Buying New Japanese Maple Tree

DreamerP

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Hi,

I recently went to Home Depot to buy some supplies and noticed they have a 50% off trees and saw they had some Japanese Maples Atropurpureum. So they'd be about $35. I saw 3 interesting ones that I liked. The first I lived the thickness of the trunk and the way the branches were low and spread and seem the most workable. The other 2 were appealing due to the trunk, pretty thick but lacked branches downwards. So my question is should I bother investing in any of them, they do seem pretty cheap or are they past the bonsai stage and just a waste of my time?
 

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sorce

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First one is nice.
If there is no ugliness under the leaves/soil. Looks real good!

Do it!

Sorce
 
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Man that first one could make a really nice tree!
I would pick it up for sure, you could probably have a really decent looking tree in like 5 years.
 

Dav4

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When you're looking at deciduous stock for development, you should only be truly interested in the root spread and main trunk, as most of the branches will be removed and rebuilt down the road. You really can't change the trunk, and if the surface roots stink, you'll have to spend many years trying to fix them. With that said, did you dig down below the soil to expose the roots? In my experience, doing so will usually disqualify stock like this as you'll find only one or two very large roots with little or no taper coming off the trunk. If you find one with workable roots, that's the one I'd consider.
 

Eric Group

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From what we can see, these are all viable options! Decent trunks, the second and third seem to have better movement low on the trunk... Like Dave said, the branches low on the tree are cool looking, but most will be removed... Find the one with the best roots and pick that one. I do not see graft scars on these, and that is probably what makes them the most desirable. If you are confident in your air layering skills, the roots are not necessarily a deal breaker if they do not look good.
 

erb.75

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When you're looking at deciduous stock for development, you should only be truly interested in the root spread and main trunk, as most of the branches will be removed and rebuilt down the road. You really can't change the trunk, and if the surface roots stink, you'll have to spend many years trying to fix them. With that said, did you dig down below the soil to expose the roots? In my experience, doing so will usually disqualify stock like this as you'll find only one or two very large roots with little or no taper coming off the trunk. If you find one with workable roots, that's the one I'd consider.
You can always air layer these trunks and build the nebari. it takes time, but you'll have nicer trees than most ppl in 5 years time if you're willing to wait. at $35, I'd pick them up if you like the leaves.

That being said, I personally wouldn't pick these up since I don't want a red leaf maple for bonsai. I only want to grow strong green stock or cultivars specifically for bonsai. The reduced vigor of the tree has to be worth it. Big red leaves is not worth it for me. The tiny green leaves of kiyo hime JM are almost not worth it for me because they are so weak and slow growing (mine is growing ungrafted on its own roots), but those little leaves are so great I can't say no to the kiyo hime.
 

barrosinc

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The first one looks totally worth it, but I would do as Dav4 says... the roots might be awful. Ground layer should be a thing you have to do.
 

ColinFraser

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Triple check for grafts - look at a few online before going back, so you know what to look for. I can't tell from your photos, but that second picture looks like it might be grafted. See where it suddenly changes diameter just above the soil? If one is grafted, any and all they are selling of that variety will be.
That might be a deal-breaker, unless you're willing to layer as has been suggested.
 

DreamerP

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Thanks so much for the advice and yes, I thought the first one was the best looking. I'll go today and see if I can look at the roots better, hopefully they'll look good if not I'm willing to work with it. If I do end up picking up the first tree how should I go about taking care of it? Do I continue to let it grow? It's still the middle of autumn and wanted to know if I should even consider pruning it? or wait till next year?
 

iant

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I can't imagine they're not grafted being that they're not standard green japanese maple and they're from Home Depot.
But would still be fun to work with,
Ian
 

Dav4

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Thanks so much for the advice and yes, I thought the first one was the best looking. I'll go today and see if I can look at the roots better, hopefully they'll look good if not I'm willing to work with it. If I do end up picking up the first tree how should I go about taking care of it? Do I continue to let it grow? It's still the middle of autumn and wanted to know if I should even consider pruning it? or wait till next year?
Leave it alone until next spring. If you're going to ground layer, don't touch the top until the layer is separated and growing well, which means spring of '17'. If you're going to work with the existing roots, you can start pruning the canopy this late winter and do your re-pot as buds push next spring.
 

DreamerP

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I was interested in doing the ground layering but wasn't sure when to start it. So when should I start to ground layer?
 

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