Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Japanese Maple Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: M. Frary on May 04, 2014, 07:25 AM

Title: My new japanese maple.
Post by: M. Frary on May 04, 2014, 07:25 AM
   Just purchased my first Japanese maple yesterday. The tag said Acer palmatum red pygmy. It must be referring to the leaves cause there is nothing pygmy about it. The tree is about 7 to 8 feet tall.
  This is it at time of purchase.
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: M. Frary on May 04, 2014, 07:49 AM
  Notice the burlap? Any ideas on what's hiding under there?
  I've got a good idea. And it's not a pretty thought. Even though this is my first maple it's not the first time seeing this.
  This is rock hard clay. I don't do clay. It worries me. I know I know. Akadama is clay. Never tried it. Never even seen it.
  So I unwrap the burlap and get the hose. Even though the tree has leaves I'm still going to wash some( well a lot) off.
  This is what was in there. A graft which I was kind of hoping for.
  Why? Because like most people I'm cheap and greedy. I'll admit it even though most people don't. I was looking for a graft because I will be layering the crap out of this and I'll probably get 5 of the red leaf variety and a forest planting but I also get a regular green Acer palmatum from the stump.
 And a bunch of circling roots. Awesome. Look at that!
 I didn't really want to cut any roots but that one next to the trunk is coming off. And that will be it.
 After all that the tree goes back into the bucket with all new soil. Mainly Napa floor dry and large turkey grit with some pine bark waved over it to make feel better.
 Since I live in a zone lower than this tree is rated for it will stay in this bucket till I'm done working it. Every spring I'll pull it and do some root work but mainly it's going to be a layering factory.
  One last thing. Did I mention I paid $90.00 for this?
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: jlushious on May 04, 2014, 10:45 AM
That's awesome, you will definitely get lots out of it. I did the same thing with a maple I have. I haven't started layering it yet, I'd be interested in how successful the layers are because the top varieties are usually the weaker ones aren't they?

Anyways, here are pics of mine! Pretty high up graft scar.
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: M. Frary on May 04, 2014, 03:48 PM
  I guess some may be weaker on their own roots. At least that is what one reads isn't it. Don't believe everything you read. I believe that since everyone at the party here is Acer palmatum the layers should be just as strong as the rootstock.
  Most times trees are grafts just to save space at nurserys. They grow the rootstock trees and graft scions off of one tree to put on those.
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: John Kirby on May 04, 2014, 11:15 PM
Mfrary, then you would be wrong. The trees are grafted because they don'tbreed true by seed (or are sterile) or they are too week to support themselves well on their own roots, at least in the landscape. Check Vertrees or Dirr online and see what they say about your variety.
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: 0soyoung on May 04, 2014, 11:43 PM
  I guess some may be weaker on their own roots. At least that is what one reads isn't it. Don't believe everything you read. I believe that since everyone at the party here is Acer palmatum the layers should be just as strong as the rootstock.
  Most times trees are grafts just to save space at nurserys. They grow the rootstock trees and graft scions off of one tree to put on those.

If you are going to use this tree as a layering factory, you will have your answer for Red Pygmy in a couple of years:
a) do you get successful layers?
b) does the explant then survive a year on its own?

I've encountered problems with some cultivars (Red Pigmy not among those that I've tried), so I'll be looking forward to your posts over the next year or two, starting this August.
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: M. Frary on May 05, 2014, 06:09 AM
Mfrary, then you would be wrong. The trees are grafted because they don'tbreed true by seed (or are sterile) or they are too week to support themselves well on their own roots, at least in the landscape. Check Vertrees or Dirr online and see what they say about your variety.

   Well then. Guess a guy learns something everyday. Sorry for shooting off without knowing everything. I was going on my fruit tree experiences. Really. Thank for correcting my bad.
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: Adair M on May 05, 2014, 07:43 AM
M Frary,

I'm afraid I'm not familiar with your variety of Japanese Maple.  It's not one that's commonly used for bonsai.  I did a bit of research on it, and it doesn't appear to have the characteristics most of us look for when choosing bonsai material. 

So, before you invest any more time with this tree, you might ought to research it a bit more yourself.

I don't know where you got this, but most trees grown for landscape purposes will have higher grafts, no low branches, etc.  I know you plan to airlayer, and that's a  good way to get material, and it's a great way to get good nebari, but I think you should choose a different variety of Acer P.

I have horses.  When I first started with horses, I was lucky enough to employ an experienced farrier to shoe them.  And one of my first horses was a "bargain" horse.  He told me, "You know, it  costs just as much to feed, house, vet and shoe a bad horse as a good horse.  But you will enjoy a good horse a lot more." 
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: M. Frary on May 05, 2014, 08:18 AM
  Wonderful. What is the matter. Too long internodes, leaves don't reduce or it won't support itself on it's own roots?
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: M. Frary on May 05, 2014, 01:01 PM
  I looked up red pygmy and came up with one of those maples with the weird stringy leaves. Is the that what your referring to?
 Mine has regular leaves.
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: Adair M on May 05, 2014, 01:21 PM
Exactly.
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: M. Frary on May 05, 2014, 06:30 PM
  Exactly as you are talking about the one with spaghetti leaves?
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: Adair M on May 05, 2014, 07:38 PM
Yes.  The photos and descriptions that I saw of the variety you said it was had large leaves with long stringy lobes.  I think they used a term "bamboo like" when describing the leaves.

That would be difficult to make into a pleasing bonsai.  Maybe your tree isn't like that.  But, I was just going on what you had posted as the variety.

There are zillions of Japanese Maple varieties.  Maybe you have discovered a wonderful strain.  If so, I wish you the best.
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: M. Frary on May 11, 2014, 07:07 AM
  No. Mine has regular leaves. I looked it up too. I came up with mine and the spaghetti like leaves variety. I don't know if it's a "wonderful strain" or not yet. We'll see.
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: Don Blackmond on May 11, 2014, 07:31 AM
I have horses.  When I first started with horses, I was lucky enough to employ an experienced farrier to shoe them.  And one of my first horses was a "bargain" horse.  He told me, "You know, it  costs just as much to feed, house, vet and shoe a bad horse as a good horse.  But you will enjoy a good horse a lot more." 

That is a great analogy Adair.  I may have to borrow it.

M.Frary give your tree some time, play with it and see what you think.  You may find that you like it, or you may find that your bonsai time is better utilized on other trees and that one works better in your yard.  Either case, have fun with it.
Title: Re: My new japanese maple.
Post by: Owen Reich on May 11, 2014, 07:36 AM
Acer palmatum cultivars that are grafted often grow very slowly if on their own roots.  Grafting a cultivated variety scion onto common seedling rootstock make the tree grow faster and survive more harsh conditions.  Once you have the size trunk and structure you want though, air-layers from cultivars can survive and live long lives.

My go-to source for Acer palmatum cultivar information is Masayoshi Yano's Book For Maples.  It's on Amazon from time to time.  I went to Oregon in 2005 for his talk at the Portland Japanese Garden and his thoughts on cultivar names in America and in some cases Europe were that names often change to increase sales.  He discovered a number of cultivars and assisted in naming quite a few (after tracing parentage and all that).  Vertrees and the van Gelderen books on maples are also good to have; especially if you want to see what the trees look like when they are mature.  Dirr's books will give you a no bs assessment of how many popular cultivars do in America.  His cultivar Acer palmatum 'Glowing Embers', does very well in in the Southeast.  Acer palmatum 'Tobiosho' is a great seedling selection from Iseli Nursery that is also quite tough.  I'm also partial to 'Sharp's Pygmy'.  Here's a photo of an air-layered one on a ten year plan of trunk removal and compaction about three years in.  Photos taken last year.

Rare species and cultivars are often rare because they are easy to kill  ;D.