Acer Palmatum Osakazuki

digger714

Shohin
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Ive heard they arent the best, but I think it has a nice nebari, and could be better later, so thought i would give it a shot. Im satisfied with the trunk size, but want the nebari to develop more before potting. Would it be best to protect in the nursery container until spring, then prune the roots, and plant on a tile? or prune and plant now after it goes dormant? I think i should take the large limb off, when replanting, leaving the top, and let it grow in ground for about three more years before putting in a pot. Its 2.6" at the base, and 6.5" across the nebari in the third pic. Thanks for any help.

Does the nebari develop after being in a pot? Not necessarily a thin finish pot, but a 5" deep x 16" long mica pot or something to train after taking out of the ground.
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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Hey Digger,
Short answer: wait until spring, shorten the roots considerably, and know that the shallower the pot, the better the nebari develops...from the stage your tree is at now.

Long answer:
The order of "events" when developing a tree for bonsai is basically:

1. Establish good roots to become nebari
2. Develop a good trunk
3. Re-contain the root system
4. Add branches
5. Develop ramification

You have a good (radial) nebari established, and you're happy with the trunk. At this stage, I would do nothing until spring. In the spring, remove all soil to get a good look at the roots and shorten some of these visible roots so they will start to ramify. If you want to be conservative, shorten alternating roots next spring, and do the remaining ones in 2012. You can be brutal on J. maples' roots, and you won't get good nebari unless you work them back hard each year.

The shallower the pot, the better your nebari will develop with J. Maple. I even use a planer to shave the bottom of the nebari on mine so it spreads a little better each year. I also cut the roots back very hard each year and shorten the heavy roots. It responds by filling the pot very quickly each year, and it's rewarding to repot in the spring and see how things are coming along. Here is a link to one I've been chronicling: http://www.nebaribonsai.com/Nebari_Bonsai_112109/Projects_files/Evolution of Jap Maple.pdf You can see the successive repottings and the root work done; slides 11 and 18-22. This is becoming a good bonsai; the stock is 'Shishio Improved', and originally came from Gary Wood 8 years ago.

Great find, it will be interesting to follow it's development!
 

digger714

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Hi Brian, thanks alot for the input. I thought i had the right idea, but wanted to make sure. Would you go ahead and put it in a container, or plant in the ground on a tile? When you planted in 8/02, what did you do to the rootball before planting, if anything? Hope all is well, and thanks again.
 
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BUBBAFRGA

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Thanks for posting your link Brian. Thats something we all need to do but don't.....document.
 

digger714

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The tree now is 6' tall, so should i wait alternating years to chop back, and start with the roots next spring, then chop the end of summer, or wait until the following spring if it is doing good? or would you air layer? if so, how long do you wait between these types of hard pruning?
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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You could do major root-work and plant into a shallow but wide pot in the spring...mid-March for our climates, prune it back somewhat to leave your main trunk line and whatever you plan to air-layer, and then air-layer it in May-June for an October separation. Pretty much what I did with mine back in '02...do the major work next spring while the tree has lots of energy and mass. It should pop back pretty quickly. But I would shoot for a pot around 3" deep...5" will be too deep unless you don't fill it completely with soil.
 

digger714

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Thanks alot Brian. Being that it is still so tall, would you put into a small pot while the layer is going on? or wait until it comes off? See i would be way more conservative, and dont want to waste any time, but not looking to take any longer than necessary. Its great you help out like this. So its ok to reduce the root mass, and chop, or air layer in a single season? Would that be the case with any decidious?

I just watched a Graham Potter video on repotting where he used a japanese maple, and reduced from a 5gal pot to a 2" - 3" deep bonsai container. It was pretty detailed. It was a somewhat trained bonsai with nice branches and a good trunk that had been trained in a container. Should you do that first, as far as getting the tree somewhat established before putting in a small pot?
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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Hey...it's ok to reduce that drastically at the right time of the year, like Graham showed in that video...and in fact, you really do need to ride that hard on J. Maples. It's ok to perform that repotting, then layer in the same season as long as the tree is healthy; which it should be. You can develop branches on J. Maple like those in the video pretty easily in an oversized bonsai pot, so I wouldn't worry.

I sent you a PM to email me a shot of the whole tree, and I'll give you a suggestion on what/when...

Brian
 

digger714

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Cool, thanks again. I have the area to plant in the ground. i made raised beds last year for my landscape, and turned them into field tree area. Ive planted about 80 - 100 trees of different types. This is their second year, and really took off this year. Ive got 1 or 2 more years before i can start working any of them, so thought i would start with something that is a little more developed now to get the experience for the time when i have dozens to work on. Every thing ive planted is on a tile or board of some kind. Most of them i pruned the roots before planting to develop the nebari. I bought several seedlings from Brent Walston a couple years ago, and they are out there, then ive collected dozens of azaleas from my landscape business where weve taken out old landscapes. Cant wait till they recover, some really cool nebari and trunks on them. Ive got some 5" - 6" thick barberries, some 3" - 6" azalea trunks with 8" roots, and some cool privets that came out of an old landscape, so ill be busy in a couple years. Time to learn more. Thanks again for the help.
 
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