New Maple....Should I airlayer and get two new trees or let it grow?

leatherback

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I certainly would. You have -from this view- a slight inverse taper. I would take the layer a ittle higher though, about half of the distance between the spot you marked and the branch above.
 

Shibui

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You have suggested letting it grow as one alternative. What would letting it grow as it currently is achieve?

Layering is your other option. Layering at the point shown will yield 2 trees with almost straight trunks. Is that what you want?

Branch position is not quite clear in the photo but I'm wondering whether taking the top off just above the first branch would yield anything better? Still leaves the reverse taper @leatherback has spotted but that could probably be grown out while the tree recovers and develops after the chop. This option would all hinge on the origin and direction of that first branch and whether there's a suitable shoot on it to develop an apex.

Grafting a new first branch on the trunk at that bend is another option worth considering. Maybe also add a back branch too. I would also reduce the current canopy somewhat if possible which would improve the height/trunk ratio and help the lower branches develop better.
 

KKBonsai

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Hey.

I'm in North West. I just found a lady called Kathy Steyn. She's in Randfontein. Her place is called Bonsai Magic. Definitely give her a check of you don't know her.
 
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I think that the main problem of your tree is the part of the trunk just after the first angle. It is both vertical and without taper. The part you intend to leave under the layer is not as problematic because it does have some taper. If you rotate it, I think the trunk line is OK. You'll need to graft branches to better the taper but with time, it could become a nice tree.
rotation.jpg
 

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