Question on position of air layer, or when you come to a fork in the road, do you take it?

BonjourBonsai

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I'd like to air layer a part of this Acer P. but I'm not sure where. Should I:
  1. layer below the Y and make a double trunk,
  2. Layer the left or the right and leave the other, or
  3. Layer both above the Y
There are some leaves below the Y so if I did 1 or 3 the tree should be ok. If I did 2, I could the layer the rest of it next year with some nice taper.

Any thoughts or ways to help me decide would be appreciated.
IMG_20200425_165746842_HDR.jpgIMG_20200425_165810708.jpgIMG_20200425_165815357.jpgIMG_20200425_165751698.jpg
Thanks
 

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Leo in N E Illinois

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Yes, any of the options would work.

I'd probably do 3. Or rather I would air layer at branching points higher above the lowest 'Y' .

If you would eventually want to put what was left into your landscape. THe higher choices will leave some tree left to plant in the ground. If the tree is a "disposal" then you can the following year layer below the first 'Y' and then pitch the rest.
 

Stan Kengai

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The problem with this fork in particular is the the trunks on either side are the same thickness. If you're going for a twin trunk, you need the trunks to differ in size. Other than that, the fork angle is good. If you want a twin trunk, you can layer below the fork and let one trunk grow strongly while restricting the other. You'll need to pick a main trunk (I would go with the one with more movement), and adjust your layer angle accordingly.
 

Shibui

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You can also consider layering below the fork for a single trunk tree. Removing one of the trunks after will leave a single trunk with extra bend and taper. It could even be left intact for a couple of years to add extra thickness to the lowest trunk then layer it off too for even more trees.
It is almost certain that the lower trunk will sprout after the top is removed so layering below the fork does not preclude using the lower trunk after.

Most layers I've seen don't produce the wonderful bonsai the owner had envisaged. These 2 trunks have little taper or real movement though it looks like there may be a few potential spots to prune to side branches to achieve better line and taper.
Good luck with the layer and producing something good from the results.
 

SeanS

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I have a similar situation that I want to layer in spring. The trunk below the Y is pretty taperless and straight, and the Y has caused a bulge already.

I’m considering:

1. layer just below the Y and create a double trunk tree, then chop the remaining mother plant the following year and start that one over.

2. layer the smaller right branch off and start a really small low tree, carve out the remainder of the bulge and keep growing the mother tree with the left bigger branch.

Thoughts? (Photos could be better,hopefully you get the idea)

37C58CD3-6AAF-453E-AB87-264DA3489555.jpegAAB625F9-7600-4EFD-904D-645D01267110.jpeg
 

Shibui

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Oh that is ugly! Typical of what can happen to JM when multiple buds are allowed to grow from the same place. This one appears to have been butchered a number of times. I can see scars and odd angles right through the canopy which makes it difficult to pick any parts which might give some good potential.
You can layer it there but I suspect it will be many years of work to make that look good if it ever does. Sometimes it is quicker to start again. i think I could grow a good JM from seed quicker than I could make a good one from that lump.
Carving out a lump on JM has only ever produced a bigger lump as it heals again for me. Maybe others can do it better?
For me JM is elegant lines and smooth curves. Scars and sudden right angle bends just don't belong with JM IMHO.

There are so many branches it is hard to decide which is the 'smaller right branch'.
What about lopping the entire top and use that lowest branch round the back as a new trunk line?

Apologies for the candid thoughts. I'm sure you love your little tree.
 

BonjourBonsai

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I'm going to try 2 layers, one above and one below the Y.

Another question occurred to me though: can the layers be done simultaneously or should I do the upper one this season and the lower one next season? Each layer would have its own leaf mass to fuel new root growth but I wonder if the difference in vertical distance from the ground would cause the higher layer to fail? I've read that the higher the layer, the less chance there is that it will be successful. Once the bark at the layers is ringed, does that portion of the tree operate independently to create new roots?Polish_20200426_091527478.jpg
 

SeanS

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Oh that is ugly! Typical of what can happen to JM when multiple buds are allowed to grow from the same place. This one appears to have been butchered a number of times. I can see scars and odd angles right through the canopy which makes it difficult to pick any parts which might give some good potential.
You can layer it there but I suspect it will be many years of work to make that look good if it ever does. Sometimes it is quicker to start again. i think I could grow a good JM from seed quicker than I could make a good one from that lump.
Carving out a lump on JM has only ever produced a bigger lump as it heals again for me. Maybe others can do it better?
For me JM is elegant lines and smooth curves. Scars and sudden right angle bends just don't belong with JM IMHO.

There are so many branches it is hard to decide which is the 'smaller right branch'.
What about lopping the entire top and use that lowest branch round the back as a new trunk line?

Apologies for the candid thoughts. I'm sure you love your little tree.
@Shibui Haha no offense taken at all! I bought it like that a few months ago (it was really cheap) so I have no sentimental feelings, hence why I’m open to do ANYTHING to it (apart from tossing in the bin).

1. layer the red off and make a twin trunk. Regrow the mother by chopping low and restarting

2A0B7047-B7C6-4EBD-AA9E-8C796EA3EB15.jpeg

2. Layer the blue off to start a small tree, keep working on the rest of the original tree.

D317B077-7B49-429D-8203-6386A6A5C265.jpeg

@BonjourBonsai sorry for high-jacking your thread, we have similar forks in the the road
 

BonjourBonsai

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@BonjourBonsai sorry for high-jacking your thread, we have similar forks in the the road
No worries! To me, observing, learning and lending advice are all part of being involved.

In your tree, I like option #1. Maybe you can turn that knuckle into nebari. Option #2 seems to leave an inferior tree.
 

BrianBay9

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I'm going to try 2 layers, one above and one below the Y.

Another question occurred to me though: can the layers be done simultaneously or should I do the upper one this season and the lower one next season? Each layer would have its own leaf mass to fuel new root growth but I wonder if the difference in vertical distance from the ground would cause the higher layer to fail? I've read that the higher the layer, the less chance there is that it will be successful. Once the bark at the layers is ringed, does that portion of the tree operate independently to create new roots?View attachment 298579

You can do both layers at once. I do have to ask, why do you want to layer that low (bottom red line) and keep such a long, straight initial trunk? Both the branches above have good movement and would seem incongruous with a long, straight beginning.
 

Peter44

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Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I'm going to try 2 layers, one above and one below the Y.

Another question occurred to me though: can the layers be done simultaneously or should I do the upper one this season and the lower one next season? Each layer would have its own leaf mass to fuel new root growth but I wonder if the difference in vertical distance from the ground would cause the higher layer to fail? I've read that the higher the layer, the less chance there is that it will be successful. Once the bark at the layers is ringed, does that portion of the tree operate independently to create new roots?View attachment 298579
I disagree with your choice here. I can't tell distances in the pictures but make sure the bottom trunk air layer is not to low and I would lower the right fork one as low as you can possible go to catch the movement right at your red line. I'm not sure why you could not air layer both at the fork and eliminate the big scar also. There is nothing great about the trunk below the forks. Just MO of course.
 

Saddler

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I wouldn’t layer anything yet. I would cut it all back to where you would for your bonsai. Let it grow attached and the Wounds will heal quickly. Trim again next year and once you have nice thick branches you like, then airlayer. The up side to this method is you don’t have another tree to babysit that may or may not be good. The down side is that the New branches can get out of hand quickly if you forget about them lol. Don’t ask me how I know.
 

BonjourBonsai

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I disagree with your choice here. I can't tell distances in the pictures but make sure the bottom trunk air layer is not to low and I would lower the right fork one as low as you can possible go to catch the movement right at your red line. I'm not sure why you could not air layer both at the fork and eliminate the big scar also. There is nothing great about the trunk below the forks. Just MO of course.
Thanks for your thoughts on this The trunk is about 1" before the Y. I expect the area within the white circle will die back. And the trees left in the yellow area seem to capture some nice movement. Polish_20200426_150359288.jpg
 

BonjourBonsai

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I wouldn’t layer anything yet. I would cut it all back to where you would for your bonsai. Let it grow attached and the Wounds will heal quickly. Trim again next year and once you have nice thick branches you like, then airlayer. The up side to this method is you don’t have another tree to babysit that may or may not be good. The down side is that the New branches can get out of hand quickly if you forget about them lol. Don’t ask me how I know.
That's an interesting idea that I hadn't considered. I could also try and root the cuttings but that would then make a lot of other trees to take care of. I like those kinds of problems though.
 

BonjourBonsai

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After reading a comment from @Brian Van Fleet about what did someone see in the tree that made them buy it, I took another look at this tree. Here's the line that made me buy it.
Polish_20200426_161606737.jpg
I'm going to layer it as close to the Y as I can.

The other branch has a nice double just a little higher. So I'm going to layer that also.

The revised plan will be this:
Polish_20200426_162604037.jpg
 

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BonjourBonsai

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I wonder the same...
This branch has a fork in it and I think it will make a nice double trunk. One branch is smaller than the other so I think it will be really nice looking. It's hard to capture it in a photo. The white line is where you proposed (and I had originally thought) but the red line is where I think would be best to capture the double trunk.
Polish_20200427_101500329.jpg
 

sorce

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If cutting one, (left here) you can use it's cut hole to begin your ringbarking for the keeper.

This tends to offer the widest point.

Though in this case, lacking taper above, and any good "from the soil" angle or quick bends.

I would develope this material for a couple years before committing to a layer.

You never get this full health again.

Sorce
 
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