New Japanese maple forest

rockm

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This forest designed, repotted this year. This is the beginning c of a maple forest I got this year. This is a group of seedlings grown together in the same pot for over a decade. The trees were five feet high and extremely pot bound (never had been repotted) when I got last fall. I removed 90 percent of the root mass, chopped to current height in May. I've had to clear thick new growth on it twice since the chop/repot.

FWIW, the plants were $140...
 

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Bill S

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Rock, was the grow out in same pot 10 years intentional or was it a cluster that was to be separated. I actually had 3 in a pot for about 5 years as I had kind of forgotten about them(stuck in ground when I moved into my home), but had success separating them. For some reason I never thought forest. Now I have a larch group growing together, and a bunch of maple cutting going so maybe I'll give that one a try.

Seems that this approach would help w/ the naturalness(?) as branches growing in and under would die off as they would in a forest, wow bonsai with out the work. I know no such deal. Look forward to see how it goes.
 

rockm

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The initial grow-out pot was two inches narrower and two inches shallower. As a result, the root mass took considerable pruning on the sides and bottom. I also pruned down from the surface two inches with shears.

The trees were cuttings taken all at the same time from the same parent tree and just jammed into the pot to keep them. They have never been separated since then. The surface roots are fusing nicely.
 

discusmike

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Nice material Rockm,the only thing i would try to do if it were mine besides branch work and another larger,more shallow pot(which i know you already know)would be if possible to move the trunk thats leaning heavily and crossing another trunk,i would move it to the right closer to the large tree or even on the outside of it,and possibly and some trees with smaller trunk sizes.If its to much to move it,try standing it up,then add the new trees to the right.Just my opinion.
 

rockm

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Unfortunately, the trees are pretty much cemented in place at this point--their root masses are fused at the surface. Relocating one would require sawing through thart and possibly ruining the others.

Bending them is also a bit of a problem. They're all over an inch in diameter-with the exception of the smallest one. I intend to try guy wires to pull that errant tree further to the side...

The pot is only the initial training vehicle. I had to provide a deepish container to allow the tree some energy after a harsh repot. I will work it down into a shallower container in the next few years. It is extremely healthy. It put out so much thick new growth that it began to get fungal problems in the leaves because they were so dense. I've thinned it twice in three months.
 

Acerofspades

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Hey rock is it too late to put tree in pot this season.Like what you did.I did chop a tree like you said last month and new buds coming already.Thanks
 

rockm

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It was really too late for a trunk chop last month :D. Fall repotting can work IF you provide mostly frost free storage for the tree this winter.
 

pwk5017

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How "fused" are the roots? If they are as fused as you alluded to, I would grow those bad boys out a couple years of free growth and make a nice turtle back maple. I just dont see an awesome forest coming out of this one, so why force it?
 

rockm

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"I just dont see an awesome forest coming out of this one, so why force it?"

I do. The roots are fused as in some of the trunks have grown together at the base and are basically the same tree. It is more of a clump than a forest.

Trunks this big that close together with fused roots is not common. Pulling them apart makes little sense.
 

Jason

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I can see the forest. This will be a great composition some day. Could you use a block of wood to get the crossed trunks uncrossed and growing more parallel?

This forest brings up a topic I've always wondered about. Is there an advantage in starting a forest composition young with seedlings so that you can achieve closer more natural placement? (rather than growing them out individually and then placing them after they are grown like you usually see) I've always postulated you could start them in a shallow container when really little and then use the escape method and trim the roots periodically. (I'm in fact experimenting with that right now with about 100 japanese maple seedlings in the shallower anderson flats.) Once they've reached they're desired height and thickness they could be cut back....like you have done. I figured at this point they could even be wired for good placement and movement.

Thoughts?
 
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Brian Van Fleet

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I don't mind the crossing trunks, but could wish the arrow-straight trunk (4th from left) had just a little movement; the rest have nicely complimentary movement...will be a good clump in short order.
 

pwk5017

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"I just dont see an awesome forest coming out of this one, so why force it?"

I do. The roots are fused as in some of the trunks have grown together at the base and are basically the same tree. It is more of a clump than a forest.

Trunks this big that close together with fused roots is not common. Pulling them apart makes little sense.

Well, to each his own, but I always try to find the best possible tree out of each piece of stock and I still say make a multi-trunk/turtleback/clump/squat broom out of these young trees. I just dont see the taper or interest in those trunks at the moment. Certainly you could make a forest out of these trees easily, but would it be a nice piece to have on your bench or another 5/10? I would like to hear your reasoning on why it would make an "awesome forest".
 

Smoke

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Well, to each his own, but I always try to find the best possible tree out of each piece of stock and I still say make a multi-trunk/turtleback/clump/squat broom out of these young trees. I just dont see the taper or interest in those trunks at the moment. Certainly you could make a forest out of these trees easily, but would it be a nice piece to have on your bench or another 5/10? I would like to hear your reasoning on why it would make an "awesome forest".

Howdy 5017, I am all for criticism. I enjoy it immensly. I have been known to throw around the criticism fairly willy nilly myself on occasion. There have been others that have done the same yet could not actually do bonsai to save their bacon.

Just wondering if you have a gallery somewhere so I can compare your words to your talent? It just makes sense to validate a persons criticisms and the talent level to justify the text. If you wish to to tell me to piss off, then I understand and then can make a valid conclusion.

Cheers, Al
 

pwk5017

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Hey Al, how many art critics are excellent artists? Not many. Using this as a precedent, your statement doesnt apply to all. Im 23 and just graduated in May, so I dont have any trees in pots. Next spring will see some azaleas into pots for the first time and some ponderosa pines, and you will be the first to see them : ) I am an architect, so I have gone through years of rigorous critique; its a part of my life. I take critique and receive it in equal measure, so perhaps other people arent as accustomed to doing the same and become offended? I am not trying to bust on rock's material or be a jerk, but I am engaging in a discussion with him to improve this piece. I am very interested in what he sees in this material that perhaps I dont? So, I ask: would you rather have someone earnestly engage with you, or pat you on the back and say, "you done good"?

Patrick
 

grog

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I don't think you're going to have to worry about Al gushing with empty praise any time soon :rolleyes:
 

Smoke

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Hey Al, how many art critics are excellent artists? Not many. Using this as a precedent, your statement doesnt apply to all. Im 23 and just graduated in May, so I dont have any trees in pots. Next spring will see some azaleas into pots for the first time and some ponderosa pines, and you will be the first to see them : ) I am an architect, so I have gone through years of rigorous critique; its a part of my life. I take critique and receive it in equal measure, so perhaps other people arent as accustomed to doing the same and become offended? I am not trying to bust on rock's material or be a jerk, but I am engaging in a discussion with him to improve this piece. I am very interested in what he sees in this material that perhaps I dont? So, I ask: would you rather have someone earnestly engage with you, or pat you on the back and say, "you done good"?

Patrick

Seems I have heard all these arguments before.

Carry on. I'll sit back and listen to whatever Mark has to say.

It will be interesting to listen to how a critic is going to improve the art. Now if only Walter would chime in and get the thing really rolling we may have all the makings for a great discussion about the role of critics in the bonsai world.
 

Jason

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At the risk of sounding redundant: Are a lot of forests started this way? Anyone know?
 

Smoke

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Let me put a finer point on it.

I don't have a problem with Patricks point about wasting time with a group of trees that may not make an awesome forest.


This will never be a forest and will be considered a group until it has at least 11 or more trees. The point is, the group has been grown together for a good period of time. I can see the patina of age on the ways the trees have grown together. I can't even see the areas where the roots have fused or the trunks may have fused, but my experience tells me in seeing a lot of fused maple groups my people like Jim Gremel that this group based on the photo has those qualities. This group has enough character now to carry its own weight. No use starting over on what might be...just enjoy to day the what is.

Now for me, would I consider taking apart a group of trees maybe growing together for 15 years for the sake of obtaining a few good single trees? NO!

The musings of a 24 year old and those of us that are in their more "golden years" is obvious here. Somebody started this group with some good intentions and now it will be enjoyed by someone else. A little refinement and some good ramification and a decent pot will make this a fine maple group in a short amount of time. Not all bonsai have to be "awesome".
 

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