Where does the time go? I’ve been trying to keep up with spring  but try as I might, she gets away from me every time! I was up in Seattle late last month to help a client with potting and re-potting and had to put all I had on hold. So, I had to get myself caught up before I could share this with you. The main subject of this post is a Rocky mountain juniper that I styled in late October:

RMJ

This is the tree just after some wiring and ready to go through winter. The owner has a greenhouse and agreed to mist the foliage twice daily throughout winter. She did such a great job, I wish I could hire her to take care of my trees 😉 And in the next photo you can see the result of excellent aftercare–lots of new growth starting at the tips of foliage:

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If you look closely, you can see the flowers that indicate this specimen is a female…Rocky Mountain junipers are dioecious, meaning that individual trees are either male or female…female foliage tends to be tighter and more desirable than male foliage…sorry guys 😦 We got right to business as I couldn’t stay long and found lots of healthy roots had grown in the box over the years:

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More roots…

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The problem, you can see, is that the roots are mostly all to the right side; this is not unusual for collected trees as they often send their larger, woody roots along cracks in the rock they are found growing in. In the next photo you can also see another constraint… the box was narrow, which made the pot choice limited:

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Time to see if I could cut some of the roots on the right back, to increase our choices for pot selection:

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No turning back now!

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It looks like there are plenty of roots over on the left, but I found they originated on the right side of the trunk. We decided to play it safe and look for a long, shallow pot that could contain the entire root system:

Erin Pot

The pot is a shallow oval ‘Erin’ pot with a subtle glaze and texture…I was relieved to get that out of the way 😉 Then it was on to some more root work:

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Removing the field soil.

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Lots of roots! A look from underneath the root pad showing the roots mostly on the right side of the trunk:RMJ

Back to the pot…I put a slight mound to the left of center to get the tree somewhat close to the planted angle I used when I styled it. I used 50% sifted pumice 1/4″ particle size and 50% akadama 1/4″ particle size:

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The wire I used to tie the tree in is 16 gauge galvanized all-purpose mild steel wire purchased at the Lowe’s, a short walk from my house. The steel wire doesn’t stretch like aluminum and is a lot less expensive. The next step was to place the tree into the container:

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Where is that shoe horn when you need it? 😉

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Next step is to bring the wire across the root ball and twist together to secure the tree into the pot:

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Working soil into the roots:

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The roots are filling the pot!

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The pot was gradually filled with soil mix to just below the rim; the next step was to water the tree:

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Yours truly applying sieved sphagnum moss to the surface of the soil to help retain moisture there:

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There will always be a need to adjust the branches to the new potted angle…slight tweaking here and there…

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More tweaking…

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Time for lunch!

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More tweaking???

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There was more re-potting after lunch, and I had a chance in the afternoon to get a better shot of the Rocky Mountain juniper in its new digs:

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Another shot:

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I also helped to re-pot this little common juniper into a Jan Rentenaar pot…the next step on this little guy will be wiring in the fall after we see how he does over the growing season:

common juniper

Meanwhile, back at home…a vine maple and bird’s foot violet languished in the greenhouse…

vine maple

As much as I like hanging out in Seattle with good friends, the pull to get home and attend to things this time of year is very strong! I’ll leave you with this little Kusamono, a grass I collected when living in Hood River:

Kusamono

And a detail of the flowers:

grass flower detail

Well folks, I’m bushed! I potted two very large collected trees by myself today and am starting to feel it! Hope you have enjoyed this 😉

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