Kishu or Shimpaku?

Over the years, this post discussing differences among Itoigawa, Kishu, and Shimpaku junipers has consistently one of the highest-viewed of the nearly 350 posts over the 5-year history of the blog.  Kishu and Shimpaku are tricky to tell apart by their foliage, so here is a refresher…

Kishu left, Shimpaku right.  

Kishu is plumper in texture, tighter in growth pattern, and brighter green in color.

Shimpaku is slightly thinner in texture, “ropier” growth pattern, and paler green in color.


Here is another look at the runners.  Kishu first:


Shimpaku next:

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Itoigawa cleanup

Well, I’d been putting off this chore far too long.  After repotting it into a slightly undersized container, I wanted it to regain some strength before unwiring and pruning it back, but it was a balancing act between pushing it too far and just right.  June 11 was the day, carefully unwired the buried wires, and pruned it back.

Before:


Wires digging in are carefully removed with wire cutters and thumbnails to minimize the bark pulling away from the wood:


And finally, after this much is removed:


It should be set for the rest of the growing season, and ready to be wired in the winter: