Buruhon in Japanese stands for bullhorn. It was the name given to this specimen in the desert by Harry Hirao when he seen it. Earlier this year during the repotting season, this juniper was given life saving care. It never went to adult foliage always staying with awl type foliage and the tree never flourished and always seemed on a slow steady decline. I figured the roots were probably the culprit and never really got a good foothold. Most of this is my fault as I simply just cannot wait to start getting them to a bonsai pot. Even though I started with a larger pot and worked it down over a few years, I probably should have allowed a couple of years growth between potting down rather than just one season. Its taken me a long time, but I now realize that just because it is alive does not mean it can be handled roughly, by repotting and things.
During repotting I chose a couple of plants this year to be the beneficiary of growing in 100% Grow Stones. This is a completely man-made product that functions exactly like pumice but is made from recycled glass. It can be purchased in hydroponic stores that cater to the weed trade. The reason I chose this tree was due to the poor and sickly look of the tree. Using a product for the first time as a stand alone ingredient has to be used by itself to really know in the product can do what it claims. The other tree I chose was a trident maple. It too was grown in 100% Grow Stones. The product worked very well for the juniper from a desert climate while the tridents suffered due to the product just not retaining enough water. The desert juniper is quite at home with more dry feet and so the pumice allowed a good exchange of air yet had a good moisture content when watered, and then tapered off as it dried. Much like the juniper would experience in the desert with a flash flood summer rain.
Eleven months later the tree has responded well to the pumice. Its foliage while still juvenile is growing very well. Most of the tips stay green now, as before they would brown off the shoot would stall. Now the shoots are elongating. I feel the roots are now in much better shape and have grown a lot since the repot. Some branches that were still wired when I repotted had now swollen and the wire was starting to bite which was a good sign since some of the wire had been on there since 2008 and had never seen and expansion of the limb.
Today I cleaned out all the old brown shoots that had died even after the repot. Some of the smaller branches had died and those were clean out as well. I decided that after the clean up I would wire the tree. It has not been wired since 2008 and the branches were pretty long. This tree has always suffered growing foliage and branches and not I really had something to work with. Not as much as I would have liked but now I will have a good base to expand on and the outline is much better than the tree has ever been.
This is the tree as it was collected. 2005
This is the first bonsai pot. It was very large or the tree and I had hoped that it would do much better than a correct size pot. 2007
This is the next size down. This is in 2008 and the only time the tree has been wired.
During this season repot this is the only roots I had on the tree. This is the backside of the tree. The only live side on the tree is the right side seen from the front.
This is the roots as seen from the front. This is not a lot of roots to support this tree. If I wanted more foliage i will need a proportionate amount of roots to get them.
This is the tree tied into the pot. The roots are tucked into one small corner.
Started to backfill the pot with 100% pumice. This is how the canopy looked at the time of repot. A lot of the foliage is dead and continues to die. New shoots come out and then just dry up and turn brown.
The tree is tied in with a hole drilled thru the trunk and then wired into the drain holes and tied.
At this point I stopped with the pumice and topped the tree off with my regular soil mix just so I didn’t have to stare at the stupid tan pumice all summer.
Today I started the work on the tree by cleaning up all the dead stuff. Watch dog looking on.
Too cold outside so Mommy put the sweater on the watch dog. All the dead stuff can be seen in the canopy. Notice on the top of the tree I have very strong upright-growing shoots, as well as other places on the tree.
This is what the tree looked like after cleaning out all the dead twigs, and dead needles. Lots of good growing foliage now.
This is as far as I could get today. I was tired and this was about 5 hours work. Still lots of detail wire to put on especially on the back of the tree. The canopy is too pointy and I want a rounder softer canopy, but will have to wait for more growth. I am pleased with the tree so far. It looks like the larger particle size as well as the greater air exchange seemed to save the life of this juniper. Maybe it will really look good next year with another year of growth.