Merlotlo

Sapling
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Hello all!

I've done a little research on Bonsai and recently went to a nursery and picked up a maple for $20. The lady who sold it to me just said it was a maple, I think we had a language barrier.

I cut it down a bit but was looking for some advice on next steps for this tree. Should I leave it in this pot or start training it down? Should I cut the top down more as I don't love how tall it is?

Any advice would be appreciated as well as the type of tree I have. Let me know if you need a close up of the leaves, I think they might have a disease or something.

Also looking into a bonsai class near me254092
 

GGB

Omono
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it's grafted a few inches up on the trunk so it isn't just green acer palmatum. Maybe bloodgood? but im not a maple guy, it has great movement and wil be good for learning basics on. I wouldn't go nuts on it. take it slow and be intentional. you'll learn a lot more that way
 

Merlotlo

Sapling
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I live in Oregon, USA. Hardiness zone 8b I believe. i I cut back a large branch from the top and a couple little branches that weren't very pretty. I will leave the tree alone for now though, thank you!
 

GGB

Omono
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no harm in that, might cause some back budding. just noticed your username, it's awesome. Didn't realize you were a new member, welcome. I'm the guy with the maple leaf avatar who doesn't know maples. other more experienced members will have advice I'm sure
 

Merlotlo

Sapling
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no harm in that, might cause some back budding. just noticed your username, it's awesome. Didn't realize you were a new member, welcome. I'm the guy with the maple leaf avatar who doesn't know maples. other more experienced members will have advice I'm sure
Thank you! I'm a big wino and my nickname has always been Lolo. I appreciate the advice. I'm sure you know a lot more about maples then me. It's nice to meet you I just picked a red maple cause it looks like the one I had in my childhood front yard and I know they can grow in Oregon. Lol.
 

penumbra

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I think it will be fine in your climate zone. I am in zone 6 and nearly 5 so I have to be very careful about heavy pruning on deciduous trees after about mid July.
Welcome to the group. There are a number of brilliant bonsai people here. I am not one of them but I do have some experience and about 50 years in horticulture.
 

cbroad

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@Merlotlo
That's a lot of maple for $20!

I was wondering how it was so cheap, then saw you're from Oregon; a major portion of the country's nursery stock Japanese maples are grown in your state.

One question, is that pot very heavy? Just wondering if it's planted in soil and pine bark/fines, or if there's a clay rootball surrounded by pine bark? If there is a clay rootball, then that will have to be taken care of next spring.

In the nursery trade, we call that a B&C ("balled and contained"), you might also hear the term B&B which is "balled and burlap," meaning the tree was field grown and then dug up and a burlap diaper has been put on. B&Bs and B&Cs can be a pain to deal with because eventually all of that clay will have to taken off the root system, either meticulously with some sort of hand tool or a stream of water.

Welcome to the site!
 
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Merlotlo

Sapling
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@Merlotlo
That's a lot of maple for $20!

I was wondering how it was so cheap, then saw you're from Oregon; a major portion of the country's nursery stock Japanese maples are grown in your state.

One question, is that pot very heavy? Just wondering if it's planted in soil and pine bark/fines, or if there's a clay rootball surrounded by pine bark? If there is a clay rootball, then that will have to be taken care of next spring.

In the nursery trade, we call that a B&C ("balled and contained"), you might also hear the term B&B which is "balled and burlap," meaning the tree was field grown and then dug up and a burlap diaper has been put on. B&Bs and B&Cs can be a pain to deal with because eventually all of that clay will have to taken off the root system, either meticulously with some sort of hand tool or a stream of water.

Welcome to the site!
Thank you for your help. I'm blessed to live in Oregon and this was a local nursery with some very reasonable prices. I might have to go back and pick up a couple more!
It's not very heavy. I lifted it with relative ease and I'm not the strongest person. I would say it probably weighs 20-30 pounds. I can pull the tree out of the container and I'm pretty sure it's planted with soil and bark. I took a picture of it so you could maybe tell.254150
 

BrianBay9

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Come spring you can get that root ball reduced in size significantly, and into even better soil. At that point you can cut it back hard and start to establish your structure. Don't cut lower than the graft or you'll lose the varietal foliage and revert to standard J maple. Welcome. Looks like a good start.
 

Farwest

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@Merlotlo Not sure where your’re at in Oregon, but here’s a link that lists most of the clubs/societies in the Pacific NW PNBCA I’ll bet there are great people in every club, many with decades of experience that are really helpful. Dues are usually very reasonable ($15-25/year) and they can provide a wealth of local knowledge in your area. Club members are also a great source of pre-bonsai material.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

Masterpiece
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@Merlotlo
That's a lot of maple for $20!

I was wondering how it was so cheap, then saw you're from Oregon; a major portion of the country's nursery stock Japanese maples are grown in your state.

One question, is that pot very heavy? Just wondering if it's planted in soil and pine bark/fines, or if there's a clay rootball surrounded by pine bark? If there is a clay rootball, then that will have to be taken care of next spring.

In the nursery trade, we call that a B&C ("balled and contained"), you might also hear the term B&B which is "balled and burlap," meaning the tree was field grown and then dug up and a burlap diaper has been put on. B&Bs and B&Cs can be a pain to deal with because eventually all of that clay will have to taken off the root system, either meticulously with some sort of hand tool or a stream of water.

Welcome to the site!
Maybe it's also low in price because it looks like it's been wedge-grafted.
 

Josh88

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If you live near Portland, the Bonsai Society of Portland is a great club. The monthly meetings are on hold for the summer, but there will be a "Bonsai Jamboree" event on September 14th that will definitely be worth checking out. You can go to portlandbonsai.org to find specific info. Across the river at Tsugawa's Nursery in Woodland WA there is a monthly club that is much smaller than BSOP but has a lot to offer well.
 

Merlotlo

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Maybe it's also low in price because it looks like it's been wedge-grafted.
Not sure, I don't have very much experience with grafting. Is there a way to tell if its been grafted? She had about 7 red maples that were this price and I liked the look of this trunk the most.
 

Merlotlo

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Amen.

Sell it to someone for $400 down here and buy a Bonsai one!

Sorta joking....sorta.

Cheers!

Welcome to Crazy!

Sorce
LOL. Thank you! I did just buy a juniper off of Brussel's Bonsai because I had an amazon gift card burning a hole in my pocket. The obsession is real
 
D

Deleted member 21616

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welcome to the forum!

Is there a way to tell if its been grafted?
in the original picture you posted, a few inches up from the soil, you can see where it look like one tree (darker green, upper) was inserted into another tree (lower green, base). for many people, this would be the first issue where a decision would need to be made before any other decisions could be made. you have many options, here are a few:

1) you can try to grow the trunk thick enough so that the graft will disappear. This occurs in landscape specimens (because the trunk is allowed to grow without constraints), but in bonsai it is certainly harder to accomplish, and would take decades if it were to occur at all.

2) air layer above the graft - perhaps just a few inches above the graft where the interesting movement in the trunk begins. this would normally be done if your goal was to create a bonsai with the specific cultivar you purchased. in your case, the cultivar is unknown (it may or may not be among those for which there is a general consensus regarding their suitability for bonsai. some japanese maples, like bloodgood or red sentinel, are considerably less suitable).

3) ignore the graft totally (knowing that this will never be an exhibit-level specimen) and simply have fun and practice with this tree

If you choose to air layer (at the appropriate time of year), i would not repot this tree (since you want vigorous roots, which will not be part of your future tree anyways)

if you choose to ignore the graft and create the best bonsai this tree can be, i would repot and explore the roots at the appropriate time of year - i would do this in-person with somebody more experienced for the sake learning about repotting as well as everything else the conversation will inevitably lead to. @LanceMac10 posted some photos and info here that might be helpful to you:


other options exists, but these are probably the most common

yesterday i posted some links in 2 posts in the following thread, and these may also be helpful to yo if you have not already come across them:


there are some great clubs, professionals, and bonsai-specific nurseries in your area of north america - these are all great places to learn and access bonsai material
 
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Paulpash

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While you're cruising the garden centres it's useful to have a list of stock that has been proven to make 'good' bonsai with the right development. Here's a starter list of just some of the maples I'd select if I saw a good example on my travels :

Outstanding Spring Foliage

Deshojo
Shindeshojo
Beni-maiko
Orange Dream
Katsura

Grown for their bark

Going green - bright green bark
Sango Kaku - red stems, butter foliage
Arakawa / nishiki gawa - rough, plated bark
Bi-hoo (sometimes Bihou) - yellow bark

Dwarf cultivars - small internodes and / or slow growing - very suited to bonsai

Shishi gashira
Kiyohime
Kotohime
Kashima
Sharp's Pygmy

This is not an exhaustive list but indicative of good qualities for bonsai. The important thing is to be able to recognize a good graft (no bulges, good, smooth transition all the way up). Often you will see a V shape in grafted maples a few inches up (Edit: the poster above has covered this well so no need to waffle on).

Good luck getting into the hobby :)
 
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