Nana juniper progression (new to bonsai )

What’s up everyone! New to bonsai here in Tampa, Fl. Picked up a juniper from Dragon Tree Bonsai down in Port St. Lucie, and took my first bonsai class at Artisan Bonsai here in Tampa. This is my first real shot at styling a juniper. I think it came out alright. If anyone has any idea for further refinement or good juniper care for Tampa weather and seasons, feel free to chime in. Thanks.

I guess I can only post one picture, so here is before.

Hey :sunglasses:

I would suggest you to find as much information as you can ab this type of tree. Nana was my first training material and still is. I learned how fast wire can grow into branches (I believe I will see scars still in next decade at least…) I saw branches I wanted to keep dying back and didn’t understand why, I almost killed it completely one year thinking there is no harm in pruning during growing season…etc. It’s been 4 years or so and this is first year the foliage is amazing - because I didn’t touch the tree just watered, fertilized and studied!
There is not much about Nana but something that helped me (at least with understanding past mistakes) that it is mountain juniper which builds up density before elongating - opposite to common junipers. I treated it as ‘whatever juniper’…
Good luck with yours :crossed_fingers: and post ‘after’ picture please :slight_smile:

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Here’s after


I love the movement in the lower trunk, and the long branch to the right offsets it nicely. I personally would have gonna a little shorter, but I also know trees look very different in person, where you can get a real sense of depth.

I’m sure you’ll get a lot of great advice from the person giving the class, but I would assume you would want a well draining soil mix in Florida. Especially with all the summer rains. There’s quite a few great Bonsai guys down there that you could also read up on.

I keep mentioning him on a bunch of my posts, but Adam Lavigne has amazing information, and is really good about giving you styling AND horticulture info. And he’s in Florida, which only makes it better for you.

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Thanks for the input. I’ll look up Adam. I was thinking about going shorter as well but I’m always so afraid to remove too much up front. Would you jin the remaining top? I would hate to waste any wood.

I’m the same way when it comes to big cuts. I’ve learned that there’s always time to cut later. See how the tree responds. If you decide to go shorter, maybe start with the jin and see how it feels. If you don’t like it, take it all off.

Try using some white towels to cover up the foliage mass you are thinking of removing then take a picture and evaluate from there.
If you remove some of the top I think you’ll find that some foliage on the right needs to come off to bring the tree into proportion.
But before you remove more foliage consider this: What you have now looks great and I would recommend sitting on this iteration for awhile. Study your tree, develop some ideas for how to evolve the design. It’s easy to keep tinkering, but in my experience we need to let our trees rest and recover from the work we do to them. Additionally, I think it’s important to take a step back from designing to get some perspective on what we have created.

Go get another 3 trees if you can and get going on those as you can only do so much to each tree and generally our need to cut is greater than one tree can satisfy.


Thanks for the great reply! I can see how ones collection can grow so quickly especially when learning and trying different styles. Definitely want to get more trees!

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definetly agree with the last sentiment

How’s this tree doing? Any new trees?