Summer cleanup of an Itoigawa

I repotted this tree in March, after basically giving it a year off in 2021. It had lost a few branches in the back, I think a very delayed response to leaving wire on too long several years ago. The rest of the tree is healthy, and in time, it will be easy to perform a good “comb over” to fill in the space in the back.

For now, I wanted to clean up the tree to enjoy looking at it again, after all it is one of my favorite trees. Before:

After pruning downward-growing shoots, and trimming the strongest runners.
One lower right side branch was wired back into the profile, otherwise the tree has no other wires at the moment.

And reviewing the photo above, it appeared to want a little scrubbing down, so the trunk was scrubbed with a toothbrush, and a 50% diluted lime sulfur solution was painted onto the deadwood.

Pot pairing and winter colors of Itoigawa

I’m always fascinated with the winter colors junipers take on. The RMJ turns blue, and the Itoigawa turns very bronze; even more than standard Shimpaku. The Kiyozuru changes the least.

Itoigawa winter bronze
Compare a winter shot to a summer shot.

Shimpaku changes a bit less:

This Kiyozuru is from Southern California, so it make take a few more years to settle in to this environment, but so far it hasn’t taken much winter color.

I have been on the search for the perfect pot for the itoigawa. While the Sara Rayner pot has been a very good fit, I am looking for something a bit more refined. In my mind, it’s an old red/brown bag-shaped oval. For some reason, the right one hasn’t appeared yet.

Meanwhile, I have a few choices to consider to buy more time to hunt.

Left to right:

1. Cheap Chinese bag-shaped oval. The shape is good, but it is a bit large, and the light clay doesn’t work.

2. Rectangle Tokoname. Good size and clay color. Better quality than the oval, but the shape is more for a masculine pine.

3. Indented corners rectangle, Yamaaki. Better quality, very close to the clay color I envision. It is slightly too large for the tree. If air was trying to strengthen the tree, it would be a good option to allow it to grow strong for a few years.

4. Deep rectangle: good depth, but too narrow and the clay color, again, is too light. This tree was paired with this pot 8-9 years ago and it worked when the tree was smaller and narrower. It has since outgrown this one.

With over a month to go until repotting season, the right pot may still show up, or maybe it gets to sit in the present pot another year. What do you think?

Twisted Itoigawa restyle

This Itoigawa came from Chikugo-en, via Bjorn in 2014. I started styling it shortly after, and here are a few shots through the years.

2015, apex still tall and peaked.
2018, apex rounded out. Branches were awkwardly located, so while the tree looks great from the front, rotating it kills the image pretty quickly.
2019, foliage tightening up, and the design is compacted.
2020, after being allowed to grow all year, then unwiring in the winter.
2021, Bjorn changed the planting angle, widened the Shari, and rewired. The result is a more refined look all the way around the tree.
In the spring, it will be repotted, likely into this old Shibikatsu.