Has anyone had luck with juniperus virginiana?

They grow everywhere in the cattle fields in central Oklahoma. I collected one this year that had been significantly stunted, probably by cattle or storms but has a massive trunk. I’m excited to try it as bonsai material but I thought I’d see what experience anyone might have had with it already?

1 Like

I do not personally, but I haven’t tried…yet. I have seen a few that are breathtaking, great deadwood/live vein contrasts that have been collected in Texas. Howard and Sylvia Smith of BSD (Dallas) have a few beautiful red cedar that I know were collected in the area on club digs. They have amazing trees.

Thanks! Glad to hear it! I’ve heard it mentioned a few times in passing on a couple streams but didn’t know if anyone actually had much luck with them. I think Ryan mentioned last week they are semi-related to RMJ.

I remember Ryan talking about Juniperus virginana during the Utah Juniper streams - people were asking about collecting it if I remember correctly, although this was almost a year ago now. Here are those links!

https://live.bonsaimirai.com/archive/video/juniper-structure
https://live.bonsaimirai.com/archive/video/juniper-design

We also touched on it in these Q&A’s - https://live.bonsaimirai.com/archive/video/live-qa-xxviii at 21:33

and https://live.bonsaimirai.com/archive/video/live-qa-ix at 33:01

2 Likes

I have been working on and off with the species for many years. I have seen some real JV beauties collected and cultivated by New Englanders. My experience with them is that the foliage can settle down and be beautiful if in finer but granular and durable soil and left to tighten in a not too big pot. Lots of sun. preventative medicine. Mine all live with cedar apple rust which periodically expresses itself but then I treat with fung and it passes. I found they really do not like root disturbance. Nothing terribly remarkable. Don’t bother with one unless it is exceptional.

Thanks for the advice! The one I collect does seems pretty cool and lots of potential if it survives the collecting process. What do you use to treat the apple cedar rust? Does this cause problems with any of your other species that are in close proximity?

My opinion on ACR is that it is ubiquitous, at least in my area. The spores are everywhere. I keep hawthorn and apples out of splash range only and dispose of rusty leaves every time I find one. When any gelatinous fugal forms show up on the juniper, which is usually just during wet times, I clean them off and apply a fungicide topically. I have used various things such as copper or a sulfur mix–my understanding is it does not really kill the fungus but my experience is it withhold the jelly and helps from keeping it getting more expansive and soft, soon it passes and does not show up for another season. I have cleaned it up with alcohol with success too and it works. Folks out east use soil drenches made from sulfur with apparent success but I have never tried it. I have never had one die from the disease–it seems to coexsist.

Trent.Strum…Virginiana is a lot like Pitch Pine, in several respects:

  • it will backbud all the way down to the nebari
  • it has twisted sort of yellowish needles, in 2 or 3 per fasicle
  • the bark can be extremely rough and aged looking, even on a relatively young tree.
    These grow like weeds in Eastern PA., and down in the Pinelands in New Jersey.
    Cheers…
    Flex

I ended up going back and getting a second one. The first is large and curvy, the second is more upright and formal. I am excited to work with collected material as these are really my first trees to collect. I also didn’t have any junipers so they will also help me begin learning to work with junipers.

…Just a word of caution…all of the trees I have collected are left to sit for at least 1 year, so they have time to recover. That also allows me time to “learn” the tree…what it likes and dislikes, how much sun it needs, and watering requirements. Gentle organic fertilizer also helps…
Cheers…
Flex

2 Likes

Thank you for the advice! It is definitely my plan to let them be for a while, at least a year, to recover and thrive. I left a ton of foliage on both, as the strength from junipers comes from there, hoping to make the recovery process as quick and smooth as possible. The trick I think will be in achieving the correct balance of water and oxygen as that much foliage will pull lots of water from fewer roots but at the same time I left a lot of field soil in the roots which holds more water. So I am concerned with correctly assessing and achieving that balance on a consistent basis.

…If later in summer / early Fall you start to see blue berries, then you will know the tree is ‘happy’!
Cheers…
Flex

2 Likes

Thank you @flex! I’ve been wondering about that lately, how I will know or what signs should I be looking for to see if they have survived the collection process.
Should I also expect to see any foliage growth this year? Or will it be focusing its resources on roots?

I dug a small one in spring of 2017, began pruning it in the fall, and styled it this spring. It hasn’t missed a beat! They are tough trees, but tend to grow straight, have a lot of elasticity so bending is easy but setting branches is not, and their foliage is fairly open if left to grow without any limiting factors. Not the easiest of juniper species but good yamadori do exist! Both of my Red Cedar were collected in junky lowland areas and are more for learning purposes…

Before pruning in the fall: 23559874_10214787746428238_6244722726279118277_n%20(1)

After styling in the spring: 31350095_10216181056340115_7890456222814070265_n

2 Likes

Really nice start with the one! I feel like they get a bad rap because the environment they grow in in the east doesn’t produce the twisted deadwood trunks that junipers are prized for. I have one that I dug up last spring, just a tiny 3 inch tall seedling. I figured with this species, if you grow from a young seedling you can really twist it in ways that they don’t naturally grow. So that’s what I’ll be doing with mine. It’s anazing how quickly it has grown, it’s now about a foot and a half tall and super bushy. They are really vigorous trees and think that they could be deleveloped from seedling relatively quickly compared to other conifer species.

1 Like