I have 12 young nursery-grown Juniperus rigida that I acquired a little over a year ago. When I first received them they were in pretty rough shape. In addition to getting lost in the mail system for several weeks, it was obvious that many of them were root bound. Some of the smaller trees had been newly up-potted just prior to shipping and much of the loose soil had been jostled from their pots during their long journey.
Finding very little information on the internet and having no personal knowledge of the species, I decided to move them into Anderson flats for recovery and long-term grow out. Normally, I would’ve done some sort of root work during the transition from their nursery containers. Since they were so weak and I received them in the midst of a mid-summer heat spell I simply slip-potted them.
A year later and the trees look super healthy and vigorous. I plan to leave these trees in the garden for many years to grow and thicken them into something that can be used for bonsai.
During the long wait, I would like to maximize their potential as bonsai material by wiring some movement into the trunks. Even though I have watched Ryan Neil’s Juniperus rigida demo’s, I’m still uncertain as to the optimal timing for wiring and bending these pre-bonsai. What I surmised from the videos is that a lot of the work done on Juniperus rigida should take place in the middle of summer. Additionally, the Needle Juniper species is somewhat rigid so it can’t be overly bent and manipulated.
I have one other post on another popular bonsai-specific website (from June of this year) looking for advice on these trees. One veteran bonsai practitioner who has first hand knowledge (and whose advice I deeply respect) suggested that I make bends in the early spring. In one of Ryan’s videos, he repots a fully developed and refined J. rigida in the late Spring however none of Ryan’s videos on Temple Juniper involve major bending.
One thing I gathered from watching Ryan’s videos is that Needle Juniper is a bit of an outlier species having its own quirks and nuances. Although I appreciate all constructive feedback, I am hoping to hear from people with first hand knowledge of actual Temple Juniper (Juniperus rigida) and not about experiences with the often used American substitutes for Tosho . . . Common Juniper (Juniperus communis), Shore Juniper (Juniperus conferta), the Foemina Juniper (Juniperus chinensis ‘Foemina’) or the Mediterranean Cade Juniper (Juniperus Oxycedrus).
I am totally confused! Should I bend during the heat of summer or wait until next Spring after the new shoots have leafed out??
Can anyone help me understand when is the best time to make some bends in this relatively hard to find species?