Lions Head "Shishigashira" Japanese maple

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#1
The weather lately has been bouncing between lousy to clear and super windy. Today was in that goldilocks zone of just right to get some root work done, nice and clear but no wind and rather cool.
My big tree I purchased recently (I gotta cut myself off from the nursery now....) is a lions head maple (acer palmatum "shishigashira") that is getting layered out before getting the big trunk chop. The maple had come from the nursery potted up way too low in the container, with soil covering more than half the trunk, in a burlap sack filled with clay so dense I felt like I should have packaged it up and sent it to @sorce to make some of his cool pots out of.. lol. The process of blasting it away with the garden hose and billhook took quite a while, but was well worth it, exposing the trunk with some nice flare at the bottom and a little nebari. I tried to get one plane of radial roots (keyword, tried) and cut the downwards facing ones. There was a lot of tangled root mass towards the edges, which I left since this was a quick and dirty re-pot job. It was then placed in an oversize container (vigor for the coming air layers) on top of a ceramic plate to help with the outwards growth of the roots. I am sure there was a lot more I could have done, and done it better, but this was my attempt at assimilating the info I have received on this forum. I will let it recover this year and next spring go back at it and fix all the things I could have done better this time around.
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#3
That is probably a good idea. I kinda ran out of energy and daylight by the time I had it watered in. Even with all of the work I did to it there is probably about 70% of the original root mass still there. The heavy clay really kept the roots from growing down all that much, so very little actually got removed. How much of a reduction are you suggesting? I am super open to suggestions...
 
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Eureka CA
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#5
Ok, Thank you. I had a feeling it was a bit late to be doing that rootwork... :oops::confused:
It was not my original plan to do all of that today. It really was supposed to be a quick re-pot. When
I found the giant ball of clay I dug on in to replace it with my potting mix that would drain better. The roots in the clay were sparse and not happy looking, some were even rotting/rotten. That was what started the cutting, getting those dead roots removed, one had turned grey and slimy, not good... The big frays of roots were all from the small area outside of the clay and burlap in the one or two inches between it and the edge of the pot that had decent potting mix. Once I had it bare-rooted I kind of figured, in for a penny in for a pound... C'est la vie. Thanks for the advice, I will work on it again tomorrow and get some of the foliage off to balance things out.
 
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#6
Why do root work if your going to try ground layer,and air layers,uou just weakend the tree and your going to eventually get rid of the graft,makes no sense,i would not attempt any of this after stressing the tree from root work after dormancy,nice little tree,dont kill it
 
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Location
Eureka CA
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#7
@discusmike
Good points. I did the root work mostly, as described above, because I was already in there getting rid of the atrocious clay and the resulting rotted roots. This was supposed to just be a simple shift up to make it easy on the tree to get those air layers underway. Once I got into it, it just snowballed on me. Since I had already gotten elbow deep I figured I could do a little shape up... (possibly a terrible idea and excuse...)
To answer your question as to why I would do any of this when I am going to be ditching the graft anyway. The answer is because I am not going to ditch the original rootstock. I am hoping (if I don't kill it...) to keep all parts of the tree going as individual trees. The base will someday get grafted with some "peaches and cream" that I have going, while the layers can be all grown on their own roots. That is, if I don't screw it all up along the way.
Seeing as both you and @just.wing.it brought up the fact this should have been done before breaking dormancy I will put all that on pause and just focus on letting it recover first.
I will freely admit I don't know very much about growing deciduous trees, as most of my experience is with bamboo and such... This year I got into maples and was after some bigger trees that I could propagate out instead of buying a bunch of little ones. I am grateful for the advice and critique as I am learning a lot, and fast..
Hopefully it recovers and I can proceed with my plans next year. I have pulled some similar ill advised stunts on other plants in the past, sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. I guess we will see if I am lucky this time. Hopefully this is a time it works out as I am rather fond of this tree.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#8
Maybe you shouldn't branch prune?

They say leaving cutting off the leaf and leaving the petiole on some trees will allow the tree to take what energy is left out of them.

Maybe you can limit transpiration more safely this way....
Though, that's a lot of damn small leaves!

If you do cut branches seal em well.

Aftercare is huge here...no clue!
Just be careful!

Sorce
 

Adair M

Imperial Masterpiece
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#9
At this point, don’t do anything else to this tree until it has a chance to fully recover.

Some things to think about for next time:

It appears you put this right back into a deep nursery can. Which will facilitate downward growing roots. Next time,pot it in a shallower, but wider, container.

Read @markyscott’s most excellent thread “Ebihara Maples”. You may also benefit from Jonas’s blog: www.bonsaitonight.com.

Buy a “root cutter” tool. When you barerooted, it appeared that the bottom of the rootball is pretty flat. I could see a lot of heavy roots with no feeders, that had grown together to made a dense, hard bottom. Using root hooks, it’s possible to simply remove half the wood of those heavy roots, further thinning and flattening the rootball. From what I can see, it looks like that tree could eventually be placed in a very thin bonsai pot, which would be spectacular!

Next time, do things at the proper time. Your tree may survive, I certainly hope it does. But doing things the right time of year raises your chances of success. When you do acquire trees a little off season for the work you want to do, it’s perfectly all right to wait on working with them for a year.

(As a side note, I have a tree I purchased from Boon. He held it in his garden for 17 years :eek: before he thought it was ready for a major styling!)
 
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Location
Eureka CA
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#10
Ok, thanks for chiming in here @sorce. I am not really wanting to branch prune it right now, leaning more towards stripping some leaves and keeping it misted every day. I will leave the petiole on as you suggest. I am kinda freaking out that I F&%#$d it all up, when I had intended to do it a favor. It will get pampered and looked after more than it already would have now that I am all worried about it.
@Adair M thank you for your suggestions, I will keep that in mind. I read the Ebihara thread and loved it. That was the reason I put it on the ceramic plate (not pictured). I was thinking it would help limit downwards growth in the center under the trunk, while allowing the feeder roots to go where they want around the sides while it recovers this year. I was already a little nervous having dug in farther than I was planning on and was going to do the Ebihara screw to the board and groom the roots fastidiously thing once I had layered out all the excess branches in a year or two...

This all boils down to me making a rookie mistake. I was trying to make the best out of a bad situation, over-reached, and made it worse...
Thanks to you all for coaching me through this. It is hard to admit you are out of your depth, but sometimes you gotta... If this was bamboo I would know how to proceed but this seems to be a different ball game so I am happy to have some people to get advice from.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#11
Its almost better if this tree dies at this point.

If it lives you may get to thinking this stuff is ok.

Keep these truths no matter what happens and you will learn a lot either way.

It will live.

Sorce
 
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Eureka CA
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#12
@source
Ouch...
I suppose I get what you mean by that.
Trust me, I am learning from this blunder.
I am glad you think it will live...?

This turned bleak in a hurry...
At this point I am just going to stay positive, use some tricks I picked up on other projects and hope for the best...
I am new to bonsai, but have turned around a few sinking ships before in the rest of my gardening, just gonna focus on that.

Thanks for the tips, sometimes the best advice you can get is the stuff you want to hear the least. At least 'yall are straight shooters and
tell it like it is..
 

Adair M

Imperial Masterpiece
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#13
Its almost better if this tree dies at this point.

If it lives you may get to thinking this stuff is ok.

Keep these truths no matter what happens and you will learn a lot either way.

It will live.

Sorce
Common, man, I’m known to be a harsh critic, but never to the point I want their tree to die!
 
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#14
Its almost better if this tree dies at this point.

If it lives you may get to thinking this stuff is ok.

Keep these truths no matter what happens and you will learn a lot either way.

It will live.

Sorce
Hey buddy ol' friend...bit of advice @sorce crawl back into bed...and get out the other side. Said with love...and a bit of humor. 😘
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#15
Sure it may Live!

But you just can't go thinking that means the actions were Good! For next time!

Same like at Dav4 said to a dude on FB ...
ill timed...then assholes go, "it will live" but thats not the point!

You learn when these die!

When they live...you Get stuck in a trap!

No traps!

We must learn from mistakes even If they aren't obvious.

Sorce
 
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#16
Thank you @Adair M and @Cadillactaste.
@sorce I think I came into this (thread and forum) pretty humble. I try to enjoy myself and my trees but do my best to always be thankful to everyone who offers a critique. If you read my posts they are filled with admissions of ignorance and statements indicating that I, in fact don't know exactly what I am doing, that I am still learning.
I feel like something I said or did deeply offended you and you are projecting a lot of frustration at other people and situations on to me. "ill timed...then assholes go, "it will live" but thats not the point!" vs "I am kinda freaking out that I F&%#$d it all up, when I had intended to do it a favor. It will get pampered and looked after more than it already would have now that I am all worried about it."
So whatever it was that I said or did to offend you, I am sorry.
I was in martial arts for a lot of years so I am fairly good with hierarchical structures of knowledge, so I am okay with being the low man on the totem pole for now and I respect that you know a lot more than I do. I don't even mind some harsh words and high standards, that is how you learn to meet those standards. I used to joke you don't earn a black belt by being tough, you get it by having your ass whooped for years, sticking with it and learning from it. That said there were two types of instructors. The ones who would break your rib to teach a lesson for making a mistake, and the ones who would correct your mistake with training on the subject to prevent you from getting a rib broken in a fight outside of their guidance. I learned from and respect both types.
The question I would pose to you is what type are you? Either way, I respect you and will learn, it's just that reading some of your sparring matches with smoke I had you pegged as the "nice one" especially with your diatribe about coaching kids in sports... Oh well, off to nurse the broken rib rib and my tree that should die....
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#17
I haven't read that all but

no one is offended!

No worries!

Sorce
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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#20
Truthfully, I been thinking more about Squid, Weed College, and a near scuffle I got into with some rowdy parents from Humbolt Park at a little league game! Lol!

Sorce
 

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