Need some direction

Am very new to Bonsai. I have a few but I was at an estate sales last week and picked this up for $10. Since a novice could you please let me know what you would do to this. It has a few cuts and paste on it but I have done nothing to it but water and clean weeds from it as it was quite dry. I also picked up another Juniper for $5 but would like your suggestions


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It is nice to begin with a larger base and some movement. However, this juniper is typical of a plant that has been allowed to grow freely without maintaining interior branching or foliage. It would be better if it had been pruned selectively during development. That makes it a long process to chase back the foliage, select and develop interior branches and foliage. This is needed to make the tree believable as a miniature representation.
So if the tree were mine i would repot this coming spring. Simply to establish the roots for the heavy work ahead.
Then i would advise you to gain a clear understanding of how and when to cut back the branches to create back budding!
Take the time to pick the best front based on nebari and flow of the desired trunk line. When you have picked the line focus on cutting back the key areas in the design to create more options lower down and within the interior. Reduce for jins and or eliminate those branches not needed for final design with foliage.
I would begin the design process next fall after the tree has recovered from repotting!

A second approach would be to cut back all the major branches by 1/3 at this time and then decide after next season with the new growth in place. If you use this approach it will be important to thin foliage on the outside to protect and encourage ne growth in the interior as the tree develops.This approach assumes that you are comfortable with the health of the tree and the condition of the root ball.

Not a bad nebari for ten dollars.

Frank, can back-budding be produced towards the trunk on this sort of tree (looks like a kishu?) I would’ve thought they’d need to grow some whips out and approach-graft, maybe that’s too extreme.

Yes the former owner cut some that should have been left. I was thinking of some grafts also. The sticker on the pot says Parsons. Not sure which of the 4 branches I should leave or cut (later) . In the spring should I repot or trim first. There are some buds now but none where I need them. Not sure of the style or direction yet… Any help will be greatly appreciated. Can post more pictures if needed.

In a case like this either approach may work.
Backbudding is contingent on vigorous growth and the light being able to enter the interior!
Growing out the whips and approach grafting can work well if one has the skills to produce the grafts and manage the scars afterwards! This approach is commonly taken as it produces faster results.
I have had positive results with growing out juniper and cutting back to produce interior shoots. This takes time but can be very effective. This is a situation where the shoots that occur in the interior crotches are valuable and should not be removed but kept to rebuild the interior.

I understand your questions. The answers depend on the choices you make and the design you choose. If i say remove this branch or that branch then it is based on a future trunk line and design. It is also based on the process chosen to get to the design.
For example if grafting then one needs to decide where the grafts will be, which branches can best provide the whips for grafts, or if scions would be used for grafting. The advantage of scions is a cleaner final result.
Do you have any experience with grafting? If not then the grow it out and cut it back approach may be the best route.
Pictures are a poor substitute for being able to sit down with the tree and weigh the options. I would suggest that the directions i provided in the first response be followed!
One important note, if you take the time to repot and get the tree healthy in order to prepare for cutback, all of the other options still exist and have a better chance of success due to the vigorous condition of the tree!

Thank you for taking the time to explain to a newbie. I will let it grow and survive the winter then repot… Study what is going on and in 2021 hopefully have more of an idea what I want to do. Again thanks and I will reach out if I have any questions.

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