JM Acer P Pruning Advice

ConorDash

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Hello all,

Feels like a while since I showed up on the forum at all. I had surgery recently and thats been.... fun. So I've not been doing much of anything. I think the time has finally come to do something, and that is give my trees a little care, I'm hoping ive not missed my opportunity for pruning this year.

There were varying opinions on how early or late to prune Acer P, so I hope its possible now (I then hope to wire it, potentially, in early spring and it certainly needs to be repotted).

What I would like please, is people's opinion on a strategy for pruning this tree. It's my first time pruning something this size, my other experience is with a Chinese elm, which is much smaller and grows very fast. I've never pruned this tree once yet, since I bought it about 5-6 months ago (it's had many health issues).
So it's all very much inexperience.

Also sorry I couldn't provide a better back drop to the pictures, I can understand if it's difficult to see the branches, it was the best I could do. The pictures should be large enough to zoom in, if you would like to do that.
There's a number of bits to clean up on it, some white dieback to get rid of and dead leaves hanging about, those will be cleaned up.

And here's a dump of pictures...

IMG_3451.JPG IMG_3457.JPG IMG_3452.JPG IMG_3454.JPG IMG_3453.JPG

Your thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated, as they always are. It rained this morning, and although this is kept in cover (about 80-90% covered), that is why it looks more blackened than usually, simply damp.
I really like the curved trunk, the direction it moves in, so I'd like to envision a nice full canopy that compliments that.
 

sorce

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aviary-image-1479386524334.jpeg

I'd cut that left upward branch and wire the new shoot down next spring.

That yellow looks a swellin.
I'd cut them 2 red spots, and pick one or both the blue to grow out. Location dependant. (Looks as if you can keep both from the other pic.)

That top red looks to be insode a Curve bad...I'd cut that....

Let the top go careful to heal that wound.

Nice.

Sorce
 

JudyB

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I think that pruning at this time of year can be done with some caution with your storage situation. Some dieback may occur on your branches that you prune if the winter is harsh. I believe that right at leaf fall, is a reasonable pruning time with caution. Hard to see what you should cut, as all your photos are from above. If you could take some photos from your intended front from straight on to the tree maybe it would be easier to see. From what I can see, all of the lower branches need far more thickness, so I don't know that you should prune there at all. But I'd get some wire on those that can still be manipulated and get some movement into them before you can't.
Glad you are back after your surgery, hope your recovery goes swiftly!
 
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Good timing for cutting and wiring. Place branches in 3 categories: (1)remove, (2)keep to thicken something, (3)keep in final design. Start with (1) too straight to strong for position, wrong place, (2) cut back and wire (keep as many branches in this group as you can), (3) remove side branches, leave apical portion upright. With the base you will have to live. The yellow arrow, the callous you could rework that. I would clean my scissors before and after this work since this tree had some issues.
 

petegreg

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I'd leave as many branches as possible, wire those I wanna use. Plus I'd reduce branches in the yellow circle (couldn't find more places like this) to two. Maybe shorten some branches at least one node higher than needed due to possible dieback. That's for the Fall, I think you've got some issues with this tree. And repotting in spring.
 

ConorDash

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View attachment 123238

I'd cut that left upward branch and wire the new shoot down next spring.

That yellow looks a swellin.
I'd cut them 2 red spots, and pick one or both the blue to grow out. Location dependant. (Looks as if you can keep both from the other pic.)

That top red looks to be insode a Curve bad...I'd cut that....

Let the top go careful to heal that wound.

Nice.

Sorce
Hey Sorce, long time.
Thank you for that. I know it's quite difficult to see, I have a few better pics.. back drop of big white fridge and freezer, did a much better job!
When you say let the top go carefully, there's a lot of top to it, quite high above that large wound, from the new leader that became the trunk. I'd have to let it all keep growing? It's quite wildly long at the moment.
Good colours and step by step, thank you, it helps a lot :).
 

petegreg

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I'd leave as many branches as possible, wire those I wanna use. Plus I'd reduce branches in the yellow circle (couldn't find more places like this) to two. Maybe shorten some branches at least one node higher than needed due to possible dieback. That's for the Fall, I think you've got some issues with this tree. And repotting in spring.
Sorry, here is the picture.
downloadfile.jpg
 

ConorDash

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I think that pruning at this time of year can be done with some caution with your storage situation. Some dieback may occur on your branches that you prune if the winter is harsh. I believe that right at leaf fall, is a reasonable pruning time with caution. Hard to see what you should cut, as all your photos are from above. If you could take some photos from your intended front from straight on to the tree maybe it would be easier to see. From what I can see, all of the lower branches need far more thickness, so I don't know that you should prune there at all. But I'd get some wire on those that can still be manipulated and get some movement into them before you can't.
Glad you are back after your surgery, hope your recovery goes swiftly!
Thanks for your advice and your recovery wishes :).
These pics you'll find better. Better back drop and less from the top down, I can totally see what you mean and how bad my picture was now.
We don't have particularly harsh winters in the U.K., maximum of -5c. It will be my first winter with potential bonsai trees, so it's worrying enough as it is!

When you say movement on them from wiring, I believe the goal with that is to simply add less straight movement, more bendy curves and even spacing so that the canopy fills out fully?

This would be the front, I would personally like. However, I don't know if this is good for a bonsai tree, as I'm sure there are certain aspects to look for in a good front, which I don't know.
This front shows the slender curve of the trunk and with a bit of the back end nebari showing, which I personally really like (I feel like everyone is going to say that about their own tree though!). Of course the probably bad thing about this front, is it shows the wound, where that should be hidden usually. However, I would expect a full canopy to properly hide that.

IMG_3468.JPG IMG_3469.JPG
IMG_3471.JPG

Then one from the back.

IMG_3470.JPG

Ignore the penguin on the fridge.
 

ConorDash

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Sorry, here is the picture.
View attachment 123262
Ah I was going to ask, what yellow circle! Lol. Thank you. Yes I can see what you mean, there are too many there and that junction will start to swell and look ugly, if left, I would guess?
Yes it does have health issues although the few leaves you see on it now, have lasted a lot longer than any other leaves before them.. I would almost hope to say they weren't affected and so many those issues have subsided now. Will only know in spring.
Thank you for your comments :).
 

ConorDash

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Good timing for cutting and wiring. Place branches in 3 categories: (1)remove, (2)keep to thicken something, (3)keep in final design. Start with (1) too straight to strong for position, wrong place, (2) cut back and wire (keep as many branches in this group as you can), (3) remove side branches, leave apical portion upright. With the base you will have to live. The yellow arrow, the callous you could rework that. I would clean my scissors before and after this work since this tree had some issues.
Very interesting, thank you. I like that approach.
How would I rework the callous? I wasn't sure whether to leave that alone to heal over years or if I could do something with it to clean it up a bit to aid in healing so it's smoother once healed.
I really like your approach, it's just the knowing which branches I want to keep in final design, knowing which ones are in the wrong place and which ones are "side branches" lol, as the "side" become a very big with a 360 object like this.
All just from my inexperience, having to ask these things.. makes me feel quite embarrassed, really because I don't want to pester people or ask them to explain multiple times. Not easy, first time!

Conor,

it would help the others and your request. if you did a front on shot and then 2 or 3 others rotating the tree.
Good Health to you.
Good Day
Anthony
Hey Anthony,
Thank you for your health wishes. I have added some better pictures in an above message. Which should be a lot better. A few from a proposed front and back, closer and further away.
Thanks for your comment :)
 

M. Frary

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Ah I was going to ask, what yellow circle! Lol. Thank you. Yes I can see what you mean, there are too many there and that junction will start to swell and look ugly, if left, I would guess?
I wouldn't worry about that because all the branches need to be cut back hard to get taper going in them. I mean way back. To like the first node.
Some of the best examples of what I'm getting at can be found in Smokes blog.
California bonsai art I believe. I just Google bonsaial and it takes me there.
Don't ask for any links. I ain't got the foggiest idea on that.
 

petegreg

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I wouldn't worry about that because all the branches need to be cut back hard to get taper going in them. I mean way back. To like the first node.
Agree with this. But before cutting them back they need some growing and thickening, setting the first angles with wire...
I'd go conservatively, remove what I really don't need and take this work more as initial cleaning than pruning.

Aren't we nuts?
 

Vin

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Let me save you a lot of time. Chop it back in the spring and start over. There really isn't much worth saving from my chop mark upward. The biggest issue is the trunk has no taper and the only way to fix it is by chopping it. That's what I would do anyway.

Conor.JPG
 

0soyoung

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@ConorDash, I think you need to evaluate using the view from either the left or the right (with respect to you current front/back) as the front, so that neither of those big scars are visible - they will take forever to 'heal', so you want to hide them from view.
If neither of these alternative fronts are going to work out for you, then you should do as Vin suggests:
Chop it back in the spring and start over.
and keep the additional trunk chops toward the back also.
 

MACH5

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Connor I was hoping for a better tree underneath that canopy. Did you purchase it with leaves without knowing what was under? I don't want to discourage you in any way but this is not good material. The animal-like looking trunk and base with its lack of taper is tough to fix within a reasonable amount of time thus Vin's suggestion.

You can also keep it as is and use this material to practice doing thread grafts, approach grafts and the like so that you can later use your newly acquired skills on better material. Just a thought.
 

JudyB

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I agree with M5, use this as a learning tree. Learn how to wire, and thread graft. Learn how to pinch the growth for shorter internodes. Learn the species and how best to develop it. You could also learn how to airlayer...And learn how to look for good attributes in choosing material.
Don't worry, we've all been where you are! :)
 

Vin

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It is possible to improve greatly upon what you have there but it will take time. @MACH5 After chopping, remove and bury some of mass on the right side of the base and change the planting angle. You can then apply several approach and/or thread root grafts around the base. In a few years re-evaluate your work and make adjustments where needed. Yes, this will take some time but you will learn quite a bit during the process and in the end the tree will look much better. We can help you during the process.

Conor2.jpg
 
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