Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Japanese Maple Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Dano on June 25, 2009, 09:38 PM

Title: Collecting Japanese Maples
Post by: Dano on June 25, 2009, 09:38 PM
While exploring an old plant nursery near my home, I came upon 4 Japanese Maples in five gallon containers. The site was really over grown and it was obvious that the owner had not been in that part of the nursery for years. The owner is 80. All of the maples had grown through the botton of the plastic pots. The diameters varied from 4 to 6 inches. One is especially nice. It is a twin trunk that join right at the bottom. Each trunk is about 5 inches in diameter.

My question is this: It is late June, 90 degrees. Can I cut the main tap root off and expect the tree to survive? A well known bonsai artist said that a Japanese maple would do well. I am afraid the site may be bulldozed for a new development.

Would you cut the main root under the pot or wait until winter or early spring and hope the tree is still there? Thanks

Title: Re: Collecting Japanese Maples
Post by: Dano on June 25, 2009, 10:27 PM
Hey Irene. I have not figured out how to post a pic yet. I hit insert image and nothing happens. I will be cutting the main root off. Not a repot. Thanks

Title: Re: Collecting Japanese Maples
Post by: johng on June 26, 2009, 06:52 AM
Hey Dan,  In my experience summer is not the ideal time for this...of course you are probably aware of this or you would not have asked the question.  Since the trees are endanger of being bulldozed I think I would probably give it a shot.  I have never collected JM this way but I did collect a very large Crape Myrtle this year that had escaped from a grow bag and it has done very well...but it was collected in the early spring.  Since these tree are in pots the will still have feeder roots in the this point they may or may not be very viable but this is certainly a better situation than not have those roots. 

IF it were me collecting I would just saw off the roots that have penetrated the container and then also significantly reduce the tops.  Once home, I would go ahead and make the effort to remove the may be quite the chore.  Once removed make any other cuts necessary to just the big roots that will need to be removed so that eventually the tree can go into a container. I was taught early on that in most cases you might as well go ahead and make any of those large cuts that are necessary to get the tree in a bonsai container the first time around otherwise you might work on a tree for a year or more and end up killing if you saved those cuts for later...go ahead and do it now...if it dies you are not out any time.  I would not use bonsai soil but instead I prefer a high quality potting soil instead for newly collected material.

To me the most important part of this process is the after care.  You need to protect this tree very well until the new growth has budded out and hardened off.  Because of the very protected after care that is necessary I would not put this tree in the ground until it has established itself in a container. Then you can place it in a location in the ground that will provide the appropriate amount of sun and shade for future development.

I hope all this makes sense.  :)

On a side note I will be going to Randy's this weekend but on Sat not Sun. :(  Will probably just be there in the morning for an hour or two as the wife is going with me.

Good luck with these trees...if it were me and they were in danger I would absolutely give it a shot out of season.
Title: Re: Collecting Japanese Maples
Post by: Dano on June 26, 2009, 11:18 AM
Irene and John,
Thanks for your comments. I removed three of the trees this week but the fourth and largest double trunk, I am going to wait until I see the bulldozers.

John - My trees are at Randy's but I will not make it until Sunday at Dan Quattebaum's workshop. I am taking a really nice father/son twin trunk japanese red maple to work on with Dana and Randy.

Title: Re: Collecting Japanese Maples
Post by: Dano on June 26, 2009, 02:59 PM
Finally a pic of the japanese Maple in question. There are feeder roots in the pot but the two truncks join together as one right above the rim of the pot. At the bottom of the pot a giant tap root shoots off to one side and goes under ground. The tree is about 18 feet tall.

Title: Re: Collecting Japanese Maples
Post by: bwaynef on June 27, 2009, 08:10 PM
Do you expect to be able to use both of those trunks?  If you decide you need some help give me a call.  I'd be glad to help if I can get the time.
Title: Re: Collecting Japanese Maples
Post by: Dano on June 28, 2009, 09:18 PM
I do plan on keeping both branches and welcome the help getting it out of the ground. As you well know, 97 degrees cannot be a good time for any work. I was talking with Guy Guidry the other day and he said that if the maple were taken today, he thought it would bounce right back. I still might wait until I hear the bulldozers or winter, which ever comes first.