbens juniper so from this to this in easy stages it wasn’t difficult was it from this to this big difference so that is the first part of the fourth project i’ve done use i’ve done the christmas tree the piscia alberta spruce i’ve done the hinoki cyprus and this is the fourth one which is the procumbens juniper now many of the procumbens juniper can be made into cascade trees i don’t have a lot of ceramic cascade pots to pot these into cascade because that will push the cost of the project up too much i will just use an ordinary plastic training pot because i’m trying to keep the price of these projects down to as little as possible this because of the size of the tree and the pot i will try and keep it down to 15 pounds that means tree pot in the wire 15 pounds where can you buy and learn to make a bonsai with that okay so again you see that by removing the soil from around the trunk i’ve revealed the trunk i’m now going to make a cascading pot so that it hangs downward the cascade tree is a tree that goes downwards and they are images of trees that you find in nature where they hang on for dear life on the edge of a cliff if you go to any countryside situation where you get hills and rocks and uh you know escarpments or even cliffs you will find trees that actually grow in that way so we are just trying to recreate images you find in nature of trees hanging onto cliffs and if you look and observe many of these ancient chinese paintings and pictures they are very fond of showing these trees that are growing on rocks a lot of the chinese paintings they call it soy-san or whatever mountain and and rocks they need to show trees growing on rocks and very evocative of plants struggling to survive against all odds so there’s a lot of sentimental imagery when you create a cascade tree again i’m trying to reveal the trunk by pruning away i don’t know whether you can see so i’m finding where i can a main branch so that is the main one there’s several main branches so let me find this one which is a long one because i’m going to make that go downwards and i will take one upwards because all cascade trees have a head a head meaning a top that goes upwards so it’s like a little border at the top but also hanging downwards so i’m still clearing the trunk and then i will wire the top and the bottom to form the cascade image let me begin by wiring two usable branches this is a little more difficult making the cascade tree is a little more difficult so i’ve found one branch this will form the top and this other long branch which is hanging down trailing down is going to be the cascading portion of the tree why these two together these are only like three four-year-old plants grown very intensively if you were to grow these in the ground to thicken the trunk i dare say you’d get a beautiful piece of material to make into a large cascade bonsai i do grow some of these in the field but no sooner have i grown it people begged me to sell them so i seldom see the end product so i’ve managed to get one piece going down one piece going up so i’m so you can see the shape coming one’s going now i want to clear the trunk so i’m going to do something drastic i’m going to take this one out so you can see the trunk better they are so bushy look at the cuttings that i can get from this if i really wanted to keep propagating endlessly i can keep making these into cuttings but even with an airtaker nursery i have run out of space my greenhouses are used for reviving plants or growing plants more intensively so there is no room in my two big greenhouses for propagating too many cuttings so i have to forego that now can you see the shape i’m going to remove another one because i don’t want too much that’s taken out so i’m going to have one branch going down and one branch going up and a side branch i’m just thinning out some of these thicker branches just to emphasize the trunk line you can see what’s happening that’s going to be the shape of the tree going downwards okay i’m just going to wire this a little bit to make it look more refined this is where removing such a lot of foliage takes a bit of experience to judge how much to take off not easy but with practice you’ll get it don’t worry you see how much i’ve removed you remember how blobby and thick that tree was now i will just use another piece of two mil wire to flatten that branch on the right hand side i’m using the two branch principle by wiring the main trunk again and then taking the wire to this branch on the right because i want to give more definition to that branch now i’m just going to put it as i said i don’t have a cascade pot but i will use this funny shaped pot like that to give you some ideas to what this cascade will look like and the kits will be provided or supplied with this shape pot if you want to change it to a ceramic pot we do have ceramic pots cascade but they cost more but i want to keep these simple projects manageable and as cheap as possible so you can practice it and as the tree improves you can then put them into ceramic pots so i’ve only used literally two pieces of wire literally two pieces of wire to create this cascade so that is your shape of the cascade tree going downwards like that with the top going down it’s very hard to appreciate it on a camera but if you were to look at it in real life it it is the classic what we call the classic cascade shape is that angle correct so that is the shape of the tree the cascade tree with the branch coming down so that is your basic cascade so i’ve made two slightly different trees this is informal upright and this is your cascade with the long arm going downwards or semi cascade because this pot is not that deep so there you are with that procumbens i’ve made completely different trees so you have the choice of doing whichever you wish so that is our fourth project in fact the way i’ve been doing it although there are four projects i’ve worked on eight trees so they’ve seen eight uh projects two for the price of one so i hope you’ve enjoyed this one and i’m now going to take a break and the other two i’m going to do tomorrow and i’ve been working non-stop for three hours to do all these projects i hope you’ve enjoyed it so far [Music] you

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