Eastern Leaf JPM Advice - Next steps

Steamboy

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Hello All! New to forum, not so new to growing plants in the desert.

So my girlfriend recently purchased a Maple from Eastern Leaf(yeah I know, I tried to talk her out of it, as they basically sold her a stick), the Maple arrived late due to FedEX losing the package. That is issue one. It was in a box for 3-4 days longer due to it being lost, then recovered.

When we finally got the maple unboxed, open, and ready to enjoy, I noticed a lot of the nodes were really long and leggy. Also, no additional buds aside from the existing foliage. Along with the leggy nodes, the leaves were also very large and stringy, and by recommendation, I was told to defoliate in order to promote new growth/leaves of proper size.

This was ordered as a Sharps Pygmy, but as you can see from the pics, its generic root stock with a graft. The rootstock still buds, but I pinch those since they are root stock. Now there is only 1 bud on the graft after pruning the junk leaves off.

I know its now May, its getting hot where I live. I have a greenhouse to manage temperature and humidity and protect the maple from hot dry air.

So... my question is, should I just sit back and relax, take normal care of this thing and will it leaf out again? Should I prune more? Repot in full akadama/moss? Chop it?

I have circled the only buds I see(2), and yes, they seem to be swelling more and more each day.

Thank you all for any input.
 

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NaoTK

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Welcome to crazy, as they say.

Please leave the tree alone. Assuming you want the tree to get bigger, your goal right now is to grow grow grow. So pulling off the leaves will just cause the tree to waste energy making new, less efficient leaves.
 

sorce

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You a Boilermaker?

Welcome to Crazy Turbulations!

Sorce
 

Steamboy

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Welcome to crazy, as they say.

Please leave the tree alone. Assuming you want the tree to get bigger, your goal right now is to grow grow grow. So pulling off the leaves will just cause the tree to waste energy making new, less efficient leaves.
Thats kinda what I figured. Thanks for the input! I'll just throw it in the greenhouse and leave her be.

You a Boilermaker?

Welcome to Crazy Turbulations!

Sorce
Nope! Just a random username from years back.

Cheers!
 

Forsoothe!

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The person who told you to remove the leaves of a new plant should be removed from your list of people worth talking to about horticulture.
 

LanceMac10

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Sharps pretty sun tolerant, maybe not enough for your climate.
Winter dormancy might be an issue?
 

Steamboy

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Sharps pretty sun tolerant, maybe not enough for your climate.
Winter dormancy might be an issue
Yeah, the sun here is basically the surface of the sun itself. So I have shade cloth's, a greenhouse, misting system, barometer, ETC. To try and make it as suitable of an environment as I can in the arid desert.

As far as Winter Dormancy is concerned. It surprisingly gets pretty darn chilly here from Late November to early-mid Feb. It tends to be when we get the most rain too. So I dont think it will be an issue.
 

LanceMac10

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Yeah, the sun here is basically the surface of the sun itself. So I have shade cloth's, a greenhouse, misting system, barometer, ETC. To try and make it as suitable of an environment as I can in the arid desert.

As far as Winter Dormancy is concerned. It surprisingly gets pretty darn chilly here from Late November to early-mid Feb. It tends to be when we get the most rain too. So I dont think it will be an issue.



I'm so pale, spontaneous combustion becomes a real hazard! 😁 😁😁😁😁😁😁 How do you guy's live with that heat?!?!
 

Steamboy

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I would say on average Sub 40F for the low From Nov-Feb.

I'm so pale, spontaneous combustion becomes a real hazard! 😁 😁😁😁😁😁😁 How do you guy's live with that heat?!?!

Haha! Same! Im quite pale myself. Honestly, once employment permits it, I am getting out of the heat to a more suitable growing climate as I can. I'm 35 now and cant stand the heat anymore.
 

Pitoon

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Hello All! New to forum, not so new to growing plants in the desert.

So my girlfriend recently purchased a Maple from Eastern Leaf(yeah I know, I tried to talk her out of it, as they basically sold her a stick), the Maple arrived late due to FedEX losing the package. That is issue one. It was in a box for 3-4 days longer due to it being lost, then recovered.

When we finally got the maple unboxed, open, and ready to enjoy, I noticed a lot of the nodes were really long and leggy. Also, no additional buds aside from the existing foliage. Along with the leggy nodes, the leaves were also very large and stringy, and by recommendation, I was told to defoliate in order to promote new growth/leaves of proper size.

This was ordered as a Sharps Pygmy, but as you can see from the pics, its generic root stock with a graft. The rootstock still buds, but I pinch those since they are root stock. Now there is only 1 bud on the graft after pruning the junk leaves off.

I know its now May, its getting hot where I live. I have a greenhouse to manage temperature and humidity and protect the maple from hot dry air.

So... my question is, should I just sit back and relax, take normal care of this thing and will it leaf out again? Should I prune more? Repot in full akadama/moss? Chop it?

I have circled the only buds I see(2), and yes, they seem to be swelling more and more each day.

Thank you all for any input.
Welcome to the forum.

First thing to consider is that the plant was in a box for several days in complete darkness.........that alone will put a plant into a stressful state.

Second you should not have cut the leaves off.....it was already stressed by shipping and by cutting off the leaves you just multiplied the affect.

At this point let it be so it can recover.....that maple has a long way to go. In fact you should plant it in the ground for several years if you are willing to put the effort into a grafted tree. A graft that high will never disappear, just something to consider.
 

Steamboy

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Welcome to the forum.

First thing to consider is that the plant was in a box for several days in complete darkness.........that alone will put a plant into a stressful state.

Second you should not have cut the leaves off.....it was already stressed by shipping and by cutting off the leaves you just multiplied the affect.

At this point let it be so it can recover.....that maple has a long way to go. In fact you should plant it in the ground for several years if you are willing to put the effort into a grafted tree. A graft that high will never disappear, just something to consider.
Thank you for the war welcome !

I should reiterate... Before pruning the leaves off, the tree looked pretty healthy. The leaves were just wayyyyy to big for the tree(at least from what someone told me). They were pruned off probably 2 months after the tree arrived. This pic is about 3 weeks after pruning.
 
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Greetings and welcome aboard @Steamboy!

Defoliation is for vigorous, healthy trees beginning to move forward into refinement…. That’s not your tree.

You ought to have two goals right now.

1. Get the tree healthy. That’s your job here. Pulling off the solar collectors on an obviously struggling young tree is counterproductive.

2. Develop a radial, flattish root system…. after the tree is back to health. This would have to be above the graft on you tree.

After that you’ll want to fatten up the trunk so you can develop it into a Bonsai.

@Pitoon recommended you plant the tree into the ground. He’s spot on. If that’s not possible, plant the tree in a roomy shorter pot.

This will help get the tree healthy and begin thickening up the tree faster than any other way. Next spring if the tree responds to goal #1, it would be time to investigating air layering the tree above the graft to begin on goal two.

Good luck and welcome aboard once again!

Cheers
DSD sends
 

Steamboy

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I would love to throw it in the ground. Being in AZ, I dont know if zone limits permits me. Wrong soil, water, and weather. I have another Acer in my greenhouse(summer use only) thats been doing well for about 3 seasons now.

Air layering was the end goal with this particular plant, as the graft was so damn high. So I will work on getting this lady healthy for next year first and foremost.

Thanks for all of the input everyone! CHEERS!
 

Shibui

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Just a couple of corrections to some of the dubious assumptions so far:
1. Defoliation does not necessarily produce smaller leaves. In conjunction with a well planned pruning and maintenance program it can help but one off defoliation does not produce small leaves.
2. Your tree has lots of buds. The ones you have shown may be the only large ones but every node has dormant buds ready to sprout in case of emergency. I would expect to see new shoots from almost every node in a few weeks.
3. As already mentioned defoliation of a weak tree is counterproductive. Leaves are the energy sources for plants and help them grow. Defoliation is also counterproductive for skinny little sticks as it takes away growth potential and the sticks stay small for longer.
4. Trees can cope with quite a long time in a box in transit. It takes more than a few days for existing leaves to start adjusting to changes in light levels and those changes are just to sun hardiness, not in size. Existing leaves are set in size as soon as they are fully open and hardened and do not get larger in dark. Only new leaves that emerge in those conditions could have any chance of being larger as a result. If the tree has large leaves after transport those leaves are a product of conditions at the previous location. Lack of light has no effect on existing node length, only on new ones growing in the darker conditions will be longer so only the very tip of each shoot is likely to be affected by shipping.

By all means look forward to layering the Sharps off the root stock but make sure the tree is large enough (thin stock is extremely difficult and often fails layering) and healthy enough to get good results. It may atke a couple of years to get this one ready for the layering process so definitely be prepared to look longer term than just next year.

JM is not easy to maintain as bonsai. I don't mean keeping it alive, almost anyone can do that. JM is prone to long internodes and multiple shoots so keeping them looking good in the long term can be a challenge that requires good knowledge and better skills. Much easier to learn on more forgiving and faster growing species like trident then use those skills to develop good JM later.
 

Dr3z

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Just a couple of corrections to some of the dubious assumptions so far:
1. Defoliation does not necessarily produce smaller leaves. In conjunction with a well planned pruning and maintenance program it can help but one off defoliation does not produce small leaves.
2. Your tree has lots of buds. The ones you have shown may be the only large ones but every node has dormant buds ready to sprout in case of emergency. I would expect to see new shoots from almost every node in a few weeks.
3. As already mentioned defoliation of a weak tree is counterproductive. Leaves are the energy sources for plants and help them grow. Defoliation is also counterproductive for skinny little sticks as it takes away growth potential and the sticks stay small for longer.
4. Trees can cope with quite a long time in a box in transit. It takes more than a few days for existing leaves to start adjusting to changes in light levels and those changes are just to sun hardiness, not in size. Existing leaves are set in size as soon as they are fully open and hardened and do not get larger in dark. Only new leaves that emerge in those conditions could have any chance of being larger as a result. If the tree has large leaves after transport those leaves are a product of conditions at the previous location. Lack of light has no effect on existing node length, only on new ones growing in the darker conditions will be longer so only the very tip of each shoot is likely to be affected by shipping.

By all means look forward to layering the Sharps off the root stock but make sure the tree is large enough (thin stock is extremely difficult and often fails layering) and healthy enough to get good results. It may atke a couple of years to get this one ready for the layering process so definitely be prepared to look longer term than just next year.

JM is not easy to maintain as bonsai. I don't mean keeping it alive, almost anyone can do that. JM is prone to long internodes and multiple shoots so keeping them looking good in the long term can be a challenge that requires good knowledge and better skills. Much easier to learn on more forgiving and faster growing species like trident then use those skills to develop good JM later.
How do you suggest managing long internodes and multiple shoots on JM? (In some species for instance I've seen it recommended to prune back to the 2nd node for instance. Do similar rules offer guidelines here?)
 

Shibui

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How do you suggest managing long internodes and multiple shoots on JM? (In some species for instance I've seen it recommended to prune back to the 2nd node for instance. Do similar rules offer guidelines here?)
Spring growth seems to have really long internodes. Sometimes the very first internode is shorter - in that case I prune back to that first pair of leaves. If the first internode is too long I wait till late spring when growth settles down and then prune right back to the base of spring growth. New shoots will emerge in both cases and often the nodes are closer and suitable for the basis of future structure.
The vast majority of JM sold commercially have both trunk and branches made up of long internodes which are not conducive to good future bonsai structure. Developing branches from such growth is futile. Much better to remove all branching made up from long internodes completely - right back to the trunk. New buds almost always emerge from branch collars which can be used to develop new branches with better structure.
That may seem like taking a backward step but definitely pays dividends in the longer term.
Restricting fertilizer during the spring growth spurt can sometimes yield more compact growth but I'm still trialling how much to cut back to get results while still maintaining good growth and health.

Multiple shoots are managed by rubbing off excess shoots well before they cause problems. This means being extra vigilant through spring. It involves searching through the foliage to spot extra shoots growing from trunks and inner branches and deal with them. If branches have already hardened prune ruthlessly to remove multiple branches growing close together.
I have several quite old JM that have reverse taper and lumps because I was not aware of the longer term problems while these were growing and thickening.
I have also lost count of the number of trees I have had to chop back hard to get rid of ugly swellings and reverse taper.

JM are not the only species to suffer these problems but in my experience they are much quicker to show the resulting problems than most others so need extra care.
 

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