Acer Palmatum Kiyohime

tanlu

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Hi everyone,

I just purchased a Kiyohime Japanese Maple at a local nursery since I heard they are one of the more prefered cultivars for used in bonsai. It has a nice flaring nebari, 2" trunk base, and naturally tiny leaves (will post photos soon). One of the things I'm worried about is the low spreading habit. Would that mean that I would have to treat the side branches as I would the apex?

Has anyone ever repotted a maple in autumn or can it only be done in spring?

Any input on this cultivar will be appreciated!

T
 

discusmike

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I'm not saying it cant be done,but why take the chance,wait till spring and repot,yes they have a strong horizontal growth habit,they also suffer fom die back due to the congestion of leaves,i also have had die back problems when cutting branches back on mine.I personally do all of my heavy branch cutting in spring,then pinch new growth where needed to keep the shape of the tree during the trees growth spurts during the spring and summer months.I would focus on keeping the tree healthy for now.Just my two cents.Hope to see some pics.
 

crhabq

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tanlu,

Kiyohime is a basally dominant maple. Be very gentle with the apex or it may die back and leave you with a donut shaped bonsai. I'd agree with discusmike that its not worth the risk of trying to repot now. The first thing I'd worry about is to get it healthy and and full of vigor. Get the trunk to near the caliper you want and start to ground or air layer it off it's graft if the graft union is an issue. From your description, with a 2in" trunk base I'd say you are pretty close to that. I have never seen one in person but from online photos I seen, these do make very nice bonsais.

Best of luck with this and keep us posted.

Ray
 

Colorado Slim

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I would be very hesitant to airlayer off an acer p hybrid cultivar, the reason they are grafted is for a stronger root stock. If you don't like where the graft is you can always attempt to cut and regraft on new stock. I would agree to not repot at this time.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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I would be very hesitant to airlayer off an acer p hybrid cultivar, the reason they are grafted is for a stronger root stock.
Proper care is a remedy to this. I would take the necessity of being careful with overwintering over an ugly graft any day. Also, Kiyohimes grown from cuttings -- from what I'm told -- tend to have a much more significant basal flare. Though not a benefit to all trees, in the right case that attribute is very appealing.

That's not to say, of course, that hesitance isn't advisable...especially with a new grower. ;)
 

Mike423

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One way to help keep air circulation and light exposure good on the inside of the canopy of any tree with a dense foliage is to thin it out. Also to make sure the inside of the tree inst open and barren from everything dying off from lack of light. If you think its too dense and there isn't enough light penetration to the inside of the tree just cut off half the leaves on the trees exterior. Most trees including maples grow with dual parallel leaf nodes, just cut one off and leave the one on the other side for every set (keeping in mind that you should only be doing this in a certain time frame of the summer season).
 

tanlu

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Thanks everyone for the replies.

I dont have my camera with me this weekend, but I'll be sure to post photos asap.

The tree has no graft, so it must be from a cutting. I'm no fan of grafts. It has a decent root flare already, and I actually did cut a few minor, but obstusive branches to make it less bushy then fed it some miracle grow. I'm sure it'll be alright. I'll definitely wait till next spring to repot. I'll give me some time to look for the right pot=)

Are Kiyohime Maples more prone to leaf burn? How would you compare their vigor to other Japanese maples?
 

discusmike

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Mine is very tough,and has no graft,i have no trouble with leaf burn during summer months like i have with the red varieties,i give it some protection during the super hot humid days in July and August,but most of the time its getting alot of sun with no issues,it also loves water these hot days,it likes a somewhat deeper pot and a bit root bound.Never had any issues with these trees.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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I've had a similar experience to discusmike's. No issue whatsoever with leaf burn, especially in comparison to the red-leafed varieties. I put my tree in a deeper pot to grow out and it responded beautifully. And yes, they're very thirsty in summer!

However, I would probably wait a while for a final pot as you still want the tree in a larger pot so you can develop some ramification faster and heal wounds faster.

Also, Mike423, that's a great suggestion. Lack of circulation and light due to the bushiness of these trees is something I had to deal with too, but this is a great remedy for it.
 

tanlu

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Thanks axxonn and discusmike for sharing your experiences with this cultivar. My father planted the same cultivar purchased from the same store in our front yard last year and he also mentioned having no leaf burn. I thought this was due to it being in the ground, and having more natural resources to draw upon on hot summer days, but I'm glad to hear it does just the same in pot culture. How do you guys deal with its unusual spreading growth habit, especially in developing a main leader?

Here are some photos as promised. I forgot to get some photos of the leaf burn, but when looked at up close it's quite noticeable. The trunk may be a slightly thicker than 2".

I need to develop finer branching, but I read that can be done in bonsai pots.
 

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Alex DeRuiter

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I've only had mine since the Spring, and honestly it has at least another decade of growing and shaping before I get into styling an apex. However, in terms of choosing a leader, you can always bend a branch up or wait for a strong branch to shoot upwards (waiting for a vertical-ish branch is preferred IMO, but bending a branch up would work just as well).

Developing branching can always be done in a bonsai pot, but root reduction will stunt the growth of the tree and make branch development take much longer. Keeping the tree in a larger pot will definitely yield faster results. There are some very nice shallow, wide training pots out there, but I can't find any right now...I was literally just looking for some myself.

Your tree is very nice! Where did you get it, and (forgive me if this is rude) for how much? I'm developing a reputation of being nosy, but I hope nobody holds it against me. ;-D
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Quick idea. . . . Though I like the way the tree looks right now and I think it holds a lot of potential for different styles, that clump of branches on the right looks like it would be PERFECT for a beautiful shohin clump. I would strongly consider air layering at this point (see picture), but it would limit the mother tree's potential.

Decisions, decisions. . . .

Keep in mind that doing this would take a l-o-n-g time to develop a nebari as well.

*Edit - A benefit, however, would be that just below that clump of branches is a noticeable case of inverse taper, so air layering at that point would be a remedy to this and the gain of a second nice tree. Another benefit would be that you would be forcing that much more energy into the remaining trunk, which looks from the pictures like it would make for a decent leader. You could always do trunk chops to achieve movement in the trunk.
 

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tanlu

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I also think that part of the trunk can be air layered off, but I'm leaning more towards keeping it as one tree. I figure why have more lesser material when I already have something decent to work with?

I'm thinking once this thing goes dormant to either leave all the branches in tact for a larger tree, or cut off all the large branches and start from almost a stump to create a shohin.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Honestly if you're going to chop to a stump while it's dormant you might as well wait until next Spring after the leaves bud out to start the air layer...that clump looks like it would definitely be worth separating, especially if you're going to toss it after the chop (unless I'm interpreting your post wrong. lol).

The disadvanage to using both trunks is that they seem to be fighting for dominance. By that I mean they're similar in size, which, if you're going for a double trunk, doesn't always seem to work IMO -- not saying that all cases look bad, but some. Another issue with using both trunks is that the split of the trunks is far enough from the nebari to give it an odd look. Usually with a double trunk you want something sprouting directly from the base; but again, not all cases yield poor-looking trees. The last issue I see is that with the two trunks it forms the "dreaded slingshot look."

If you do chop to a stump, you may want to leave that right branch to develop a nice taper in it, but if you wanted to start directly from the stump then it would still take shape nicely, I'm sure. However, doing this would add on a lot of time to the shaping of the tree. However, it is absolutely worth it in some cases.

Anyone else want to throw in their two cents? Perhaps a couple dimes and quarters? :D
 

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