Japanese Maple, 'arakawa'

Brian Van Fleet

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Here is a stock plant I bought in fall '08, worked down the roots pretty hard in spring '09, and stuck it into a big wooden box and forgot about it for a couple years, except to layer a couple branches out of it.

Yesterday I noticed it was pushing growth pretty hard, so I decided to repot it and work down the roots again. Thought I'd share the progression from a 24" square box to about a 14" mica oval. It still needs a lot of nebari work, but it's headed in the right direction.
 

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DaveV

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Nice trunk line Brian. Should make a pretty tree. We have about 3-4 weeks before the maples start showing signs of growth here in Iowa.
 

Dav4

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Nice spread to the base on this one, great taper, too. I'm wondering why you didn't put it back in the box for another few years to really fatten the roots. I look forward seeing this one develop, and I look forward to updates. Thanks for posting,

Dave
 

jquast

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Nice looking tree, that is going to have an impressive base in a few years. Do you know of anyone who can ship these to California?
 

Mike423

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I agree, a few more years in the bigger box and those roots would be looking mighty nice and fat. Great starter stock definitely some potential and its already got a nice thick trunk with some taper to boot.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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It probably could have gone back to a wooden box, but I removed SO much of the root system that I opted for a smaller container; it will probably just sit on the ground and "escape" this year. I'm also planning to do some root grafts to fix some of the problem areas, so it will be repotted annually for the next few years.
 
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very nice tree. :) i have two of these myself and i look forward to developing them.

brian, do you apply any manner of sealant/disinfectant/etc to the largest of the wounds on the rootball? removing large roots makes me nervous!

cheers,
rick
 

Brian Van Fleet

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very nice tree. :) i have two of these myself and i look forward to developing them.

brian, do you apply any manner of sealant/disinfectant/etc to the largest of the wounds on the rootball? removing large roots makes me nervous!

cheers,
rick
Thanks Rick! I don't apply anything to the large cuts on the bottom of the root ball, just make sure the cuts are done and finished with very sharp tools so you get a clean edge. Large roots are really useless in bonsai, and if you work the tree upside down, removing everything that grows downward, the base spreads better, and you should be left with a good pad of fine radial roots.
 

Mike423

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kite-eating bonsai tree-(nice name by the way) I have never really worried about it myself, but have heard mention in an article in Bonsai Today. In the article they were working on a Trident and they mentioned placing some charcoal powder or small granules on the bottom of the rootball that was cut back heavily leaving the wood exposed. Not sure of the reason for it though,or what it might help with.
 

rockm

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If you seal large cuts in the rootball, you are preventing what you're root pruning FOR. Cut roots are stimulated to produce NEW roots. Gumming them up with sealant prevents that.
 
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thx for the clarification, rockm. that's what i wasn't sure about ... the immediate concern (i would think) is infection. applying a sealant would (hopefully) address the concern ... but then how long before the wound cures and the sealant falls away? at least a year i would suspect (?). roots would then start growing after that (?)

on the other hand, the emphasis is on radial root production (as brian duly noted earlier). ... a very flat root base would be keen to see!

(apologies to you brian, don't mean to re-direct the post). :)
 

Bill S

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Germs, and infections are for people, stop worrying about the tree. rockm gave good advice, you want that cut to be open to allow new roots to sprout out. Covering it, and waiting a year for it to heal, is just that healing over the wound with callus, but this is where you want roots to grow.

Some initial root prunings can be brutal, but not that big of a deal. This is one of the reasons that after a severe root pruning, you let the tree regain vigor for 2 to 3 years, then go for styling etc.
 

Mike423

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The method I referred to with the charcoal seems like it is for a preventive measure to fungus's and things of the sort, and I would assume (again I myself have never done this) that it wouldn't inhibit any new root growth. Cut paste is meant for above the soil seals not below (and its use in itself is highly speculative). When talking about how long it takes to fall off depends on how fast the tissue underneath takes to start healing and pushing it off. If anything when making a cutback on a large root it is better to paint on some rooting hormone, but this also isn't really necessary as most trees are willing to do so readily!
 
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rockm

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"If anything when making a cutback on a large root it is better to paint on some rooting hormone, but this also isn't really necessary as most trees are willing to do so readily!"

Putting rooting hormone on roots can actually SLOW root development. Rooting hormones are for non-root tissue. They will not stimulate roots from root tissue...The tree will not become "infected" at the site. Tree roots have evolved growing in dirt. Putting sealant on the wound (since root cuts mostly face downwards can act like a cup that collects water. That standing water can rot the root. It is une
 

akhater

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Hey, I am digging this post for a question, I just bought an arakawa it is very young and it is grafted, would air-layering it to get rid of the graft work? I mean can it live on its own root system or it is too weak and that's why it is grafted?

I will never make a decent bonsai with the graft mainly due to the difference of bark if I forget anything else

thanks
 
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rockm

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The short answer to your question is if you air layer above the graft, you will have arakawa.

Arakawa and other cultivars aren't so much grafted onto other root stock because they're weak on their own roots -- although some trees are. It's primarily because they can't be effectively grown from seed. Their rough bark (and other culivar traits) aren't necessarily passed onto offspring. So, in order to keep that nice bark without relying on seed, you graft it onto something.
 

akhater

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and grafting is faster then air layering for commercial production I suppose ?
 

rockm

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It is quicker, more reliable and less labor intensive.
 

tanlu

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excellent work! I love arakawa maples! Wish they were easier to find!
 

painter

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what is the plan for the big branch scar on the right side of this guy, where it looked like it forked?
 
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