Shohin Maple Development Question

hemmy

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I need some feedback on how to proceed with cutbacks with respect to keeping the best trunk line and not creating a detrimental wound with dieback down the trunk on this Japanese Maple. It’s been about 5yrs of trunk building in containers to this point. It is 5” from the base to the top of the branch divisions on the right side, so it seems like the right height to start short secondary branching in the apex. I was building the leader and apex as the right most extension. The middle extension was a sacrifice for wound healing on both the front and back. This winter I cut the middle back to the current level, but didn’t remove it entirely. You can see the older scar below it on the backside and another branch off the back that is healing that wound. The back extension has too long of an internode and is unusable in the design. I like the right leader and direction changes with a slight lean that I am developing forward.

Should I carve down the entire middle extension and/or remove the back branch and work on the slow heal? It’s pushing leaves now so I’d wait until early summer.

Are there any votes for keeping the middle and removing the right side?

Removing the middle also leaves a large negative space that seemingly needs to be filled with primary branching at a point lower than the apex?

The left side also has some decision points, as I need to either keep the short stubby piece or remove it in favor of the thinner branch. The first node is a little long on the skinny one, but I was keeping it until I was sure I could get branching and make “stubby”.

Any advice, opinion, or slander is welcome.

Front is first picture below.
4244B8D5-FD08-49ED-97BC-42E2E9C37E8D.jpeg


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Shibui

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Looks like you've done a good job so far.
Looks like a toss up between the centre and the right side. Both have good points and both have problems. Without being able to see the whole tree in 3D I think I'd probably go with the right side as it has better taper but it would not take very much to change that preference.
You'll need to take out the middle right down to include taking out the existing scar as well. The problem with larger cuts at this stage is you'll be slowing the new growth to get shorter internodes and better ramification so healing will be much slower. Unfortunately I don't know any alternative.
You mention the rear branch has long internode so I'd chop it back but leave a stub so it will produce new shoots that you can start a new branch from.
There are also more small shoots from the nodes on the right apex. Some of those could be useful to fill in the new space created by removing the middle stump. I've seen many trees that initially appeared too open but soon fills in. If there's a space something will usually emerge to fill it.

The stubby left branch looks better in the photos. I think you can get away with the thickness down there. I have often left a spare like you have to see which develops better so you could also try just chopping the thinner one to see what develops. I'd say you still have a few years of development to create branches and ramification so no need to make all decisions right away.
 

hemmy

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Thank you for the feedback, it is helpful.
 

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