Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Japanese Maple Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: bwaynef on August 27, 2012, 03:15 PM

Title: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on August 27, 2012, 03:15 PM
I've always contended that there isn't any real need to suffer through bad roots on a Japanese maple. 

Last fall, I was excited about the possibilities of a twin-trunk pre-bonsai piece of material that I had.  At its planting depth, the two trunks split RIGHT at the soil, but I noticed there weren't any roots to be seen.  I recalled working the roots fairly hard on most all of my material, so I trusted that an awesome nebari to grow into was looming just below the surface.

This spring, I found out that was NOT reality.

I'll give credit to Al for the inspiration of the interesting parts of this technique ...and if that credit is misdirected then he can lump it! :)  The layer started out as normal:  removed a ring of bark.   I then applied with a brush the rooting hormone around the upper edge of the barkless ring.

Credit to Al for the next part:  (I believe I saw him post his version of this somewhere, but can't find the link at the moment) I tore a paper towel into thin strips, maybe 1/4" wide and maybe 2" long.  Nothing too scientific, just what I could manage to do by hand.  I then wet the paper towels and dusted them with hormone.  After rubbing the hormone into the moistened paper towel strips enough that it wouldn't drop off, I wrapped the upper edge of the barkless ring with one layer of these strips.  I then proceeded to dust that strip wrapped around the tree with hormone, and applied another and dusted it w/ hormone (while on the tree).

For good measure, I tied a piece of aluminum as tight and close as I could to that upper edge as well.


Essentially, the idea was to cake on thin layers of hormone that are protected/held by the paper towel so that upon first watering the soil, it isn't washed through the drain holes.

Hopefully, everything I've said makes sense.  If it doesn't, maybe these pictures will clarify things.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on August 27, 2012, 03:16 PM
More of the process
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on August 27, 2012, 03:23 PM
A couple of times throughout the year, I'd poke and prod at the ball of moss (surrounded by Boon Mix) that was hidden in the pot to see if there were roots.  Pretty early on I was sure that roots had struck, but I got busy this summer with other things and wasn't able to check regularly.

I expected I'd have enough roots to sustain the tree when I went to separate it this weekend.  Boy was I surprised!
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: cbobgo on August 27, 2012, 03:41 PM
awesome!  Wish you had posted this4 months ago - I've got a batch of layers that aren't pushing roots.  I will try this technique next year.

- bob
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on August 28, 2012, 08:34 AM
I was impressed with the volume of roots, and pleased with the uniformity and coverage of the roots.  I was also surprised that the roots were not very fragile.  I cleaned the sphagnum from the rootball and don't think I damaged a single root.

It doesn't show very well, but in the "upskirt" photo, I was able to sever RIGHT below the ring of roots. (Also without losing/breaking any roots.)  This is ready-made for planting into a shallow tray, and that's exactly what I'll be doing come spring.  (I would've this weekend, but I didn't have something suitable with me.)
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: cbobgo on August 28, 2012, 04:49 PM
one more question - the exact placement of the wire tourniquet - you said as close to the upper edge - but is that below the cut line - ie on the hardwood, or above the cut line on live bark?

- bob


 
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on August 29, 2012, 08:42 AM
Below the cut line, on the hardwood.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: cbobgo on August 29, 2012, 03:10 PM
Below the cut line, on the hardwood.

So, the purpose for that is to help prevent the wound from closing, by blocking the callous tissue from moving down?

-bob
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on August 30, 2012, 10:55 AM
That, and it has to physically encourage roots not to grow down but out.  I'm not entirely sure about that, but it was part of my thinking.  I should've used bigger wire for this aspect, ...but I'm not entirely sure its necessary anyway.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bruce m on August 30, 2012, 06:07 PM
looks good great rooting,when did you do the cutting.how long did this take?


bruce
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on August 30, 2012, 08:47 PM
If my timestamps are right, looks like I performed the "operation" on 11 March 2012.  I separated it this Saturday, 25 August 2012.  I could've separated it earlier I'm sure.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: Jason E on August 30, 2012, 11:41 PM
do you think the volume and uniformity of the roots was also due to the layering being so low and being able to be buried in the pot vs. in a bag higher up on the trunk?
p.s. thanks for the informative post.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on January 27, 2013, 11:36 PM
Sorry I missed the follow-up question.

I don't think the results would've been any different if it'd been out of the pot ...as long as I'd've been dilligent in watering both.  I've had success layering above the pot also.

The uniformity, number, and volume of roots I attribute solely to the hormone staying in place due to being wrapped with tissue ...in layers.  Because of those layers, it didn't wash off at first potting.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: Don Dunn on January 28, 2013, 02:20 AM
Wow! I'm impressed. I will definitely be trying that in a few months.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: Yenling83 on January 28, 2013, 07:58 PM
Nice Work!  So what are your next plans for this twin trunk?  How much thicker would you like the trunk? 
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: jlushious on May 25, 2013, 01:30 AM
I am new on here and in my wanderings the last few weeks found this posting, am wondering if a technique like this might work well on cuttings. Would wrapping and layering the bottoms with hormone and paper prevent the hormone from washing away or get scraped off a bit when you put it into the soil. I'm guessing you would skip the wire in the case of cuttings though. Thoughts? Also any comment on powder hormone vs. the gel kind?
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on May 29, 2013, 10:46 AM
JLushious, I'd never considered it for cuttings, but I believe the reasons you present for trying it are sound.  It seems like a lot of work for cuttings, but if you're willing to do it, I'd love to hear how it works out for you. 

Yenling, I opted to leave it in its pot this year buried deeply and will plant it in a suitable container next spring.  I don't really have plans for it.  I saw the twin-trunk and decided it might be worth keeping.  Its not much to look at right now.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: Chrisl on May 29, 2013, 10:54 AM
Wayne, do you like the powder better than the gels, like Clonex?
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: John Romano on May 30, 2013, 12:34 PM
I have been using Clonex for as long as it came on the market and am a big fan of this gel.  I like it because it has a better adhesion to the plant and does not wash off like the powder does. This happened to me last year - I've been growing some black pines from seed every year.  Last year after they emerged, I cut off the roots of the seedlings to make cuttings.  I dipped them all in Clonex and planted them in the shade in small pots.  I went away for a couple of days and when I came back the cuttings were strewn on the ground probably knocked over by some rodent.  I was pissed and walked away.  The next morning I decided it couldn't hurt to pot them back up anyway as the gel was still present on the ends.  They all (15 of them) survived and are in their second year.  My conclusion was that the gel provides a layer of protection for any moisture still under it (I let the cuttings sit in water a bit before dipping in Clonex and potting).  I was obviously surprised and happy with the results.  It is expensive stuff but can be purchased at most hydroponic stores as well as online.  AND, I do not get anything for this endorsement! ;)
John
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on May 31, 2013, 08:34 AM
I've never used clonex.  There was some liquid I used ...and may have stashed away somewhere, but the powder is handy (in my bonsai toolbag) and effective, so that's what I use.

I'm no expert on any of this.  I just happened to steal someone's idea and took pictures.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: John Romano on May 31, 2013, 10:05 AM
Of course, I was not commenting on your technique.  That was great!  I am going to try that.  I just wanted to share my experience with Clonex.  Thanks Bwayne.
john
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: Owen Reich on May 31, 2013, 11:33 AM
I am new on here and in my wanderings the last few weeks found this posting, am wondering if a technique like this might work well on cuttings. Would wrapping and layering the bottoms with hormone and paper prevent the hormone from washing away or get scraped off a bit when you put it into the soil. I'm guessing you would skip the wire in the case of cuttings though. Thoughts? Also any comment on powder hormone vs. the gel kind?

Paper would likely mess up the emerging roots or at a minimum keep them held close to the trunk.  Could work but I think unnecessary.

My personal preference is Wood's Rooting Compound (has IBA and NAA / NAD) or some generic like IBA (indolebutanoic acid); best results have been when it bound to a Potassium molecule or ion (not sure) and has an alcohol base.  This shot-guns the solution into the tissue and I use the quick-dip method for cuttings.  Powders like Rootone are a bit weak for most trees IMO and Hormodin 1,2, or 3 are powders at different strengths that I feel are effective.  Rootone does have Thiram (a fungicide) in it but you can just buy a fungicide depending on what usually affects a give species and apply separately.  I usually use a chopstick or something slightly larger than the diameter of the stem cutting when using Hormodin products then place the cutting in the hole and firm up the media around it each time. 

I've done some very mean things to Acer palmatum in the past such as taking a 10 foot tall tree down to 4'' and removed 90% of the root system (July in Nashville, TN).  The trick is not to water it after the initial watering in for a few days.  The sap will not bleed as much; especially if you cut off most of the roots. 

That is a pretty big secondary trunk on the maple you've fount and it will be difficult to make something out of that IMO.  By all means go for it as the experience itself would be valuable for future projects.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on May 31, 2013, 03:38 PM
Of course, I was not commenting on your technique.  That was great!  I am going to try that.  I just wanted to share my experience with Clonex.  Thanks Bwayne.
john

And I wasn't talking to you.  :)  (By the way, I'm almost positive I saw Al post about this technique.  I certainly didn't come up with it.)  Chris above you asked a question that I answered.  Your account of the Clonex saving your over-turned cuttings is certainly a good reason to use Clonex.

That is a pretty big secondary trunk on the maple you've fount and it will be difficult to make something out of that IMO.  By all means go for it as the experience itself would be valuable for future projects.

I'm guessing this was directed at me.  You're probably right. 
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: Owen Reich on May 31, 2013, 06:06 PM
I was referring to the giant trunked one Dano posted.  I believe yours was in another thread and it is debatable.  If you stunt the secondary trunk by removing most of the branches and let the big trunk go a bit, it's possible.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: akeppler on June 01, 2013, 12:51 AM
I did a recent layer on a trident to get a super small mame tree but due to trying to save the bottom and get a tree on top, I made a rather small peel band. Still an inch wide but I was afarid it might try to close up so I gave it two wraps of 2mm wire at the top cut.

This is the layer
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: akeppler on June 01, 2013, 12:56 AM
On routine 90 day inspection, it was found that indeed the tree had pushed so hard and so fast that the callus material overshot the wire and still was able to brisge the wound.

I have since recut the callus material and cleaned it up for a second try. What I suspect is that my trunk area is so rittled with pruning scars that getting roots to issue from this area is dicy. It seems that this entire area may be much to chaotic for root emergence. The wire can clearly be seen embedded in my scar tissue. hmm....phase two.....

Time will tell.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: Judy on June 01, 2013, 03:51 PM
Question about clonex, does it last any length of time after the bottle has been opened? I've been told that all rooting hormones will loose their potency soon after opening.   
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on June 01, 2013, 06:23 PM
Judy, the powdered kind doesnt lose its efficacy.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: 0soyoung on June 02, 2013, 12:17 AM
On routine 90 day inspection, it was found that indeed the tree had pushed so hard and so fast that the callus material overshot the wire and still was able to brisge the wound.

I have since recut the callus material and cleaned it up for a second try. What I suspect is that my trunk area is so rittled with pruning scars that getting roots to issue from this area is dicy. It seems that this entire area may be much to chaotic for root emergence. The wire can clearly be seen embedded in my scar tissue. hmm....phase two.....

Time will tell.

I am a complete non-believer in the wire thingy with a girdle - maybe it works, but it doesn't impress me, so I have not actually tried it. I have done dozens of air-layers, though, and am of the mind that this kind of failure is because there was cambial tissue remaining in the girdle.

I've seen/read of people leaving their layers to air-dry for a day to avoid this problem, but wiping the girdle with isopropyl alcohol is simple, fast, and seems to be quite effective, killing any residual cambium - hence no problems such as this. IIRC, this was a Brent Walston idea. I've not had a bridging problem whenever I've used it - you might try this iso wipe-down next time, Al.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: Owen Reich on June 02, 2013, 10:27 PM
I've had success with the wire girdle method on maples but it has not worked on a few conifers.  The iso alcohol idea is interesting and will certainly give it a shot.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: 0soyoung on June 03, 2013, 12:31 AM
I've had success with the wire girdle method on maples but it has not worked on a few conifers.  The iso alcohol idea is interesting and will certainly give it a shot.

Just for clarification, there is the wire turniquet applied to the tree in lieu of girdling the tree. Harry Harrington of Bonsai4me recommends this for some species. I've tried it on JBP. It does work, induces awesome basal flare, but takes at least one extra season. George Marakana, a grower in Nepemo, CA has tried it versus girdling and found this as well.

On the other hand, some people are of the opinion that a bridged girdle is because the top of the girdle growing downward. They espouse what Al has done, also wrap a wire around the top edge of the girdle to deflect the growth from the top of the girdle outward. This is what I am not convinced of and haven't really ever tried simply because the argument is not sensible to my experience. Obviously, I think residual cambium is the reason. The iso wipe down seems to do the trick.

BTW, I've attached a photo of a bald cypress girdle showing the growth of residual cambium after a few weeks - an instance of when I tried to scrape all the green away. The point is just to support my view of how bridging occurs, though I did subsequently cut this growth away, do the iso wipe, and had the layer root successfully. As I said previously, I've not had any of these troubles when doing the iso wipe as part of the original process.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: Chrisl on June 04, 2013, 10:38 AM
I hope the girdling does work as I did a Pyracantha layer last mos., in a very large bush in the ground, and as best as I could, I removed as much cambium as possible, but getting to the back side was impossible.  So I cleaned by feel, and put a wire tournequit on with hopes it'll stimulate roots if indeed I didn't get all the the hardwood.  I too hadn't heard of alcohol, I'll give it a try on my next layer.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on February 28, 2014, 10:42 AM
Finally in a pot.  I'm loving those roots!
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: bwaynef on February 28, 2014, 10:44 AM
(Ignore my mess.)
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: LarryAldrich on March 01, 2014, 09:36 AM
Thanks for the up-date.
Title: Re: Separated a pot-layered Twin-trunk Japanese Maple
Post by: SHIMA1 on November 03, 2014, 04:26 AM
A couple of times throughout the year, I'd poke and prod at the ball of moss (surrounded by Boon Mix) that was hidden in the pot to see if there were roots.  Pretty early on I was sure that roots had struck, but I got busy this summer with other things and wasn't able to check regularly.

I expected I'd have enough roots to sustain the tree when I went to separate it this weekend.  Boy was I surprised!
This surgery is so satisfying isn't it?  I've done this with just pumice  mixed with milled sphagnum over a sheet of weed barrier then covered with a layer of moss. The barrier prevents the new roots from growing down into the soil surface. I was amazed how quickly the roots slithered through the pumice with good movement out to the edge of the pot.