Acer palmatum development pruning

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Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by shibui »

Hi everyone,
I have been developing this Japanese maple for a few years. Trying to get a multi trunk natural Japanese maple style tree.
AP large 2010 5 a2.JPG
Now the leaves have fallen this winter it is time to prune again to further develop the branching and ramification but I thought this year it might be informative to take anyone interested along through the process so I'm planning to do the work in stages over the next week or 2 with input from you.
Anyone is welcome to contribute ideas and suggestions as we go.

Remember this is not the ONLY way to develop ramification, it is just the way I am doing it.

Here is the tree as it is at the start of this winter.
AP large 2013 6 1.JPG
The first thing to do is clean up fallen leaves so we can see the tree properly. note that the tree is actually dormant - the few remaining leaves have just forgotten to fall off yet.
AP large 2013 6 2.JPG
So what's next :?:
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by kcpoole »

Would be cleaning out the shoots and branches unwanted, then wiring every Branch and twig now.

Curious do you tip prune at all thru summer? I thought by doing so the internodes will be shorter

Ken
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by Meagi »

Great tree and great thread shibui I will be watching this closely
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by Peter Hobbs »

Great post Neil, will be following closely, cheers Peter
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Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by Beano »

Very interesting, can't wait to hear the rest.
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by fiveoffive »

great looking tree
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by Watto »

Neil - I have to admit to me the tree is visually a little off putting. There appears to be two sets of parallel branches, and either 4 or 6 branches/trunks. Maybe its the old even number thing happening?
That said I am interested if you are thinking along the same lines so I will stay tuned for the next up-date.
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by Guy »

I 'm having trouble connecting with this tree-- :imo: I'm not sure what but something big should be cut off
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by MattA »

Shibui,
With a few in various stages I am looking forward to hearing how you work at developing your maples but I am having trouble making a correlation between your words & the visual this tree presents. It looks more like a bonsai of the modern school than any Acer palmatum I have seen in the wilds of japan, in gardens around the world or in older style bonsai.

PS. despite the above I actually like the tree & can visualize it in years to come with a really well ramified canopy :tu2:
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by Dario »

Hi Neil, thanks for the thread and I will watch closely to see how you go about developing this tree.
As a beginner once the leaves are removed I would initially go through the tree with a basic prune removing multiple growth from one place to one shoot...keeping the shoot/branch with the shortest internodes.
Whilst doing that I would also do a light structural prune reducing the stronger areas to smaller finer growth, also based on shorter internodes and branch taper etc.
I would then clean the soil at the base of the tree to see the nebari a little better and select a front/main view based on the nebari and trunk lines.
Once I have a "front" I would look more closely at how and where I want to position my trunk lines and branches, and identify areas that may need to be cut back further. I would then cut those areas back and clean out the structure further if needed, then wire and position the trunk lines and branches.
Then I would be more aware of weaker vs stronger areas and how I would need to prune the tree over the coming seasons to develop energy balance and ramification.
Also may need to clean out any growth that is pointing inwards inbetween the trunk lines.It may also need to be repotted before the rowing season.
It is a rather general approach and probably not what you were after Neil, but based on my experience level
and without seeing the tree in person that is the best I can do.
Go easy on me, I have a lot to learn :tu2:
Cheers, Dario.
EDIT Sorry Neil, I am guessing that is your front. Being more specific, based on the last pic I can see a few areas that need working on (the stronger portions of the tree). The main one is on the left...first sub trunk where it forks into a "Y".
Sronlgy cut back the left section and wire and reposition the top portion over to the left more.
The apex on the main trunk may need to slightly reduced? On the right there is a back branch that looks it needs thinning (it seems a little strong and clustered together in its upper parts).
Nb.png
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Last edited by Dario on June 17th, 2013, 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by Andrew Legg »

Dario wrote:Hi Neil, thanks for the thread and I will watch closely to see how you go about developing this tree.
As a beginner once the leaves are removed I would initially go through the tree with a basic prune removing multiple growth from one place to one shoot...keeping the shoot/branch with the shortest internodes.
Whilst doing that I would also do a light structural prune reducing the stronger areas to smaller finer growth, also based on shorter internodes and branch taper etc.
I would then clean the soil at the base of the tree to see the nebari a little better and select a front/main view based on the nebari and trunk lines.
Once I have a "front" I would look more closely at how and where I want to position my trunk lines and branches, and identify areas that may need to be cut back further. I would then cut those areas back and clean out the structure further if needed, then wire and position the trunk lines and branches.
Then I would be more aware of weaker vs stronger areas and how I would need to prune the tree over the coming seasons to develop energy balance and ramification.
It may also need to be repotted before the rowing season.
It is a rather general approach and probably not what you were after Neil, but based on my experience level
and without seeing the tree in person that is the best I can do.
Go easy on me, I have a lot to learn :tu2:
Cheers, Dario.
Now if only everyone could follow that process! :cool:
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by bodhidharma »

A great tree Shibui but, with everything, you will be getting a hundred different opinions and critiques of the tree. I would love to have it on my shelf to work on. :tu2: I am working on a multi trunk Spindle tree at the moment and i am in the middle of wiring it. I would treat this the same. Create a clear view of the leaders and wire them harmoniously, cut the branches secondarys back to the first or second set of buds. If the secondary's have more than two sets of buds close together, wire them into place along with the main branches. I think you have enough main branches to create a canopy around the setting. Cut all your main branches in a stepped progression as you wire. If (personal choice) you dont think the main branch stubs are fat enough i would then let them grow for another season or so and just pull them into place. I would then defoliate it next early Summer, rewire what needs to be wired and leave it till next winter to grow and then repeat for the next 5-10 years. As said, a great tree.
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by Ozmad »

redo over.jpg
:imo: I'd cut it back to this, then start the finer branch structure
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by 63pmp »

Hi Neil,

Any left and right shots? It's hard to tell where all these trunks are going in the photo's you have provided.

Just my opinion, but this tree isn't ready for developing ramification.

Paul
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Re: Acer palmatum development pruning

Post by Gerard »

Hi Neil,
I like the way you have presented this inviting us to have a think and expect you already have a pretty good idea on how you will proceed.
What troubles me about the tree most:
The second branch from the left growing into the main trunk.
The second branch from the right has a very heavy/crossing back branch.
Perhaps these issues can be overcome by changing the viewing angle?
Perhaps a hard cut back?
I will assume we have the best front
untitled.png
I have removed a couple of branches and placed some blue lines at possible additional cuts.
I am uncertain about the small first left branch because of the way it exits the trunk on a downward angle, wait and see?
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