Collecting City Juniper for Bonsai

Guest article by Luka Musich

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Luka is a fellow bonsai enthusiast and friend of mine who often obtains material for bonsai from around his home city, Zagreb, in Crotia. Here is the story of Luka collecting two large juniper urban-yamadori from the city landscape.

Almost each day while walking or driving through the city streets, I see great bonsai material. Every now and then there is construction going on in the city and these are the chances i'm waiting and looking for so I can collect bonsai material.
This is the story of one of those opportunities that happened this August. While walking around the city, I stumbled upon a big trench in the downtown area of Zagreb.

collecting juniper bonsai

It was the building of a new water pipeline. The digger had made a big trench, while doing so had been driving over a large island of Juniper. Unfortunately I hadn't discovered these Junipers before the work had started, otherwise I would have saved a lot of trees being run over by the digger, and got myself much better bonsai material. But then again, one must not get too greedy!!!

So i talked to the constructors and the people from the major city horticultural firm that maintains the city streets, and obtained the permission to collect a couple of the injured trees...

Because most of the trees on the right side of the trench had too long branches, with foliage metres away from the trunk, i decided to go for the trees on the left hand side of the trench.

collecting juniper bonsai

The first tree I collected I nicknamed 'Biggy'! With the trunk base standing close to the left edge of the trench, still with a nice green crown, it was a great candidate for bonsai, and it was the first one I wanted out of the ground!

collecting juniper bonsai

After cleaning the area around the tree, it seemed that actually the tree was a large branch that had rooted (or ground-layered), where it touched the ground. I was sure that there were enough roots to collect it successfully, so it was cut from the (thinner) main tree and collected.

That digger was a big help. All was done in a few seconds! Without it I'd have been digging it out for a couple of hours. Thanks guys!

collecting juniper bonsai

The first tree successfully dug out of the ground!

collecting juniper bonsai

The second tree I collected was already a little damaged by the digger. While approaching and digging the trench the digger had run over it a couple of times. So this was the real rescuing...

collecting juniper bonsai

Collected in 12.5 seconds, it was placed on the ground just a couple of metres from my car!

collecting juniper bonsai

collecting juniper bonsai

Nino, a good friend of mine, came and helped me put the trees in the car.

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