Author Topic: hard prunining Japanese Green Maple  (Read 13573 times)

John Kirby

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Re: hard prunining Japanese Green Maple
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2011, 10:49 AM »
Honestly, you can do whatever you like, but you asked, you got an answer. I look forward to following how the tree develops over time. Please post some pictures to chronicle the adventure.
 

nathanbs

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Re: hard prunining Japanese Green Maple
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2011, 12:49 PM »
im not looking to do whatever i like, im looking to do what makes the most sense considering all of the elements involved. I have logic and common sense but what i dont have is the experience. My logic and common sense tell me that the single biggest hurdle will be healing a 4" scar. Growing branches and roots are second to that because if i cant get a successful healing of that scar whats the point. Im in no hurry and that was my comment about the roots. "I dont need to worry about the roots now if i dont have to" was meant to address the health of the tree not the future nebari. The one great point besides helping me decide when is the right time of year was to look into the tree for possible air-layer opportunities that i did not consider doing.
 

Chrisl

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Re: hard prunining Japanese Green Maple
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2011, 02:22 PM »
In Boons maple dvds, he does a pretty big prune on a maple after the leaves have changed.  But, it's only a 'partial hard prune' leaving some of the tree's branches to finish the 'hard prune' the following year from what I recall. 
 

AlexV

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Re: hard prunining Japanese Green Maple
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2011, 11:04 PM »
Healing the big scar may seem like the biggest hurdle, but in the long run you will find it is easy compared to creating a proper nebari.  That is what John is saying.  The worst scars can be healed in a few years, but the longer you wait to deal with the nebari the worse it will be.  This is what I have been told by many people who have grown out a lot of maples (or any tree really), and now kick themselves for worrying about scars and branches and ignored the roots.  In a maple, you can have the best branching and zero scars, and if your nebari is not good, the tree will not look good.  You might get lucky with your roots, but chances are they will be the factor that becomes the most time consuming in creating a quality tree.

Having heard this, and being young and enjoy growing trees out, I have been following the scheme below, and I will be ready to pull my first experiments out of the ground in a couple years.

Year 1 - Repot when buds swell and move from 2" or 4" pot to 2gal pot.  Root prune to get radial roots, then make a mound of soil in the pot, and plant so the roots make a nice shape moving slightly downwards.  I have been getting starter trees from Brent at Evergreengardenworks, and have been really pleased, he cuts the tap roots so they already have radial growth and require very little work.  When they start to push new growth, I wire the branches for shape of the future trunk.

Year 2 - Repot when buds swell and check the roots, make any corrections needed.  Yes this slows down growth, but i am not worried about growth yet, I am worried about shape, growth will come later.  When they shoot out new growth wire the secondary branches for shape.

Year 3 - You now have a tiny plant with good starter roots and trunk movement, plant it in the ground until the trunk swells to the size you want.  I plant mine onto a board or tile to make sure the roots keep moving outwards and not down.

Again, I do this ahead of time because the nebari is so important on deciduous trees, and it will be the biggest time sink later on if not dealt with early.  I will post some pictures when i finally pull something out of the ground, but this is the advice I have gotten from the people (including John, Boon, Jim Gremmel etc etc) who grow trees that I want.  Best advice, find someone who's trees blow you away, and follow their advice, even if it seems counter intuitive. 

Good luck!
Alex
 

cbobgo

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Re: hard prunining Japanese Green Maple
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2011, 11:35 PM »
to answer your original question, what time of year should you do the cut - you live in southern california, so the timing is not as critical as folks in harsher climates.  You could pretty much do it at any time, and your tree will be fine.  The only thing I would advise against is doing it during early spring growth when the sap is really flowing.  Any other time of year should be OK for you.

- bob
 

nathanbs

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Re: hard prunining Japanese Green Maple
« Reply #20 on: October 02, 2011, 04:03 PM »
thank you for all your advice.
@Alex, i hate to burst your bubble but unless you are growing mame or shohin trees, those branches that you are grooming on your seedlings will be cut off in the future as they likely will have gotten too thick by the time you have developed a nice size trunk. I think your focus on roots and trunk movement is great but i think you should probably let the majority if not all of the foliage grow unchecked to help fatten up the trunk and roots.
And to be honest im not sure every tree can make a perfect bonsai within my lifetime, so with that said i prefer no scars or very nicely healed scars over great nebari anyday. I would love to have all the above but its not always acheivable or atleast not within some reason.
I figure that if i can develope a trunk worthy of working on its branches and roots, I will put in the years to do so. Versus having beautiful roots and branches on a terrible trunk.
 

John Kirby

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Re: hard prunining Japanese Green Maple
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2011, 04:26 PM »
I can't wait! Please post pictures.
 

scottroxburgh

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Re: hard prunining Japanese Green Maple
« Reply #22 on: October 04, 2011, 05:24 AM »
Can't wait to see pics...

I'd repot first, to get it into the soil you know (watering etc), and working the roots.

Answering the question...
Japanese maples - In mid fall, I'd chop to the lowest growth then progressively shorten over the next few years.
Trident maples - Chop where you want.

But as many others have said, do the root first.
 

bkelley

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Re: hard prunining Japanese Green Maple
« Reply #23 on: July 22, 2012, 11:06 PM »
I agree with Alex.  Nebari on maple very important.  I recently grew some hedge maples and Japanese maples from seed and took the time to work the roots properly, removing the tap and spreading out the radial roots, with good results.  You can then grow on and develop your trunk to size you want, best to probably let everything grow unchecked in order to build trunk girth if going for a bigger tree. 
Timing pruning matters as to what type of growth you want afterwards.  In late spring early summer after the tree has built up a good head of steam, you can prune and get an explosion of growth with plenty of options for branches, new trunk lines etc.  This is good to do when you want a lot of bud activity.  I just did this with a couple trees with great effect.  I let the tree grow unchecked during spring and then when you cut all of the energy that was being put into above where you make the cut has to go somewhere. 
Eliminating branches is best done in fall.  You won't stimulate a lot of new growth.  Energy will go to all existing buds.  Pruning for structure and refinement is good in spring.   
In any case as with most things bonsai, timing is important and objectives are important...like someone asked size and type of image you are going for, style etc. Peter Adams book on maples is great and working with Colin Lewis has been great.