Nursery Discounted Amur, Fall Chop?

jmichael16

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Greetings. Long-time lurker, first-time poster.

I scooped up a 1/2 price Amur Maple this weekend in Denver. I was going to buy a grill at HomeDepot when I naturally stumbled upon some Amur Maples for $35.

I have been raising a small collection of tropical trees indoors under lights in the winter and outdoors in the summer for the past 2 years. The one outdoor tree that I did have, J. Procumbens, died it's first winter on the balcony (yeah, I'm in an apartment and I even tried to protect that Juny with a heating pad). It was also sent in December... from California as a gift so it may have been DOA... Anyway, I have been reading up on maples and read that Amur maples should be cold hardy enough for my region. So when I found this discounted Amur, I said why not?

Now I am looking for advice on when I should trunk chop this and get it into some airy soil for the roots. I have heard mixed reports on the right time of year to trunk chop and do root-work on maples. I have heard that an early spring chop just before the buds break will cause strong backbudding which is what I am looking for. There is also a chance that if I chop now, a bud will break before winter dormancy since we have most of August and September left in summer. The tree may have to spend the upcoming winter on the balcony but I may be able to plant it in my parents backyard if that is the general consensus here. I want to get it up out of the pot and into better soil / training pot as soon as possible since it is farily rootbound (had to work more than I wanted to get those chopsticks into the soil).

So what do you guys think? Trunk chop now or upcoming spring? Root prune now or upcoming spring? Plant far away and let it live it's life like a normal tree?
 

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bonsaichile

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I am in Denver too (Which HD is selling discounted Amurs?). My Amur spends the winter on my bench, outside, and does not even flinch. I only protect it when temperatures go down to single digits, but that may be me being overcautious. As for the trunk chop, do it when the tree tells you: After it drops it leaves. Remember to seal to chop and you should be fine. I would not work the roots now (no matter what they are saying in a different thread! 🤣). Your tree (like mine) is probably still actively growing. Wait until the spring for that. Your tree has probably lived years in that container. Another few months in it won't kill it. Unless, that is, you water it as if it was planted in free-draining soil, which it isn't. Just adjust your watering for now and it should be fine.
 

sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

It'd be stupid if it were grafted but it looks it.

Maybe you can layer it high next spring, and make your chop a layer removal next summer.

I don't like chopping to no branch.

I'd see if it pops low, pick a branch, grow it, then chop to it.

Sorce
 

rockm

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I am in Denver too (Which HD is selling discounted Amurs?). My Amur spends the winter on my bench, outside, and does not even flinch. I only protect it when temperatures go down to single digits, but that may be me being overcautious. As for the trunk chop, do it when the tree tells you: After it drops it leaves. Remember to seal to chop and you should be fine. I would not work the roots now (no matter what they are saying in a different thread! 🤣). Your tree (like mine) is probably still actively growing. Wait until the spring for that. Your tree has probably lived years in that container. Another few months in it won't kill it. Unless, that is, you water it as if it was planted in free-draining soil, which it isn't. Just adjust your watering for now and it should be fine.
I also don't give my amurs ANY protection in winter here in No. Virginia. They stay on the bench through the winter. Have for over 15 years now. I have found if I put them under mulch and protect them from the worst cold, they break growth in early February.
 

bonsaichile

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More than grafted, it looks like someone chopped off a lower trunk. Amurs tend to grow as clumps when full-sized trees, and it is not infrequent that they come in nursery cans as multitrunks.
 

jmichael16

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I am in Denver too (Which HD is selling discounted Amurs?). My Amur spends the winter on my bench, outside, and does not even flinch. I only protect it when temperatures go down to single digits, but that may be me being overcautious. As for the trunk chop, do it when the tree tells you: After it drops it leaves. Remember to seal to chop and you should be fine. I would not work the roots now (no matter what they are saying in a different thread! 🤣). Your tree (like mine) is probably still actively growing. Wait until the spring for that. Your tree has probably lived years in that container. Another few months in it won't kill it. Unless, that is, you water it as if it was planted in free-draining soil, which it isn't. Just adjust your watering for now and it should be fine.

Thanks for the good info! That cold-hardiness is exactly what I was hoping for. Yeah, I think it should do fine on the balcony this winter from what I have heard as long as I can dial-in the watering.

The Home Depot off Colorado near Cherry Creek is selling them.
 

bonsaichile

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Beware that these guys have coarser growth than other maples. Aim for a larger bonsai. If you are beginning, the Annual Bonsai Show at the Botanic Gardens is on September 7th and 8th. Check it out.
 

jmichael16

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Thank you all for your replies and suggestions. I will wait until spring for any major work and I may plan on air-layering the top off.

Looks like it’s been grafted. Is it a special variety ?

It is an Amur Maple Flame variety. It is very plausible that it was grafted but I am not good at spotting it. The trunk color is similar in the regions below and above the (potential) graft. Is there any telltale sign that it has been grafted? Or is it possible that the supplying nursery cut one of the two main trunks before distribution to HD? I would likely go the air-layer route in spring if it is grafted.
 

bonsaichile

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Thank you all for your replies and suggestions. I will wait until spring for any major work and I may plan on air-layering the top off.



It is an Amur Maple Flame variety. It is very plausible that it was grafted but I am not good at spotting it. The trunk color is similar in the regions below and above the (potential) graft. Is there any telltale sign that it has been grafted? Or is it possible that the supplying nursery cut one of the two main trunks before distribution to HD? I would likely go the air-layer route in spring if it is grafted.
Generally, you'd see a V-shaped or a diagonal scar and a difference in girth where the scion was attached to the root stock. This is usually done with JM, as the seedlings will not necessarily be true to the parent tree. But I am not aware they do it for Amurs. Never seen one grafted. Yours (barring a better pic) looks like the cut off a trunk IMHO.
 

jmichael16

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Beware that these guys have coarser growth than other maples. Aim for a larger bonsai. If you are beginning, the Annual Bonsai Show at the Botanic Gardens is on September 7th and 8th. Check it out.

Yes I was indeed aiming for a larger specimen here (maybe 18-24"). I have read about the long internodes and large leaves of these Amurs so was planning on going bigger for better perspective. I would eventually like to grow J. Maples but I don't think they would do well with my current apartment balcony setup and the low humidity in CO. Someday, I will have a greenhouse and hopefully be able to pull it off.

And yes, I went to the Bonsai show last year and it was awesome! Will definitely go this year as well!

Generally, you'd see a V-shaped or a diagonal scar and a difference in girth where the scion was attached to the root stock. This is usually done with JM, as the seedlings will not necessarily be true to the parent tree. But I am not aware they do it for Amurs. Never seen one grafted. Yours (barring a better pic) looks like the cut off a trunk IMHO.

There may be a subtle diagonal scar extending from the top of the cut scar down towards the base. I can take a few more pictures after work today as well.
 

bonsaichile

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Yes I was indeed aiming for a larger specimen here (maybe 18-24"). I have read about the long internodes and large leaves of these Amurs so was planning on going bigger for better perspective. I would eventually like to grow J. Maples but I don't think they would do well with my current apartment balcony setup and the low humidity in CO. Someday, I will have a greenhouse and hopefully be able to pull it off.

And yes, I went to the Bonsai show last year and it was awesome! Will definitely go this year as well!



There may be a subtle diagonal scar extending from the top of the cut scar down towards the base. I can take a few more pictures after work today as well.
I have JMs in Denver. Humidity is not a problem, they do extremely well here. Sun exposure is more of a problem, since it can lead to scorched leaves, which are unsightly. If you can give them morning sun and afternoon dapple shade, they should do fine. Have you visited the bonsai nursery in Englewood? They usually have some JM for sale there.
 

PABonsai

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Related question to maples. If you have a maple that is in fact grafted, will it affect the long term aesthetics? Will it be noticeable as the tree ages with some differentiation in the bark? Is it a good idea for bonsai to layer above the root stock and essentially remove the graft?
 

jmichael16

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Bringing this back up because the buds are poppin on this dude. There are two buds that have popped below the graft. What do you all think?
 

Forsoothe!

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Welcome to Crazy!

It'd be stupid if it were grafted but it looks it.

Maybe you can layer it high next spring, and make your chop a layer removal next summer.

I don't like chopping to no branch.

I'd see if it pops low, pick a branch, grow it, then chop to it.

Sorce
That would make it Flame Amur, the only named cultivar I know of in the trade. There are a bunch of different foliages I've seen pictured, but none were named varieties, oddly enough.
 
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