I’m thinking Tanuki. Comments?

I’ve had this piece of deadwood for years. The juniper is a juniperus chinensis “Sea Green”. Comments, virtuals etc., welcome, before I start the work…

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Looks like a challenge, will be interested to see the progress! I suspect the most difficult part will be melding the base’s . Cannot properly see the thickness of the juniper but it appears to be a bit more mature and may be difficult to bend into the track at the base. I prefer to start with thin whips and allow them to grow into the desired track.
The deadwood looks very interesting for a composition!
Have fun and don’t forget to post the progress!

I was checking around the web to find some shimpaku / itoigawa or kishu whips. Couldn’t really find any so I’m kind of settling for the Sea Green. It’s about 3/4” at the base, and will go into a pre-existing channel with just a little carving. It will be a challenge. It’s my first tanuki. I’ll post my progress…

It’s a great piece of deadwood - I too will be curious to see what it becomes!

The only comment that comes to mind is that I find it’s worth the effort to integrate the live and dead wood as well as possible. Carving a channel for the live tree to grow in as opposed to simply growing the live tree next to the deadwood, etc.

Absolutely. Sorry to have left the impression that I was just letting the live juniper grow next to the deadwood. My plan is to

  • Wire brush most of the bark and soft wood off and spot sand and treat with wood hardener and lime sulfur.
  • Build a stable base for the deadwood
  • Carve out the main channel for the live juniper
  • Fit the juniper into the channel, secure it as tightly as possible to the deadwood with screws
  • In February 2021(transplanting season in Dallas, TX), transplant the tree without substantial root pruning, into a grow box,
  • Let the living trunk grow into the channel for 3-5 years, pruning into its final shape as we go.
  • Transplant the tree into a suitable bonsai pot.
  • Remove the screws
    Sound right? Am I leaving anything out?

One suggestion, when you carve a channel create an inner lip that widens within the channel, that way when the trunk grows it locks itself into the channel. This way you can secure the trunk with wire or raffia and screws are not needed! Also as the trunk thickens it does not force itself out of the channel.
Perhaps that was already part of your plan.


Great idea, Frank. Thanks!