Has this large Arakawa been grafted back in the days?

Niigel

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Hello

I do, being only 2-3 years in the Bonsai business, have problems to identify whether or not my Arakawa was grafted decades ago. I would be happy if more advanced people were able to help me out on that question.
I bought the tree at a very good price and was super happy having finally found an Arakawa maple! They are super rare here in Germany. The tree is supposed to be 30 years old (which I still dont fully believe). Right know, the Arakawa is round about 80 cm / 2.6 feet high but I will soon decrease its height by a huge amount and develop it all over again.

My followup questions are...
...in case I have got a gratfed Arakawa:
1) Is it still possible to airlayer just below the beginning of the cork bark?
2) Would the cork bark stretch all the way down to the Nebari if I waited a couple more years?
...in case it is a pure cultivar:
1) Why doesn't the tree develop its cork bark down there? And how long does it take for that?

Thank you guys in advance :)
Niigel

(images removed on request of the thread creator)
 
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Rivian

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Is it still possible to airlayer just below the beginning of the cork bark?
Yes
Would the cork bark stretch all the way down to the Nebari if I waited a couple more years?
No (sorry, misread)
Why doesn't the tree develop its cork bark down there?
It doesnt have the genetics for it. The bottom part is pretty much a different tree
 

Niigel

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Yes

No (sorry, misread)

It doesnt have the genetics for it. The bottom part is pretty much a different tree
Thanks alot Rivian! What do you mean by "sorry misread"?

So, do I understand it right that this Arakawa was grafted and that the lowest part of the trunk is a completely different tree? In that case I would try to airlayer its trunk down below the cork bark. Unforunately I am afraid this might be a bad time for airlayering as the Arakawa has been repotted recently (in March this year).
 

19Mateo83

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1-yes, arakawa take to air layering well. I would air layer just above the graft line like so. Only air layer when it is growing vigorously.
2-no, you can see the graft line quite clearly.
3- no, the root stock are a diffent. More than likely just a plain green acer palmatum, It will never cork up.
 

19Mateo83

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Wait till next year to attempt the air layer maneuver since it’s been reported this year. If you are lucky, whatever is left of the rootstock May bud after air layering and you may get a sumo from that too.
 

rockm

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Yep. Grafted. THe bottom section will never cork up and it will look weirder and weirder as time goes on. In ground, that's not a problem as you can mulch over that smooth section.. Arakawa grafted for bonsai have very low unions, like at the nebari. I have a landscape Arakawa in my backyard I got from Mountain Maples 20 yeas ago with a low graft. The surface nebari are not corked but it looks more natural than this one.

Also beware of people who say "air layer it." Arakawa are all that easy to air layer if they have corked up. Pushing new roots through that thick corky bark is prohibitive and sometimes impossible. Air layering this one just below the cork might help a little, but it won't in the long run, as the nebari developed from the regular stock is never going to match the main trunk. Same for backbudding on old corked up sections or branches. The blizzard we had in Feb. snapped the top out of my in-ground tree. There have been zero replacement shoots come off of that snapped top. A regular Japanese Maple would have pushed a dozen new shoots on such a strong limb after breakage.
 

19Mateo83

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Yep. Grafted. THe bottom section will never cork up and it will look weirder and weirder as time goes on. In ground, that's not a problem as you can mulch over that smooth section.. Arakawa grafted for bonsai have very low unions, like at the nebari. I have a landscape Arakawa in my backyard I got from Mountain Maples 20 yeas ago with a low graft. The surface nebari are not corked but it looks more natural than this one.

Also beware of people who say "air layer it." Arakawa are all that easy to air layer if they have corked up. Pushing new roots through that thick corky bark is prohibitive and sometimes impossible. Same for backbudding on old corked up sections or branches. The blizzard we had in Feb. snapped the top out of my in-ground tree. There have been zero replacement shoots come off of that snapped top. A regular Japanese Maple would have pushed a dozen new shoots on such a strong limb after breakage.
Could he not ground layer just up to the cork and let the rootstock push new roots right up to the cork?
 

19Mateo83

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Just edited my post to address that
This could become a “mother tree” for lots of smaller air layers where the bark is not corked up but will loose the time invested into this. But…. Will gain several non grafted arakawas. Double edged sword this one is.
 

Pitoon

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On the cork or rough bark cultivars of JM they will root from cuttings and air layer from branches that have not had their bark transition to the textured bark. Once the bark has transitioned over game over.

Ground layering will be the same results as it is now with just a less visible section of the root stock. The nebari will never have the the textured bark. The only way I see of getting rid of the rootstock is to carefully thread graft rooted cuttings of from the same tree to start a new root system above the current root system.
 

Niigel

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Wow, thank you guys so much. I am typically a silent reader and dont post much but it is amazing how many high quality replies you get here in a short time! 😊👍

Okay, lets get back to the topic. What my idea was when I took my first look at the tree was a similar approach as to what Mateo posted:



The idea was (1) to get rid of the non-Arakawa trunk and (2) to get rid of that straight not yet cork-barked branch to rebuilt the tree with the nice part.

When I understand it correct, some of you would go for that trunk-airlayering. Others, however, would not do that and instead use the plant as mother for several airlayerings OR graft cuttings on its trunk to build up a new rootbase. For me as a beginner, it is very hard to decide what to do. The easiest way would be an airlayer as I sketched it. Could you guys elaborate a little bit further on my chances of success and on how the tree would develop on the long run (visibility residues of the base tree).

By the way: can't I peel of a few layers of the cork bark to greatly enhances my chances for an airlayer success of the Arakwa through its own trunk?

Thank's again!
Niigel
 
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Pitoon

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Wow, thank you guys so much. I am typically a silent reader and dont post much but it is amazing how many high quality replies you get here in a short time! 😊👍

Okay, lets get back to the topic. What my idea was when I took my first look at the tree was a similar approach as to what Mateo posted:

View attachment 435868

The idea was (1) to get rid of the non-Arakawa trunk and (2) to get rid of that straight not yet cork-barked branch to rebuilt the tree with the nice part.

When I understand it correct, some of you would go for that trunk-airlayering. Others, however, would not do that and instead use the plant as mother for several airlayerings OR graft cuttings on its trunk to build up a new rootbase. For me as a beginner, it is very hard to decide what to do. The easiest way would be an airlayer as I sketched it. Could you guys elaborate a little bit further on my chances of success and on how the tree would develop on the long run (visibility residues of the base tree).

By the way: can't I peel of a few layers of the cork bark to greatly enhances my chances for an airlayer success of the Arakwa through its own trunk?

Thank's again!
Niigel
Re-read my post
 

rockm

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Wow, thank you guys so much. I am typically a silent reader and dont post much but it is amazing how many high quality replies you get here in a short time! 😊👍

Okay, lets get back to the topic. What my idea was when I took my first look at the tree was a similar approach as to what Mateo posted:

View attachment 435868

The idea was (1) to get rid of the non-Arakawa trunk and (2) to get rid of that straight not yet cork-barked branch to rebuilt the tree with the nice part.

When I understand it correct, some of you would go for that trunk-airlayering. Others, however, would not do that and instead use the plant as mother for several airlayerings OR graft cuttings on its trunk to build up a new rootbase. For me as a beginner, it is very hard to decide what to do. The easiest way would be an airlayer as I sketched it. Could you guys elaborate a little bit further on my chances of success and on how the tree would develop on the long run (visibility residues of the base tree).

By the way: can't I peel of a few layers of the cork bark to greatly enhances my chances for an airlayer success of the Arakwa through its own trunk?

Thank's again!
Niigel
Peeling the bark is iffy in effectiveness, you can try, but I wouldn't count on great results.

This tree is mostly not really salvageable for a show quality bonsai--it will always have potentially distracting roots. That may be an issue for you. might not be... Air layering on the smooth bark it isn't really going to change things even if you get really good results--which isn't a given, The nebari here is mostly a lifelong issue with this tree--the original grower chose their material badly. Arakawa do fine on their own roots. I'd air layer branches that haven't corked up, like the one you plan to remove. Arakawa will layer easily on non-corked newish branches.
 

Niigel

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Re-read my post
I had read your post in all conscience but still was not sure about some points. That why I asked for a further elaboration. Sorry, I was not really precise with my queries.

Peeling the bark is iffy in effectiveness, you can try, but I wouldn't count on great results.

This tree is mostly not really salvageable for a show quality bonsai--it will always have potentially distracting roots. That may be an issue for you. might not be... Air layering on the smooth bark it isn't really going to change things even if you get really good results--which isn't a given, The nebari here is mostly a lifelong issue with this tree--the original grower chose their material badly. Arakawa do fine on their own roots. I'd air layer branches that haven't corked up, like the one you plan to remove. Arakawa will layer easily on non-corked newish branches.
Thank's alot. That pretty much answers my open questions.

I think you convinced me that this tree is, due to the grafting, very difficult to get something good out of it. The question now is how to move on with the Arakawa.

My suggestion would be:
  1. Give it a (harsh) trim now (I feel like maples to respond well to it shortly after the first shoots came)
  2. Wait 2 weesk for the tree's response and start 2-3 minor airlayerings of secondary branches
  3. Do nothing else this year - just let it settle in the new pot
Should be okay, shouldn't it?

Thanks again for all the help! Ill let you know how all things went in a few month.
Niigel
 

rockm

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I had read your post in all conscience but still was not sure about some points. That why I asked for a further elaboration. Sorry, I was not really precise with my queries.


Thank's alot. That pretty much answers my open questions.

I think you convinced me that this tree is, due to the grafting, very difficult to get something good out of it. The question now is how to move on with the Arakawa.

My suggestion would be:
  1. Give it a (harsh) trim now (I feel like maples to respond well to it shortly after the first shoots came)
  2. Wait 2 weesk for the tree's response and start 2-3 minor airlayerings of secondary branches
  3. Do nothing else this year - just let it settle in the new pot
Should be okay, shouldn't it?

Thanks again for all the help! Ill let you know how all things went in a few month.
Niigel
if the tree was just repotted this spring let it alone until next year, At that point you can air layer the branches that aren't barked up yet. Those will work and they're probably the best way to start a decent Arakawa bonsai. BTW, this process is why Arakawa maples tend to be more expensive than "regular" JMs for bonsai.
 

Niigel

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if the tree was just repotted this spring let it alone until next year, At that point you can air layer the branches that aren't barked up yet. Those will work and they're probably the best way to start a decent Arakawa bonsai. BTW, this process is why Arakawa maples tend to be more expensive than "regular" JMs for bonsai.
Okay! I will not airlayer anything this year then. Thank you.

(Medium) pruning should be still possible...?
 

LanceMac10

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Start wiring the young, pliable shoots in the crown. Develop something high on the tree if your going to attempt an advanced technique like air-layering. Better chance of success with the non-corked bark.

Why layer a telephone pole?

30 years? Maybe in dog years! Probably not even half of that. And if the previous grower is proud of this after 30 years? I have a bridge for sale, if their asking. :D :D :D :D :D :D

Enjoy your Arakawa any ways!!!!:cool:
 

Niigel

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30 years? Maybe in dog years! Probably not even half of that. And if the previous grower is proud of this after 30 years? I have a bridge for sale, if their asking. :D :D :D :D :D :D
Haha, you nailed it! I give it 18-20 years. But not 30! Surely was accidentally overestimated in the selling process of the pre owner...
Start wiring the young, pliable shoots in the crown. Develop something high on the tree if your going to attempt an advanced technique like air-layering. Better chance of success with the non-corked bark.
Enjoy your Arakawa any ways!!!!:cool:
Thank you! That's exactly what I will do! Styling, pruning this year, airlayering next. Still so happy I found one. Was looking quiet a time.
 
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