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Sunday, July 25, 2010

California Juniper Raft Style

Hello again, today's project is on another California Juniper. This tree is growing in what is called a raft style, which is reminiscent  of a tree that has fallen over while the root ball stays intact. Over time what once were branches grow into trunks  and from one fallen tree several  new one's take its place. This tree is  probably several hundred years old. The tree was collected in the Techapi Mountains in the early 1990's by Harry Hiro, Mr. California Juniper himself. .He donated it to a California Bonsai Society Convention in the mid 90's and it was put in the raffle as a special prize with each ticket costing $5.00.
I put in about $300.00 worth of tickets and when they pulled the winning ticket ... it was not mine. Several years later maybe around '01 I was able to trade the winner a  couple of large pots for the tree.  The first year I had it it was not very happy, it hadn't been transplanted since being dug and the wood box it was in was falling apart. A lot of the branches had died back and a couple of trunks as well. I transplanted it and just let it grow . All was well for a couple of years then the tree was hit with a major infestation of spider mites , after treating them and removing the more damaged parts ,the tree looked pretty bare again so I let it grow out until now. Here is what the tree looked like at the start of the work.

Here is a look at the deadwood .
And after cleaning it up a bit.
After thinning out the lower trunks and branches I decided to train some of the small lower branches as if they were separate trunks. After thinning and applying wire here is what we have.

The main tree before work.
And after thinning and wiring.
And now we cleaned up some of the dead trunks.
And after a couple of hours we wind up with this.

The next couple of years will be devoted to developing the small "trunks" and  foliage masses.
I 'm considering planting it on a stone slab but I have time to make that decision. For now I'll feed and pinch it and see how it looks next spring.
I hope that you enjoyed todays post. Please feel free to post any comments or suggestions for subjects of future posts.


  1. Wow I've never seen a Calif. like that. That should look great when it fills out a bit.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Ryan N.

  2. You're welcome glad you enjoyed it. I'll reintroduce it when it starts to fill out.