Acer Palmatum to stick in a pot?

Woocash

Chumono
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Hi guys. My girlfriend recently went to a flower show and came back with an Ulmus Parvifolia (at my request) and much to her annoyance at my incessant gabbling on about the “B” word, it has given me the bug.

Anyway, last weekend we dropped off the dogs at my Mum’s for dog sitting and she mentioned that a lovely Acer that had come with the house when they purchased it 3 years ago was struggling badly after recovering from being transplanted just after they moved in then having to deal with a serious drought last summer. One leader is ok ish, one is dead but there quite a few green (or red) shoots on the trunk which gives me encouragement. As me Ma doesn’t have the time or inclination to wait for suitable recovery and wants to replace with a more mature tree for privacy etc, I stand to inherit my first stick in a pot!

The trunk is around 3” at the base and is currently around 24” to the crown. There is interesting movement in the trunk but not much taper until the crown, which would be too high, in my opinion. I cant see any obvious signs of being grafted. So that said, with the aim of creating an informal upright, I have a few questions. If anyone can offer advice, I’d be really grateful.

1 Should I cut it down to size now and wait til spring to dig it up and pot it, or do all at the same time in the spring?
2 If I cut it at say, 12” or 15” will that still encourage back budding at likely suitable branch positions, or would I be better chopping down to first branch position and growing from there? (not as favourable as I like the shape and being my first pot stick I’m just trying to learn, not create a masterpiece just yet!!)
3 Any ideas of a cultivar?
4 Is there any thing else I have obviously missed?

Thanks very much guys.

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leatherback

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Acer palmatum 'Atropurpureum' I would say.

I think in this case I would cut back in winter, dig and plant in early spring as buds start to grow.

I think this species is less suitable for bonsai, but fine to practice on. The species naturally has long internodes/coarse growth
 

Woocash

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Cool good to know, thanks guys. You basically confirmed what I suspected, and the ‘less suitable for bonsai’ tag means I won’t feel so bad if/when i make a right pigs ear out of it! Should be fun regardless.
 

Shibui

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The tree has not been well. Weak trees do not always recover from transplant so do not get disillusioned if this one does not make it. That said, the buds on the trunk look good and give hope.
It may be a little late in the season for you to chop now. Any new growth would be susceptible to cold damage over winter so probably best to leave it now and chop when digging.
You can cut the trunk wherever you feel inclined but i see a distinct lack of taper in the lower trunk. Taper is important for good bonsai and i think eventually you will want to cut lower because that's the best way to induce taper into the bonsai but as you are new to bonsai that is probably a step too far for now. Just have fun learning to grow it for now and make the next trunk chop when you are comfortable and the tree is healthy.
 

sorce

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Hope fore a high graft union and regular palmatum buds below it.

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
 

Woocash

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Yes it’s been through the mill over the last couple of years to be fair and the people who transplanted it were good intentioned, but showed all the delicacy of a buffalo so I’m under no illusions about the success of potting it. It’s either that or for the fireplace now anyway I think... I’ve always loved Acers so hopefully can bring this one back.

I was sort of thinking about the taper now and if it would bug me in a few years with regards to the chop but maybe I can figure out if it’s worth it when the time comes. If it is worth the trouble then it will be worth the wait. Thanks for the advice.
I have a good few other options to play with now, however. Will create a fresh thread.
 

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