Japanese Maple Kiyo Hime

Alex DeRuiter

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I received this tree today. I have a general idea of how I'd like to style it, but I was wondering if anyone had suggestions without knowing what I had planned for it.

The first branches appear to be bar branches, but I'm wondering how long it takes for the tree to actually start a reverse taper -- if I leave it for another year, will be greatly affect the tree? I was told this species is very slow-growing.

Let me know what you think :D


 

Brian Van Fleet

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Let it grow for a few years to thicken up and heal the big wound on the trunk, but do remove one of the two bar branches now. When you do prune, here's what I see as your first round of cuts to get you back to a trunk line and a few main branches.
3-30-11012.jpg
 

cquinn

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Remove the largest bar branch it's too big for the trunk and not much as a trunk extension if you wanted to go that route as it has no taper.
 

RyanFrye

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In my opinion I would not remove that biggest bar branch completely. It has the makings of a good first branch. I would cut it back to the first node with potential buds and develop my first branch's taper from there and then completely remove the smaller bar branch on the other side of the trunk.
 

crhabq

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axxonn,

From what I've read, I'd be very conservative in pruning away the apex. Koyo Hime are very basally dominate and that if pruned away that apex may not come back. You don't want to be left with a dounut bonsai.

Ray
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Thank you all for your advice :D

Brian, I like where you're going with the cuts. At first I had planned on using the other branch as the leader, but I think your way will give it more taper and a better curve. And yeah, that wound will probably take a while to heal. I'm going to start using that cutting-around-the-edge technique.

Do you think it needs to be cut off immediately, or would it be okay if I air layered it off?

cquinn, I agree with Ryan and Brian in this case. I think leading part of the larger branch will make for a nice first branch. Plus the smaller one is on the inside of the curve. Thank you for your input though :)

Ryan, I was looking at it last night and I think it really would be best to cut back to a couple nodes so it'll bud back and develop a new leader.

crhabq, thank you very much for that insight. I didn't know they were basally dominant, so I'll excercise more caution while developing the apex. I really appreciate that info.
 

cquinn

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Thank you all for your advice :D

Brian, I like where you're going with the cuts. At first I had planned on using the other branch as the leader, but I think your way will give it more taper and a better curve. And yeah, that wound will probably take a while to heal. I'm going to start using that cutting-around-the-edge technique.

Do you think it needs to be cut off immediately, or would it be okay if I air layered it off?

cquinn, I agree with Ryan and Brian in this case. I think leading part of the larger branch will make for a nice first branch. Plus the smaller one is on the inside of the curve. Thank you for your input though :)

Ryan, I was looking at it last night and I think it really would be best to cut back to a couple nodes so it'll bud back and develop a new leader.

crhabq, thank you very much for that insight. I didn't know they were basally dominant, so I'll excercise more caution while developing the apex. I really appreciate that info.


Look at pictures of maples grown in Japan in the Kokufu books. That really should be your guide anyway. That branch stub will be WAY to thick for a convincing image with that trunk size (It looks awkward now). You'd be better off putting it in the ground if your going to leave it. I grow a lot of maples, not sure about the others experiences. Also internodal spacing is a big deal when designing japanese maples. You can control this better starting from scratch on the branches vs. just cutting back to a stub. It's only going to pop from the internode rings you see, and on a trunk of this size you'll want to start ramification further back next to the trunk. Really, this one should go into a box so it can get some root run and spread that base out a bit.
 
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Alex DeRuiter

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That was a very convincing argument if there ever was one. You have a very solid point. I don't think the smaller branch at the base is a good candidate since it's on the inside of a bend, but I do agree that removing both branches and starting from scratch seems to be the best option.

However, do you think I would achieve nice taper by sprouting a new branch from the stub, or will it be too drastic, since I'm going to be growing new branches further up?

*Edit - Yeah, I plan on putting it in a box after I construct one. I just got a bunch of spare wood, so I'll have one built in a couple days or so.
 
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yenling83

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If it were mine, I would just water and feed this year and try and get it really healthy. Next year I would repot into a better soil mix and probably do a layering towards the bottom, either ring bark or tourniquet. I'd like to see a nice nebari form from this. Also you can take air layers off a few branches over the next few years. Eventually you will trunk chop, when you have the trunk to the thickness you would like. I doesn't not look like this was grafted, but the nebari is not good. Don't do too much to it at one time or during one year.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Hey yenling -- sorry, I didn't notice your response until now. Yep, that's pretty much what I'm doing now. After visiting Matt Ouwinga I realized that this tree is nowhere near workable. The nebari isn't exactly perfect, but I checked it out when I repotted a couple weeks ago and it has a lot of radial roots that could result in a great nebari. I planted the tree on a tile and cut the thick roots back, and the tree is doing fantastic.

Yeah, Brent grows these from cuttings which result in that bulge at the crown. I agree -- it's definitely not good. At least not yet. I'm going to be working on the nebari for a long time and then I'll worry about styling. I'd post pictures, but it's nothing special still. I'll check back in a decade! ;-p
 

discusmike

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Any pruning at this stage is going to slow growth down,this tree needs to develop,i prune my maples in august,it gives them enough time to heal for winter and does not inhibit spring growth,i use to prune in early spring,im getting better growth by waiting till august,just my two sense.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Set it and forget it!



lol

I appreciate the input. At this point I'm not going to prune anything except for the roots each year to develop a nice nebari. I won't worry about any of the top right now as I'm pretty sure this is going to be a very short shohin and it'll be but back below all of the current growth. Given the cultivar, I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to style this as a broom, too. We'll see how it plays out. ;)
 

Si Nguyen

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Hi everybody. Nice little maple Alex. A little weak looking on these old photos. Hope it is budding out well so far. I think the best you can hope for is a shohin size bonsai in about 5-10 years. These things are slow growing so it will take that long to develop any decent ramification. You do have to chop it back a lot , eventually, after it has gained some strength. So the most important thing to do is feed it well.

For the future styling, here's how I see it: 1) All the branches are too long so they will need to be cut back hard. 2) Lean the tree to the right in order to mitigate the bar-branching on the first branch (the first branch on the right side will be lowered a little bit if you lean the tree to the right). It should be an informal upright style, and don't wire the branches down like a Christmas tree.

There are at least 4 possible ways to go with this tree. Here are some sketches for plan A and B. Self explanatory. I would do plan A first, and if the first left big branch survive the chop and grow strong, then you have the option of plan B. Plan C is to save the tree for a forest planting. In a forest planting, this tree could be one of the minor trees and many of its faults can be mitigated. Plan D is put it in the ground and forget about it for a few years. The problem with plan D is when you do dig it up after a few years, you'll have to chop it back down and start over again, albeit with a slightly bigger trunk.
Good luck!
Si
 

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Alex DeRuiter

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What, this old thing? :D

First, thank you for the drawings! Drawing B is pretty much what I was envisioning for this tree, though I plan to sort of rebuild it from the nebari, up.

I really should've taken pictures during the repot, but I'll do that next year. The base has a pretty nice radial root flare, and it has a huge bulge at the base (which is apparently common for kiyohime cuttings). I'll wait until next year to take better pictures. We'll see how well the roots develop by then.

Thanks, I got it from Brent Walston last year (at least I think it was last year. . . .). Yeah, it was just budding out back when I took those. It's doing a bit better now, but I think it might miss the weather in California still. However, it pushed out tons of new growth this year and it's doing very well where I have it. Of course I chose to research the cultivar after the purchase, but I did see that they are indeed quite slow growing. I'm okay with that, of course, since I still have a bit of my youth left.

Once I get the tree nice and strong, I'll be chopping back heavily to promote some back budding towards the base so I can use that as a completely new leader. I can almost see this tree as a mame since the leaves are so tiny and it wouldn't throw the scale off too much. Maybe I'll find a colorful Zeshin pot for it one day. . . . :D

As for plans C and D, they're both appealing. I'm not really one for forest plantings just yet, but if I do go that route, I've always wanted to do one with multiple dwarfed cultivars of Japanese maples...so this is certainly an option. As for D, I have some things growing in the ground, but the weather here isn't great for this cultivar, so I'll probably just keep it in its pot and fertilize the hell out of it to see where that gets me. I think this will definitely keep it more manageable considering I'd like to make this a mame or small shohin.

Thanks again for everything!

**Edit: Just got an idea...I could also graft a strong branch really low on the trunk. That would eliminate the need to get some back budding and would in turn provide more energy to the roots as the top wouldn't be pruned at all. Hmmm. . . .
 
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Alex DeRuiter

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So here's the tree now. I took the pictures tonight. Growing a bit better than before, though I'm sure there's something I could do better...but I'm learning ;-p




I noticed a lot of the inner leaves die off because it's so dense, so I might have to start thinning it out.
 

tmmason10

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So here's the tree now. I took the pictures tonight. Growing a bit better than before, though I'm sure there's something I could do better...but I'm learning ;-p




I noticed a lot of the inner leaves die off because it's so dense, so I might have to start thinning it out.

Looks healthy, I'd say you're douing a great job with that. The healthier it is the more options you will have. Keep us posted m
 

Alex DeRuiter

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*Will someone put on some Arnold Schoenberg to set the mood?*

So it appears that this tree was a victim of virticillium wilt. . . . I just bagged it and canned it today. It was an overall sad experience since I'd invested so much in this tree. Ah, well...perhaps I'll try another some day.

It doesn't appear that any other of my trees were subject to this, thank Allah.

A moment of silence, please.
 

Defect

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Wow that is unfortunate.....that tree had some great potential.

My silence starts.......now..................
 
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