Large multitrunk maple, Acer palmatum yama-momiji.

Driftwood

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Hi,
About three weeks ago I acquired a large multi-trunk maple (almost 1mt/40'' height) It is pot bound and waiting for rootwork in a temp location. While waiting for spring I'm considering to rotate the poting angle and perhaps moving a bit to the middle, although I like the natural feel of the branches, my eyes are drawn to the lumpy healed scars and the nebari. I wonder about the best way to improve those scars without making it worse? how about wound sealer KIRIKUCHI NAORL?
Any suggestion and comments are welcome but because is a mature tree in refinement I'm hoping to receive comments particularly from notorious experienced pro maple lovers in this forum like Walter Pall, Bill Valavanis, Sergio Cuan (mach5), among others.
Please excuse the quality of the pictures.
large maple photoshop.jpgproposed front.jpgstanding view.jpgproposed rhs.JPGproposed back.jpgdetail.jpg
 

BobbyLane

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extensive root work as in bare rooting, teasing everything out and repositioning all the roots radially i would do in spring. if just changing the potting angle in a pot or trimming a little off around the edges/base to edit position in pot, slipping into another pot, that can be done at anytime.
if youre going to do a big job in spring anyway, i really dont see the need to do anything now.

regarding the current knobbles or old pruning scars on the tree. its a little tricky to make them better without them looking worse. some of the old knobbles you will have to live with. with a large pair of sharp knob cutters im sure some can be flattened out and then sealed with cut paste, the grey putty like stuff from japan.

'pot bound' is a term beginners use because they want to do root work or repot. to me it just looks 'well established'

Ryan neil did a great stream featuring Peter warren a few months back, where they set about restoring an old J maple. you should check it out
 

Driftwood

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extensive root work as in bare rooting, teasing everything out and repositioning all the roots radially i would do in spring. if just changing the potting angle in a pot or trimming a little off around the edges/base to edit position in pot, slipping into another pot, that can be done at anytime.
if youre going to do a big job in spring anyway, i really dont see the need to do anything now.

regarding the current knobbles or old pruning scars on the tree. its a little tricky to make them better without them looking worse. some of the old knobbles you will have to live with. with a large pair of sharp knob cutters im sure some can be flattened out and then sealed with cut paste, the grey putty like stuff from japan.

'pot bound' is a term beginners use because they want to do root work or repot. to me it just looks 'well established'

Ryan neil did a great stream featuring Peter warren a few months back, where they set about restoring an old J maple. you should check it out
Hi BobbyLane, I was not clear enough but never meant on doing any repotting now but in sping will 'tease' and untangle the roots radially and maybe some root graft... won't bare-rooted though. I believe this tree root has not been touch for at least five years, weakening the tree, with poor aeration, water percolation and perhaps the reason why there were a few dead branches and a missing branch towards the front of the apex.
Yes, I'm ok living with some old knobbles, it is a matter of choosing which are best to intervene.
Although I tend to agree about not repotting too often, I disagree with the use of the term pot-bound or root bound by beginner... Water Pall has written about root bound trees many times: https://walter-pall-bonsai.blogspot.com/2008/12/still-more-substratestuff.html
Thank you.

Btw this is great material!:)
 

Driftwood

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Hi BobbyLane, I was not clear enough but never meant on doing any repotting now but in sping will 'tease' and untangle the roots radially and maybe some root graft... won't bare-rooted though. I believe this tree root has not been touch for at least five years, weakening the tree, with poor aeration, water percolation and perhaps the reason why there were a few dead branches and a missing branch towards the front of the apex.
Yes, I'm ok living with some old knobbles, it is a matter of choosing which are best to intervene.
Although I tend to agree about not repotting too often, I disagree with the use of the term pot-bound or root bound by beginner... Water Pall has written about root bound trees many times: https://walter-pall-bonsai.blogspot.com/2008/12/still-more-substratestuff.html
Thank you.
Yes, I have seen Peter Warren Mirai maple stream many times, Thank you.
 

rockm

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You're a bit intimidated by the tree. Understandable, but timid approaches such as "teasing out the rootmass" and thinking about the potting angle are half measures. This tree's roots need to be extensively overhauled if the tree is to return to healthy growth. You might consider simply sawing off the bottom third of the root mass at repotting, instead of trying to work through the whole thing in detail, then wash off all the old soil and use completely new... The initial root reduction and soil exchange will probably be welcome. Working through the root ball root-by-root and leaving worn-out, soggy soil on the roots, will likely do more damage than help.
 

MACH5

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Great material @Driftwood. With that said, I don't think this tree is in a refinement stage. Rather it looks to me of a tree that's way past its prime and in need of a renovation. From the bottom up. It looks like it may have been somewhat neglected with some dieback in mid to lower areas. My first question is the current overall health of the tree. First thing I would do next spring is inspect the roots and work them thoroughly. Looks like the tops are getting too strong so I would also address that by cutting them back drastically to establish better balance between all parts of the tree otherwise they'll just keep getting stronger.

I would not worry at the moment about some of the distracting lumps on the trunks. That can be corrected later by recutting and reducing those areas. I think you will need to make some future approach and/or thread grafts to add needed branches in the lower parts, at least judging from the photos. But all that should come later. First get the tree back in optimum health.

I would also suggest to plant it in a shallow wooden box as it allows the roots to breathe better than when they are in a container. A good step towards improving the health of a tree.
 

Driftwood

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You're a bit intimidated by the tree. Understandable, but timid approaches such as "teasing out the rootmass" and thinking about the potting angle are half measures. This tree's roots need to be extensively overhauled if the tree is to return to healthy growth. You might consider simply sawing off the bottom third of the root mass at repotting, instead of trying to work through the whole thing in detail, then wash off all the old soil and use completely new... The initial root reduction and soil exchange will probably be welcome. Working through the root ball root-by-root and leaving worn-out, soggy soil on the roots, will likely do more damage than help.
Not really intimidated but currently not expressing myself well enough ( certainly about half of the root cut). at the same time before some more work, I need to make sure the tree is healthy enough.
 

Driftwood

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Hi Sergio, I do have conflicting ideas, on one hand, a lite handed approach but on another a more radical view. Anyway, I thought the same about the tree been neglected and first to focus on the roots and the health of the tree but in the meantime (winter break) to do some planning for the next 3 to 5 years documenting changes. I also have been thinking about cutting back all the apexes (green lines next to existing buds or branches)or even cutting trunks (red lines) to lower branches compacting the tree? I will greatly appreciate if you can mark your suggestions on the picture.
Thank you.

first design options.jpg
 

Driftwood

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Great material @Driftwood. With that said, I don't think this tree is in a refinement stage. Rather it looks to me of a tree that's way past its prime and in need of a renovation. From the bottom up. It looks like it may have been somewhat neglected with some dieback in mid to lower areas. My first question is the current overall health of the tree. First thing I would do next spring is inspect the roots and work them thoroughly. Looks like the tops are getting too strong so I would also address that by cutting them back drastically to establish better balance between all parts of the tree otherwise they'll just keep getting stronger.

I would not worry at the moment about some of the distracting lumps on the trunks. That can be corrected later by recutting and reducing those areas. I think you will need to make some future approach and/or thread grafts to add needed branches in the lower parts, at least judging from the photos. But all that should come later. First get the tree back in optimum health.

I would also suggest to plant it in a shallow wooden box as it allows the roots to breathe better than when they are in a container. A good step towards improving the health of a tree.

Hi Sergio, I do have conflicting ideas, on one hand, a lite handed approach but on another a more radical view. Anyway, I thought the same about the tree been neglected and first to focus on the roots and the health of the tree but in the meantime (winter break) to do some planning for the next 3 to 5 years documenting changes. I also have been thinking about cutting back all the apexes (green lines next to existing buds or branches)or even cutting trunks (red lines) to lower branches compacting the tree? I will greatly appreciate if you can mark your suggestions on the picture.
Thank you.

first design options.jpg
 

Driftwood

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Hi guys, please don't take me wrong... some times one hope to get comments from the well known experienced members but I don't mean to alienate anybody.
Please comment.
 
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Hi Sergio, I do have conflicting ideas, on one hand, a lite handed approach but on another a more radical view. Anyway, I thought the same about the tree been neglected and first to focus on the roots and the health of the tree but in the meantime (winter break) to do some planning for the next 3 to 5 years documenting changes. I also have been thinking about cutting back all the apexes (green lines next to existing buds or branches)or even cutting trunks (red lines) to lower branches compacting the tree? I will greatly appreciate if you can mark your suggestions on the picture.
Thank you.

first design options.jpg
My only suggest is to air layer all of them if you planning on cutting them off at the red lines. Those would make sweet shohins which might worth the price you paid for this one.
 

bonsai45

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Please comment.
This looks like material with a lot of potential, given what we can see in the images. I wish it was mine!

my short-term plan would be as Sergio described

my longer-term plans would depend in large part, if not entirely, on the nebari. I would not yet rule-out the possibility of removing or adding trunks.

if I lived in southampton, I would make the 2-hour drive over to Peter Chan and sit down with him to take a long look at this tree before bud swell in spring. If possible (it's a busy time of year), I would book him for the repotting session!
 

Driftwood

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My only suggest is to air layer all of them if you planning on cutting them off at the red lines. Those would make sweet shohins which might worth the price you paid for this one.
[/QUOTE
Yes if I decide to go for hard pruning I will definitely try air layers.
Than you
 

Driftwood

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This looks like material with a lot of potential, given what we can see in the images. I wish it was mine!

my short-term plan would be as Sergio described

my longer-term plans would depend in large part, if not entirely, on the nebari. I would not yet rule-out the possibility of removing or adding trunks.

if I lived in southampton, I would make the 2-hour drive over to Peter Chan and sit down with him to take a long look at this tree before bud swell in spring. If possible (it's a busy time of year), I would book him for the repotting session!
Nice idea, Peter chan Or Peter Warren, I don't know how accessible they are thought.
 

MACH5

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@Driftwood I was not thinking on chopping off trunks. At least not at the moment. That may be uneccessary. Rather, start with cutting back on the secondary ramification to bring it all back. As you go, make sure all transitions bifurcate or divide into two. Simplify any junctures that have three or more branches to only two.

If possible I would photograph the tree against a clean background and at the right angle. Otherwise it's very tough to give appropriate advice specially on anything related to design.
 

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