collecting red japanese maple

aznsensation0531

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Greetings!

I have a red japanese maple in my backyard which has gotten to be about 6 or 7 ft. It has some pretty good trunk development, and I was thinking about trying to turn it into a bonsai. Can anyone provide a good "how to" guide for turning this tree in the ground into a bonsai? I know it'll take a while. I live in Michigan and buried in snow right now, but when is the best time to do this?

Thanks!
 

milehigh_7

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Greetings!

I have a red japanese maple in my backyard which has gotten to be about 6 or 7 ft. It has some pretty good trunk development, and I was thinking about trying to turn it into a bonsai. Can anyone provide a good "how to" guide for turning this tree in the ground into a bonsai? I know it'll take a while. I live in Michigan and buried in snow right now, but when is the best time to do this?

Thanks!

I won't be of much help with the tree :eek: but welcome to the nut house!
 

aznsensation0531

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Here are some photos of the tree. There is a rhododendron behind it w/ the green leaves but the maple is the one w/ the big trunk in the center. Sorry for the darkness, I just got home and I did my best to lighten it up a little.
 

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rockm

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Largely depends on what you want from the tree design-wise...
 

DaveV

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If this were my tree, I would leave it in the ground so the trunk thickens up. It looks too thin right now.
 

pwk5017

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I have several bloodgoods like this that I picked up from a nursery "going out of business sale". Anyways, they are basically what you have and I got them for dirt cheap so I took them. This was several years ago. This past growing season, I decided that these trees would take far too much time and effort to produce something worthwhile. You have to think, the nebari most likely sucks on these trees(did for mine). Its going to take you a year to just get the root ball into a suitable container. Another 3 to build a nice nebari, and we havent even started on taper or branch structure. Bottom line, I would begin air-layering branches and parts of the trunk of this tree. That trunk is relatively uniform in caliper from what i can see. Besides, do you really want to sacrifice a landscape element for a mediocre bonsai?
 

Mike423

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I agree, I would simply try to ramify the branch structure of the tree and then when you see a segment that looks like a good starting point for a bonsai, air layer it in the spring.
 

rockm

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"I think I want to go for an informal upright with this tree w/ a thick trunk. of course, i'm open to suggestions."

The second part of your statement gives you your answer. Thick trunk = more time in the ground.

If you want informal upright, you're also going to have to build some interest into that bean pole of a trunk. Id chop it back to one third or less of its current height (in ground, AFTER you've achieved the trunk diameter you want).

Putting the plant in a container now will double or triple the time it wil take to develop it.

Also, if this is a blood good, you're in for a lot of frustration. They are not the easiest to adapt to bonsai. Usually they have very long leaf internodes that are difficult to reduce and tend to be gangly in general. Of course, that can be forgiven IF there's a large decent trunk holding up the foliage--which brings us back to "leave it in the ground.":D
 

aznsensation0531

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alright well it sounds like my poor little bloodgood is not ready yet for bonsai :( . I'm going to keep a lookout for another good specimen. Does anyone have a guide to transform a wild tree into a bonsai (provided I find another)? I appreciate the feedback!

Thanks
 

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