Multi-trunk Japanese Maple 'Little Princess'

Which is the most promising front and design for this Japanese Maple in your opinion?

  • Front 1

    Votes: 5 71.4%
  • Front 2

    Votes: 1 14.3%
  • Front 3

    Votes: 1 14.3%
  • Front 4

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Front 5

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • None of the above

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    7
  • Poll closed .

Khaiba

Sapling
Messages
27
Reaction score
6
Location
Germany, Baden-Württemberg
USDA Zone
8a
Hey everyone!👋

I thought I would make a poll to determine the best possible front/style for this Acer Palmatum 'Little Princess' I got for 60€ from a local nursery!
Since I'm very new to bonsai, I'm not entirely sure if it's the best bonsai material, but the nebari seemed promising and the graft fairly low and unnoticeable in my inexperienced opinion (personally I can't even make out if it is grafted but since most nursery stock maples are, I guess it is, too).

maple.jpeg
Now, before I start ruining this 'potentsai', I would like to ask you experienced enthusiasts on how you would procede with styling and developing this maple :).
Possible fronts and cuts I thought about (pictures are in the attachments):

Front 1: This was the most intuitive front that came to me, showing a broad base and root flare. Not sure if I would want to keep the smaller trunk in the back, either making it a twin-trunk or triple-trunk tree.
Also concerned a bit about the fat root pointing to the front and the two roots on the right that emerge from below the nebari level (better visible on nebari.jpeg)

Front 2: Another triple-trunk front that puts the strongest trunk in the center however. Nebari and base aren't as wide and tapered as on Front 1 due to the large root gap on the left,
but the overall shape of the trunks would make a nice triangle. The point from which the trunks emerge looks a bit awkward to me, not sure how this would change over time.

Front 3: A twin trunk approach showing similar nebari as Front 1. Both trunks are pretty straight from this angle, but this seems to be appreciated in twin trunk designs (at least looking at other classic twin-trunk trees this seems to be the case) .

Front 4: Second twin-trunk front, this time leaving the largest and the smallest trunk. Shows more movement and decent taper, but the main trunk curves a bit towards the observer and roots aren't as interesting and broadly spread.

Front 5: Love the nebari from this view, but no idea what to do with the trunk. Maybe cut off the one on the left/front? Would leave a huge scar however.

My biggest concerns are the intersection of the trunks, the straightness of the trunks and awkward roots and gaps in the nebari. Cutting it back to one trunk could also be an option.🤔


Which one of these do you see having the biggest potential? If you see a better front, I would love to hear about it as well! Any thoughts, criticism and comments are highly appreciated.

Also, is Little Princess the same cultivar as Kiyohime? Haven't found any definitive answer to this so far.

Cheers,
Khaiba
 

Attachments

  • Front1.jpeg
    Front1.jpeg
    356.6 KB · Views: 77
  • Front2.jpeg
    Front2.jpeg
    305.1 KB · Views: 71
  • Front3.jpeg
    Front3.jpeg
    280.3 KB · Views: 91
  • Front4.jpeg
    Front4.jpeg
    310.3 KB · Views: 82
  • Front5.jpeg
    Front5.jpeg
    307.3 KB · Views: 81
  • nebari.jpeg
    nebari.jpeg
    234.8 KB · Views: 58

leatherback

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,938
Reaction score
16,199
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
This is a nice tree.
I doubt it is grafted. Agains common perception, I disagree that most maples are grafted. I often come across cutivars grown from cutting in Germany.

I think front 4. Consider using the main trunk only, and removing all the rest and you caould go for a natural informal upright.

I would consider layering the big lower branche and perhaps others.
 

Khaiba

Sapling
Messages
27
Reaction score
6
Location
Germany, Baden-Württemberg
USDA Zone
8a
This is a nice tree.
I doubt it is grafted. Agains common perception, I disagree that most maples are grafted. I often come across cutivars grown from cutting in Germany.

I think front 4. Consider using the main trunk only, and removing all the rest and you caould go for a natural informal upright.

I would consider layering the big lower branche and perhaps others.
Thanks for the quick reply!
That's very interesting, it would explain why for some japanese maples I was never able to tell if they were grafted (because maybe they weren't 😁)

Could you maybe elaborate a bit on why you think I should remove the other trunks? I am probably a bit biased, because I am styling most trees to be informal uprights and I always wanted a multiple trunk bonsai. But only if it fits the tree and doesn't look unnatural/forced of course.
As triple-trunk tree I could imagine it to become a bit like this one when fully developed:
iu
 

leatherback

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,938
Reaction score
16,199
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
elaborate
Absolutely not have to!
I was just thinking alternatives! And the tree shouted to me, single trunk! But no real reason. Just make sure you have a little bit of movement in the trunks. Straight parts are boring and can become an eye-sore.
 

AlainK

Masterpiece
Messages
4,634
Reaction score
7,711
Location
Orléans, France, Europe
USDA Zone
9A
I doubt it is grafted.

I'm certain it isn't : 'Little princess', also known as 'Mapi no machi hime' is one of the very common young trees one can find in garden centres here in France, and I think they are mass-produced in Spain. Yours could come from the many tree nurseries in the netherlands too.
 
Last edited:

AlainK

Masterpiece
Messages
4,634
Reaction score
7,711
Location
Orléans, France, Europe
USDA Zone
9A
Could you maybe elaborate a bit on why you think I should remove the other trunks?

He's right, he doesn't have to ! 😄

To me, it's either you just keep one trunk, or wire the trunks so that they don't look that "V-shaped".
 

Khaiba

Sapling
Messages
27
Reaction score
6
Location
Germany, Baden-Württemberg
USDA Zone
8a
I'm certain it isn't : 'Little princess', also known as 'Mapi no machi hime' is one of the very common young trees one can find in garden centres here in France, and I think they are mass-produced in Spain. Yours could come from the many tree nurseries in the netherlands too.
Never heard of Mapi no machi hime 🤔. There aren't that many images of it online so I can't really compare them. But it definitely looks alike.
Any experience with them as bonsai?
 

Khaiba

Sapling
Messages
27
Reaction score
6
Location
Germany, Baden-Württemberg
USDA Zone
8a
He's right, he doesn't have to ! 😄

To me, it's either you just keep one trunk, or wire the trunks so that they don't look that "V-shaped".
Hmm making it a single trunk probably is the best option 🤔
This is a nice tree.
I doubt it is grafted. Agains common perception, I disagree that most maples are grafted. I often come across cutivars grown from cutting in Germany.

I think front 4. Consider using the main trunk only, and removing all the rest and you caould go for a natural informal upright.

I would consider layering the big lower branche and perhaps others.
What do you think about front 5 as single trunk? Something like this:
front5_new.jpeg
The nebari would look more natural to me than front 4 I think... Still, it would leave a huge scar, not sure how long it would take to heal.
 

leatherback

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
9,938
Reaction score
16,199
Location
Northern Germany
USDA Zone
7
Keep in mind.. We sit here with just a bunch of pictures. You have the tree in front of you, and you have certain trees you like..

The scar was one of the principle reasons for front 4: All cuts will be in the back. But other elements such as the nebari (WIth rootwork you can improve a lot still) but also internode distance & movement are important elements to keep in mind.

The cuts can close in 2,3 seasons
 

Snorlax99

Sapling
Messages
42
Reaction score
51
Location
Cape Town South Africa
I'm an absolute beginner, so please take my opinion as such, but for me, the base and trunk in 1 looks gorgeous for a multi trunk, maybe broom style. Just a thought.
 

JonW

Shohin
Messages
278
Reaction score
227
Location
Pittsburgh PA
USDA Zone
6
I'm jealous - great find!

You did a nice job of uncovering the root base, but I'd cover it back up because more roots will grow in between the bigger ones. The first step to picking a front is the base - which seems to be on your radar. Front 1 seems to have the most width, which makes me want to look at the opposite side as well: it should appear similarly wide, but I don't think you have pics of that angle.

I agree that the wide root coming straight ahead from Front 1 is distracting. However, it might not be an issue over time: if you cover the roots and let more grow in the gaps, and cut that root shorter to keep it from thickening, you can balance it. Then just slightly angling the tree to one direction or the other de-centers that root. For example, a front somewhere between Front 1 and Front 3 still uses your widest base and puts that thick root off-center.

I agree a triple trunk is more interesting than a single trunk, but...
  • Front 1 has the two anterior trunks on the same plane. They should be on slightly different planes hypothetically. Front 3 hides the back trunk. Taking my suggestion above and using a front between Front 1 and Front 3 might solve those two problems. Your main (thickest) trunk would be slightly forward.
  • The 2nd thickest trunk has no movement or branching. It is kind of boring. Some hard-pruning of the top of the tree might force back budding on that trunk, but you won't know unless you try it. This might mean that a cutting back to 1 trunk gives you the most out of the material - if the extra trunks don't add anything, they take away.
 

meushi

Mame
Messages
186
Reaction score
97
Location
French Ardennes
USDA Zone
8
'Little Princess' has at least two names in Japanese: Mapi-no-machihime and Chiyo-hime. The cuttings strike easily, so that's how they are normally propagated.

It's a very slow thickening dwarf cultivar, I've kept one for over 10 years (including 3 years in the ground) and the trunk didn't yet break 1" diameter. Last year, the main trunk died so I am now starting a new trunk line. They bark up in a weird way, too: buff ring around the nodes and green between. There is conflicting information about mature size... it's either 1 meter, 1.5 meters or 2 meters tall at maturity in the ground.
 

ShadyStump

Chumono
Messages
606
Reaction score
832
Location
Southern Colorado, USA
USDA Zone
6a
I'm throwing my lot to number 2.
I'm not often a fan of broom style- too plain for my taste might be the description. As a three-trunk, though, you would keep the nature of the tree as it feels like growing (always a proponent of this strategy), and add interest to what is otherwise a style that just imitates bland landscape trees.
All the current major features could successfully be retained, and be leaning to your strengths while broadening your scope.
 

meushi

Mame
Messages
186
Reaction score
97
Location
French Ardennes
USDA Zone
8
'Little Princess' has at least two names in Japanese: Mapi-no-machihime and Chiyo-hime. The cuttings strike easily, so that's how they are normally propagated.

It's a very slow thickening dwarf cultivar, I've kept one for over 10 years (including 3 years in the ground) and the trunk didn't yet break 1" diameter. Last year, the main trunk died so I am now starting a new trunk line. They bark up in a weird way, too: buff ring around the nodes and green between. There is conflicting information about mature size... it's either 1 meter, 1.5 meters or 2 meters tall at maturity in the ground.
I forgot to add... the branches are brittle and snap off the trunk very easily.
 

discusmike

Omono
Messages
1,390
Reaction score
472
Location
elkton,MD
USDA Zone
7a
If it’s a dwarf cultivar be careful cutting back hard They all don’t back bud like the species
 

Similar threads

Top Bottom