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Studio Stories – Juniper Squamata Meyerii becomes more “compact”!

Sometimes I work on nursery trees, sometimes I work on client’s trees……and sometimes if I’ve been a really good boy I get to work on my own trees. Hopefully these regular visits will give you an insight into what goes on behind closed doors……….

Studio Stories – Juniper Squamata Meyerii becomes more “compact”!

I suspect that most of my students will have no hesitation in telling you that I’m good at “compact”. They frown when I ask them “how small do you want this tree?” They argue that he never asks us how big we want the tree. It’s a simple phrase, a simple question, but to them it seems fraught with innuendo and diabolical consequences.

Some people are just hard to please. Don’t they always tell me that trees are easier to pack on the journey home, there is always more space! I must confess that they often leave more of their tree behind with me…’s just that they always leave with the best bit….the live bit.

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This Juniper Squamata Meyerii is being sold on behalf of a client and has been on the sale benches a while. Originally it was a much larger tree but suffered badly from a scale attack which left it with it’s current profile. However it has been left to grow, has recovered it’s vigour and is now ready for some restyling.

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The first job was to examine the deadwood and clarify the defining lines between the live veins and the shari. I needed to check where the deadwood could be safely extended but in line with the taper and movement in the live veins.

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After the work on the deadwood came the task of wiring and in particular moving the heavy main first branch…..which will now become the trunk line…..nearer to the original trunk. Sometimes it’s advantageous not to raffia branches because when the branch is clearly visible you can watch for stress and control any cracks which may occur.

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Some selective pruning was carried out and then the remainder of the branches were all wired. The tree could now be styled. I am really pleased with the outcome. This small powerful tree is visually much more attractive now that the trunk and canopy are in harmony. It has tremendous potential for future development and refinement.

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The lower branch on the left was retained in order to have a live vein on each side of the trunk but this branch is too heavy and too straight. It couldn’t be bent sufficiently to make it look natural and in keeping with the rest of the design. It may not look as obvious once the foliage has had chance to fill out and extend so maybe it is best left for now and let any new owner of the tree make the decision. Next time the tree is repotted it should be possible to refine the roots and lower it in the pot.

The longer it stays here the more likely I am to convert this branch and it’s vein into deadwood leaving just one live vein on one side of the tree……..and in risking stating the obvious……create a much more dramatic “compact” little tree……..but then again what else would you expect???