Two Grafting Projects: Juniper and Pine
The first tree in this photo essay is a whimsical juniper that used to be a needle juniper. Although my client enjoyed the needle juniper, it wasn’t doing very well where he lived and was getting weaker. I gave him a few options, and he decided we’d ‘change the clothes’ of the tree, so to speak, and make it happier. Essentially, we made it into something we could do bonsai work with, and not just eek along and ‘keep it going’, which isn’t really in the bonsai textbook of desired results.
Three years ago I grafted itoigawa scions on it. It was roughly styled about a year and a half ago, the whole tree created from the original four small veneer/cleft grafts. I have mixed feelings about itoigawa, to be honest, but for very small trees or those with some delicacy about them it does seem appropriate.
Itoigawa, if you’re going to go that route, is a very strongly growing plant (one of my issues with it.) Some varieties of itoigawa are so strong that the branches can very rapidly get overly thick, and will soon look rather muscular and out of character with the foliage. So controlling the energy and growth on this type of juniper is particularly important.
Also, at the end of this photo essay, I include a different grafted tree, with a very different feeling…it’s a ponderosa pine that we grafted black pine onto. Not that ponderosa pine isn’t an easy tree to grow, it’s just that my client doesn’t like ponderosa very much…so that too was grafted. Different preferences for different people. Enjoy the photos!
Itoigawa scions veneer grafted onto needle juniper. March, 2012.
Itoigawa grafts growing strongly off the top, needle juniper below. March 2014.
Tree is completely itoigawa juniper now, all the needle juniper foliage has been cut off. Four grafts were used.
After a bit of cleanup, before wiring. October 2015.
Styled tree, October 2015. Three years from grafting. 38″ / 96 cm high.
Details of the branching and foliage pads in the next few photos-
Our second grafting project was a black pine grafted onto ponderosa. To get a sense of the mass and scale of this tree, the red rectangle on the box is the tab of a handtruck. That’s a big two person box.
After all the ponderosa foliage had been cut off, only black pine remains.
We’d not paid much attention to this tree for a while, and it had grown wildly for several years. Embarrassingly, I needed a jack to bend one of the massive grafted limbs, which, had I been awake, would have needed only a modest wire only a couple years earlier. Sigh. What I get for being an idiot, more work. In any event I’ll likely do a post about this one when there’s something worth photographing. One or two years I think.