New to bonsai, new to forum... Would like to try chopping trunk on a crimson maple

Shape52

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Hi my name is frank. I have been in love with the art of bonsai since I was a kid. I am finally now seriously getting into it. I was given a crimson maple tree that is basically a 7 foot tall whip. The trunk is about 1 1/4" at the base. I would like to cut it down to about a foot to a foot and a half tall. I would like to know if its possible to cut it so drastically and when the best time to do it would be. I live in N.J. if that helps as far as climate. Thank you in advance for any info.
 

Shape52

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Sorry it's in the wrong category

I just realized I posted it in the wrong area. Sorry.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Do this in the spring, just before the buds swell. If this is a Japanese maple variety, it's likely grafted, don't chop into/below the graft or it may not be a crimson anymore.
 

Ris

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Hello Sharpe52,

Most trunk chops will be done in spring when the tree is out of dormancy.
Also you would cut above the lowest branch or to the height you would like your
tree but remember after a trunk chop you will need to grow out a sacrifice branch
which will be then formed as the new top or Apex...
You will get more information from others as well.
Check out this site on more information, its where I like to see and read the techniques.

http://www.bonsai4me.com/

Rishi.
 

Bonsai Nut

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Post a photo of your whip and someone can mark where you might want to chop it. Aside from the question of a graft (which your clearly want to cut ABOVE), you will probably want to cut it shorter than 12" or 18" particularly if that would leave you with a telephone pole tree with little taper and no movement in the trunk.

We would know a lot more with a photo. It is really easy to photoshop a line on it where you should cut... and then people can argue "no cut it higher, no cut it lower" :)
 

Shape52

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The tree was raised from a seedling. It has about 3 little branches all the way at the top. I'm hoping that it will back bud near the bottom. I will post pics of it.
 

BonsaiPrelude

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I really wouldn't recommend trunk chopping your maple. When I started I was eager to do exactly the same thing because I thought it would give me a nice tree with a big trunk quickly. It won't. I've very rarely seen a convincing trunk chop. Most of them still look like trunks with twigs. You can of course cut your tree if you like, but I think you will be much more satisfied if you buy a tree grown for the purpose of bonsai. There are some pretty good sites the ship all over the place.
 

Poink88

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I really wouldn't recommend trunk chopping your maple. When I started I was eager to do exactly the same thing because I thought it would give me a nice tree with a big trunk quickly. It won't. I've very rarely seen a convincing trunk chop. Most of them still look like trunks with twigs. You can of course cut your tree if you like, but I think you will be much more satisfied if you buy a tree grown for the purpose of bonsai. There are some pretty good sites the ship all over the place.
That is because you cannot spot the ones that were done property. ;)

I will bet that more than half (if not most) of world class maple bonsai are chopped. It does take time to heal over but that is just part of it.
 
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rockm

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"I really wouldn't recommend trunk chopping your maple. When I started I was eager to do exactly the same thing because I thought it would give me a nice tree with a big trunk quickly. It won't. I've very rarely seen a convincing trunk chop. Most of them still look like trunks with twigs."

There are thousands and thousands of successful chops. As mentioned, well-done chops are mostly invisible. Even Japanese "masterpieces" are produced with this method. For examples, go here:
http://www.bonsai-nbf.org/site/japanese.html
or here:
http://www.bonsai-nbf.org/site/north_american.html
or here:
http://www.bonsai-nbf.org/site/chinese.html

Pick a tree in any of those and more than likely, it's been chopped at some point in its history.
 

Dav4

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Time heals all things...including chops:D. When you purchase a nicely developed piece of stock , you're paying for the time invested in growing the stock, as well as the expertise of the grower. It may have started as a seedling or cutting, and over a period of many years, experienced sequences of chops followed by unhindered growth to develop acceptable taper and movement. You need to apply proper technique, and lots of time, usually measured in decades, to get really good results.
 

Stan Kengai

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Trunk chopping isn't something that's done just once to a plant. Most people would consider 3 the least number of chops you can make to create a convincing looking tree. Here is a good article on the subject. There are many other very informative articles on that site also.
 

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