Shishigashira

chubbos

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Recently got this maple . Its 36" tall and about 11 years old . Just wanted to share and maybe get some ideas on styling. I would like to take some air-layers off the top portion since it will be reduced in height . Love the multiple branching on this . Thanks Mark
 

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Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
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I love maples. I wish I could grow them better here in Southern California.

I think you have two challenges: (1) bad nebari and (2) three trunks that split above the soil.

My recommendation would be to do a ground layer and regrow this tree as a three trunk. You will have to work really hard to introduce taper into the design.

Otherwise, you are going to have to really, really cut it back (like to 20% its current height) in order to introduce taper and have the branching make sense. And you'll still have the nebari to deal with.
 

Ang3lfir3

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I agree that this has potential if the branching were reduced... the species grows well.... very dense and has a great fall display(later than most Acer P. varieties)... I have a shishigashira or Kotohime (its hard to actually tell as the leaves aren't exactly crinkly) and it has developed quite well over the years offering nice smaller branching that wires well (its brittle and needs to be wired VERY young... be careful as it also can scar easily)

I don't agree on ground layering the tree... I think a quality nebari could be created on this tree and the less than perfectness of it ads to the charm IMHO.

It is also important to note that the species does not create dramatic taper as it is a slow columnar growing species in nature. More importantly however ancient maples don't have the radical taper you see in the crazy tridents maples (actually most Acer P. in general don't have this) it is part of their charm and provides proof of their age.

with a medium level reduction in the branching (removal of several tall branches) i believe you could easily produce a respectable specimen in 5-7 years and with attention to the nebari you could have a real winner in 10-15.

as the tree is grafted onto to reg Acer P. understock (as are most trees of this variety) reducing to become a triple trunk clump would leave you with the weaker roots of the shishi instead of the strong roots of reg Acer P. making me feel that it could be detromental to the overall performance of the tree.

remember these are only my personal thoughts and therfore should be taken as such...
 

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
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Yes putting it on it's own roots will make it weak, suseptable to disease, and slower than molasses.
 

greerhw

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Yes putting it on it's own roots will make it weak, suseptable to disease, and slower than molasses.

What is mole asses ?

keep it green,
Harry
 

chubbos

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It was actually planted from seed , and I thank everyone for the advice .
 

Bonsai Nut

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It was actually planted from seed , and I thank everyone for the advice .

Ground layer, ground layer! Fix that nebari :) Right now the nebari is ugly as sin and actually has a reverse taper :) Get a nice flare and you can have perfect roots instead of the ones going straight down into the pot.
 
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Your maple is not a seedling, it is a cutting and it's not Shishigashira.

Your maple is a cutting grown 'Koto Hime', and can be identified by the branching and bud character. Shishigashira does not have delicate buds and the branching is much more coarse than Koto Hime.

I have been propagating and growing Koto Hime Dwarf Japanese maple for over 40 years since I introduced it into the American bonsai community.

Attached are a few photos. The smaller bonsai is actually an air layer off the larger bonsai.

Also, by the way, your tree is not a seedling. Cultivars cannot be reproduced by seed, they can only be propagated asexually, vegetatively by cutting, graft, layer, division and tissue culture.

Enjoy your Koto Hime maple and try air layering it. It's easy to do and now is the time.

Bill
 

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Ang3lfir3

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Bill thanks... that helps me be certain of mine as well... which is def Koto Hime (i was pretty sure but that confirms it)....
 

Concorde

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Bill thank you for providing new information that I was not aware of and I am a maple fanatic.

Art
 

chrisbotero

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Bill,
Not to hijack the post, but this is related. Can you identify my tree? I was told it was a shishigashira but I defer to 40 years of experience.

First picture is how it looked last summer when I got it.
Second picture is the mother tree this one was layered from.
Third picture is how it looks today.
Fourth is the buds today.
Fifth is another tree the guy had in his yard. It has a much darker color than mine.

I want to layer off the top portion that juts out to the right. You mentioned in an earlier post that now is the time. I was going to wait unitl the first flush of growth had hardened. What would you suggest? Im in Portland, OR. Its been unseasonably warm lately as you can tell by the buds.

Thanks for the help!
 

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Brian Van Fleet

Pretty Fly for a Bonsai Guy
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Here is a (bad) photo of a Shishigashira I used to have, from a propagator in NC. Taken as it was leafing out; the leaves got convex and much darker like the 5 photos posted by chrisbotero. BRITTLE tree, but had nice fall color.
 

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Stimmie1

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If it is a Kotohime, it will have good roots of its own, no need for grafting. I agree with Bill, it was created from a cutting. The tree is easy to air layer and also easy to use hardwood cuttings. The tree is a slow grower and in time will ramify. The nodes are so close together that the leaves will be very dense. If the nebari are one sided, cut a sliver on the trunk, apply root hormone, cover with moss ( but not necessary) and new roots will produce in that area. Have been working with Kotohime for 15 years, rooting is very easy, and patients is needed when working for the ramification.
Don't over feed!
Jim
 

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