Itoigawa Shohin (First Styling)

This post covers the first styling of a pre-bonsai itoigawa juniper that I purchased in September 2012. The first picture shows the tree after the work in early May 2014


I decided that with this tree I would not try to do all the work at the one time but spread it over a 12 month period. I had a good reason for doing this. In the Spring of 2012 I had tried the same thing with 4 other junipers with disasterous results, all of the trees were set back by the intervention and are only now beginning to show signs of recovery. The problem I believe was trying to do too much too soon and at the wrong time of year. I will cover these trees in future posts.

This is the tree as purchased in September 2012


I studied the tree over the winter to develop a clear idea of what I wanted to do with it. You can see that it has 2 main trunks and the one on the left has a large lower branch moving to the right. In April 2013, when I could see strong new growth in the tree, I removed all of the foliage from the right hand trunk and from the lower branch in the left hand trunk. When I had done this, I could see that the remaining foliage mass was still too dense, so another forward facing branch was defoliated, all of the bark was removed and a shari created to link the now dead branches. I wired some of the dead branches while they were still pliable to add more depth and interest to the deadwood


I left the tree untouched apart from regular watering and fertilising until July 2013.At this point, I removed the wire and applied jin fluid to the deadwood. The wired branches were still flexible and returned to their previous position, so when the jin fluid had dried the wire was replaced

This is the tree in July 2013 just after the application of jin fluid. The tree was re-potted into its current pot at this time but for some reason I didn’t photograph this


By May 2014, it was again showing signs of strong new growth so the foliage was trimmed and the tree was given its first full wiring. I will show this tree again later in the year to show how the foliage is developing



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