Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => Shohin Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: John Kirby on May 13, 2010, 10:15 PM

Title: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on May 13, 2010, 10:15 PM
I looked for a nice thick based JM shohin for a long time. I got this one from Don B about 14 months ago. Repotted it and let it rip last summer. The tree has a great base and really needs to have branches grown to allow the branches to match the base. Last december we worked to get it repotted, and then did the approach grafts to get branches in the right places, and to heal the cut on the back. The third picture shows it last weekend as we prepared to work on it- it was thinned and wired. Will post agin next month when we work again and take the wire off.
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: JasonG on May 14, 2010, 12:54 AM
I love it John! Ilook forward to seeing the after shots!

Jason
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Jay on May 14, 2010, 05:56 AM
John this is a real little beauty.
A question, why did you decide to go with approach grafts and not thread grafts?
Jay
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on May 14, 2010, 07:31 AM
Could had used wither on the side branches, on the back, the top of the wound was connected to the bottom of the cut wowith two grafts on the same twig- the twig spans the "chop" to connect the two ends like a bridge to increae the rate of healing- and to give back pranches. After working on Pines and Junipers with Boon the past 5 yeas, starting to work on Maples with him has been a real kick.


John
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on December 21, 2011, 06:36 PM
It is that time of the year again. So after grafting, then doing a second round of grafts (approach) we got good fusion and lots of growth. The runners were about 3' tall and enough growth in diameter to make the grafts stick quite well. So, cut the grafts out, trimmed tips and then repotted to stop the tree from bleeding. Anyway, now we have some branches to work with. Wire to follow in the spring!

The only problem with this tree? Will need to be Kifu, not for height, but because the base is too large to fit into a shohin pot that will fit on a display stand........

John
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Don Blackmond on December 21, 2011, 09:19 PM
Looking good John.  Kudos for getting that gap filled.
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: JRob on December 22, 2011, 06:00 AM
John,

Lov'n it! Do you know the variety?

JRob
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: William N. Valavanis on December 22, 2011, 06:12 AM
John,

Another great Japanese maple!

You have good taste. I have a couple of comments:

From the photos it looks like allowing the tree to gain vigor developed a very heavy first branch on the left side. This is also a problem with me. Also, it looks like you changed the planting angle from your first photo in the shallow blue pot.

I like the bonsai better before you began to change it, but look forward to see how you develop the tree.

Bill
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on December 22, 2011, 09:35 AM
Hi Bill,
Thanks for your thoughts. A couple of things. When I got this tree a few years ago it had a couple of significant issues. First, it had been planted in a very, very, small pot and had lost the vast majority of the roots that maintained the nebari at the front of the tree. The tree was potted up twice, and the front worked to stimulate root growth to prevent the death of the front of the tree. Additionally, the tree had a large open wound at the back, which I knew of and had planned on fixing from the beginning, in order to develop back branching and depth. So, this intermediate version of the tree shows it with new branches, a majority of the trunk in the front fed by roots and the wound being healed. The next steps, starting in the spring, will be to shorten and refine both of the major branches on the left and right side and to develop a reasonable canopy. Will see what it looks like next year, I would expect that it should have a good level of refinement in 3-5 years, then it could be shown locally. Thanks again, John
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Don Blackmond on December 22, 2011, 12:40 PM
these photos are from January 2008
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on December 22, 2011, 03:26 PM
These are the pictures that sold me on this little gem, a couple of years and we will have it where I canmakethetwigginess that it deserves.
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: nathanbs on December 22, 2011, 03:33 PM
i think that anyone that has ever photographed their tree or any bonsai for that matter is well aware that a tree with very few branches photographs the best. I suspect this is the case with your Jap. Maple. I admit the before photos look better than the current photos but i trust in person its the other way around. A very popular rising star in the bonsai community said this of the trees in Europe. They look fantastic in photos but in person you are left wondering where the rest of the tree is
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Don Blackmond on December 22, 2011, 05:05 PM
Trees like this always look better in person.  They look great in photos, but are way better in person.
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on December 22, 2011, 05:40 PM
Well, this tree when dry (I had just watered after repotting) has the marvelous white bark. The tree needed branches, it needed the apex to be strengthened, and it needed the branches to run a bit. It is better, it just doesn't look finished like it did before, but that was my purpose, build a new tree around the great foundation. I have bought a lot of trees from Don, before and since this one, you alway get great material, my choice here was to build a more complex tree. We are halfway there. John
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: MatsuBonsai on December 22, 2011, 05:43 PM
I'm really excited to see this one continue to develop.  I really appreciate your dedication and effort to improve trees like this and others you've posted recently.
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Jay on December 22, 2011, 05:57 PM
John, this tree (and others of yours  in progress) are EXCELLENT examples of the patience and thought needed to develop Bonsai. It is a pleasure to view them, see their progress, and remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. Bonsai needs time, even when a tree that is developed as much as this one is presented. I hope I (and other novice) will look and learn and not rush things.

Thank you
Jay
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on December 22, 2011, 07:37 PM
Jay, thanks. The point is that when we post trees they need to be at their best. I chose to post a couple of trees that we are trying to transform, some of what as happened is difficult as an intermediate. It is 50 degrees here in CT........
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Owen Reich on December 22, 2011, 11:38 PM
John, do you know the technique of removing the set of "tongues" on Acer palmatum to decrease internode length?  If not, it involves removal of what initially covered the leaves inside the unopened bud.  Once the buds just pop open, the little flaps that are not true leaves can be carefully removed with scissors or tweezers.  The effect is that the shoot is stressed and not insulated from the elements.  We do this on Shohin in Osaka but it's tedious for anything bigger than Kifu size trees. 

I'll demonstrate on a Bonsai Art of Japan episode for everyone in Spring of 2012.
Nice tree.
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: JRob on December 23, 2011, 06:14 AM
All,

If I remember correctly, Albek's book Majesty In Miniature describes this process in detail with nice photos, but I'd have to run upstairs and check it. But I believe that is where I first learned the process.

JRob
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on December 23, 2011, 07:49 AM
Owen, yes. This tree has not been any where near refinement, assuming the grafts are solid (and I truly believe that they are), we can start to reduce branches and then wire and grow for twigginess. This process isn't as quick as just snap wiring a conifer and having a great looking tree (faults and all). As has been inferred, it is a process.

Jeffry, thanks. These photographs are taken during the rather hectic workshops that are done at Boon's garden for BIB. So, we typically get the tree up on turntable by the wall, work around folks walking through and working on trees to get before and after or progress pictures. Setting up for more formal pictures, with the light racks set up and good stands, is reserved for less crowded days.
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Judy on December 23, 2011, 08:29 AM
John, please don't stop posting these works in progress, for the reasoning that the tree needs to look "better" than it does presently.  These types of threads are how I and others like me learn the processes that make great material and take it to the next level.
Thank you for sharing this with us.
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Jerry Norbury on December 23, 2011, 09:40 AM
John

Just beautiful - and now the questions:

1) The pot appears small when considering that you are in a development phase - why was this done?
2) How was this tree positioned during this development period? (wrt sunlight, shading,
3) Are there any close-up photos of the approach grafting?

Jerry
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on December 23, 2011, 10:01 AM
Jerry,
1. When the tree was transplanted into this pot, which was done a year after it was moved into the shallow blue pot, it was very slow to fill the pot with roots- two years and it still was not nearly root bound- so a larger pot would have just been extra soil. It was growing faster this year than before, I think it finally hit its stride.

2. Positioned in full sun, turned periodically, fertilized heavily, etc.

3. No close ups, the next time I am at Boon's I will try and remember to take some pictures, the grafts were made as typical, by notching the trunk and then stripping to cambium on both sides of twigs and pinning in place.
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Jerry Norbury on December 23, 2011, 10:15 AM
3) Can you say something more about the "pinning in place" i.e. how was that done?

4) What soil mix did you use during this time? I've used a very free draining soil with my Tridents in the last year and it did not appear to be a good choice.
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on December 23, 2011, 10:40 AM
Jerry, have you seen the piece on Urushibata and grafting in Bonsai Focus a couple of years ago? Very similar, notch, then hold the approach in place with map pins driven in with a small hammer.

We use an akadama based soil, with pumice and volcanic. It drains freel but is very moisture retentive, we also covered the soil with shredded spahagnum to stimulate root growth and to maintain soil moisture.

John
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Concorde on December 23, 2011, 11:08 AM
The maple is simply outstanding :)
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Jerry Norbury on December 23, 2011, 12:19 PM
John

Thanks for the clarifications.

I had not seen that Bonsai Forum - but I get the idea with the map pins.

I'll have to try adding the sphagnum. I also use a akadama/moler/grit mix - but it dries far too quickly I suspect.


Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: akeppler on December 23, 2011, 05:00 PM
Hah! I been useing pushpins for approach grafts for years. I thought I was the only one.

go figure....
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on December 23, 2011, 05:09 PM
And they work very well.
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Sam Ogranaja on July 17, 2013, 10:39 PM
Hey John,

Are there any more updates on this great Maple? I hope so.

Have a great week!!!
Sam
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: John Kirby on July 17, 2013, 11:13 PM
It is going great guns. I was made an offer I couldn't refuse, so the tree still sits in the same spot on the bench, but has a new owner.  All the grafts have held, the big open wound on the back is almost healed, my good friend Jeff has continued/accelerated its improvement!
Title: Re: Shohin Japanese Maple
Post by: Sam Ogranaja on July 31, 2013, 12:03 AM
I see.

Thanks for keeping us updated while you had it. Maybe the new owner will join this site.

Have a great week!!!
Sam