Help a new guy japanese maple

Orobobross

Seedling
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I just created an account here to get advice from real people. Greetings!

I've been trying to learn how to grow various plants lately, mostly via googling. I've found so much conflicting information about trees that it made my head spin. Opinions from real folks with experience would be great. So,

I picked up a japanese maple from a farmers market. Looks like a sapling, but maybe its a year old?
It's about 2 1/2 feet tall, the trunk is not even 1/2 inch thick.
It was in a tall thin container, in what seems to be regular potting soil.
I removed the tree from its container. The clod of soil came out in a nice solid clump, but i didn't see many roots.
I placed the clod in a lovely 3 gallon bucket type pot, with a few inches of pea gravel at the bottom. I filled the gap around the tree clod with a mix of gravel and a little perlite and soil.
The tree is in a sunny spot, but near the house, so there will be shady hours

So, i have a tree in dirt, surrounded by gravel. I hope this is good enough for now because I'm not looking to put too money into this if i can get away with it. I have all purpose miracle gro, not sure if i can use it yet or at all. Can i dump my coffee grounds in the pot? Id prefer not to buy special ferrilizer if i dont have to.
Should i prune this tree yet? It seems like it may be too young, and i may wait until next fall before i cut anything on it.
Can i train it yet? Again, im hesitant. It looks so fragile. I would like to get the wildest shape i can pull-off, but I'm just concentrating on keeping it alive for now.

I want to learn to clone bonsai from cuttings. I practiced with cuttings of apple tree dipped in root clone. I put them in peat pots full of potting soil. I have some under a grow light indoors, and some outside. I keep the moist. The leaves are all dried out. Should i have picked them? Its only been a couple weeks, but im doubting that any roots will grow? Any advice at all would be great. I would like to clone cuttings from several species, hoping SOMETHING works, but I'm wasting my time if im doing it wrong.

Finally, I'd like a small, indoor tree. I'm willing to use a small grow lamp.
Any suggestions for a beginner that would be fun and be able to get a wild shape?

I know i can get a lot from browsing these threads. I will do that too. I'm introducing myself, and i like reading conversations from knowledgeable folks.
Thanks!
 

Rivian

Shohin
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your cuttings are dead

indoor: ficus or chinese elm (i like the latter a lot more)

add your region to your profile
 

Tieball

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You should attach some photos to help your story.
 

Orobobross

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A couple pics of my maple above. I like the moss. Hope its a good thing.
 

RKatzin

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Nice little Atropurpurium sapling.
I don't like the potting situation. For now I would repot it without disturbing the roots, but just use good grade of potting soil. No gravel. This will keep the tree well enough until spring when you can give it a full make over. No training at this time. No pruning, no pinching. Water it, feed it, enjoy the pretty colors. Miracle-Gro is excellent for it now.
 

sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

That pot color against that leaf is marvelous!

Sorce
 

Orobobross

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Nice little Atropurpurium sapling.
I don't like the potting situation. For now I would repot it without disturbing the roots, but just use good grade of potting soil. No gravel. This will keep the tree well enough until spring when you can give it a full make over. No training at this time. No pruning, no pinching. Water it, feed it, enjoy the pretty colors. Miracle-Gro is excellent for it now.
Thanks! I only laid the tree in gravel yesterday. I will remove the gravel.
I like the idea of leaving the play alone until next year. Takes some pressure off.
I'm gonna wait a few weeks to feed it. Who knows if the grower had the soil all juiced up already?
I'm gonna try the miracle gro at half strenght the first time to be careful.

Everyone has been so helpful already, and it's only been a couple hours.
 

Shibui

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Even talking to real people you will find a range of different opinions. Different opinions about bonsai are not always wrong. Turns out there are many ways to achieve a similar outcome with living plants so almost every question about bonsai will yield a number of different answers and most of them will be right (at least for the person giving that advice) but may differ according to location.

Transplant without disturbing the roots is called slip potting (slip it out of one pot and into a larger one). That can be OK most of the time but when soil type is different sometimes it is hard for roots and water to move from one medium to the other and the tree can suffer. Hopefully yours will be OK for this year. Next spring I would do a proper repot cutting some roots and getting the roots into good potting soil. Garden soil in pots can cause problems unless watering is carefully monitored.

Many of us take the long term view of bonsai and let trees grow a lot before commencing bonsai techniques to make a pleasing shape hence the recommendation to just let this one grow for at least a year. Starting with a skinny little seedling is a very slow way to get to bonsai but if that pleases you you should be happy to do so. Just allow 5-10 years to achieve a reasonable bonsai.
If you would be happy with a skinny stick in a pot bonsai that can be achieved much quicker.

Maple cuttings are not easy. Crab apple cuttings are a little easier but if you don't have good cutting conditions winter cuttings are much more reliable. Elm cuttings are usually even easier.

A quicker way to achieve a believable bonsai trunk is to dig up older plants from gardens or forest. You will need to research or find someone to advise on when is a good time to do transplants. Some species transplant really easy while others are notoriously difficult.

Miracle gro is fine for bonsai. It can be used at recommended strength every 2-4 weeks.

Hope your journey into bonsai is satisfying and successful.
 

Bnana

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I would repot asap. The potting soil the roots are in can dry out and become hydrophobic and the water will run off through the gravel. That is a recipe for disaster. So replace the gravel with something close to what the roots are in.
An even better option is just putting it in the ground.
 

Orobobross

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Well, i removed the gravel from my pot and replaced with potting soil. I was disappointed to find several peanuts cached by squirrels after only 2 days. My neighbor assured me that the nuts are unsalted.

Can anyone direct me to a GOOD tutorial on growing trees from cuttings? I've watched some YouTube videos and read some articles, but I'm doing something wrong.
I would like to try cuttings from a few types of juniper some neighbors have growing. Ive tried cuttings from mullberry, apple, maple, and oak from around my neighborhood, and they're dead within a few days.

I'm not so much concerned with getting quality bonsai material. I only want to learn to keep a cutting alive for now
 

Shibui

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My guess is you have chosen some challenging species to try cuttings.
I have never manage to strike oak from cuttings. Not sure it is possible.
Some people manage maple cuttings but they rarely strike for me.
Mulberry is supposed to be easy too but I have not managed to strike any.
Some apples strike really easy but some varieties don't.

Start with some easy to root species to get some positive experience. Most herbs are good practice because they root so quick (but not much use for bonsai) Ficus are dead easy. Plums of most sorts are also easy. Elms, especially Chinese elm is also reliable and easy to strike.
 

SeanS

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Well, i removed the gravel from my pot and replaced with potting soil. I was disappointed to find several peanuts cached by squirrels after only 2 days. My neighbor assured me that the nuts are unsalted.

Can anyone direct me to a GOOD tutorial on growing trees from cuttings? I've watched some YouTube videos and read some articles, but I'm doing something wrong.
I would like to try cuttings from a few types of juniper some neighbors have growing. Ive tried cuttings from mullberry, apple, maple, and oak from around my neighborhood, and they're dead within a few days.

I'm not so much concerned with getting quality bonsai material. I only want to learn to keep a cutting alive for now
@Canada Bonsai

 

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