Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => Deciduous Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Jay Wilson on July 10, 2009, 09:03 PM

Title: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 10, 2009, 09:03 PM
I thought I would share this swamp maple with you.

I've been playing with this one for too many years for it to only look as good as it does.
They say red maples are difficult to work with, and they are, but I still should have brought this one further along than I have.
But, I do bonsai for the journey and this tree has given me lots of pleasure over time.

I'm looking to pot this in a real pot next spring...Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

Thanks,
Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 10, 2009, 09:15 PM
I plan on doing it's second defoliation of the year this weekend, so I'll post a few pictures of it naked afterwords.

Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: ken duncan on July 10, 2009, 09:45 PM
Very nice Jay, is this the same one that You posted on another forum?
Should look real good in a Bonsai container.
Ken 
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 10, 2009, 10:02 PM
Yes Ken this is the one. I just found an old picture from 2003 which I guess is the year I collected it.

Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Heather Coste on July 11, 2009, 09:39 AM
I collected about 150 seedlings of this variety this spring from an area that was going to be bulldozed. No, most of them aren't going to be for bonsai, I'll be growing them out and replanting them in a couple conservation areas I've been working with, and some are going to my son's class next year for the same purpose, but I thought I'd keep a couple and see what happens.

Any tips on quirky growing requirements?
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: bonsaikc on July 11, 2009, 02:13 PM
Jay, this has to be the nicest red maple I have ever seen! You have done a magnificent job of getting the ramification dense (for this species) and the movement is wonderful. Thank you for posting it here.

Is the nebari the result of air layering, or how did you produce it?

Chris
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 12, 2009, 03:48 PM
Heather,
I don't think there is anything really quirky about growing red maple.
They enjoy lots of water... I sometimes leave mine in trays of water during hot dry spells.
They also like a bit of root run. It was recommended on another forum by a more experienced person than I to pot them up in larger pots every few years so they can rebuild strength.

Hard trimming and defoliating a couple of times a year along with pinching new growth will help get shorter internodes and smaller leaves. People up north might not want to push them that hard.
I've included some pictures.
1st pic. Leaf size before the first defoliating this year in mid April.
2nd pic. about 3 weeks after  the first pic.
3rd pic. how it looked this morning.
last pic. The avg. leaf size. These are the result of pinching the new growth and also cutting the larger leaves on occasion.

I'm still very much just learning how to grow Acer rubrum....Two or three more years.....

Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 12, 2009, 04:15 PM
Jay, this has to be the nicest red maple I have ever seen! You have done a magnificent job of getting the ramification dense (for this species) and the movement is wonderful. Thank you for posting it here.

Is the nebari the result of air layering, or how did you produce it?

Chris

Chris,
Thanks. I think you're too kind....Either that or you haven't seen many red maples ;D  
Seriously, thanks, I value your input.
It is a challenge to overcome the naturally long internodes to get ramification. I have a fair number of twigs just die after defoliating instead of branching.

The nebari is the result of a ground layer done in 2006. See pictures. It still needs a few more years to thicken the roots to make a more natural looking root spread.

1st Pic shows the ring of bark removed. It was covered with sphagnum and soil.
2nd pic after removal from the pond basket.
3rd pic. result of the layer.
Last pic. Potted up.
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 12, 2009, 04:27 PM
I defoliated and trimmed this tree this morning.
First two pics are a better look at the nebari.
Second two are front and back after todays butchering.

Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 12, 2009, 05:42 PM
Hello Irene,
Thanks! I used no hormone... Didn't have any and I guess I didn't need it :) They say maples are very easy to throw roots.

The tree is 15 inches from the ground.

Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 12, 2009, 06:17 PM
Hey Irene,
Maples are easy to layer...What I have trouble with-hormone or not-is oaks.


 My soil mix is about 60% turface MVP and 40% fresh ground pine bark (sifted to between 1/4 and 1/8 inch) and  I usually throw in a bit of peat.

Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 12, 2009, 06:55 PM
I haven't been able to find crushed lava in Florida in bulk or at a price I could justify, so last year, I bought some of the 1" to3" lava they use as mulch. It's fairly cheap and readily available.
I ran several bags through my chipper/shredder and ended up with about 40% usable product.

I love the color it adds to the soil, but for me, it seemed to dry out quicker (this was mixed with my regular soil mix at about 30%) I didn't see a lot of difference  in the health or vigor of my trees which are mostly in grow boxes anyway. So, When I get more trees in bonsai pots and have a way to water more often, I might look into using lava again.

Any way, to finish this ramble...There was no point to it, just working on getting my post count up so I can play with the big kids in the 50+ post section ::)

Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Steven on July 12, 2009, 07:06 PM
Very, very nice Jay! What time of the year did you do the ground layer? I have a recently collected(March 2009) red maple that has one big root on one side. It was about a 30 foot tree chopped down to about 24" and dug up. It is pushing growth like madness. the base above the roots is about 4-6 inches in diameter(haven't gotten an exact measure). I ask because I may, and most likely, going to layer it for better root spread.

pic 1: collected 3-8-09
pic 2: as of 4-29-09
no upto date pic
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 12, 2009, 07:32 PM
Thank's Steven for the compliment.

I don't feel comfortable giving advice, but if it were me, I would feed like crazy for the rest of this year (I feed weekly with full strength water soluble fertilizer . I have very fast-draining soil mix) This will give you a very healthy tree with lots of stored energy in the roots.

Next spring I would do the layer in the same pot (without disturbing the roots) and leave it till spring 2011 before separating it. I have had good success with ground layers when I do them after the first flush of spring growth has hardened off.

I would also consider chopping the trunk way on down at the same time. Not telling you how to style your tree, but it seems too tall, without much taper as it is now.

Good luck with it and keep us updated with your progress.

Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Steven on July 12, 2009, 08:57 PM
Thanks for the info Jay. I have been looking at taking the height down some. Thought of maybe doing a 'V' cut to get  a division in the trunk from one to two. The notch would not be very deep. Or try the Gary Marchal technique(what he does with BC) to achieve a better taper. Still a ways off though. Again thanks Jay.
**Now back to Jay's tree  :D **
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: JTGJr25 on July 13, 2009, 12:03 AM
Jay, I do like this tree and I'm impressed by how well you have reduced the leaves.  One thing that I cant get over though is the slingshot look of the two trunks.  I was thinking you could remove the right trunk in the very first pic and rebuild the tree with the left trunk but I'm not sure how it would respond to this.  I'm not sure if anyone else feels the same way but I just cant get past how they look.  Just my opinion.

Tom
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 13, 2009, 12:33 AM
lol! Tom,
My name for this tree is 'wrist rocket' 'cause it looks like a slingshot with an offset, contoured handle. ;D

This tree has evolved with me on the bonsai journey and the twin branches are the result off novice ignorance.
I wouldn't design/style a tree like that now, but I've invested too much time in this one and I've grown to actually like the way it looks. She's like a childhood friend.... I've lived with her flaws so long I hardly notice them.

It's not as noticeable while it's in leaf so I don't see it to think about but a few times a year (most of the time, if I want to see it bare even the winter, I have to pull the leaves my self- they won't fall off in the winter 'till the new leaves push them off.

I'm sure other people see the slingshot too.

Thanks for your input; If I, or the tree, was younger I would do like you say except I'd take out the left branch and really get some motion it the trunk. It wouldn't take all that long to rebuild it.

Thanks,
 Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: ken duncan on July 13, 2009, 06:12 AM
Jay, I think that You do good work with our native trees, I enjoy seeing all of your all that You do.
How Does the Florida Elms look right now. I love the small group that You posted on another site.
Ken 
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 13, 2009, 11:59 AM
Ken,
I do enjoy playing with the natives. That's all I grow except for a couple of citrus.

I'm slowly learning how to bonsai some of them.....

The elm group is in a state of flux this year. Two of the trees in it died last year and I took the main tree out to grow separately in hopes of thickening the trunk. Whats left has just been trimmed like a hedge just to keep it in basic shape.

I'll probably put it all together next spring, but it won't be the same as before.

Thanks,
Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: ken duncan on July 13, 2009, 12:02 PM
Jay,
That is a shame what a sweet little group it was. That is the thing with Bonsai, always changing.
I remember that You also had some nice large ones too.
Ken
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 13, 2009, 12:34 PM
Yes, I have a few larger/different ones. I'll work on posting something on them soon.

Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: JTGJr25 on July 13, 2009, 01:17 PM
Jay, I completely understand where your coming from.  Since it is a tree with that much meaning to you leaving it alone is a good plan.

Tom
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: johng on July 13, 2009, 05:00 PM
Very nice tree Jay!  You alluded to thinking that this tree has taken a long time to develop...I noticed it was collected in 2003...6 years!  looks like great progress to me!  I also just collected about 50 of these from a swamp in SC...fully knowing that they can be a challenge but, like you, I look forward to the journey :)  Thanks for posting...

One question...do you remember when you did the first defoliation..(I hope I didn't miss that date in your posts)

Thanks,
John
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Jay Wilson on July 13, 2009, 07:27 PM
Hey John, thanks ,
Looking back I guess it just seems like a long time to be working on this tree. If I only knew when I started on it what I know now I would have been this far in 5 years instead of 6 ;D

You are pretty ambitious; 50 red maples collected! How about some pictures of the nicer ones?

I did the first defoliation this year on the 17th or 18th of March. I'm anxious to see what this 2nd leaf removal has on the leaf reduction and ramification. I'm hoping for a little finer twigging.

Jay
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Zach Smith on September 11, 2009, 10:30 AM
Jay, from my experience with red maple you've done a great job.  They just don't produce lots of short internodes, and leaf size reduction isn't as much as we'd want either.  But they are wonderful trees, with their own unique characteristics.  Thanks for posting a great photo of a very nice red maple.

Zach
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: Hotaction on September 26, 2009, 10:50 AM

I did the first defoliation this year on the 17th or 18th of March. I'm anxious to see what this 2nd leaf removal has on the leaf reduction and ramification. I'm hoping for a little finer twigging.

Jay

How did that defoliation work out for you?

-Dave
Title: Re: Red Maple (acer rubrum)
Post by: bwaynef on February 28, 2011, 07:11 PM
Have any updates on this one?