Style a Maple

ml_work

Chumono
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I purchased this Trident Maple last year at the Alabama Bonsai Show. The seller told me it was ready to pot, but too late in the season. He also told me that he had started cutting the branches for shape. The first picture shows how it was when purchase. The next shows without leaves, and the small stubs were the branches were cut. I was not sure about this when I saw it this fall, but since have seen others like this. So I am guessing this is the correct way to cut the limbs back? I plan to put in bonsai pot in the next few weeks. So what do I do with the small branches coming from the shot stub? Do I cut them off or wire them out?

Sorry for the pines in the background, I know if makes it hard to focus, but did not have time to move the tree.

Thanks,
Michael
 

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jk_lewis

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It's hard to help if you don't take the time to give us good pics. The tree looks to be a tangle of branches. They need thinnning. The base is very nice. Trunk could use more taper, but unless you want to do a severe trunk chop to start creating taper, you may have to live with it.

Please take a good picture of the entire tree -- bare of leaves -- from a couple of sides.
 

ml_work

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JKL, thanks for your reply.
My question was not so much as how to shape or style the tree (although I need help with all aspects of this). What I was trying to find out was what to do with the small stubs from branch cut back in the past. The small twigs coming form them, should they all be cut..all but one...or try and direct them outward with wire? As for a severe trunk chop to start creating taper, I am so new to this that I just want some so-so trees to work with for now. I am sure in time (when I have a few trees going) I will work toward true shape and style. But major cuts mean years before the next step, and I did not want to wait, not on this tree anyway.
Thanks,
Michael
 

Tink32

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I would cut all the branches except for 1 and use that branch as the new leader. give it a few years and the scar will heal over. when you eventually trunk chop this tree you will use 1 of the new branches as the new trunk and some of the other branches can be directed downward to give the apperance of age.
 

noissee

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I think I understand what you're asking...
The way you treat each stub will depend on its location on the tree. For instance, if it is low on the trunk, then you might want to leave a couple shoots to grow out into a branch. If the stub is higher up on the trunk, then you might want to cut it off completely and regrow the branch.
In choosing which shoots to leave, that is up to you. It depends on how you want your branch structure to look.
 

ml_work

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Thanks Noissee, that is what I was asking. I have seen many pictures with the limbs cut back this short. I don't understand the process of cutting the limb back so short, just to let it grow back out again. When I purchased the tree, the seller seemed to know what they were doing (they had many other trees that were full and complete). So I planned to continue to work with or in the same direction they were taking the tree.
Have A Great Day!
Michael
 

rockm

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"I don't understand the process of cutting the limb back so short, just to let it grow back out again."

The process is the same as "building" a trunk with taper from a trunk chop.

Basically the idea is to allow strong unchecked growth to thicken the base of the branch (as branches, like trunks, are thicker at their bases--you're really only after the first two or three inches of the initial branch, the rest is just fuel for the tree to produce it), you allow the branch to grow as long as it wants to--until the base is thick enough for your design. More unchecked growth produces thicker branch bases.

You then lop off about 90 percent or more of the unchecked branch in a few yeas--depending on how much taper and movement you want--the more chopped off, the more character the branch may have down the road.

The process is repeated over the years with new growth that comes from recently chopped portions--think how a telescope works--one part builds from another...except each chop hopefully produces two or three new shoots. These shoots are the basis for the next extension of the branch--allowed to grow and/or wired for movement at their bases. Of course you have to select which new shoots have a future and which are mostly unnecessary or redundant--a lot are.

This repeated process "builds" deciduous branches. Unlike pines, deciduous branches can't really be wired into place all at once, as the result is never convincing.
 

ml_work

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Thanks for the info RockM,
I think I understand what you are telling me and it make sense. If the limb were left the original length, it would not be in proportion with the trunk, that has been chopped and tapered, and take away from "convincing" / appearing as a small full grown old tree...?
If I do understand this correct, let me ask this...some of the short /cut back limbs do not have any new growth coming from the end of the limb, it has branches coming from top or bottom. So I would wire them outward to appear as an extention...?...and leaves would hide/cover the gaps ?

Thank you very much for your time and in-depth answer.
Keep Lookin Up!
Michael
 

noissee

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Generally, if you are wanting to extend the branch relatively straight, then you choose the shoot coming from the bottom. This will make for a more convincing transition.

The shoot from the top could be used as a sacrifice if you want more girth, or a sap-drawer (see bonsai4me - advanced maple stuff) so that the growth on the rest of the branch won't become too course.

If you are interested in taking the tree in a more "naturalistic" direction, then you may want some of your branches to grow in a more upward manner, and choose to use the top shoot as the extension. pay close attention to the branch structure of mature deciduous trees, and get your ideas from nature.
 

ml_work

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Thanks Noissee, I understand what you are saying. After reading what RockM wrote I looked back through some of my books. I realized I have been reading about this for the past couple of years in the books. But had not actually done it on a tree, so it was not making sense. What you say follows the same I read tonight. I know that it will be many more questions but I think I understand this much better.

Thanks,
Michael
 

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