Styling Tips for my Japanese Maple

JuniperSol

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I recently got this Japanese maple and would like to get some assistance when it comes to styling. Although I know it is not the right season to plan for pruning nor structuring, I figured seeing the tree in full leaf would help. The main branches seem a bit long and there might be a couple that might need to be removed. Despite having a sacrificial branch, I do not plan on developing the trunk further. It already is thick enough in my opinion. Thank you in advance :)

Here's an idea as to what I would do with the branches (red = cut | green = air layer | blue = bend). What do you think? Any recommendations? Corrections? Heads up?
 

BobbyLane

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the low branch might not be as low as you think, you should see how far the base goes down first and what the nebari is like. often nursery trees are planted very deeply usually smothering a load of branches in the process.
everyone will have different opinions of where to cut, it all boils down to what trees you like really.
 

JuniperSol

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the low branch might not be as low as you think, you should see how far the base goes down first and what the nebari is like. often nursery trees are planted very deeply usually smothering a load of branches in the process.
everyone will have different opinions of where to cut, it all boils down to what trees you like really.
There are roots right at the top, just slightly below the soil
 

leatherback

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There are roots right at the top
Good news Buuut.. do make sure these are not "fake" roots. Often nursery stock can have roots at the surface, after being potted too deep. But the real nebari (the heavy roots) can be deeper. If these are roots the size of spaghetti, the nebari might be hiding deeper.
 

papkey5

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I think a problem with your first two main branches would be inverse taper. Perhaps develop that trunk with what you are planning to air layer
 

ConorDash

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I agree with others, have a dig about. Nursery soil is dumped on to the tree, perhaps at multiple occasions. Each time, the tree might produce roots higher and higher up the tree trunk. You want to get down to the bottom of that + you will want to do it ANYWAY cos you'll need to get the base as flat as possible for the future potting of it.
You won't hurt it by having a bit of a dig about.

Here is one of the 10 Beech I purchased recently, just hedging stock for ground growing.

Red is the soil line, blue are the roots coming from the trunk, green is trunk all under the soil.

1617959210869.png

Not to say you'd want to go all the way down to the lowest point, but it gives you more options + usually the lowest point is the widest.
On this Beech, theres nothing useful on it, so ill just be trying to get a flat base and I'll use a combination of tiles, ground growing and ground layering to get good radial roots.
 

sorce

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I'd stub it out way shorter.

I reckon after you dig through enough plants, you start to know where the roots really are by the top soil composition.

A study of others' doesn't hurt either.

You reckon @ConorDash beech was a 1gallon seedling, up-potted to a 5gl about 3 years later?

These nursery trade patterns don't change much, so they can be read.

Sorce
 

JuniperSol

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Good news Buuut.. do make sure these are not "fake" roots. Often nursery stock can have roots at the surface, after being potted too deep. But the real nebari (the heavy roots) can be deeper. If these are roots the size of spaghetti, the nebari might be hiding deeper.
They’re larger than a spaghetti noodle
 

JuniperSol

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I'd stub it out way shorter.

I reckon after you dig through enough plants, you start to know where the roots really are by the top soil composition.

A study of others' doesn't hurt either.

You reckon @ConorDash beech was a 1gallon seedling, up-potted to a 5gl about 3 years later?

These nursery trade patterns don't change much, so they can be read.

Sorce
is this more ideal?
 

ConorDash

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This is assuming only this view as the best front, Id need to see it from many angles to give a better opinion + find the nebari too, as it has a large indication on the front of the tree.

Bit rough, got distracted as I am at work, but I actually think maybe remove the second, less branch instead of the right one.
Blue and green are branches, yellow is canopy, red is cut marks.

1617981225562.png

By keeping both left side primary's, you have that parallel space between them:
1617981454798.png

Which I personally think is not good looking.
 

JuniperSol

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This is assuming only this view as the best front, Id need to see it from many angles to give a better opinion + find the nebari too, as it has a large indication on the front of the tree.

Bit rough, got distracted as I am at work, but I actually think maybe remove the second, less branch instead of the right one.
Blue and green are branches, yellow is canopy, red is cut marks.

View attachment 366819

By keeping both left side primary's, you have that parallel space between them:
View attachment 366821

Which I personally think is not good looking.
I’ll get more pictures when I get home. The reason I chose that one branch to remove is because it goes towards the camera rather than away. But I’ll send photos to explain better later
 

sorce

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goes towards the camera rather than away.

Seems the only one on a different plane, the only one offering 3d. That'd make it a keeper.

But I don't think anything is worth keeping in those 4 trunks. Removal of any one leaves meh.

Gotta stop looking at what's there and look further into the future. Grow something less meh.

Sorce
 

JuniperSol

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Seems the only one on a different plane, the only one offering 3d. That'd make it a keeper.

But I don't think anything is worth keeping in those 4 trunks. Removal of any one leaves meh.

Gotta stop looking at what's there and look further into the future. Grow something less meh.

Sorce
I like your lay out btw and I agree with a lot of those cuts. I’m new to bonsai so I appreciate your input
 

JuniperSol

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I agree with others, have a dig about. Nursery soil is dumped on to the tree, perhaps at multiple occasions. Each time, the tree might produce roots higher and higher up the tree trunk. You want to get down to the bottom of that + you will want to do it ANYWAY cos you'll need to get the base as flat as possible for the future potting of it.
You won't hurt it by having a bit of a dig about.

Here is one of the 10 Beech I purchased recently, just hedging stock for ground growing.

Red is the soil line, blue are the roots coming from the trunk, green is trunk all under the soil.

View attachment 366770

Not to say you'd want to go all the way down to the lowest point, but it gives you more options + usually the lowest point is the widest.
On this Beech, theres nothing useful on it, so ill just be trying to get a flat base and I'll use a combination of tiles, ground growing and ground layering to get good radial roots.
I just got 40qt of calcined clay so I’ll be ordering some pond baskets to help develop the roots more and figure out what’s ACTUALLY there. Might just be a slip pot with a bit of removal of the 1st inch of soil
 

JuniperSol

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I’m at work right now so I’m miss-reading names and what not
 

Shibui

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Beware of keeping any sections with long internodes. Buds only grow from nodes so long internodes really limit possibilities for ramification. Especieally important as you get further up and out.

Hard to really tell what is happening front to back just from a couple of photos but I would probably try to keep the central leader as the main trunk. It does come forward a bit (maybe more than the photo shows?) but I'd try to move it backward a little with heavy wire or even a bar and turnbuckle or similar. The apex of a bonsai should come forward a little to enhance perspective but it depends how much it currently leans and how much movement you can get.

Use existing taper in the branches if possible so I would hesitate to chop right back to all the thicker sections unless really necessary as most branches already have some taper from previous cuts.

I do like the natural upright branch style for JM and this one looks like it has good possibilities for that style so good luck making something out of it.
 

JuniperSol

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Hard to really tell what is happening front to back just from a couple of photos but I would probably try to keep the central leader as the main trunk. It does come forward a bit (maybe more than the photo shows?) but I'd try to move it backward a little with heavy wire or even a bar and turnbuckle or similar.
It won’t bend at all, it’s really thick
 

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