Juniper bonsai: strong and resistant conifer
Plant belonging to the group of conifers, the juniper bonsai appears as a particularly resistant and strong species, able to live in the open air without problems at any time of the year, without the need for protection or special care. For the same reason, it is a species that lends itself to bonsai art without suffering, which of course makes it very widespread and appreciated among Japanese bonsaists. Its ability to react without difficulty to the most diverse climatic situations, naturally, does not remove the risk that excessively torrid or, on the other hand, glacial temperatures can cause problems: in particular, in the presence of particularly harsh climates it is advisable to protect the mass radical (and therefore the vase), which is the weak point of the plant. Lover of well-lit, unventilated but airy and sunny positions, the juniper bonsai, which reproduces by cuttings or by seed, suffers from excess water: for this reason the waterings, however constant, must be carried out only in the moment where the soil is totally dry.
Watch out for excess water
As often happens with bonsai, in short, a little water is better than too much. The state of the soil must be checked with a certain periodicity, in order to ascertain, among other things, that the drainage of the water is sufficient: if this were not the case, in fact, there would be the risk of causing the roots to rot, causing serious damage to the health of the plant. From this point of view, repotting takes on a fundamental role, especially for those plants that are purchased in shopping centers, which sometimes - being imported - have an excessively compact and therefore poorly draining soil. The repotting, therefore, becomes essential, even if it is carried out at a different time than the appropriate one: in this situation, it is possible to proceed with a soft repotting, that is without the roots being exposed. Fertilizing juniper bonsai it must be done during the vegetation once a month from March to September, in order to supplement the plant's nutrition. It should not be carried out, however, in the month of July and in the first two weeks of August, that is during the period with the highest temperatures. As for the type of fertilizer to be used, although the granular fertilizer is characterized by a slower absorption, it is preferable to use liquid fertilizer, naturally diluted in the water that will then be used for watering. Previously, there was talk of the opportune time to carry out the repotting: it is placed between the end of autumn and the first days of spring, in correspondence with the period of vegetative rest, simultaneously, if possible, with pruning. When the soil is replaced, it is necessary to make sure that the new pot is suitable for the size taken by the plant. The drainage holes must be protected with stone chips or covered with a grid. The purpose of this action is to give rise to a sort of protection with respect to the physiological dispersion of the soil that occurs during watering. Furthermore, the need to guarantee protection against pest and animal attacks should not be underestimated.
The soil: how to compose the substrate
The composition of the substrate, in order to ensure adequate drainage, must provide universal soil at fifty percent, peat at ten percent and sand at forty percent. On the occasion of repotting, on the other hand, it is also possible to resize the entire root mass, cutting the most voluminous roots so as to leave space for the most important capillaries for plant nutrition. Pruning also plays an essential role in the growth of juniper bonsai: the training pruning, which serves to make the plant take on the desired shape, is flanked by maintenance interventions, whose goal is to fix the result obtained. In practice, it is necessary to eliminate the diseased branches, broken or characterized by irregular course, using specific tools and above all very sharp blades.
Juniper Bonsai: Tips for performing pruning
It is advisable, in fact, that the cuts made are clean, free of smudges, so as to reduce the risk of infections: to create protection against parasites, the cuts must also be covered using healing mastic, which also serves to make faster healing. While the topping and the stapling favor the vegetative balance during the vegetative period, the application of tie rods and wires can be useful to give the trunk and branches the desired conformation: in short, to give life to a more pleasant posture from the point of aesthetic view. The ideal solution, of course, is to operate on the younger branches, which are more flexible and are more sensitive to corrections. It is sufficient, therefore, to use copper wires, a material that can easily be bent, with a diameter of two or three millimeters, covered with rubber to prevent the bark of the branches from being damaged in the anchoring points. The plant must be watered a few hours before intervening, so as to improve the flexibility of the points where you want to intervene and avoid sudden breakages. Finally, the bitter red spider mites and the cochineal are bitter enemies of juniper bonsai.