Post by nickinapot on May 18, 2015 21:51:19 GMT -5
This thread is meant as a request for a recommendation. My Japanese Maple was damaged by the previous winter's weather and has dead limbs. The tree is somewhat of an eyesore, but I thought it could be salvaged as bonsai material. It has an interesting trunk and has the beginnings of branches near the bottom. See the picture attached. Any ideas?
I'm hoping for recommendations on how best to transition the tree from its current position into a pot. I realize that might take a substantial amount of time given the need to train the roots and what not. I've had some experience maintaining and training bonsai, but would like to give this method of collecting a shot. Any references or information would be welcome. Thanks in advance for your input.
Post by Chris Reisenberg (webmaster) on Jun 8, 2015 20:56:09 GMT -5
Hi Nick, and welcome to the forum. I don't personally have experience collecting a specimen this large however I would imagine the hardest part of this project will be reducing the root ball over time without causing to much stress as one time. I think this could be a really interesting long term project tree.
Chris Reisenberg | Webmaster | Photographer
Sorry this reply is 1 1/2 years later. But incase you haven't tried anything yet, here is an idea. And even if you already did something for this maple, it is an interesting tree for discussion. from the areas which appear to have foliage, you could convert this to a pretty good bonsai in 4-5 years. I would start by sawing off the left trunk above the lowest foliage which looks only 4-5 inches off the ground level; and saw off the middle trunk likewise, where foliage appears higher but still maybe only 10" from ground level. I would then saw the right trunk just above where it splits, and only keep whichever of those branches has the most budding foliage. See the picture below. Timing will be critical; the large saw-cuts should be done immediately before taking the tree out of the ground. If you just cut back the trunk, it will leak sap continuously even for years, perhaps until it dies; the exception would be late fall, when a lot of the trunk would just die back instead. But if you do this simultaneously with drastic root pruning, sap flow will stop immediately. The only safe time to drastically root prune would be just after the roots become active in the spring. This corresponds to when the new leaf buds just start to move, usually mid March in Cincinnati. This is obviously a landscape plant, so it should be fairly easy to cut the roots around the initial potted or balled and burlapped area. If there is a deep taproot, cut this back to near the trunk level. most of the clay soil should be carefully removed, and the roots overall made to fit in an oversized mica bonsai pot. It should be wired tightly into the pot so new roots aren't torn by movement, and potted. If you are able to remove most of the soil, it could be potted in any appropriate bonsai soil, otherwise something somewhat finer, maybe Brussels mix or even standard nursery soil with 50% coarse sand would suffice. The following year, change the soil completely to something more appropriate. I use medium akadama with ~20% pumice, but others prefer some organic component for maples. Again, the time to do this for Japanese maples in Cincinnati is around Mar 15 (slightly later than trident maples, but earlier than Amur maples). If you collect this from the ground after the leaves begin to open, it will not have enough root to survive. The first year in the pot, you could gently wire the branches in early summer, but do not prune yet. It will need all its' foliage's photosynthesis to stimulate new root production. Beginning second year, fertilize heavily and pinch the second set of new leaf buds as soon as they can be separated from the first set. Do this with every newly opening leaf bud except perhaps the very weakest branches. Eventually this will cause dense ramification, shorter internodes, and back-budding.