Eugene's japanese maple

eugenev2

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Hi All,

Posting my first and hopefully future japanese maples here and as with my other post, any advice and tips will be much appreciated.

Yes, probably not the best start for a bonsai, but it is what it is, i looked around a long time to find Japanese maples suppliers locally (+/- 1 year and six months actively searching) and this one of the few ones they had left. And yes before it is mentioned that i should look for bonsai nurseries that provide trees...this was from a bonsai nursery. Not 100% happy with the all the cuts the decided to make (all the grey cut paste was made by them).
 

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eugenev2

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Unfortunately i let the tree get away from me a bit as i wanted to wire the branches down a bit and now they are not easily bendable and i have a bit of a inverse taper situation forming as per picture 1.

So my idea is to cut the branch at the red line in pic 2, to hopefully stop the inverse taper issue, as this branch looks way to straight to me.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
 

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eugenev2

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Repotted this weekend, the roots were a mess, a number of big fat roots growing down with fine roots growing on the ends. Will probably regret not taking more drastic action in the future. But needed to get it out of the red clay-ish/ground soil it was in. Probably part of the reason for the less than great roots. But at leats i got a nice surprise in the root spread
 

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bwaynef

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I'd put a bit more soil in the pot and cover up the stilted roots some more. Its possible to wound along those roots as well, then cover lightly w/ sphagnum and hopefully at next repotting you'll have small roots formed off the current nebari.
 

Shibui

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Repotted this weekend, the roots were a mess, a number of big fat roots growing down with fine roots growing on the ends. Will probably regret not taking more drastic action in the future. But needed to get it out of the red clay-ish/ground soil it was in. Probably part of the reason for the less than great roots. But at leats i got a nice surprise in the root spread
There's plenty of opportunity to rectify any root problems in future. In a few years you will be more confident in root pruning and will be able to do the harder pruning required.

So my idea is to cut the branch at the red line in pic 2, to hopefully stop the inverse taper issue, as this branch looks way to straight to me.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
I would not keep any of that branch marked red. The fork below will always look awkward. My approach is to cut diagonally through the fork. That makes a much better transition from thick to thin. It is likely you will then get new shoots growing from the collar of the remaining leader and may be able to use one of them as a branch at that point.
JM 3.png
The branch below is also too stiff to bend. At some stage you will probably cut it. Just leave a short stub so that new shoots will grow from that branch collar too. When they get strong enough you can select one that looks good and is growing at a better angle for a branch there if required.

Developing good JM bonsai seems to be a series of grow and chop and using the resulting new shoots rather than using what's already there.
 

Paradox

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I would hope for a bud below that ugly chop that you can make a better tree out of.

This is a good tree to learn on and I think you can do some things to make it into much better than what it is now
 

SeanS

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I’ve found the opposite regarding finding JMs locally in SA. Almost every nursery I go to has JMs in some forms. Most have a few non-bonsai ideal cultivars and a few regular non-grafted green acer palmatums.

This tree and its sister we’re both from a local landscape nursery, R200 each. You just need to look around.

91B89C6F-A4DE-41C4-BCCF-F8CD6D72B10A.jpeg
 

eugenev2

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I’ve found the opposite regarding finding JMs locally in SA. Almost every nursery I go to has JMs in some forms. Most have a few non-bonsai ideal cultivars and a few regular non-grafted green acer palmatums.

This tree and its sister we’re both from a local landscape nursery, R200 each. You just need to look around.

View attachment 451579
Nice...ok, you have to share these nursery names with me then, would not mind getting another.
Tired of going to nurseries to find trident maples branded as acer palmatums, or acer "bloodgood" palmatums, verry beautiful trees, but i've read does not make ideal bonsais
 

eugenev2

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I'd put a bit more soil in the pot and cover up the stilted roots some more. Its possible to wound along those roots as well, then cover lightly w/ sphagnum and hopefully at next repotting you'll have small roots formed off the current nebari.
I like this idea, if i can get more roots higher up it would make pruning lower down much easier. How much scarring do you do and would something like rooting hormone assist with root forming?
 

eugenev2

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There's plenty of opportunity to rectify any root problems in future. In a few years you will be more confident in root pruning and will be able to do the harder pruning required.


I would not keep any of that branch marked red. The fork below will always look awkward. My approach is to cut diagonally through the fork. That makes a much better transition from thick to thin. It is likely you will then get new shoots growing from the collar of the remaining leader and may be able to use one of them as a branch at that point.
View attachment 451510
The branch below is also too stiff to bend. At some stage you will probably cut it. Just leave a short stub so that new shoots will grow from that branch collar too. When they get strong enough you can select one that looks good and is growing at a better angle for a branch there if required.

Developing good JM bonsai seems to be a series of grow and chop and using the resulting new shoots rather than using what's already there.
Thanks for the suggestion, i need to check the health of the tree first, as i thought it was doing well, but comparing to ones i've recently seen mine seems like the health might have been a bit lackluster. Also since i recently repotted, major pruning might not be the best idea. Regardless i read early summer is the best time for big cuts like that?
 

Shibui

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Regardless i read early summer is the best time for big cuts like that?
Any time outside late winter and early spring closer to bud burst is OK for pruning.
I wait until leaves are fully open before pruning in summer.
Early winter soon after leaf drop is good too - and easier to see what you are doing.
 

bwaynef

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I like this idea, if i can get more roots higher up it would make pruning lower down much easier. How much scarring do you do and would something like rooting hormone assist with root forming?
I've done scarring several ways. Sometimes I'll poke and twist my grafting knife in about the level I want roots. Other times I'll cut a small notch. Neither create scarring larger than the width of a toothpick. (We Americans will use ANYTHING to keep from representing things in metric, won't we?)

I probably would use rooting hormone where I'm talking about adding scarring on this tree, but there are schools of thought (w/ evidence) that hormone's unnecessary on tissue that is already root. (My rationale in this instance would be that the tissue, while technically part of the roots, has taken on more of the woody character over time.)
 
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