I’m reblogging Michael Hagaedorn’s post on junipers as a reminder of juniper care for my own collection. I had a personal experience of the pinching errors that Michael talks about. I posted earlier of my shimpaku juniper I call “infity”. I shaped this tree as if it was immortal and got a little carried away. I did some of the undesirable techniques of pinching. I’m embarrassed to say, that I almost killed the tree. Luckily the tree is still alive and is recovering but it maybe a while before I can post any decent photos of it. Needless to say, I have a lot to learn about bonsai.
Basically, we don’t pinch junipers. We cut new long extensions with scissors…and I know that will raise some eyebrows. I think the idea of pinching junipers with fingers started long ago in translated Japanese articles written by those who did not specialize in or have much experience in junipers. And then we bought into the idea of pinching because it seemed like a way to have fun with our junipers. But pinching, especially over-pinching where every growing tip is removed, has been killing junipers for decades.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there about junipers. For starters, needle and scale junipers are maintained totally differently. It’s essential to know what you’ve got so you can train it properly. This really needs to be addressed. There are far too many weakened and dead junipers out there because of a misunderstanding of how we handle their growth—in fact, I doubt I’m far…
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