Recent Maple Purchase

chefmateo

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So I was at Home Depot getting stuff for my "honey-do" list, & of course while there I always peruse the garden section..especially this time of year. I saw this Japanese Maple all alone on a pallet & was immediately drawn to it. Now right off it's about 33 inches from the base to the top, so not a bonsai(I attached a photo that shows scale). However sitting in the pot it looked nice, had a good shape and could perhaps be a Chumono or Omono bonsai in the future. I did notice some dead branches & so I pointed it out to the manager & he knocked off some of the price. Out the door for $115 wasn't a deal I thought. I'm very ambitious and like a challenge...so we'll see. I just wanted some opinions & thoughts from the group. Thanks.
 

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0soyoung

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With relatively little effort, it is a nice patio tree or landscape planting. However, it wouldn't be a bonsai in my book without many years of effort (which, in fact, is much of what I enjoy about bonsai). For bonsai, we generally want the exact opposite of what arborists have taught us that we want in a landscape. It is so ingrained in our thinking that it is hard to overcome at first (at least it was for me).

In bonsai I don't really want long straight and trunks/stems/branches with little taper. There is only one way to get what I want and that is to cut/chop a trunk and let it grow until the new part is nearing the thickness of the old. Then cut it again a bit higher up and repeat. It really hurts to cut and toss away the amount of tree one must grow to make this happen - one can air layer this 'sacrifice' from a maple and enlarge their collection instead (personally, I think there is nothing much worse that having a one-of-a-kind tree in development - creativity flows much more readily with several attempts). Branch development works the same way and also relies on the principle that the old part will not thicken any more until the new part is just about at thick. IOW, you let it grow and grow and grow until the stem is about as thick as you want it to be, then you cut it and grow the next part.

So, I suggest that you look closely at your tree, specifically for a chunk less than 12 inches long that looks like the beginning of a bonsai you'd like to make. It may be just a curving section of a stem that has nodes at convenient locations, it could be where two different size branches diverge for a two trunk ('mother-daughter' or 'father-son') composition, etc. Myself, I would have identified this when I bought the tree, but I've been through this before. I still have 6 of more than 10 air layers I made from one tree starting about a decade ago. I learned a lot as a consequence of things I did that killed the four-plus. Of the six I still have, one is as much of a bonsai as it will ever be, one has become the stock for some 'Higasayama' foliage grafts, two are on track to be respectable bonsai within the next decade. With the last pair, I 'chopped' and have, in effect, restarted anew.

Long story short: Air layer a branch or two from your tree for bonsai purposes and otherwise enjoy it in a pot as a patio tree or plant it in your landscape.
 

chefmateo

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Is a patio tree that's trained & kept styled & dwarfed technically no longer bonsai? I would agree it certainly doesn't comply wth the traditional Japanese school of thought. However the Chinese version Penjing, may disagree. I certainly hear what your saying & don't completely disagree with any of your points. My only argument is getting caught up in the strictness of definition vs the subjectiveness of the art. I'll certainly never put it in any competition, but I can admire it's beauty on a smallish scale. I will definitely root cuttings for future candidates that will fall into the more strict definition. Thank you for comments...I truly appreciate them.
 

amatbrewer

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For bonsai, we generally want the exact opposite of what arborists have taught us that we want in a landscape.
Funny you mention that. I just had an arborist do some work on my landscape trees. In discussing what I wanted and his recommendations, the subject of Bonsai came up. He mentioned he has often considered doing bonsai but is hesitant due to so much of what we do runs counter to what he does. I can totally understand his point.
 

Pitoon

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Is a patio tree that's trained & kept styled & dwarfed technically no longer bonsai? I would agree it certainly doesn't comply wth the traditional Japanese school of thought. However the Chinese version Penjing, may disagree. I certainly hear what your saying & don't completely disagree with any of your points. My only argument is getting caught up in the strictness of definition vs the subjectiveness of the art. I'll certainly never put it in any competition, but I can admire it's beauty on a smallish scale. I will definitely root cuttings for future candidates that will fall into the more strict definition. Thank you for comments...I truly appreciate them.

Topiary, perhaps???

....I see 2 dozen air layers in that tree. Get started and soon you'll have so many little Acers to play with.
 

chefmateo

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Topiary, perhaps???

....I see 2 dozen air layers in that tree. Get started and soon you'll have so many little Acers to play with.
There is such a thing as Japanese topiary..where they are shaped into clouds and such. Whatever you wanna call it, I have a nice little maple that if I eventually put into a shallower pot will be under 3ft tall for as long as I continue to prune & shape it. I'm fine with that indefinitely.
 

Pitoon

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There is such a thing as Japanese topiary..where they are shaped into clouds and such. Whatever you wanna call it, I have a nice little maple that if I eventually put into a shallower pot will be under 3ft tall for as long as I continue to prune & shape it. I'm fine with that indefinitely.
What is important is that "YOU" are happy with your tree. Find yourself a nice pot and there you go.
 

chefmateo

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What is important is that "YOU" are happy with your tree. Find yourself a nice pot and there you go.
I really appreciate your comment. I respect the others also. I love seeing a range of opinions & observations on what actually qualifies as bonsai & what I should do or not do with my material. At the end of the day I suppose we all can appreciate the beauty of trees no matter the form or medium.
 

chefmateo

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With relatively little effort, it is a nice patio tree or landscape planting. However, it wouldn't be a bonsai in my book without many years of effort (which, in fact, is much of what I enjoy about bonsai). For bonsai, we generally want the exact opposite of what arborists have taught us that we want in a landscape. It is so ingrained in our thinking that it is hard to overcome at first (at least it was for me).

In bonsai I don't really want long straight and trunks/stems/branches with little taper. There is only one way to get what I want and that is to cut/chop a trunk and let it grow until the new part is nearing the thickness of the old. Then cut it again a bit higher up and repeat. It really hurts to cut and toss away the amount of tree one must grow to make this happen - one can air layer this 'sacrifice' from a maple and enlarge their collection instead (personally, I think there is nothing much worse that having a one-of-a-kind tree in development - creativity flows much more readily with several attempts). Branch development works the same way and also relies on the principle that the old part will not thicken any more until the new part is just about at thick. IOW, you let it grow and grow and grow until the stem is about as thick as you want it to be, then you cut it and grow the next part.

So, I suggest that you look closely at your tree, specifically for a chunk less than 12 inches long that looks like the beginning of a bonsai you'd like to make. It may be just a curving section of a stem that has nodes at convenient locations, it could be where two different size branches diverge for a two trunk ('mother-daughter' or 'father-son') composition, etc. Myself, I would have identified this when I bought the tree, but I've been through this before. I still have 6 of more than 10 air layers I made from one tree starting about a decade ago. I learned a lot as a consequence of things I did that killed the four-plus. Of the six I still have, one is as much of a bonsai as it will ever be, one has become the stock for some 'Higasayama' foliage grafts, two are on track to be respectable bonsai within the next decade. With the last pair, I 'chopped' and have, in effect, restarted anew.

Long story short: Air layer a branch or two from your tree for bonsai purposes and otherwise enjoy it in a pot as a patio tree or plant it in your landscape.

Would you consider these to be bonsai?
 

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@chefmateo i am with on you on the “big bonsai”

this discussion might interest you: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/severe-root-pruning-a-maple-how-to-transition-from-a-big-nursery-pot-to-a-bonsai-pot-help-wanted.35842/

as might the domoto maple (attached), which is an 8’ tall tree at the pacific bonsai museum. The highly respected artist certainly thought he was doing bonsai while he made it

finally, the last 3 peter chan videos starting with this one, he mentions his love for big bonsai

all of my landscape maples, in ground or in pots, are all wired and pruned like bonsai.

I encourage you to join me in “doing bonsai” to big maples, just don’t talk about it online because it confuses and upsets people ?

attached is my aka shigitatsu sawa, planted in the ground, wired and staked

also attached is a a draft of a section of the front yard. You can tell from the picture that my orange katsura (to the right of my bench in the last picture) will be very bonsai-ed, and ideally, highly ramified, even when planted in the ground ?

edit: to be clear, i completely agree with @0soyoung : this is a landscape tree, and not worthwhile for ‘bonsai’ as it is now. Air layering is an option, but as a landscape tree it can get very interesting
 

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chefmateo

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@chefmateo i am with on you on the “big bonsai”

this discussion might interest you: https://www.bonsainut.com/threads/severe-root-pruning-a-maple-how-to-transition-from-a-big-nursery-pot-to-a-bonsai-pot-help-wanted.35842/

as might the domoto maple (attached), which is an 8’ tall tree at the pacific bonsai museum. The highly respected artist certainly thought he was doing bonsai while he made it

finally, the last 3 peter chan videos starting with this one, he mentions his love for big bonsai

all of my landscape maples, in ground or in pots, are all wired and pruned like bonsai.

I encourage you to join me in “doing bonsai” to big maples, just don’t talk about it online because it confuses and upsets people ?

attached is my aka shigitatsu sawa, planted in the ground, wired and staked

also attached is a a draft of a section of the front yard. You can tell from the picture that my orange katsura (to the right of my bench in the last picture) will be very bonsai-ed, and ideally, highly ramified, even when planted in the ground ?

edit: to be clear, i completely agree with @0soyoung : this is a landscape tree, and not worthwhile for ‘bonsai’ as it is now. Air layering is an option, but as a landscape tree it can get very interesting
Love me some Peter Chan. Those large maple are breath taking. I have some additional inspiration now. Thanks for sharing.
 

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