Collecting Acer Rubrum

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Hi everyone,

I’m located in New England, USA and know just enough of bonsai yo be dangerous haha . I was hoping to get some guidance and advice for collecting one or two Red Maples I have come across ranging between 3-5 inches at the base and show potential as bonsai. Attached are pics of the 4 potential victims... I mean options.

Which ones look like they have the best chance of survival and how do you know? Is there a best time of year and best method to collect these type of trees? I want to make sure I give these guys the best chance to survive and not doom them to my fire pit 😅
 

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Forsoothe!

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Roots that run sideways are probably closer to the surface, except when they are there because the rocks below the surface are preventing them from going down. Toss-up. Hardpan ~6 or 8" down might be the reason, if you're lucky. Are you in the mountains (Poconos)?
 

0soyoung

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All of them have straight, stovepipe trunks that will need to be chopped early in their development. This immediately makes me favor the tree in the first pic because it obviously has active buds/shoots low on the stem already. There is not guarantee that the other do/will.

I don't care for what I see in pix 2 and 3 (9536592B-A259 & 38D51921-D3CD). It likely will be a lot of work to make a decent bonsai nebari on them. On the other hand, the nebair in pix 4 and 5 (3F881FE7-933A & C71DC702-6CE5) is/are good beginnings.

I would do a bit of exploratory digging to find out what I'm dealing with and come back next spring (as buds swell) to dig it up. I might even chop the first one now, keeping those lovely low shoots & leaves (and leaving it in place until next spring, of course). Do NOTE how small those low leaves are versus the ones up top. The hint here, IMHO, is how acer rubrum might make a good sumo style bonsai -- short trunk + small leaves!
 

Forsoothe!

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Maybe if you look around there might be something small enough to wire the trunk. The trade off is between starting with a big chop verses a smaller one with character in the trunk. What would you rather have ten years from now?
 
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Maybe if you look around there might be something small enough to wire the trunk. The trade off is between starting with a big chop verses a smaller one with character in the trunk. What would you rather have ten years from now?
I actually have a couple 2 year seedling I took out of a friends garden so I plan on working with those over the coming years. I’m in the MA/RI area.
 

sorce

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I was upset I didn't put mine straight in a pot. I was moving tho.


I think you can find better material. But collect them for practice.

Sorce
 
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All of them have straight, stovepipe trunks that will need to be chopped early in their development. This immediately makes me favor the tree in the first pic because it obviously has active buds/shoots low on the stem already. There is not guarantee that the other do/will.

I don't care for what I see in pix 2 and 3 (9536592B-A259 & 38D51921-D3CD). It likely will be a lot of work to make a decent bonsai nebari on them. On the other hand, the nebair in pix 4 and 5 (3F881FE7-933A & C71DC702-6CE5) is/are good beginnings.

I would do a bit of exploratory digging to find out what I'm dealing with and come back next spring (as buds swell) to dig it up. I might even chop the first one now, keeping those lovely low shoots & leaves (and leaving it in place until next spring, of course). Do NOTE how small those low leaves are versus the ones up top. The hint here, IMHO, is how acer rubrum might make a good sumo style bonsai -- short trunk + small leaves!
I hear what your saying about the shoots on the tree in picture 1, that’s what actually caught my eye, the tree in pic 5 actually has 1 shoot up about 15” on the right, and the nebari makes it my personal favorite.

I haven’t heard of sumo style until you mentioned it, I’ll have to look more into it but I would t have to decide now right? I could chop the trunk for that one up about 2 feet and see how the shoot grow in the coming spring and always cut it down further later...chopping the trunk now instead of in dormancy wouldn’t cause more stress?
 

rockm

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Given the species and trunks, neither is worth the trouble. They're not all that interesting. Keep looking.
 

0soyoung

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I hear what your saying about the shoots on the tree in picture 1, that’s what actually caught my eye, the tree in pic 5 actually has 1 shoot up about 15” on the right, and the nebari makes it my personal favorite.

I haven’t heard of sumo style until you mentioned it, I’ll have to look more into it but I would t have to decide now right? I could chop the trunk for that one up about 2 feet and see how the shoot grow in the coming spring and always cut it down further later...chopping the trunk now instead of in dormancy wouldn’t cause more stress?
Regarding sumo, checkout the thread 'Shohin trident ? for Smoke'. Sumo style is just an extremely short, fat bonsai - trunk taper is an illusion created by the slanting chop. The bonsai rule of thumb is height should be something like 6x trunk diameter. Sumo is pushing toward 1:1.

Regarding chopping, I'm suggesting that you now lop off the trunk at a level toward the top of your pic, up about 2 feet, as you said. Right now this would remove all the foliage above the top of the pic, of course, but it is late in the season and so won't matter much. If the tree needs to be left 'unmarked' over the winter (to keep it from being poached, say) it can wait until you dig it 'as buds swell' next spring. Either way, just cut straight across, it will about another year before you make the final slanting cut/chop (even if you are not sold on the sumo idea) - you will want to choose a plane where there is a branch at the top of the slant and one at the bottom. The branch at the top will supply all the carbohydrates (from the leaves) to regrow bark over the wound. The one at the bottom supplies the auxin to keep the cambium immediately below it alive - without it, the cambium below it tends to die and enlarge the wound.
 
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Regarding sumo, checkout the thread 'Shohin trident ? for Smoke'. Sumo style is just an extremely short, fat bonsai - trunk taper is an illusion created by the slanting chop. The bonsai rule of thumb is height should be something like 6x trunk diameter. Sumo is pushing toward 1:1.

Regarding chopping, I'm suggesting that you now lop off the trunk at a level toward the top of your pic, up about 2 feet, as you said. Right now this would remove all the foliage above the top of the pic, of course, but it is late in the season and so won't matter much. If the tree needs to be left 'unmarked' over the winter (to keep it from being poached, say) it can wait until you dig it 'as buds swell' next spring. Either way, just cut straight across, it will about another year before you make the final slanting cut/chop (even if you are not sold on the sumo idea) - you will want to choose a plane where there is a branch at the top of the slant and one at the bottom. The branch at the top will supply all the carbohydrates (from the leaves) to regrow bark over the wound. The one at the bottom supplies the auxin to keep the cambium immediately below it alive - without it, the cambium below it tends to die and enlarge the wound.
Thanks for the help and insightful suggestions, I have some things to consider now
 
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You could probably dig these up in spring with a major root cut back and they would still live with proper after-care. They are pretty difficult to kill if taken care of properly.
 

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