Pre bonsai Japanese maple

rockm

Spuds Moyogi
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So when I repot next year , what soil mixture should I put in .
If it's in a container, plain bonsai soil. Don't skimp on soil Get a decent prepared mix.

Next spring before bud break (just as buds about to burst open--this can happen quickly and before the danger of frost and freeze has past--so you will have to have a place that is protected from those until it gets warmer), bareroot the tree, remove all the old soil--hose washing works well. Work bonsai soil well into the roots as you repot. The tree can take it.
 

dbonsaiw

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I’m thinking I want it to be about 1’-1’1/2”
The secret to bonsai is proportion. And the main aspect of proportion you should be concentrating on now is the proportion of the base of the trunk above the root flare to the height of the tree. The specific ratio you use will be based on your aesthetic, but 1:6 is one that I like. So if I wanted to grow a tree that was ultimately 1', I would be working towards thickening my base to 2". The quickest way to accomplish this will be to let your tree grow wild. More branch growth + more foliage = more trunk growth. This would require you to grow your tree fairly tall for a maybe a few years and then cut it back to grow your next section of trunk. The trade off for the relative speed is a larger scar when you cut the larger branch.

My advice is that when the time is right you should repot the tree into a shallow but wide grow box and plant it in bonsai soil. Prune the roots down so you have a more radial root system (take off the tap root and downward growing roots) and start developing the nebari.

When you ultimately cut back, I would advise against a blind prune leaving no branches on the tree and rather prune back to existing branches. This will give you more control over where the tree dies back so you don't lose more of the trunk than you intended. The tree will back bud and you can then cut it even lower if desired.
 

Ctbonsai15

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The secret to bonsai is proportion. And the main aspect of proportion you should be concentrating on now is the proportion of the base of the trunk above the root flare to the height of the tree. The specific ratio you use will be based on your aesthetic, but 1:6 is one that I like. So if I wanted to grow a tree that was ultimately 1', I would be working towards thickening my base to 2". The quickest way to accomplish this will be to let your tree grow wild. More branch growth + more foliage = more trunk growth. This would require you to grow your tree fairly tall for a maybe a few years and then cut it back to grow your next section of trunk. The trade off for the relative speed is a larger scar when you cut the larger branch.

My advice is that when the time is right you should repot the tree into a shallow but wide grow box and plant it in bonsai soil. Prune the roots down so you have a more radial root system (take off the tap root and downward growing roots) and start developing the nebari.

When you ultimately cut back, I would advise against a blind prune leaving no branches on the tree and rather prune back to existing branches. This will give you more control over where the tree dies back so you don't lose more of the trunk than you intended. The tree will back bud and you can then cut it even lower if desired.
So taking what I’ve read this is my plan
right now. no pruning just letting it completely grow out especially the top branch . Next grow season I will repot into a grow box , let the sacrificial branch run with a slight pruning of the side branches . And train the nebari and let it grow out before I cut back on that top branch and letting the next lead branch grow out. Hopefully thickening the trunk . Is that correct
 

dbonsaiw

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So taking what I’ve read this is my plan
right now. no pruning just letting it completely grow out especially the top branch . Next grow season I will repot into a grow box , let the sacrificial branch run with a slight pruning of the side branches . And train the nebari and let it grow out before I cut back on that top branch and letting the next lead branch grow out. Hopefully thickening the trunk . Is that correct
Basically, that's what I would do.

I found it useful to ask myself why I am doing something before I do it. When you say you will prune the side branches, the question is why are doing that? What goal does pruning these branches next season accomplish in terms of developing your bonsai? If you can't answer the question, best not to do it. If your single aim is fattening the trunk, why cut anything until you are happy with the thickness? If all I was trying to do right now is fatten the trunk, I would let it grow wild and not cut anything.

But this is not the only way. Allowing the trunk to fatten up to 2" and then cutting it will leave a large scar that will take years to heal (if it heals). If the trunk doesn't have lower movement, an alternative way to proceed would be to cut lower down sooner rather than later and allow the tree to backbud and grow a new leader. The tree would be allowed to grow from there or even grown and cut each season or so. This will give you smaller wounds and more movement, although it will take longer to obtained the desired thickness.

There are no perfect solutions in bonsai. There is a cause and effect to our actions, however, and we can choose our path once we under the relationship.
 
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Basically, that's what I would do.

I found it useful to ask myself why I am doing something before I do it. When you say you will prune the side branches, the question is why are doing that? What goal does pruning these branches next season accomplish in terms of developing your bonsai? If you can't answer the question, best not to do it. If your single aim is fattening the trunk, why cut anything until you are happy with the thickness? If all I was trying to do right now is fatten the trunk, I would let it grow wild and not cut anything.

But this is not the only way. Allowing the trunk to fatten up to 2" and then cutting it will leave a large scar that will take years to heal (if it heals). If the trunk doesn't have lower movement, an alternative way to proceed would be to cut lower down sooner rather than later and allow the tree to backbud and grow a new leader. The tree would be allowed to grow from there or even grown and cut each season or so. This will give you smaller wounds and more movement, although it will take longer to obtained the desired thickness.

There are no perfect solutions in bonsai. There is a cause and effect to our actions, however, and we can choose our path once we under the relationship.
Lets say if one decide to go with the latter. Cut back to minimize large scars. Would winter be a good time for this cut back?
 

dbonsaiw

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Lets say if one decide to go with the latter. Cut back to minimize large scars. Would winter be a good time for this cut back?
Personally, I do not perform any work in the winter. My trees are sleeping and have no way of dealing with the damage I will do. I like to do most work at the end of winter/beginning of spring when the tree is beginning to wake up again. In the fall, your maple will put on buds and there they will stay through the winter until the weather gets nicer. As spring begins to spring, the buds will swell, elongate and then open. No real need to be super OCD here, especially if you have a bunch of trees that will need repotting and such. Just be sure to do it before the buds open and the window is closed. I like to see some swelling - this way I know the roots have already given off at least some of its stored nutrients to the top of the tree and so I can repot and whack up the roots. You may see bleeding on maples when you prune at that time and that's fine. The sap flow will not kill the tree.

Once the buds open, you missed your window. Think about it - the roots gave off all their nutrients and need leaves to perform photosynthesis ASAP to refuel. If you decide to lop off the trunk, you just cut off the one place the tree can refuel from.
 

Ctbonsai15

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So noticed a few cuts done by the bonsai garden I went to and some buds coming out in the bare spot I wasn’t to fond of . And the top growth is looking good
 

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Ctbonsai15

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So went out to do some watering on my bonsai and noticed that the maple was planted on a smaller nursery pot inside a bigger pot and had a bad feeling and exactly what I thought. So what should I do. Cut the roots ? Would it be safe to cut roots and repot ?
 

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Forrestford

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So went out to do some watering on my bonsai and noticed that the maple was planted on a smaller nursery pot inside a bigger pot and had a bad feeling and exactly what I thought. So what should I do. Cut the roots ? Would it be safe to cut roots and repot ?
Put it back how it was, just leave it alone until next spring. I wouldn’t mess with the roots now.
Besides, Those extra roots escaping will only benefit the size and health of the tree.
 

Ctbonsai15

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One week apart and the growth is insane. Didn’t notice no major impact from the overgrown roots for now. I’ll leave alone unless I see some negative effects , at that point I’ll probably cut the bottom of the pot and place in the bigger pot without adding anything to it
 

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