Japanese Maple advice

Forum for discussion of Deciduous bonsai – Maples, Crabapple, Hornbeam, Elm species etc.

Japanese Maple advice

Postby Kieranrulz » July 11th, 2018, 10:42 am


My gf got me this on the weekend. I’m fairly new to bonsai and haven’t had a Maple before so any advice on keeping them would be appreciated. As in when’s best to prune, pot, wire, air layer etc.

I have some ideas on what to do with this but would love some other opinions first. I live in an apartment so ground planting isn’t an option.

Thanks for any help in advance. Hopefully the photos are ok.

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Re: Japanese Maple advice

Postby thoglette » July 11th, 2018, 6:50 pm

Bonsai with Japanese Maples: Peter Adams: 9780881928099

Plus, lessons learnt.
a) cut off the burnt leaves at the end of summer. You should get a second flush in Autumn.
b) keep out of salty and dry wind/breeze
c) keep in the sun
d) drain well. Especially in winter. water often in summer
Last edited by thoglette on July 11th, 2018, 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Japanese Maple advice

Postby robb63 » July 11th, 2018, 7:42 pm

Hi Kieran
If you look through the previous Maple posts under "Deciduous" there is plenty of examples
You will still need to decide what shape tree you want. A tall skinny tree and quick easy bonsai or another.
If you use search window [top right of screen] just type in maple and read away.
There are loads of examples and various ways to go about developing maples
Now is a good time to repot. Looking at the roots can help you choose a front for now.
If you read "Shibui's" posts you will see exellent examples of what to do with maples.
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Re: Japanese Maple advice

Postby shibui » July 11th, 2018, 9:55 pm

Sorry Kieran but there's no one 'right' answer to you queries. Just 'It all depends'
In general:
Probably best not to prune JM now. They tend to bleed a lot if pruned between mid winter and new leaves but if you root prune at the same time it will be OK.
Root prune/ re-pot any time from mid winter through to buds opening out to new shoots.
Wire whenever you like but it is far easier to wire maples when there's no leaves so autumn/winter is a good time. Keep an eye on wired maples and remove wire before it marks the bark - you have been warned.
Theoretically air layer any time of year but I get best/quickest results in late spring after laves have opened and matured - Nov/Dec in my area.

As ground grow is not an option you are left with: large pots to grow on and thicken the trunk and develop better branches OR Develop a good tree with few scars over many years in smaller pots OR Style a thin 'mallsai' tree with what is currently there.

What is good in bonsai depends entirely on the grower and what other material he/she has worked with so there's no right answer to what to do with this one.
I'd be interested to hear/see what you have in mind already.
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Re: Japanese Maple advice

Postby Kieranrulz » July 14th, 2018, 11:12 am

Hi all.

Firstly thanks for your input. Well I’ve been pretty much reading about JM constantly since writing this and I think I know less of what to do now lol

I think I’m going to just use this to learn more. Thinking I’ll try some wiring and make note of obvious branches to cut later.
Might then leave it to see how it looks through the seasons maybe try an air layer and possibly root grafting sometime in future. Think this will just be a tree to try new techniques.

Appreciate any more info and suggestions
Also ordered that book so looking forward to reading that.

Thanks again
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Re: Japanese Maple advice

Postby Boics » July 14th, 2018, 2:49 pm

Don't cut branches too close to a node as it can often die back further than you hope.
Leave a stub and clean it up a few months later.

Nothing wrong with learning!

Ive a JM that I've had for years and only now an I seeing some results. They can be difficult. Especially watch any BV wire!
One of the fabulous things about growing bonsai is as you get old and decrepit your trees get old and beautiful
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Re: Japanese Maple advice

Postby Daluke » July 16th, 2018, 11:54 am


Great gf you have there... I wish my other half bought me trees.

This video summarises most of the things you were seeking information on;


I hope it helps.
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