Big Juniper Project: ‘The Fish’: Part II

This post is the second about our work this week on a Rocky Mountain Juniper.

Today both Bobby and I smell like lime sulfur, which, to the uninitiated, smells strongly of rotten eggs. We had splatters of this solution all over us. Thankfully I have no plans tonight. I was worried about getting a good start with Bobby’s wife, and I’m not sure his arrival home tonight is going to help much. Which is sad as I was doing well; I was looking forward to Annie’s winter soups, but after today I might be rewarded with lukewarm gruel.

The day was spent completing our cleaning and detailing. Only a minor amount of carving was done, mostly touching up a few jins that had been lopped off with a saw. This tree actually had remarkably little to cut off; we’re using pretty much the whole tree. Bobby has had several warm-up junipers under his belt and so much of this has been familiar. This is our first major collaborative work.

Half of juniper work is prep work. The silvering and whitening effect of lime sulfur helps us see the live vein a bit better, which sometimes influences our front and inclination choice. It didn’t this time. We still prefer our first choice. Which is pretty much where the full tree has been photographed, fish tail flipping to the right.

So far we’ve really done nothing.. which is strange given how well I slept last night. All we’ve done is clean and expose what was already there. Tomorrow we begin styling the tree. The light has been cooperating for photography.. nice bright warm days here in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Until tomorrow then!


Touching up the area next to the live vein


Bobby getting into his work..literally. You can easily see the algae buildup on the jins in this photo, which is what we’re trying to blast off in the later photos. The buildup can be intense under a misting system. This tree did not grow a single root for a year, and was under mist the whole time. When it finally did grow roots the deadwood was rather green.


Dampening the whole tree to release the dirt on the deadwood better


Blasting all the dirt and algae off


Still blasting. I don’t think the neighbors appreciated our clean attitude.


Washing the entire tree after blasting


You know it’s “business time” when the lime sulfur and brushes come out. (A nod to Flight of the Conchords fans…apologies to the rest, could not resist).


The tree at the end of the day, looking somewhat cleaner, all prep work completed

🤞Sign up for the blog!

We don’t spam! Read more in our privacy policy


  1. Darrell Walker says:

    Hi Mike,

    What is that thing you are using to blast the tree clean?

    • crataegus says:

      It’s like a water pick for trees.. I bought it in Japan a couple of years ago. Expensive thing but it makes cleaning large areas of deadwood a snap. The pressure is adjustable so you don’t damage softer wood.

  2. dangerousbry says:

    Reblogged this on DangerousBry's Blog and commented:
    It’s still looking like its gonna be a cracking tree 🙂
    I like the way you’ve photographed it. As if not to give too much away!!

    • crataegus says:

      You mean like the monster from ‘Alien’? Just parts of it? Hadn’t thought of that… just happened!

      • dangerousbry says:

        I think I’ve used a Brit thing to say.. “Cracking tree” means something along the lines of ‘Awesome tree’ hahaha

        All of it not just part of it! … Waiting in anticipation of the next instalment 🙂

        I thought the water jet gadget was pretty cool tool to have in ya toolbag too 😉

      • crataegus says:

        Ah, cracking, I like that. Except when it’s involving branches…

  3. memphis550 says:

    nice step by step pictures one question at what ratio do you mix lime sulfur at

    • crataegus says:

      So much of this tree is old weathered, silvered wood. If you put 100% lime sulfur on that it will look stark white and to my eyes, ugly. I like to see some wood underneath the silver, so I just put a light dilution over that, about 1:7. On the newly carved areas I’ll use 100% with a touch of white paint.

  4. Craig Walker says:

    Amazing tree!I hope Bobby has his business socks on… 🙂

  5. Bernard Marque says:

    Blasted tree. Is that a squirt gun, or some kind of high pressure water device you’re using to clean off the algae and dirt?

  6. Al Polito says:

    I think you and Bobby both need T-shirts that read “Team Building Exercise ’99.”

  7. Reggie Perdue says:

    Any place in America to get that Blasting tool. I recently saw another one in an article from Japan. I’d like to get one too. Thanks

Leave a Reply