Another day, Another Maple

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Hello guys,

I have been done a bit of search around, have read as many posts as possible and watched millions pictures and YouTube videos and yet I am here asking your professional opinion on this.

This is my Japanese Maple and I would like to start to give some shape, distribute some energy. My thinking is to prune the top leaving 1 or 2 bark and the bottom part of the tree between 3/4 or 5. I have pruned some trees before but I wouldn't like to make mistakes with this one so I am asking for some kind of guidance/suggestion/idea from where to start from.

Thanks in advance to all of you.
 

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AlainK

Masterpiece
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From a distance, I would try to limit its height first, like :

Maple.jpg

It seems you'll have to choose a leader, I think there are two branches going upward where I drew the red line.

Then, the "nebari" doesn't look that bad, even if I think that some roots going upward before getting into the soil again will have to be cut off at some point.

Overall, I think it's a good starter tree. But if you don't have much experience in shaping a Japanese maple, I think you shoulld proceed by steps: now, prune the top and when it's lost its leaves, post pictures so tlhat the many savvy members here can give you more precise advice.
 
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From a distance, I would try to limit its height first, like :

View attachment 195023

It seems you'll have to choose a leader, I think there are two branches going upward where I drew the red line.

Then, the "nebari" doesn't look that bad, even if I think that some roots going upward before getting into the soil again will have to be cut off at some point.

Overall, I think it's a good starter tree. But if you don't have much experience in shaping a Japanese maple, I think you shoulld proceed by steps: now, prune the top and when it's lost its leaves, post pictures so tlhat the many savvy members here can give you more precise advice.
Thank you so much for the comment and advice, I was thinking to be kind of more conservative on the top but yes still trim it and get energy down.
 

Timbo

Shohin
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I'd chop farther down, but i like to kill maples! :p
It's hard to see with the leaves in the way though, that one big branch to the right looks like a nice new leader with movement.
On second thought, i'd air layer above that right branch, but JM's are easier/cheaper to buy over there i suppose, might not be worth the effort.
 

RobertB

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i would keep letting it grow for a while. put in large flat box next year and let it grow till the trunk is three inches in diameter then plan to do something with it.
 

RobertB

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or chop very low to get some movement in the trunk. ground layer it at an angle.
 
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So, guys, I was thinking something like this... What do you guys think?

IMG_3182.JPG
 
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I thought to give an update and how the tree is progressing so far.
During this time I have studied my tree and made some changes all around. I have wired some brunches and decided which one could be a good front. I came out with the conclusion in the picture so far - Pretty much still all work in progress!

Maple Front C.jpg
 

TooCoys

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I dont know if they are good or not, but I sure like the looks of em! Can't wait until mine get to be like this!
 

KiwiPlantGuy

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Hi SilverioSan,
Sorry to be a pooper but I have to agree with @RobertB, that if you want it at all believable, you need to let this grow for years (unrestricted both in root and leaf growth- like not prune for that time), apart from a root prune. Put it in grow box or ground, or you will still have a stick in a pot, as you get no girth in a bonsai pot.
If you don’t want to take the risk on this one, then you can always get another 3-5 Maples to practice on.
Charles
 
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Hi SilverioSan,
Sorry to be a pooper but I have to agree with @RobertB, that if you want it at all believable, you need to let this grow for years (unrestricted both in root and leaf growth- like not prune for that time), apart from a root prune. Put it in grow box or ground, or you will still have a stick in a pot, as you get no girth in a bonsai pot.
If you don’t want to take the risk on this one, then you can always get another 3-5 Maples to practice on.
Charles
Thanks for the comment, I guess you right I will get a couple of tree more ..
 

TooCoys

Shohin
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Hi SilverioSan,
Sorry to be a pooper but I have to agree with @RobertB, that if you want it at all believable, you need to let this grow for years (unrestricted both in root and leaf growth- like not prune for that time), apart from a root prune. Put it in grow box or ground, or you will still have a stick in a pot, as you get no girth in a bonsai pot.
If you don’t want to take the risk on this one, then you can always get another 3-5 Maples to practice on.
Charles

Just to play devils advocate... if he'd NOT planning on entering a show or some elite event, and he likes a stick in a pot, whats wrong with that?
 

Bananaman

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Just to play devils advocate... if he'd NOT planning on entering a show or some elite event, and he likes a stick in a pot, whats wrong with that?
Absolutely nothing....as long as you keep what your doing to yourself for your own enjoyment. As soon as you post to a public forum you open yourself up to the opinions of others and what they feel defines bonsai. No longer is the stick in a pot you enjoy your own, it becomes fodder for everyone.

Some have the ability to deal with that and others not so much.....
 
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Just to play devils advocate... if he'd NOT planning on entering a show or some elite event, and he likes a stick in a pot, whats wrong with that?
Everyone has their point of view; someone is happy with the younger tree aspect, and someone else is not. Bonsai is an Art but so far I didn' really run across many written rules.
I do respect everyone opinion. It will be up to me if I will take it entirely, part or discard.
During my journey I will make mistakes, we all do if I don't make one I don't make a discovery I guess.
Thanks to bringing up the point though which I am entirely with you in.

A Street Stick.jpg
 
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My intention is to create a diary so I can come here every time and see the changes, not necessarily I will make the right decision coming back here will at least give me the chance to remember and learn from mistakes.

Winter is almost over, can't wait that my tree will leaf again, I have also decided to keep the tree in the same pot of last year, however today I did for the first time some cleaning

March 2019 - Before
Before March 2019.jpg

March 2019 - After
After #1 March 2019.jpgAfter #2 March 2019.jpg
 

Paulpash

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Hi. I just wanted to chip in and say there are several locations on your tree where you have junctions of 3 or more. If you " just sit back and let this guy run freely... " there will be problems ahead leading to inverse taper. I'd strongly advise removing these down to 2 (trunk counts as 1), especially in the mid section of the last large pic - post #17, where it appears there's 4 and the beginnings of adverse swelling.
 

Shibui

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Very strongly agree with Paul. Japanese maple have a very strong tendency to thicken excessively wherever there are multiple growths. Thickened areas on trunks are a major distraction on any bonsai. Avoid wherever possible by removing extra branches.
JM are quite easy to keep as bonsai but rather more difficult to maintain as attractive bonsai.
 
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