Japanese Maple Help

bldrummin

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Hello,

I'm new to Bonsai and started these Maples from seed. They are a year old and are growing really weird. I just kind of let my Bonsais grow how they are going to grow but now I'm starting to think maybe I shoud've pruned or shaped these. Any help is appreciated. The tall one with no branches is a Trident. Should that one be topped so the growth goes to branches instead?
 

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bonsaichile

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I wouldn't worry about branches now. Your main focus should be to get decent nebari and to thicken the trunk. As they are, your seedlings are nothing but whips. Try to wire some movement into those trunks and do some root work every spring to start forming the nebari. Be careful not to let the wire on for too long, as scars can be difficult to get rid of.
 

bonsaichile

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And FWIW, if you are letting your "bonsai grow how they are going to grow" then you are not really doing bonsai. Plan ahead and act accordingly.
 

bldrummin

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Thanks. I guess what I meant was I just let them grow however they are going to grow in the beginning then I start to train it. Should I prune and train every spring even while allowing the trunk to thicken?
 

bonsaichile

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If you prune constantly, your trunks won't thicken. They need to grow tall. So it is a balance. You let it grow, say 5-6 feet tall, then you chop it low, to about 1/3 of the height you are envisioning for your bonsai. It will back bud. You select one new shoot as your first branch, and train another upward as the new leader, and you get rid of the other shoots. Let it grow again to 5-6 feet high; chop it again, etc. And you must also take care of your branches as they grow, so they don't grow too much, too straight or taperless. grow/chop cycles is the key here. There are many threads about growing maples here. @Smoke knows a lot about them. @markyscott has some of the most educational threads showing his progressions and the application of different techniques. Check them out.
 

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