Potential?

Jason

Shohin
Messages
499
Reaction score
125
Location
Western Oregon
USDA Zone
8
So it's been raining here for days and my repotting has come to a standstill. I'm getting bored and it's either time I build an ark or post a tree...so... I'll go with the latter.

In 2003 I moved to the Kitsap Peninsula in WA from zone 5 (Green Bay). I had been trying to do bonsai in zone 5 and got a little giddy with my move due to all the new possibilities that the new climate provided. I went a little crazy with my pre bonsai purchases. One day I made a trip to Gig Harbor and ended up at some nursery (can't remember the name) that specialized in Japanese maples (for the landscape trade). I'd never been able to successfully grow them in zone 5 so I asked for something that might be conducive to growing as a bonsai. I never actually met the nurseryman but his help directed me to a few trees way in some back corner (typical nursery material story).

I picked up this maple and took it home. I didn't spend much on it but quickly got buyers remorse as I read that maples for bonsai shouldn't be grafted (strike one), that dissectum's were not ideal (strike two), and that red maples were less desireable (strike three). I ended up sticking this tree in the ground in disgust for the next 7-8 years (like essentially everything else I bought that first year). It got root pruned once when I moved to OR and I'd occasionally walk by and snip a branch or two but mostly I left it alone. This year I dug it up and decided it either needed to become a bonsai or worst case scenario a "potted patio tree". (It looked stupid in my landscaping.)
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0714.JPG
    IMG_0714.JPG
    60.9 KB · Views: 137
  • IMG_0716.JPG
    IMG_0716.JPG
    60.8 KB · Views: 130

Jason

Shohin
Messages
499
Reaction score
125
Location
Western Oregon
USDA Zone
8
Here's the graft union. I've tried to kind of scar up the trunk in order to make the graft less visible....but it's still obvious.
 

Attachments

  • IMG_0717.JPG
    IMG_0717.JPG
    67.6 KB · Views: 115
  • IMG_0718.JPG
    IMG_0718.JPG
    88.1 KB · Views: 108

mcpesq817

Omono
Messages
1,809
Reaction score
478
Location
VA
USDA Zone
7
If you like the leaves on it, have you considered layering it above the root stock?
 

Jason

Shohin
Messages
499
Reaction score
125
Location
Western Oregon
USDA Zone
8
It's an Acer palmatum dissectum 'Toyama nishiki' and is supposed to have a "drooping habit" so a cascade seemed like the obvious choice. There's a big straight- ish section in the middle that bothers me but the thing grows so damn slow I'm reluctant to prune it away. I did actually place one of those torture like clamp things on it for a year with padding(so I guess I didn't completely leave it alone) but mostly I just managed to just scar the branch badly. We'll call it a "feature". Maybe the graft union could be a "feature" too.
 

Jason

Shohin
Messages
499
Reaction score
125
Location
Western Oregon
USDA Zone
8
I haven't considered air layering it. Mostly because it took me almost 10 years just to get a little taper in the trunk it has.
 
Last edited:

Jason

Shohin
Messages
499
Reaction score
125
Location
Western Oregon
USDA Zone
8
I'm hoping after 3-4 years in a pot it will actually develop some good feeder roots. Then I'd have the option of putting it into a smaller pot.
 

mcpesq817

Omono
Messages
1,809
Reaction score
478
Location
VA
USDA Zone
7
I haven't considered air layering it. Mostly because it took me almost 10 years just to get a little taper in the trunk it has.

If that's the case, you might want to ask yourself if the stock is worth it.
 

Jason

Shohin
Messages
499
Reaction score
125
Location
Western Oregon
USDA Zone
8
It might be worth a "potted patio/deck tree":)
 

Mike423

Shohin
Messages
357
Reaction score
8
Location
Chicago
USDA Zone
5
"I read that maples for bonsai shouldn't be grafted (strike one), that dissectum's were not ideal (strike two), and that red maples were less desireable (strike three)."

I agree and disagree. Grafted Japanese maples are undesirable as bonsai since not only is the graft union visible but most of the time the bark of the rootstock and the scion usually differ in color or texture. Not to say you cant purchase grafted Japanese maples let the trunk grow longer than the finished desired height and then tourniquet air layer a new root system (above the graft) in the ground. I have done this a few times. Dissectums might be a more unusual bonsai, maybe due to being a little harder to deal with and that they don't have as much of a large tree illusion as some of the others, but I have definitely seem some pretty awesome Dissectum specimens. As for red leaved cultivars, some of the most awe striking Jap. Maples I have seen where red leaved verities such as Deshojo, so I strongly disagree with that. Then again I guess it boils down to who's standards your going by (the strict views of the Japanese bonsai artist or ultimately what your personal views might be).
 

Jason

Shohin
Messages
499
Reaction score
125
Location
Western Oregon
USDA Zone
8
I agree with you. I've seen some beautiful red leaved bonsai. The dissectums do seem temperamental compared to the more full leaf acer palmatum varieties I've worked with. And their certainly a long way off from a trident. Mostly these are just things I read along the way. It's tough to sort the wheat from the chaff sometimes. Some of it is aesthetics or more accurately opinions on aesthetics and some is actually horticultural fact.

In this particular case theres actually a pretty decent match up in bark coloration where it's matures. The tree is already sort of set up for a cascade and the trunk diameter can only improve with time. It lacks taper but it seems like lots of cascades lack taper. I'm not sure that's part of their criteria anyway. I just won't call it a bonsai anytime soon (maybe never). It needed to come out of my landscaping anyway...I kept stepping on it.
 

bonsaiTOM

Mame
Messages
210
Reaction score
1
Location
Cedarville, NY, USA
USDA Zone
4
Maybe "stepping on it" has added to its appeal? :confused:

I sometimes find interesting larches along a busy snowmobile trail nearby. ;)
 

Jason

Shohin
Messages
499
Reaction score
125
Location
Western Oregon
USDA Zone
8
I think it probably has. By stepping on it I reduced it...it was top heavy. There are some great Douglas Fir in ditches that repeatedly get cut by those giant road trimmers in WA. It' amazing what you can find if you look. Cow pastures are great too.

Anyway, Bill Valavanis has a Full Moon Maple on one of the Art of Bonsai pages "Trained in the two line cascade style from three gallon nursery stock for 20 years". Maybe I can use it for inspiration. Hopefully I have another 20 years. I'll certainly be working on other more promising material in the meantime. I still really have a hard time throwing away anything with leaves. I'll have to learn to cull very soon.

http://www.artofbonsai.org/galleries/images/nursery_stock/valavanis_full_moon_maple.jpg
 

grog

Shohin
Messages
385
Reaction score
21
Location
Iowa
USDA Zone
5
Totally unrelated to your maple but culling can be a very liberating thing. I'm a pretty compulsive person and I have a hard time letting go of things I've worked on but today I filled the bed of my truck with trees I didn't see a reasonable future with. It felt very liberating. Of course, part of the reason I cleared out so much was to make room for a big batch of shimpaku liners that came this morning, but at least I can have a hand in their growth rather than dealing with a bunch of uncorrectable faults from regular nursery stock. If I were super duper I could probably make something out of those trees but at this point there's no point in maintaining them.

By no means does this mean you should get rid of your maple, I'd cut my arm off before I got rid of that tree. Just speaking to the culling thing in general :D
 

Similar threads

Top