Acer palmatum restyle

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Acer palmatum restyle

Postby shibui » October 25th, 2011, 10:52 am

I've had this Japanese maple for many years so it has some quite impressive characteristics but due to lack of technique also has some faults. On top of this it lost a couple of branches a few years ago so its time for a restyle.
A.palmatum 4 2006 09.JPG
AP4 2011 10 01.JPG

The upper trunk is now far too thick, has some areas of reverse taper and is too straight.

I have considered the future of this tree for a couple of years and have some ideas on how to restyle it but thought I'd offer others the chance to comment and add some ideas.
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby bodhidharma » October 25th, 2011, 12:39 pm

Sorry Shibui but it is really difficult to see. Maybe do a defoliate and post the tree again :lost:
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby kcpoole » October 25th, 2011, 12:55 pm

too hard to see with all the foliage on it Mate.
Looks real healthy tho but can you defoliate and repost lie Bodhi says?

Ken
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby Matthew » October 25th, 2011, 1:56 pm

ive seen this tree in person and naked :palm: i think its a damn nice tree but agree with neil that the top is getting abit heavy. i would be reluntant to cut although long term thats maybe whats needed. heres an idea Neal. sell it to me and problem solved :fc: :lol:
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby Scott Roxburgh » October 25th, 2011, 3:35 pm

Nice bark!

Other than that, it is a bit hard to see, any pics of it nekkid?

I can feel a chop coming on...
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby shibui » October 27th, 2011, 2:01 pm

Sorry guys you won't get a defoliated look at this now. I've considered this tree pretty thoroughly over the past 2 years and I'm happy to go ahead with plan I have come up with.

Best things about this tree - the base of the trunk and the first branch.
AP4 2011 10 05.JPG


Problems - Trunk relatively straight and little taper (even some reverse taper) above the lower branches. Lack of branches on the left.

Given all this I have decided to remove the trunk above the first branch to leave a semi cascade.

As Japanese maples sometimes suffer dieback in the trunk when cut back hard I want to hasten quite slowly. Other growers have urged me to try to save some other parts of the tree so I have put on a couple of layers to save the top of the tree and a lower branch.
AP4 trunk layer.JPG

There was no room on the other lower branch to set a layer so I've grafted a seedling on to the base to try to save it too.
AP4 graft.JPG

With luck the sap paths in trunk will change over the next few months while the layers root and there will be less chance of the trunk dieing back when the stump is removed.
I didn't think this branch had enough going for it to be worth saving so it was removed to make room for the trunk layer.
AP4 branch removed.JPG
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby kcpoole » October 27th, 2011, 2:56 pm

Lovely trunk and this will be interesting to see what you do with it over the next year or 2 :-)

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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby Jow » October 27th, 2011, 3:03 pm

Hi Neil,

I really liked this tree even with its slightly flawed trunk. That said it will make a really nice semi cascade tree if you can minimise dieback and down pot it enough. How long will you leave the air layers on for? Or more to the point, how long do i have to wait to see it chopped down to its new style?
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby Scott Roxburgh » October 27th, 2011, 3:18 pm

shibui wrote:Sorry guys you won't get a defoliated look at this now.

Good choice, but do you have any pics from winter?

shibui wrote:Other growers have urged me to try to save some other parts of the tree so I have put on a couple of layers to save the top of the tree and a lower branch.

with that aged bark I can understand! :hooray:

shibui wrote:There was no room on the other lower branch to set a layer so I've grafted a seedling on to the base to try to save it too.

Ebihara style, Nice!!! 8-)

Ebihara Technique for anyone interested http://bonsaitonight.com/2009/07/29/ebihara-technique/
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby shibui » October 27th, 2011, 8:52 pm

Jow, I am looking at least 6 months, maybe 12 before I remove the main trunk on this one. Ideally I'd take the layers off first then the grafted branch a couple of months later because it will be the only thing on that side of the trunk. Hopefully the roots on that side will gradually start to feed the lowest branch - the one I'm leaving - and won't die off when the (grafted) branch above is removed.
If the trunk does die off on one side I will just have to make some adjustments to the final design. Either way it will be better than what I have now.

Initially could not locate a winter pic but finally found one Scott. The lack of taper in the trunk is obvious.
PICT0086.JPG
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby shibui » December 21st, 2011, 11:22 am

The trunk layer has plenty of roots
AP4 layer roots.JPG
so off with its head!
After thinning the branches and reducing foliage to match the reduced roots there's a nice little tree.
AP4 layer removed.JPG
Height 25 cm, trunk 4cm diameter.

The branch layer used a wire tourniquet because there was no room to ringbark. No roots yet.
The seedling I grafted onto the back branch died from lack of water shortly after I did the graft so I have had to do that again.
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby NBPCA » December 21st, 2011, 12:40 pm

Hi,

The new piece should make a great small bonsai.

Mother and child doing well?

Grant
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby shibui » December 22nd, 2011, 1:10 pm

Yes Grant, no ill effects for either from the procedure.

The layer still has a pretty chunky trunk with little taper in the lower half but I am expecting the base to swell as the new roots and the callus around the cut start to grow. I didn't check the root initiation around the trunk too closely as these new roots are fragile but there appears to be a good spread of roots around the trunk which will hopefully produce a good nebari in time.

Still no sign of wilting in the layer so it looks like there are enough roots to support the foliage I have left on it. The only issue now is possible fungal infection. I sometimes have the bark at or near soil level turn black, effectively killing the plant. This only seems to happen on palmatums and seems to usually be on plants that have been rootpruned or recently separated layers. Keeping the mix slightly on the dry side seems to help. If anyone else has experienced similar feel free to chip in with thoughts or observations or solutions.
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby Scott Roxburgh » December 23rd, 2011, 7:52 am

Now that is a candidate for the Shohin comp...

I have had the blackening bark mostly on seedlings or young trees. I have lost quite a few to it, but as you said Neil keeping the mix drier helps.

I have also started to use a lot more fungicide (copper and others) than previously, and that has helped too.

It might be something like this...it sounds similar
http://crataegus.com/2011/11/29/read-this-if-you-grow-japanese-maple/
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Re: Acer palmatum restyle

Postby shibui » June 24th, 2015, 5:56 pm

It has been a couple of years since this tree was restyled. The lower trunk has really just been resting and recovering an I have not really done much with it so time to stop procrastinating.
2015 Joe visit 1.JPG


It has developed 2 main trunks. Both have good characteristics and I have not been able to decide whether to keep the lower trunkline or the upper one so while Joe was here on the weekend we made a collaborative decision.
2015 Joe visit 2.JPG

The large cut is just starting to heal. It needs some more reduction of the dead wood so it can heal over properly.

This season I should give it a little more attention and start forming some branches.
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