An awesome Japanese Maple with no $?

mattspiniken

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I thought it would be interesting to talk about how you would theoretically build a great "show winner" of a Japanese Maple with no money spent? Let's brain storm the best way to accomplish this with the lowest number of years to a good result.

Obviously, it is an easier path to spend a big chunk of change and develop something that is already pretty far along BUT not everyone has the money and its fun to think of alternatives.

My idea is to search the neighborhood for a great Japanese Maple in someone's landscape, then air layer large and interesting pieces. Develop over a period of 15 years or so. Depending on the tree some time in the ground might be helpful but I think to keep some control on the roots a container grown tree is the best bet.

Anyone else?
 

bwaynef

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I think you're off on your time frame by a factor of 2, maybe 3, if your goal is "show winner". Depending on what was ground layered, you MAY could get away with keeping it in a pot, but that's not likely. Also, are you factoring in the cost of soil in the "no money spent"?
 

mattspiniken

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I think you're off on your time frame by a factor of 2, maybe 3, if your goal is "show winner". Depending on what was ground layered, you MAY could get away with keeping it in a pot, but that's not likely. Also, are you factoring in the cost of soil in the "no money spent"?
Your probably right about the timeline... I guess it depends on the show and the air layer itself. There will always be money spent with care of bonsai I just mean on the purchase of a tree in the first place.
 

Dav4

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The only way I see the possibility of achieving what's laid out in the thread title is to have someone either give you stock to work with or you dig up a volunteer seedling and go from there. With that being said, I'm feeling optimistic about the subjects of this thread getting there eventually... like another decade or so.... that adds up to 20+ years ;) ... I think the graft cost me $10 about 12-13 years ago. https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/go-big-or-go-home.26917/
479419D3-146A-4E59-9C79-A018174AD1BB.jpegIMG_3897 (1).jpgIMG_3898 (1).jpgFB1AEC23-A19A-4FD1-82AF-9EF5E4A51535.jpeg
 

sorce

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Matt are you home yet?

I think AL is certainly the start.

Sorce
 

mattspiniken

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Matt are you home yet?

I think AL is certainly the start.

Sorce
Hey dude! No, I’ll be home on the 30th just in time to do the most important bonsai stuff before it’s too late which of course includes collecting a few.
 

0soyoung

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This is my bonsai adventure, except that I had the yard with the newly planted Japanese maples, but just one specifically gave rise to my adventure. We bought a B&B a.p. 'Ukigumo' and came to realize, the next spring, that its extra trunk was actually the root stock (i.e., the grafter had forgotten to cut it off). It was my first air-layer and first success at anything bonsai-like. That was 2007. It was a 1-inch caliper stem that I layered. The added cost was less than $1 for the sphagnum and two bits of wire. I split a used, but washed, 1-gallon zip-lock storage bag to cover the sphagnum. Moss grows in my yard, so I could have used it instead of sphagnum and gotten the added cost down to that of two bits of wire/string.

Now it is 12 years later and all I have toward making material for Mach5 is UR1 and my UR2. Without the loss of two years to stupid mistakes of mine, this could be the end result of one decade and at least 5 more, I think, to get to my goal. It would likely take Mach5 about 5 more to make any of them into an awesome show winner. IOW, 20 years plus, even starting with an air layer. As I understand, Dennis Vojtilla spent something like 40 years growing the Japanese maple that won at the National last year or the year before.

Oh, I cannot let it go. I do still have what is left of the original Ukigumo (UR0) - it too has changed a bit, but that uro is where it all started. Frankenstein-monster-ish, not awesome, but fun4me. 2019-10-26 11.43.21.jpg
 

mattspiniken

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This is my bonsai adventure, except that I had the yard with the newly planted Japanese maples, but just one specifically gave rise to my adventure. We bought a B&B a.p. 'Ukigumo' and came to realize, the next spring, that its extra trunk was actually the root stock (i.e., the grafter had forgotten to cut it off). It was my first air-layer and first success at anything bonsai-like. That was 2007. It was a 1-inch caliper stem that I layered. The added cost was less than $1 for the sphagnum and two bits of wire. I split a used, but washed, 1-gallon zip-lock storage bag to cover the sphagnum. Moss grows in my yard, so I could have used it instead of sphagnum and gotten the added cost down to that of two bits of wire/string.

Now it is 12 years later and all I have toward making material for Mach5 is UR1 and my UR2. Without the loss of two years to stupid mistakes of mine, this could be the end result of one decade and at least 5 more, I think, to get to my goal. It would likely take Mach5 about 5 more to make any of them into an awesome show winner. IOW, 20 years plus, even starting with an air layer. As I understand, Dennis Vojtilla spent something like 40 years growing the Japanese maple that won at the National last year or the year before.

Oh, I cannot let it go. I do still have what is left of the original Ukigumo (UR0) - it too has changed a bit, but that uro is where it all started. Frankenstein-monster-ish, not awesome, but fun4me. View attachment 297312
good stuff, maybe send some off to Mach5 and also attempt to "finish off" a few on your own.

I think how long it takes can really be reduced if no mistakes are made. I have plenty of mistakes on each of Jap Maples so you all may be right on a 40 year time line. I will try at least though. I have found that building a tree is maybe just as fun as collecting trees.

This thread makes me want to screw it and buy 2 or so expensive stock maples to go along with my air layers. lol...

I have attached two photos, one shows an air layer I made about 3 years ago and have been growing in a wooden box and letting the roots escape some. The other is one of about 10-15 air layers I made last summer on some of the Maples with good foliage that I had as stock. The younger tree looks a lot like the 3 year before picture of the ground grown tree. I always try and air layer interesting pieces like twin trunks or triple trunks etc.IMG_0742map2.jpgIMG_0474-japmaple.jpg

I've learned to be really careful not to let the wire bite in, growing these has some learning lessons.
 

Jzack605

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I see lots of j maples in the woods near me, that weren’t planted. So it seems to have a bit of an invasive characteristic. Perhaps looking in the woods for yamadori will bring success.
 

GGB

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Interesting to hear the Dennis Vojtilla's tree took 40 years... I'd be very curious to know what it looked like 40 years ago because that thing was massive. I have to assume he did not start from seed but a reasonably large tree.

But I have been wondering this same thing. I threw a bunch of sapling trees in the ground this year but I'm not certain what a reasonable time line will look like. Thinking 2" trunks and somewhere around 18-20" tall would be a decent finished height and width. Seems most good growers put them in boxes to avoid ugly vigorous growth.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

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You don't like Maples?
No, I don't like them at all. I have one norway maple just so I can set it on fire in a couple of years.
There are good quality japanese maples available around here for very low prices, but I never found them interesting.
I do try to keep learning about them, interesting stuff due to all the issues that affect them, but owning one?! Nah. Not for me.
 

mattspiniken

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No, I don't like them at all. I have one norway maple just so I can set it on fire in a couple of years.
There are good quality japanese maples available around here for very low prices, but I never found them interesting.
I do try to keep learning about them, interesting stuff due to all the issues that affect them, but owning one?! Nah. Not for me.
fair enough. For what it is worth, I used to not like them either. Not sure why really, but I find them amazing now.
 
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