Humboldtmadness this is not a contest tree.

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Eureka CA
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#1
Hello,
First time posting on this forum.
Throwing the newest addition to my collection into the ring. This is certainly not a tree that will be "done", or even close, by the end of this timeline, but I hope it will be developing in the right direction by then.
I present.. My Japanese maple. I just recently purchased it from a very nice landscaper and it has some potential to be a great tree someday, at least in my eyes. I actually purchased two, the other one is visible as well, but the one I need the most advice on is the one with the stilted nebari.
I have some very rough plans on how to develop these trees but am currently air layering out the limbs, one at a time, this year and next before making the big chop down to a shorty trunk. This will give me ample time to get some advice and decide on a game plan.
P.S. Please excuse the mess, more than half of all my other plants needed to be shifted up a container size (or three) so the pics were taken mid chaos of mixing new soil and using all of it up in one day getting a bunch of bamboo re-done....

20180410_183909-01.jpeg 20180410_183928-01.jpeg
 
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Location
Eureka CA
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9b
#3
Thank you!
I am not 100% sure, the fellow I got it (them) from said it was just a generic Acer Palmatum. It is good looking for a generic variety, which I was after as a rootstock for my "peaches and cream" to get grafted onto later, but looking at them now I almost like these better as they are. some of the air layers will end up rootstock, but these will probably keep their original look.
 
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New Zealand
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9a
#6
View attachment 187011 Here is a VERY rough draft of some ideas I am playing around with. Thank goodness I am doing the air layers to give me time to plan. Please any and all suggestions, ideas and even criticism is welcome At this point.
Hi Humboldtmadness,
Welcome and what a beautiful cultivar on its own roots.
So I will try some thoughts on the roots (nebari), and yes after hopefully many other posts of advice you can move forward with the roots next Spring.
As you have stated you are working on some air-layers and have got some good plans for the top via chop and grow etc.
My constructive pointers are -
1. I don’t see many problems with the nebari. So, if you don’t know the process already, cutting all downward growing roots REAL hard,
2. All roots going sideways are great but need reducing massively also, so when you chop the top you won’t have much of the fat roots left, hopefully lots of feeders though.
3. Submersing (under) the roots by 1-2 inches of soil will give lots of moisture for the tree to grow lots of surface roots, and hopefully after a few years your nebari will be hugely improved.

I don’t see the top as being as much of a problem as the roots, and my newbie bonsai comments may not be correct, so my 2 cents etc.
@markyscott has a fantastic thread (26 pages etc) going on “Ebihara maples” I think, devoted to nebari.
@jmw_bonsai , could you give an opinion on which cultivar you think this might be, with your 200 + maples you have.
Hope I haven’t be too harsh with my comments and as maples are a favourite of mine also, I look forward to watching along this thread.
Charles
 
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Eureka CA
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9b
#7
@KiwiPlantGuy
Thank you for the kind words and the advice. Nothing said was taken as harsh at all. My whole purpose for joining this forum was to learn from others. I feel lucky to have gotten these as they are now (especially as cheap as I got them) and to have people interested in seeing what they can become, willing to help... The only things I have done so far is some minor trimming, re potted and the set up the first air layers. I did size them up to 25gal containers to encourage growth and maximum vigor until all the layers are finished. Oh and some compost tea and compost beer. I left them planted at the same height they were at time of purchase.
The plan you laid out will almost surely be how I proceed with maple #2 as it seems to be a very traditional nebari that would benefit greatly from your procedure. From what I understand it would look very traditional and handsome.
At the risk of sounding like the most "noobish" thing ever, I really like the stilts and basic shape maple #1 has in the nebari. It is gaudy and probably not "right" at all but I am hoping to find a way to keep that aspect while developing the rest of the tree in a "proper" manner. Maple # 2 is my fallback tree to keep the purist in me (and in the forums/bonsai community) happy. In your opinion, is there a way to find a middle road with Maple # 1 and keep some of that freakish "overpass" space going underneath it, but still develop the lateral roots in a way similar to what you described? To be honest that is why I bought both instead of just one, they both just spoke to me in very different ways. Then again I am here to get out of the echo chamber of my own thoughts so all advice is welcome especially when it gets me looking at things from a new perspective.
Thanks again, I really am thankful for any and all advice given, as it comes from a place of mutual admiration for these plants we are all lucky enough to work with.
Jon 20180410_183928-01_1523774857262-01.jpeg
 
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#8
I realize I just added a new tree to the discussion (maple #2), but it is not my "contest" tree, more of a sidenote... If anyone feels like weighing in on it and sharing opinions though I would be happy to get some input on that one too. I will probably start a new thread just for #2 at some point, but until then since this is "not a contest" hopefully I am not beaking any "rules", lol. Thanks to all.
@KiwiPlantGuy I have been reading the Ebihara thread you suggested. Wow, that is some great info! Definitely going to do that to #2 and am thinking of doing it to #1 in a modified format. Basically think of the bottom of the current nebari as the the base of the trunk and then develop an "Ebihara" nebari underneath that section creating a wild, crazy wide base. Definitely a fantasy tree look, but who knows? I am up way too late, but can't sleep anyway, so I am coming up with some wierd ideas.. Thanks again for your input and pointing me to that thread!
 
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Location
New Zealand
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9a
#9
@KiwiPlantGuy
Thank you for the kind words and the advice. Nothing said was taken as harsh at all. My whole purpose for joining this forum was to learn from others. I feel lucky to have gotten these as they are now (especially as cheap as I got them) and to have people interested in seeing what they can become, willing to help... The only things I have done so far is some minor trimming, re potted and the set up the first air layers. I did size them up to 25gal containers to encourage growth and maximum vigor until all the layers are finished. Oh and some compost tea and compost beer. I left them planted at the same height they were at time of purchase.
The plan you laid out will almost surely be how I proceed with maple #2 as it seems to be a very traditional nebari that would benefit greatly from your procedure. From what I understand it would look very traditional and handsome.
At the risk of sounding like the most "noobish" thing ever, I really like the stilts and basic shape maple #1 has in the nebari. It is gaudy and probably not "right" at all but I am hoping to find a way to keep that aspect while developing the rest of the tree in a "proper" manner. Maple # 2 is my fallback tree to keep the purist in me (and in the forums/bonsai community) happy. In your opinion, is there a way to find a middle road with Maple # 1 and keep some of that freakish "overpass" space going underneath it, but still develop the lateral roots in a way similar to what you described? To be honest that is why I bought both instead of just one, they both just spoke to me in very different ways. Then again I am here to get out of the echo chamber of my own thoughts so all advice is welcome especially when it gets me looking at things from a new perspective.
Thanks again, I really am thankful for any and all advice given, as it comes from a place of mutual admiration for these plants we are all lucky enough to work with.
Jon View attachment 187024
Hi Jon,
Um, so plant #1 I see now would have a really quirky non - traditional base of roots to it, and yes you could achieve with #2 the flatter nebari look.
So the only problem I have with #1 maple is your non-ability to get this someday into a 1-2 inch flat ovAl/circular bonsai pot.
Just seen your next post and I also see you could use the empty space to some cool effect with a flat feeder roots in a bonsai pot.
If you thought the “pancake” nebari was something to play with I would be inclined to use one of your air-layers because you would get a better probability of a all round nebari look, and you would be able to keep the roots easily in check (alas these two bigger trees and their chunky 3-5 roots etc.
This “not a contest” contest is a great way to learn off each other and I have plenty to learn with the artistic stuff, as working in Horticulture and landscape tree game I get a lot of “boring straight” trunks to choose and shouldn’t buy BUT ..... I do, can’t resist lol.
@sorce has already given me grief over buying such trunks. Anyway, good movement at the base of trunk is always a better start.
Check out my “not a contest” juniper - thread saying telegraph pole juniper and no design ideas - luckily a few good ideas to help there.
Charles
 
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#10
Wasn't going to be able to sleep until getting that drawn out to dream about. I am probably daft, but this is sorta what I am thinking with the pancake nebari underneath its "stilts".... 20180410_183928-01_1523762266698_1523783419494.jpg
 
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#11
You are absolutely right Charles, these trees are quite large already and I am looking forward to the layers yielding some good starting points for some trees that are more in line with the type of material needed to go into a shallow 1 or 2 inch pot.
To be honest these may never end up graduating to something that small and propper. These big ones will most likely be in overly large containers forever but I am hoping to style them as if they are going to end up in a container that shape someday. My end goal is to learn with them, make some fun specimen trees (huge bonsai) and use the material from them to make better finished work down the road. These two were just the ones that got me passionate about learning more about the actual art and science of training real bonsai trees. Sort of my muse to inspire future works to really be proud of.
I saw your telegraph pole thread and understand what you mean about getting stock that might not be "suitable" but not being able to resist. I have mostly worked with bigger container gardens and nursery stock so it is hard to fully grasp the size and style constraints in real bonsai work. If you see in the background of my pics the agave and bamboo, you will see how a 25 gal container seems pretty normal to me, getting out of that headspace will take some work.
P.S. I like your telephone pole tree. I have one very much like it too, one of my faves. The raft idea for yours was pretty cool, I also dug the idea of a cascade with some serious bends thrown at it. You will turn it into something really cool, I have no doubt. Thanks for the tips, rock on.
 
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sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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Berwyn, Il
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#12
Wasn't going to be able to sleep until getting that drawn out to dream about. I am probably daft, but this is sorta what I am thinking with the pancake nebari underneath its "stilts".... View attachment 187028
Raise that root ring an inch to that big roots fork.
See you keep everything except that which is moving straight down..

I would almost say that is perfect in that you can even ring bark and airlayer each individual root as it stands....then just cover it up...

DONT DO OT NOW! LEARN FIRST!

So long as you don'T cover that area up, you will have this PERFECT OPPORTUNITY TO Fix the Nebari.

@MACH5 your thoughts?

Your take on if its worth it....?

Your take on ..is this not a great bit of exposure to work that base?

The undercut is so visible....
Seems like a great place to work!

To me...its the difference between a dirty mechanics floor....

And this...a surgically clean space to work.

Seems many great opportunities there...

Sorce
 
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Location
Hoschton, Ga 30548
USDA Zone
7b
#13
Hi Humboldtmadness,
Welcome and what a beautiful cultivar on its own roots.
So I will try some thoughts on the roots (nebari), and yes after hopefully many other posts of advice you can move forward with the roots next Spring.
As you have stated you are working on some air-layers and have got some good plans for the top via chop and grow etc.
My constructive pointers are -
1. I don’t see many problems with the nebari. So, if you don’t know the process already, cutting all downward growing roots REAL hard,
2. All roots going sideways are great but need reducing massively also, so when you chop the top you won’t have much of the fat roots left, hopefully lots of feeders though.
3. Submersing (under) the roots by 1-2 inches of soil will give lots of moisture for the tree to grow lots of surface roots, and hopefully after a few years your nebari will be hugely improved.

I don’t see the top as being as much of a problem as the roots, and my newbie bonsai comments may not be correct, so my 2 cents etc.
@markyscott has a fantastic thread (26 pages etc) going on “Ebihara maples” I think, devoted to nebari.
@jmw_bonsai , could you give an opinion on which cultivar you think this might be, with your 200 + maples you have.
Hope I haven’t be too harsh with my comments and as maples are a favourite of mine also, I look forward to watching along this thread.
Charles
Always tough to tell on some cultivars. Not even sure this isn't a seedling, since i don't really notice a graft mark. But i will see the spring color is quite interesting and i would have to say something like 'Orange Dream' would be closest to a match. I have a seedling that i pulled from grafting stock with a similar spring color for the purpose of Bonsai also.
 

MACH5

Masterpiece
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#14
Wasn't going to be able to sleep until getting that drawn out to dream about. I am probably daft, but this is sorta what I am thinking with the pancake nebari underneath its "stilts".... View attachment 187028


My suggestion here is to air layer the tree. There is no effective way to "save" this nebari and make it look natural. The current exposed roots are very coarse and disorganized. The pankcake idea will be impossible to execute out of the existing nebari since it is built upon an evenly distributed and dense root mass all around the trunk. Even if we were to say that somehow this could be achieved, I would say the other challenge is that now we are playing with too many ideas. You have now something of an exposed root style mixed in with a pancake nebari. Just too much going on and both visually at odds with each other. I'd say air layer it and you'll be much happier down the line.
 
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Location
Eureka CA
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9b
#15
@sorce Thanks for the reply. I think you are seing some of the freaky/freakish beauty I see in this thing. I like your ideas and will heed the advice to wait and learn first.That is the plan as it stands now, to leave the roots alone until I am done layering out all the excess material into new little trees to do work on as bonsai and as rootstock for cultivars. Since the foliage color is such a hit so far I might find other rootstock and just keep all of these as bonsai/specimen trees...
@jmw_bonsai Thanks for weighing in and I believe you are correct about being a seedling. The guy I bought these from had a decent number of named cultivars that he could rattle off at will, but chose to sell these as generic for a low price.
@MACH5 Thanks for the input. I will follw your suggestion for sure, as I am currently air layering the limbs and once those are done will do the trunk as well. The trunk chop has always been in my mind the bottom cutoff point of the last air layer to be done, then adjusted for angle. I am a bit OCD about cutting up a plant and not rooting all the pieces, so I am taking my time and keeping many small trees from these big ones. The layers can all be worked properly from the start and end up with far better traditional shapes.
As far as the original tree goes, I agree it is an akward mess, but I will stick it out and try to make something cool out of it. I have seen some pretty F&%*#d up trees in nature growing in riverbeds or collapsing hillsides all stilted and washed out like that. They were so ugly you had to respect them, I think in some way those trees are my inspiration for this one.
Even if some advice is not followed on this particular tree, it is invaluable to me for all my other and future projects so please keep it coming and thanks to every one for the ideas.
 
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Location
Eureka CA
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9b
#16
2018-04-16 20.46.17-01.jpeg 2018-04-16 20.46.47-01.jpeg 2018-04-16 20.48.57-01.jpeg 2018-04-16 20.49.10-01.jpeg 2018-04-16 20.49.40-01.jpeg Thank you all for the encouragement and great advice so far on this "not a contest tree". While the direction of these trees is somewhat set for this growing season, today I did what I could to put the advice I have received thus far to good use. The weather has been bouncing between lousy to clear and super windy. Today was in that goldilocks zone of just right to get some root work done, nice and clear but no wind and rather cool.
My other big tree I purchased recently (I gotta cut myself off from the nursery now....) is a lions head maple (acer palmatum "shishigashira") that like the others is getting layered out before getting the big trunk chop. I will make a new thread about this tree, and the other one I worked on today (ceanothus maritimus), but wanted to add some pics of them to this thread as a thank you to those who have advised me thus far. The maple had come from the nursery potted up way too low in the container, with soil covering more than half the trunk, in a burlap sack filled with clay so dense I felt like I should have packaged it up and sent it to @sorce to make some of his cool pots out of.. lol. The process of blasting it away with the garden hose and billhook took quite a while, but was well worth it, exposing the trunk with some nice flare at the bottom and a little nebari. I tried to get one plane of radial roots (keyword, tried) and cut the downwards facing ones. It was then placed in an oversize container (vigor for the coming air layers) on top of a ceramic plate to help with the outwards growth of the roots. I am sure there was a lot more I could have done, and done it better, but this was my attempt at assimilating the info I have received on this forum. I will let it recover this year and next spring go back at it and fix all the things I could have done better this time around. The little ceanothus (I love the clearance section of the nursery, got two of them for under $10) was pretty much the same story, minus the clay, and ended up in a training basket.
Thanks again to everyone.
 
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Location
Cusseta, Georgia
#17
I really wish you remembered the cultivar name with the orange leaves. Its by far the coolest japanese maple I've seen, and want one pretty bad. Can't find one even close anywhere online and don't think any nurseries around here sell JM.

Otherwise, this looks like it's going great and already years ahead and in the right direction. I don't have much advice so I will take a side seat and watch and learn...

Also if you ever figure out the cultivar name or I'd the nurserie you bought from ships. Let me know. I want one dem right der babie!!
 
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Location
Eureka CA
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9b
#18
@SnowfallenGarden
Thank you, I really like the way these look too.
Since they were sold as generic/standard Japanese Maples I never knew exactly what they were, but as @jmw_bonsai pointed out "orange dream" might be a close match. The bright orange color is a combination of catching it at the perfect time of year, time of day and camera settings... It has already faded a bit, but I am excited to see its fall color since spring was so intense...
Hopefully my air-layers take and I can clone out several more before too long. I would be happy to mail you some scion wood this winter if you are dead set on these exact ones and want to try your hand at grafting.
 

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