A Japanese Maple

bwaynef

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I've had this one for several years, having raised it from a seedling. It might not be your cup of tea. I don't say that as a cop out, because I'd like your input. I just know its different than what many strive for, ...myself included sometimes. Regardless of all that, what do you think?
 

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0soyoung

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It is strangely rewarding to raise trees from seed, isn't it? It is just as rewarding to make air layers. I think I would make 3 to 6 air layers of what you've got. Generating roots just requires the auxin and photosynthate from some foliage, so every trunk section that has a branch can potentially be another tree to grow. Too little foliage and it will take too much time to have a harvestable layer in one season - it may take two or more. Since the layers would all be on a vertical trunk, I think it would be best to split pots and put them around the girdles filled with your favorite bonsai medium.

Then one or more of those layers could be screwed to a board like Ebihara does to make pancake nebari, and ... well, just think about the possibilities ...
 

Smoke

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Whats the bottom line here. Raised from seedling yet allowed to grow 4-5 feet tall. Is there a purpose to this kind of growth? Did you just allow it to grow without thought for bonsai? Was it grown this tall for some sort of literati design in mind down the road?

Only you can fill in the missing pieces of this process over the last few years. Without additional information and the way it is presented here it seems as though it would be super suitable for a yard tree. If some of those missing pieces are other than that, how about sharing the thought process..... I don't think you were looking for "just chop it" or "plant it in the ground for ten years", you already know that.
 
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At the noelanders trophy there was a big maple. Not the concept of being a beauty but it was special.
 

Djtommy

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if you really want this as bonsai you should think of a direction you want to go.
if tall and slender is the goal, well, its a japanese maple, if you put it with some extra groundgrowth in the pot, maybe some fern or some flowery thing it will probably look nice
though rather then bonsai it would be ikebana in my opinion but i do believe it could look nice like that.
 

bwaynef

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Thanks for your input guys. This is kind of what I was expecting. I'll grant that its too tall (I chopped about 20% off before this picture), but that's also the direction this one seems destined for. I'm hoping for more elegant than too-tall-and-skinny but anybody who's met me knows I've been fighting that all my life. (Thanks Dad.)
Have you started "root" work?
The nebari of this one is going to be its best feature. If you squint and study it closely you can see the ingredients for a good nebari are there. Its hard to make out in this picture as its presented though.

Whats the bottom line here. Raised from seedling yet allowed to grow 4-5 feet tall. Is there a purpose to this kind of growth? Did you just allow it to grow without thought for bonsai? Was it grown this tall for some sort of literati design in mind down the road?
Let's stop here and I'll address these questions.
If I'm remembering right, this one showed promise as I was doing root work. As I planted it into the pot, I decided I'd introduce some subtle movement into the trunk, thinking I'd chop it later, but allow the roots the benefit of ample foliage growth to really pump them up. Turns out, I liked the movement of the lower trunk enough that I tried to continue that further up (not quite as pleasingly/convincingly). At one point I thought this would be suitable material for a literati maple, but I'm not certain that'd be believable, or that I could pull it off convincingly.

This tree has buds ALL over the trunk. Also, it has two low branches that are wired and will be allowed time to gather some steam. It, like much of my material, will be going into a larger container (Anderson-esque Flat perhaps) in the hopes of fostering growth. I'm hopeful that the rootwork I've done the past 3-ish years will begin to be apparent and that those low branches start to alleviate some of the monotony of trunk size. My struggle is figuring out how to incorporate those low branches into a design that's pleasing.

This next part's going to sound like a contradiction ...and I guess it is.
I'm growing this one with priority to the nebari. Its spent two years in this shallow pot sorting the roots and establishing a flat rootball. I'm not tied to saving anything but the nebari. The lower trunk movement I like but its lacking taper all over. Depending on what buds develop/extend (all over the trunk) I'm not opposed to chopping it lower eventually to develop a different tree. Presently, I'm enjoying something different for my bench as this tree meanders through its development.

Again, I appreciate your thoughts.
 

Smoke

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Thanks Wayne. I now see the two lower branches. The left one kinda blends in with the door and the right one is dark and is lost in shadow.

Now you have written this explanation I still have no idea what it is you seek. I get the feeling that you just want someone to tell you what to do. (see what I did there, some might consider this baiting, but really its just a ploy to get the OP to commit to something) Other than a yard tree, trying your hand at literati, or chopping the shit out of it, are pretty much the options available.

The other thing that confuses me is that you have said in the first post that you have had this tree for "several years". The tree lacks any appreciable branch structure at all. Do you keep removing the buds as they form? The top seems sparse for several years. I can grow a whole canopy on a J. maple in one season if I really work at keeping up with the pruning. I see nothing here that suggests you are working towards any end. Is there a reason it is so sparse?
 

JudyB

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I would go with the two assets the tree has the nebari, and the lower trunk movement that you like.( although it looks like it's mid trunk before I see much movement at all? ) But why not pick the best out of the tree, and loose the rest? You'll never move forward if you can't do that kind of editing.
 

sorce

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I like your method.

Priority on the nebari.

Nothing else yet.

That's all.

Sorce
 

M. Frary

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Cut it off above the lowest branch after its been in the ground ten years.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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I've had this one for several years, having raised it from a seedling. It might not be your cup of tea. I don't say that as a cop out, because I'd like your input. I just know its different than what many strive for, ...myself included sometimes. Regardless of all that, what do you think?
More importantly, what do you think? You've been growing it.
What has your vision been? Is your work getting you there?
 

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