Where to prune for good taper?

Storm87

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Hi all!

How far up the trunk would you to prune back this maple in order to establish good taper in the future? Which branch should be the new leader?

Storm
 

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Chumono
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I hope it’s not at that bottom branch, but I bet the best place is at that bottom branch. It’s a long old road if it is. I think it depends what you want from the tree. Just waiting for someone with the knowledge to chime in.
 

Tieball

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How thick do you want the lower trunk to be in the future? I think it matters because...if you prune back now I think you’re likely to set back further thickening for quite awhile. That’s my thought process when I approach a similar question. However, I don’t always listen to myself.
 

Shibui

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There's no single correct answer to this. It really depends how much taper you want in the final bonsai combined with how long you are prepared to spend developing it.
Lower cuts leaving smaller leaders will usually end up giving greater taper in the completed trunk but will take longer to grow out.
Higher cuts can still give elegantly tapering bonsai and may take less time to complete.
I prefer to make cuts earlier and take a little longer to grow the trunk because smaller scars heal much better than really big ones. Trees with many leaders will thicken just as quick as a single trunk but the scars after pruning usually heal quicker and the taper produced is often far better.
 

DayDrunk

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As someone very new here I’ll throw in my two cents to see if I’ve learned anything yet. While you have very little movement in the lower trunk you do have a small amount of taper going on. If this were my tree I’d do the following (my first virt, be nice). :p
48581E47-DC87-4473-A577-C2B5AE0D34C1.jpeg
I’d grow out the sacrificial branches to thicken the lower trunk then cut them off before they got too thick to minimize scarring then grow out more if needed. You can build upper branches when you have the trunk closer to thickness you want it.

Well, there’s my thoughts as a newcomer to the bonsai world, bash away.
 

Gdy2000

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I hope it’s not at that bottom branch, but I bet the best place is at that bottom branch. It’s a long old road if it is. I think it depends what you want from the tree. Just waiting for someone with the knowledge to chime in.
Here's why we suggest looking for the nebari.

You hope its not the bottom branch b/c you can only see what you can see.

What if the nebari is a couple of inches down in the pot? And its swelling very nicely? Then possibly the first branch is perfect.

Find the nebari and build from there...
 

sorce

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There is one single answer that can be used across the board as far as creating taper is concerned.

It is an equation with a lot of Variables, the variables being where you cut the first time, how gradual the taper, how tall the finished tree, etc., But it is possible.

Possible because it is only going to look right to a certain degree, certain parameters you must stay within.

This can be calculated.

Problems arise when the tree doesn't cooperate.

That said...

I have a problem with the fact that this question exists at all.

How far up the trunk would you to prune back this maple in order to establish good taper in the future? Which branch should be the new leader?
Since taper is gradual by definition, this question is not whole. Answering this question doesn't create taper, it creates an abrupt change in size.

However...

You can enter your tree into the taper calculator based on any first cut, and understand how large and long your next segment must be before cutting it again to a certain node.

Sorce
 

Storm87

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Thx all for replying!

I removed some ground to get a better view of the nebari to were the roots start to flare. I choose a front, I measured to thickness of the trunk. This I used to decide were to cut back. I have a 1:8 ratio in mind for the time being.

Well, there’s my thoughts as a newcomer to the bonsai world, bash away.
It came down more or less to your suggestion. Thx for making the effort to visualize it.
 

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