Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Japanese Maple Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: tanlu on September 01, 2011, 12:48 AM

Title: Kiyohime Japanese Maple soil
Post by: tanlu on September 01, 2011, 12:48 AM
Hi all,

I plan to repot a nursery stock kiyohime JM next spring into a training bonsai pot. What kind of bonsai soil (specific ingredients) should I use and how much root pruning can JM take? It has a 3" trunk and already naturally ramified branches.

Would defoliation effect the strength of the tree next spring?

Title: Re: Kiyohime Japanese Maple soil
Post by: John Kirby on September 01, 2011, 08:54 AM
We use Akadama, Hyuga and Volcanic "scoria". Other wise known as Boon's mix, I have been buying quite a bit of Clay King Soil from Japan (which is Akadama, Kiriyu and pumice) and I know that Roger Lehmean at Meco Bondsai in Pennsylvania has Aoki Brand Soil which is a blend of Akadama, a pumice and river sand from Japan. I add additional Akadama to the Clay King to make it about 50% Akadama and 50% other material. I know some who plat in 75% and greater akadama with good result and some who plant in 100% Akadama with good results. I am sure that you will also get the Turface suggestions, I find the particle size too small for my liking.

Title: Re: Kiyohime Japanese Maple soil
Post by: MatsuBonsai on September 01, 2011, 09:24 AM
Bill had a great post on defoliating (pinching, actually) Japanese maples. (
Title: Re: Kiyohime Japanese Maple soil
Post by: Kajukid on September 09, 2011, 12:56 AM
in the book "Bonsai with Japanese Maples" by Peter Adams, he says to use this soil mix for Maple trees...

5 parts Mixed sand (see Below)
2 parts trade brand soil-less compost, like composted peat
2 parts leaf mold + peat, or fir bark
1 part fine pumice (lava rock)

mixed sand:
2 parts fine grade aquarium gravel
2 parts coarse textured gravel or decomposed granite
2 parts grit + sand

grip a handful of the well stirred soil and if it sticks together, add more aquarium gravel...
Title: Re: Kiyohime Japanese Maple soil
Post by: Owen Reich on September 10, 2011, 09:57 AM
As John mentioned, Aoki blend (deciduous) is great stuff.  We get it with less pumice and use a larger Aoki particle size for the base of the pot and 100% Aoki for the rest of the pot.  Particle size is based on tree size (shohin, chuhin, seifu, ogata) with particle size increasing with tree size.  This blend allows for more reliable drying times between waterings. Kiyohime can be a bit temperamental in my experience if stressed from major work on the top while leaving the root mass untouched.  I would repot once the leaves start to emerge but other times work.  We repot all maples when the leaves are partially emerged.  Defoliation on cultivars like Kiyohime is a little different from standard Acer palmatum as it is a witches' broom.  Someone may know a post or link for visual reference, but in words you remove foliage or buds by skipping every other node or keep wherever the ideal site for a branch should be.  The internodes are short so skipping nodes allows for more air movement and light penetration.  This is done on trees that are dense so I'm not sure where you're at in training without a pic.   
Title: Re: Kiyohime Japanese Maple soil
Post by: John Kirby on September 11, 2011, 02:02 AM
That soil mix might work in England, but just like you don't carry a 4-5 lb mobile phone anymore, soils have come a long way in the past 20 years. Please listen, you have a guy who does this professionally in Japan giving you advice. I love the Adams book, the Naka Books and many others, there are some great insights and suggestions, but the technical aspects of watering, soil and fertilizing are just plain dated. This really isn't hard.
Title: Re: Kiyohime Japanese Maple soil
Post by: tanlu on September 13, 2011, 02:32 PM
I agree with John, people have figured out new innovative ways to care for bonsai and best practices should be shared, keeping in mind the local climate (and budget). I was planning on using the same stuff I use for my pines, which is a turface like grey baked clay called montmorillonite clay mined in Tennessee ($12 for 50lb bag). It's used as an ultra absorbant for water, oils, grease, acids, inks and paints. Not exactly what you would call an orthodox bonsai practice, but my pines love it. My JBP and JWP are planted in colendars and they constantly send out new roots out the sides and bottom. I may add something extra once I repot the Kiyohime next spring. Perhaps bark chips?
Title: Re: Kiyohime Japanese Maple soil
Post by: scottroxburgh on October 04, 2011, 05:28 AM
Everything in Boon mix.