Acer P - repot and general style advice

baron

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Hi there,

I started with bonsai about a year ago and have acquired about 7 trees up untill now.. however this is my first time posting here (have been reading a lot) and wanted to start off with some questions about my maple tree.



Last summer when I bought this tree, it was already pretty rootbound then but I left it as it was to see if it would make it trough winter before doing anything to it (or make any other plans for that matter).
Now with spring around the corner the buds are starting to swell so I decided to repot. I choose a bigger grow container with akadama/pumice soil mix hoping the trunk could still thicken up a little.

As I'm very new to bonsai and this was one of my first repottings I was a bit hesitant about heavy root pruning so for now I combed out the roots in a radial pattern and pruned the longer ones. abit so they don't stick out of the others if that makes sense? Although in some of the repot post here people tend to prune rather aggressive, so now I'm wondering if I should have pruned harder? I see this as a tree in development that still need lots of growing to do, so prune as little as possible was my main idea?

As for the general styling bit...
I have read the Peter Adams 'Working with maples' and I'm very intrigued by the trunk chops etcs, but for some reason I don't think this tree should be chopped.
Somehow I like how the side branches work on the trunk. Ofcourse it still needs a lot of work and development..
What do you guys think or what would you do with this one?

Also as you can see like 90% of the branches and foilage is on the front side of the tree (how I got it), but is there something I can do to stimulate growth on the backside?
A part from turning it around more often?
 

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baron

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Follow up question I forgot; As you can see the trunk and branches have a somewhat red'ish color (I have no idea what cultivar it is), but some of the branch ends are white/turning somewhat black.
Is this die back? Should I cut them of? I read a few things about leaf scorch (which happend last year) which could also cause some die back, but also read about this nasty thing called verticillium wilt...
 

Johnnyd

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Looks like Sango Kaku. I am probably not qualified to help you, as I am also New to the hobby . But you may want to look into copper spray or a systemic fungicide. I have one in my yard. They are prone to these issues. However it looks like have one on it's own roots. Nice!
 

Johnnyd

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I just bought one of these on its own roots. In NJ waiting for budds to push. I'll post soon.
 

Fishtank307

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The roots are growing on two levels... I would have removed the roots that are higher up the trunk and planted the tree higher. That way you would have some flare at the base and the start of nebari. Maybe next time when you repot :) Imho it's important to address 'basic' problems first.

As for cutting back, I can't decide in your place... The trunks are super straight (as seen from the current front), it's still a young tree.. Bend them? Or cut them back next year and start over? For now, I'd just let it grow. Fertilize with abrakas or bio-gold and fish-emulsion every two weeks, when it starts growing.

Btw, have you joined a club already? ;) You'll be amazed of how much faster you'll progress with the help of seasoned bonsai-enthousiasts!
 

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Were the tips of the branches pruned? Most maples (when pruned, or broken) will die back to the next set of healthy buds and the dead wood will turn grey/black. If you haven't pruned it and/or there are spots of yellow/orange/white on the bark, then it's likely a wilt (fungal) infection. Cheers.
 

baron

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The roots are growing on two levels... I would have removed the roots that are higher up the trunk and planted the tree higher. That way you would have some flare at the base and the start of nebari. Maybe next time when you repot :) Imho it's important to address 'basic' problems first.

As for cutting back, I can't decide in your place... The trunks are super straight (as seen from the current front), it's still a young tree.. Bend them? Or cut them back next year and start over? For now, I'd just let it grow. Fertilize with abrakas or bio-gold and fish-emulsion every two weeks, when it starts growing.

Btw, have you joined a club already? ;) You'll be amazed of how much faster you'll progress with the help of seasoned bonsai-enthousiasts!
Forgot to mention; I cut those off, covered them with sealant and planted the tree higher :D But I'm guessing not as high as you ment. I read somewhere nebari develop best while under soil?

I know it's still young, I'm guessing it's around 5 or 6 years, but already very hard to bend... haven't tried wiring yet.
Tried pushing them more outward with corks but the corks got dent instead...
That was my plan, let it grow (hence the big container) and start with Biogold and Matsu when the buds open and possible chop next year.
I was just looking for some confirmation or extra tips and advice on possible chops here :)

* If I would chop, would it be possible to make some airlayers before? Like on the straights parts on the left and right branch and upper part of the tree.

Yes, and I went to a couple of meetings already (belgian bonsai antwerp department) where I did some light work on a Larch I bought at Noelanders this year.
Unfortunately the meetings are usually saturday so not I'm not always able to go. Was thinking about taking a class somewhere.. Maybe at Ginko's.
 

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Fishtank307

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Forgot to mention; I cut those off, covered them with sealant and planted the tree higher :D But I'm guessing not as high as you ment. I read somewhere nebari develop best while under soil?
That's good! And yes, better to keep them well below the soil level for now!
 

ajm55555

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but some of the branch ends are white/turning somewhat black.
Is this die back? Should I cut them of?
Dieback is normal on JM. When you prune, make sure you cut reasonably above the buds you want to keep and dieback will stop above them.
When the stump is dead you can/should clean it up to help the healing process.
Dead stumps can have white grey, black, brown accents depending on the cultivar. I can't see anything not normal on your tree.
 

sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

I just have this on my phone for other purposes....

2018-01-16-07-14-40.jpg

Happy Avatar! Lol!

Sorce
 

baron

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So the buds have opened and leaves are out and about, but they all have this weird claw like shape. I also found one on the soils surface. :(
I remember reading somewhere usually these claw shaped leaves are caused by fungus? or could this be a lack of fertilizer?

We've also had a lot of rain the past 2 weeks and not a lot of sun so I'm still hoping the leaves will develop further and open up to their normal shape once spring actually starts :confused:
 

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ajm55555

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So the buds have opened and leaves are out and about, but they all have this weird claw like shape
Don't worry. This is the normal look of JM's leaves at the beginning of Spring :-D
There is nothing wrong with your tree. Just enjoy them leafing out and transforming into their final shape.
 

baron

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Don't worry. This is the normal look of JM's leaves at the beginning of Spring :-D
There is nothing wrong with your tree. Just enjoy them leafing out and transforming into their final shape.
Pfiieeew, that's a major relief!
First maple, first spring, so its all kinda new :oops:
 

Japonicus

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Hi baron! Is that like The Red Baron, Ace of Aces? :)
Hey, have to ask, USDA zone 8b. How cold typically...average do you get in Winter?

Nice looking, Sango Kaku maybe? Spring is good time to layer yes, so I've read...makes sense
fixin' to do my 1st later on A.p.
 

baron

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Hi baron! Is that like The Red Baron, Ace of Aces? :)
Hey, have to ask, USDA zone 8b. How cold typically...average do you get in Winter?

Nice looking, Sango Kaku maybe? Spring is good time to layer yes, so I've read...makes sense
fixin' to do my 1st later on A.p.
Haha, yes something like that...Had this online name for a couple of years now and it started as a gaming tag :p

Hmm last winter the coldest we've had during the night was around -8°c I think.
Average over entire winter I'm not sure, but if I look at weather data it would be around 2-3°C.

I'm still not sure if it is a Sango Kaku or what I'm planning to do with it.
The more I think about it the more I feel like layering off the 3 straight branches (they are to upright now and can't bend them down anymore) and then chopping the trunk.
 

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KiwiPlantGuy

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Haha, yes something like that...Had this online name for a couple of years now and it started as a gaming tag :p

Hmm last winter the coldest we've had during the night was around -8°c I think.
Average over entire winter I'm not sure, but if I look at weather data it would be around 2-3°C.

I'm still not sure if it is a Sango Kaku or what I'm planning to do with it.
The more I think about it the more I feel like layering off the 3 straight branches (they are to upright now and can't bend them down anymore) and then chopping the trunk.
Hi baron,
My 2 cents, from Bonsai newbie (1 year).
1.Straight taperless trunk ( boring unless you wanted formal upright). My guess is your maple maybe 2-3 years old sorry.
2. Air layer for practice - yes I am in favor - but these side trunks are straight also - again not great material tobuild bonsai from.
3. To build girth you will want to let this grow a leader of 1.5 to 2.5 metres, unpruned, eg. 2 plus years and no pruning just water and fert.
4. To build taper, do #3 then chop at 15-25 cm for a finished tree of 45-75 cm which you can choose which height.
5. Probably cut off two side trunks and start again after 2-3 years etc.

Also, others have taught me that to keep pruning this season and future seasons etc, you get no girth, no taper, because uncontrolled growth equals the above #1-5.

Hope the reasoning and logic might help with future direction.
Good luck and we are all learning how to grow trunks at the beginning of our bonsai journey.
Charles
 

baron

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Hi baron,
My 2 cents, from Bonsai newbie (1 year).
1.Straight taperless trunk ( boring unless you wanted formal upright). My guess is your maple maybe 2-3 years old sorry.
2. Air layer for practice - yes I am in favor - but these side trunks are straight also - again not great material tobuild bonsai from.
3. To build girth you will want to let this grow a leader of 1.5 to 2.5 metres, unpruned, eg. 2 plus years and no pruning just water and fert.
4. To build taper, do #3 then chop at 15-25 cm for a finished tree of 45-75 cm which you can choose which height.
5. Probably cut off two side trunks and start again after 2-3 years etc.

Also, others have taught me that to keep pruning this season and future seasons etc, you get no girth, no taper, because uncontrolled growth equals the above #1-5.

Hope the reasoning and logic might help with future direction.
Good luck and we are all learning how to grow trunks at the beginning of our bonsai journey.
Charles
Hey Kiwi,
thnx for the advice! Appreciate the input very much.
It was a cheap tree, but the only JM I have hence why I was thinking about layering before chopping... and of course to get some practice.
I know they aren't great material but maybe turn those into some shohin experiment?

As for the progression, I'm just confused about the order of things.
I understand you create girth by letting it grow freely and the create taper and movement by chopping it down a few times. The thing that confuses me are those two side trunks/branches.
Having them will help the growing freely part and will thicken the trunk but seen as they are this straight I'm assuming its not advised to keep one of those them as a new leader when I do the chop.
So they have to go and I have to chop the trunk below them? Doesn't that increase to risk of loosing the tree?

Also when I remove those branches they will leave wounds obviously. Let's say the tree has grown freely for 2 or 3 years, so those branches will have grown too.
Won't the wounds be bigger too? Would that be a reason to remove those branches before letting it grow? But if I do that won't it slow down the girth building proces?
Or is it just about making compromises?

These are the positions I was thinking of layering (blue) and where to chop (red). Or is the chop way too low? You said to chop at about 25 cm but then I'll still be left with a pretty straight trunk, no?

maple_chops.jpg
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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Hey Kiwi,
thnx for the advice! Appreciate the input very much.
It was a cheap tree, but the only JM I have hence why I was thinking about layering before chopping... and of course to get some practice.
I know they aren't great material but maybe turn those into some shohin experiment?

As for the progression, I'm just confused about the order of things.
I understand you create girth by letting it grow freely and the create taper and movement by chopping it down a few times. The thing that confuses me are those two side trunks/branches.
Having them will help the growing freely part and will thicken the trunk but seen as they are this straight I'm assuming its not advised to keep one of those them as a new leader when I do the chop.
So they have to go and I have to chop the trunk below them? Doesn't that increase to risk of loosing the tree?

Also when I remove those branches they will leave wounds obviously. Let's say the tree has grown freely for 2 or 3 years, so those branches will have grown too.
Won't the wounds be bigger too? Would that be a reason to remove those branches before letting it grow? But if I do that won't it slow down the girth building proces?
Or is it just about making compromises?

These are the positions I was thinking of layering (blue) and where to chop (red). Or is the chop way too low? You said to chop at about 25 cm but then I'll still be left with a pretty straight trunk, no?

View attachment 186358
Hi baron,
I am thinking of trying to find the best way to answer your questions, so here goes.
If you do all those air layers my concern would be for the health of the tree going forward. The red bark maples are not as strong as the regular JM’s for both growth and roots.
Chop maybe too low to start with, and yes a compromise is called for re the bottom two trunks/branches. Scars versus lots of growth, but you will get lots of growth from the top of the tree if you don’t prune and select one leader to go for it. So,you could air-layer side trunks, you could use the bottom branch as new trunk line, and lastly you could buy another maple ( regular green leaf JM) etc to practice with.
Lots of coulds here lol. So a bit of theory for you - every where on the main trunk or branches you see a pale line that goes all the way round ( sorry no computer to paint) are POTENTIAL bud out areas. But you need the tree to grow vigorously before chopping to get it to bud out so to speak. Also remember (if you didn’t know) that most trees are apically dominant so the growth at the top of the tree is the strongest. Great for growing trunks but not so easy to ramify lower branches once your tree has the 3 plus trunk sections.
See @markyscott ’s threads on trident growing - 2 to 3 metres of top growth uncontrolled (no pruning).
Maybe this photo might help the explanations ( my practice chop to prove to myself the tree would grow lol). I will take a photo tomorrow for you of this tree’s growth as my season’s growth just finishing.
AA3E594E-227F-489C-9016-53CAC59267D5.jpeg3F413C73-409E-4D79-82A2-EF94F3A74DF3.jpeg
So two regular JM’s as you can see on the left photo where the buds are popping and the lines etc.
Anyway, my problem half is that I don’t want to tell you what to do, as you will experience this stuff first hand and learn way more than advice from others.
Happy to chat, and hope the confusion is vaguely answered?
Charles
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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Hi baron,
As I said in my previous post I have attached a couple of photos as of today, 1 season later with chop early spring.
EEBA55ED-D742-4245-BAD6-82B0AB284D6B.jpegE798C572-EC13-4615-B8F6-EBC0495F9B0E.jpeg
(FYI - 6 foot (1.8 m) fence in background)
The second photo is of my Senaki ( cultivar very similar to Sango Kaku). Both have been chopped about 15-25 cm.
Hope this helps visualize what happens after chop ( and obviously growth depends on length of season )
Charles
 
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