The cycle continues: Shimpaku with Bjorn part 2

Finished trees are worked in 5-7 year cycles, spending 3-5 years preparing trees to get them to the pinnacle of show condition, showing them for a year or two, and them starting the cycle over again. The cycle started in 2013 for this Shimpaku when I acquired it as shown:

Since it had once been prepared for show by the previous owner, and it was an older but healthy Bonsai, the preparation cycle was a bit shorter. It was repotted into good soil, the deadwood was cleaned, and it was allowed to grow in 2014:

Then, in May, 2015, Bjorn and I detail-wired the tree in preparation for the USNBE in 2016:

It was allowed to grow out in 2016, so it could be cleaned up again before the show, but shown in a fuller state.

Fall 2016 before:

And after; ready for the 5th USNBE:

At the USNBE in 2016:

And at the Carolina Bonsai expo the following month:

And one last appearance at our local spring show in May 2017:

Then it was allowed to grow out for the rest of the year, really one of my favorite shots in this progression; even, balanced, full, but still retaining some definition. However, the wires were pretty deeply embedded by this point; most having been on the tree for 3 growing seasons, and leaving it much longer could have resulted in damage to branches.

And finally unwired over Christmas 2017, it was a bittersweet project that took about 6 hours.

Light pruning:

And so I could stand to look at it, I guy-wired a few branches down, and the tree will get to rest this year.

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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: