It is common to find juniper bonsai trees in gardens because of the peaceful environment they create. In fact, the soothing effect exuded by these trees can help reduce your stress level. Therefore, many homeowners want to have a bonsai tree in their homes.
The juniper bonsai has evolved into an aesthetic form that adheres to Zen cultural ideals. The reason for the tree’s popularity is borne from its atmosphere of serenity and peace, which naturally reduces anxiety and stress.
The term “Bonsai” originated with the dwarfed or decorative tiny trees that the ancient Japanese used to emulate the size and shape of full-sized trees.
What Are Junipers?
We can define junipers as coniferous shrubs or trees that bear cone seeds and have scale-like or needle-like leaves. Originating in North America, Asia, and Europe, juniper trees are now popular bonsai options because of their lovely foliage and simple maintenance requirements.
Most people use junipers for their bonsai because they offer natural portable growth characteristics. In addition, these trees provide an evergreen scale-like foliage in steely blue or dark green colors.
You can choose from 50 to 70 different species of low-lying bushes that look like juniper trees. However, the most popular bonsai varieties include:
- California juniper: This variety of juniper grows as shrubs in the Southwest and other areas that frequently practice drought-tolerant gardening.
- Common juniper: The common juniper can adapt to any location worldwide and has needle-like leaves.
- Chinese juniper: Given that its leaves resemble scales, most people frequently refer to this kind as the Hollywood juniper.
Other types of juniper trees include:
- Eastern red cedar: Eastern North America has zones where red cedar grows as a fragrant juniper. It has dark blue-green foliage and bark that ranges from reddish brown to gray.
- Creeping juniper: The creeping juniper grows as a groundcover in different varieties, such as yellow foliage. This juniper bears blue or white berries.
- Greek juniper: This variety can grow as tall as 65 feet in full sun and possess massive trunks. Its gray-green foliage grows from blue to purple berries.
Appearance and Characteristics
You can easily identify juniper bonsai with their appearance. Here is what makes this tree unique:
- They are evergreen conifers
- They can grow up to 10m
- The mature juniper trees can live up to two hundred years
- The brown to gray bark begins to peel as they age
- Reddish brown twigs
- Green to gray beneath
- Vary in shape and size
- Low-spreading or columnar shrubs
- Scale-like/or needle-like leaves
- Junipers have two sections, Sabina and Juniperus, subdivided into New World and Old World species.
- The common juniper has become the most popular juniper species. Also, the older trees possess needle-like leaves, twigs, and seedlings.
- Furthermore, the common juniper has a dominant aromatic wood you can use as a fragrance. Additionally, you can use the wood to create closets and drawers.
- You can find female flowers in spherical shapes and green colors, which slowly mature and change to purplish-blue. Additionally, the mature juniper’s flowers appear like ripe berries. However, the mature leaves do not become dense foliage and have at least one to twelve seeds.
- The wind aids in pollination when the pollen is blown from the male trees to the female flowers.
- The common juniper berries appear like seed cones and finally merge as scales. You can find some edible species on the market. However, you may not like the taste of some because of their bitterness, while others are toxic to consume.
- You can extract essential oil from the ripened berries of junipers for aromatherapy purposes.
- Sometimes, people confuse juniper bonsai trees with cedar because both are conifers. However, juniper bonsai comes from the Juniperus communis family, while Cedar belongs to the Cedrus family.
- People use cedar wood to produce insect-resistant timber that you can use to build houses or furniture.
- In contrast, you can use the common juniper bonsai to manufacture knife handles, shipbuilding, and containers.
How to Care for Bonsai Tree Juniper
Juniper bonsai trees need direct sunlight to grow well. Therefore, you should place the tree where it can receive at least eight hours of light daily. As a result, some species require an outdoor environment to grow.
A juniper bonsai needs water to grow in moist soil. However, the tree cannot handle a waterlogged environment. As a rule, we recommend you ensure that the soil dries slightly.
Humidity & Temperature
Since juniper bonsai trees cannot flourish indoors, the outdoors are the ideal location to grow them. Juniper bonsai trees can grow in low temperatures (10 degrees) without protection.
You should maintain a cleaning routine for your bonsai tree juniper. For example, if you leave your bonsai tree indoors, it may suffer from low humidity, which affects its growth. However, cleaning it ensures that it enjoys a good humidity level.
Fertilizer & Soil
By providing your juniper bonsai with the right nutrients, you can enhance its growth. For instance, you must not use fertilizer on it during winter. You should consider the slow-release organic fertilizer or liquid fertilizer. Moreover, you can use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer if you desire fast growth.
You don’t have to repot your bonsai tree often. However, you can repot the young juniper tree every two years, while mature trees can survive for five years on their pot.
Diseases and pest
Pests and fungi can affect juniper trees. Therefore, you should prune out affected parts to keep the other parts safe. Some fungicides like propiconazole and mancozeb can treat fungi diseases. In addition, ensure that the tree stays away from pests.
Tools Needed for Bonsai Tree Juniper Pruning
There are numerous tools to prune a juniper bonsai. While we have listed most of these tools, you may need only a few.
- Standard shear
- Pruning shear
- Large concave cutter (straight blade)
- Long slim twig shear
- Jin or wire bending plier
- Grafting knife (wooden sheath)
- Small concave cutter (straight blade)
- Tweezer spatula
- Strong standard shear( root pruning)
- Shohin/ azalea shear
- Wire bending plier/ small angled jin
- Knob cutter
- Larger root rake
- Medium-sized foldable saw
- Large foldable saw
- Thin pruning saw
- Root hook
- Set of soil scoops (middle)
- Sickle saw
- Small root rake
- Sickle knife
- Root plier
- Large wire cutter
- Small wire cutter
How to Prune Bonsai Tree Juniper
Do you wish to design the perfect juniper bonsai? You can get started by learning how to prune your tree. Furthermore, you must take care to avoid damaging the tree.
Because of the veins, you should clip around deadwood carefully. This is due to the possibility of the afflicted area drying out if you accidentally cut the vein. However, it is simple to remove the deadwood from the region.
In nature, the juniper has a shrub-like appearance rather than a tree. Still, you must not prune the tree like a shrub. If you remove the growing tips, you will make the juniper weak.
- Pinch and prune the tree’s shoots from the base
- With sharp scissors, you can reduce damage
- Ensure you do not take out all foliage from a branch
- You should not trim back the new growth
- Do not remove a large part of deadwood
- Avoid aggressively pruning a young juniper tree
- You should prune your tree during its growing season
How to Wire Bonsai Tree Juniper
Wiring is the process used to shape a juniper tree. Thus, you should impose wiring if you want a juniper bonsai tree that looks beautiful.
Since juniper bonsai trees will not grow long, you need wires to keep the limbs in check. Additionally, the branches and trunk of the juniper bonsai can curve and twist, and you can use wiring to regulate these movements.
Therefore, begin wiring when the tree is young to have a seamless activity. The sturdiness of a mature tree may not give such luxury.
Wrap delicate limbs in raffia or tape for protection. It would also be ideal if you molded the tree into the desired shape.
You can wire it to the proper position when you thin out your bonsai tree juniper’s foliage. Also, you have to fan out its foliage pads to separate them. Fanning ensures that the tree has free air to other parts.
How to Make Cuts to Bonsai Tree Juniper
It will help if you prune the dead branches, especially those with little or no foliage. Further, with the aid of a concave cutter, ensure that you cut back to the juniper’s truck close to the joint.
Then, apply a wood sealant to the pruned area to encourage healing and reduce moisture.
In addition, with fewer cuts on the branches, you can reduce the stress on the juniper.
With the right-sized cutter, remove new growth on the lower truck. You should take off new growth affecting your tree’s shape.
Remove non-greenery branches to maintain the tree’s beauty. However, you must not cut during summer.
On the other hand, cut during early spring to reduce the freezing of your tree. You should pinch your tree’s new growth with the index finger and thumb. As a result, you can control the shape or size of a tree.
Finally, you must monitor the bonsai tree juniper and trim it when necessary.
Bonsai Tree Juniper Styles
According to Japanese tradition, the bonsai tree juniper has similar and clearly defined shapes or styles. Furthermore, the bonsai has over 100 styles that you can find on the market.
However, we have seen five basic styles that include the following:
- Formal Upright/Chokkan: The formal upright style has become the easiest to create from juniper.
- Informal Upright/Moyogi: The informal upright can be found in nature with a twisted truck. Less strict than the formal upright, this form is the most commonly seen in nature.
- Slanting/Shakan: The design comes slating in a direction with larger roots in the opposite direction for balance.
- Cascade/Kengai: The cascade design offers an upward growth that may not encourage strength. As a result, it grows downward.
- Semi-Cascade/Han Kengai: This design has its truck below your pot’s rim.
Growing the bonsai tree juniper has become satisfying and therapeutic to owners. In fact, you can enjoy a calming and peaceful atmosphere with it. However, we want you to know that it takes perseverance to grow a stunning juniper bonsai tree.