Identifying and Understanding Juvenile Growth (Non-Juniper)

This topic came up in the most recent livestream. Ryan was discussing the juvenile growth response and I asked if that was exclusive to junipers or if it showed up on other species. If I recall, the answer was basically “yes, it does”. So I’m here to hopefully learn some more.

I have a couple examples with my own trees, but if anyone can point me to general resources (previous streams, written guides, etc) I’d really appreciate it.

EXAMPLE ONE - Western Redcedar

This is what had me thinking about juvenile growth outside of junipers in the first place. There’s a handful of western redcedar in our neighbors yard, and this year I collected a bunch of the babies that started sprouting underneath them. I noticed that the seedlings have more “spikey” growth.

First image here is the foliage of the parent.

This is one of the children.

The difference reminded me of how junipers work. And, since thuja plicata and junipers are both members of the cupressaceae family, it made sense to me. So I was wondering if mature redcedar could also revert from scales into a more spikey needle form. Obviously I’m not worried about my juveniles having juvenile foliage, I was just curious.

EXAMPLE TWO - Monterey Pine

A very different case. I have a little Monterey Pine that I thought was finished for the year. The candle needled out and hardened off. Then it kind of … kept growing. More needles started elongating out of the top without any sort of bud or candle. More like how fir and spruce grow, or my first-year pine seedlings.

Then the sides started pushing out more needles! I presume this isn’t what’s considered a “second flush”. Is this juvenile growth? Is it a consequence of a resource surplus? I’ve been feeding this kid a lot. I presume this is fine?

Again, any information on the topic would be great!

I believe your pine had a lot left over in its energy bank, so it had enough to “sustain and add” more foliage for the season. :+1:t2: :smiley:

Just my opinion…
Where are you located… Your cedar looks more like a eastern then a western…
Juniperus virgiana… :thinking:

I’m in Oregon, so Western would make sense geographically, but I struggle to distinguish thuja varieties so I’m not at all sure.

And I’m happy to have a pine with surplus energy :slight_smile: Gotta get that thicc trunk. I’ll probably do the first wiring soon.

Was it an urbandori collection? Could be anything.
Native Western red cedar doesn’t range down that far…
Mine are North Idaho collected. Gave up on them 15 yesrs ago as small bonsai… Just DONT want to train… Been in the garden. 15" tall now. Dealing OK so far with this global warming… right next to my Douglas fir, and hedgd maples, and English oak and… :sweat_smile: Hope springs eternal…

Yeah I got them from my own yard, haha. 7 of them sprouted this year, and I managed to collect 5 of them. There’s a veritable forest of them opposite the fence because my neighbors let them grow freely.

I brought everything inside during the heat dome and I’m glad I did because the larger trees outside got absolutely scorched. I’m hoping it doesn’t become a regular event >_<

Fun topic! My primary observations of this in nature come from juniper and pinyon pine. Pinyon is an interesting example in that I primarily see juvenile foliage in response to browsing or other damage. In general, juvenile foliage is less robust, and my take is that the plants are trying to quickly recoup their carbon losses through cheap leaves (low initial carbon investment) with higher photosynthetic rates. It’s possible that an excess of nutrients could elicit a similar reaction, since nitrogen is needed to power those higher photosynthetic rates. How nature translates into bonsai is, as we all know, anyone’s guess!