Cjr Shantung maple

Cajunrider

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Bought is for cheap a few weeks ago. It was looking terrible. Worked on the roots and put it in a grow box. It is putting on a gorgeous flush. I am thinking about chopping it next year. Should I chop above or below the first major branch?
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HorseloverFat

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Wonderful tree! I love “purpleblows”.. i would cut to the first smallest branch.. and “ nub” that branch at like 1.5”, personally. I would do it at “high-summer” if the tree showed stupendous vigor.. If not.. I’d wait until spring.

Whatever you choose.. T’will be a good choice.

🤓
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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@Cajunrider
I agree with your plan, repot, arranging the root this year. After allowing a full growing season to recover, then do your chop late May or so next year. If you chop the same year you work the roots, the response is likely to be weak. By waiting until next year, you should get a more satisfactory vigorous response.

I don't like to try to design trees from photos over the internet. I'm not that good, and think most who claim to be "that good" are kidding themselves. Tree design should be done live in person.

That said, my initial impression might be to try and use as much possible of the existing tree. I would only "chop" if you absolutely had your goal set on a stylized broom.

Since you will be allowing the tree to grow this summer, you can contemplate ways to use most of the tree as it currently exists. If next year you still feel the best course is to "chop" then chop lower rather than higher. But I would look for possible designs over the next 12 months that don't require going back to "ground zero".
 

Cajunrider

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@Cajunrider
I agree with your plan, repot, arranging the root this year. After allowing a full growing season to recover, then do your chop late May or so next year. If you chop the same year you work the roots, the response is likely to be weak. By waiting until next year, you should get a more satisfactory vigorous response.

I don't like to try to design trees from photos over the internet. I'm not that good, and think most who claim to be "that good" are kidding themselves. Tree design should be done live in person.

That said, my initial impression might be to try and use as much possible of the existing tree. I would only "chop" if you absolutely had your goal set on a stylized broom.

Since you will be allowing the tree to grow this summer, you can contemplate ways to use most of the tree as it currently exists. If next year you still feel the best course is to "chop" then chop lower rather than higher. But I would look for possible designs over the next 12 months that don't require going back to "ground zero".
Thanks for the sound advice. I’ve stared at the tree a lot. I don’t like anything above the first crotch. If I keep anything I will train the lowest small branch to drop this year. Next year I will chop one inch above the crotch on the main trunk and leave just 3 inches on the big branch. Then I will select the best bud on the big branch to be the new apex and go from there. One example the new apex is established, I will shorten the dropped branch. Either that or chop low and restart.
 
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Mike Toy

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Love it! I have a shantung maple a d it is by far my favorite bonsai in my collection. Good luck on yours! It's a beautiful tree.
 

Cajunrider

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Last year we planned to chop this in May. Well it is right around the corner. How low should I go?
Note that below the big crotch is smooth and bare but there are faint sign of at least one internode.
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Cajunrider

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Chopped just a tad high to save the lowest bud shown. I just wasn't sure there will be any bud coming out lower. If there are, I will consider cutting again lower.
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Cajunrider

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No bud below the chop but the existing buds are growing well.
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Brian Van Fleet

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Yikes. Seems like more of the tree could have been used somehow; really nice base and bark. A severe chop like this may warrant planting it in the ground for a couple years to help heal the chop and build the next trunk section. This tree needs more growing and less chopping.
 

Cajunrider

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Yikes. Seems like more of the tree could have been used somehow; really nice base and bark. A severe chop like this may warrant planting it in the ground for a couple years to help heal the chop and build the next trunk section. This tree needs more growing and less chopping.
I stared at the tree for months and couldn't see a way to use the upper part so I chopped it. Had it been a more valuable species, I probably would have deliberated much more. No other option but growing now. :D
 

Cajunrider

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The tree has grown 2 ft in 30 days with branches on every internodes except for the top 3. It seems happy where it is.
 

Cajunrider

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The shoot is now 30” long. In one of @Walter Pall YouTube video on building trunk, Water mentioned defoliating after 12 weeks to encourage more growth. That would be when we go into the summer slow down period in my area so that seems perfect. I will definitely try that. At the the current growth rate, I expect the shoot to be 40” tall at least by that time.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Has it put on any wood? Has the chop started to callus?
 

Cajunrider

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Has it put on any wood? Has the chop started to callus?
The base of the shoot seems to be hardening but it is still early. Right now it is just growing fast. I am not planning to do anything but letting it grow until I see some lignification.
I am seeing a tiny bit of callus at the edge of the chop. It's only a few weeks so I am watching carefully. It don't want to rush anything. Thanks Brian! Your advice is very much appreciated.
 
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Cajunrider

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Shoot is 34” long today and 3/8” diameter. Internodes are 2” apart and have 2 side branches at each one.
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