Shimpaku Clean Up and Styling

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

Shimpaku Clean Up and Styling

Now that I’m all settled back in Japan, I can get back to work and get some more posts on the blog.  If you didn’t already know, I spend most of September back in the US taking a bit of time off and working with the wonderful Bonsai people of Milwaukee.  Once I got back to Japan, I was put right back to work wiring trees and wiring trees and wiring trees…  sigh..  you get the point.  😉  I’d have to admit that after a long break, it took me some time to get back into the mode of things here but it’s been two weeks now and my body is has already gotten use to being in a constant state of aches and pains.  Haha!  Today is my first day off since coming back so I thought it was be a good time to get some writing done.  I got tons of stuff backlogged that are just waiting to be organized and posted, so some good stuff to come!

As I looked through my photos on what to write about today, I decided to start strong and show what I did on this particular customer’s Shimpaku in the last week.  It’s pretty tall as you can see from the picture above and quite bushy.  The work on this tree actually started in August and the styling happened in October.  There’s a reason for that and I’m going to break it down here and show you what we did.  Perhaps you can apply these same techniques to your Shimpakus at home.  The Summer and Fall are a great time to work on Junipers so still a couple of months before Winter is in full swing.

Cleaning and Some Cutting

The first thing I normally do when working on a Juniper is cleaning.  So what is cleaning?  Basically, removing old foliage, yellow/brown foliage and dead branches.  It can also involve eliminating small unwanted branches that we know we won’t use.  If I’m not sure, I’ll always hold off the cutting until I start styling the tree.

Once the cleaning is done, it give us a clearer picture of what the tree has to offer.  This way, we don’t accidentally cut off branches we may need.  I didn’t get too many shots of the tree while I was cleaning, but I did cut some branches off another Shimpaku that I’m going to use to illustrate what I did on the big one.

First off, I removed any brown needles.  No pictures here because it’s so straight forward.  I normally use a combination of my hands and tweezers to remove the loose brown and yellow needles.  They should just come right off when touched.  Old juniper foliage will brown out and fall off ever year on the interior of the branches so it’s perfectly normally to see that happening.  Think of old needles falling a pine tree.  If the tips of the foliage are browning out, then there’s a problem.

But! If I wanted to make the branch shorter, I would leave the green at the base and cut the terminal end off.

Cutting Back