Advice on Collected Amur Maple

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Advice on Collected Amur Maple

Post  Mpedley on Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:34 am

I would like to introduce myself, as this is my first post. My name is Mike, and I recently graduated from OSU with a degree in forest ecology. I spent my time in school working for an arboretum. Currently I work at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Ohio.

I was given the opportunity to work with the collection at work. Mainly I took notes during the bonsai society meetings and tried to ask as many good questions as possible. I have developed a novice collection over the past four months, and have read and read and read up. I love the fusion of horticulture and forestry for me.

Recently at work, I was tasked with clearing a hillside by a water feature. One of the perpetrators to remove was this volunteer amur maple. Having full permission, I was thrilled with my find. It had been sawed back multiple times rather than dug or pulled through-ought its life. Most of the cuts you see were me just shortening the long, whispy branches so I could get the thing home easier, but I have not cut the branch in photo 2 in the middle (with the cut paste aiming right at you). It has already died back at the top. Would this be a good leader if I cut it back? How many chops should I make total?


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Quite a few options here you see... The branch in the far left of the first photo seems like it needs to go but all styling options are open. I want to think this out very well before executing.
Any advice on where to chop or selecting a leader etc would thrill me.

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Mpedley
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Re: Advice on Collected Amur Maple

Post  Marty Weiser on Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:34 am

Mike,

I agree that long branch to the right in the 1st picture should go (it is the front branch in the 3rd). I would also cut back the stub on the right branch in the 3rd picture. That leaves you with a leader and 3 branches. They could be trained fairly nicely to create the image of a large spreading maple in the a field. All would probably be cut back a bit further to get more taper using the new, whips that we can see coming out. The key will be to wire those to give a convincing line while they are flexible.

Another option is to also cut out the central leader and lean it to the right in the 2nd picture to get an informal upright. I would get rid of the long branch and stub now. If you chose to remove the leader and tilt I would wait until next year.

Marty

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Re: Advice on Collected Amur Maple

Post  fiona on Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:17 am

Hi Mike and welcome to the forum. Why don't you put the intro stuff from your first post into our Personal Space: Introductions section as it will soon get lost here.

I can't comment as I haven't worked with that species, but that looks like a decent piece of material to me. Good luck and don't forget to take pics along its way to being a bonsai.

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Re: Advice on Collected Amur Maple

Post  Mpedley on Sat Jun 09, 2012 8:36 pm

Should the thin, long shoots be pruned back? Maybe just prune back this years growth (about 1/2 to 2/3rds the way) I am assuming spring would be the best time to make the big cuts final. I cut back now, and I thought it might be best to wait, and watch for die-back, before making my uber-crucial cut. I picked up that sentiment from an evergreen article i think. Sound about right?.

While there are many whispy branches, I have some reservations about cutting too much more back. The foliage you see in the photo represents about 60% of the plants original branches. I have conflicting thoughts though about cutting more back these branches. On one hand some are attached at weird angles relative to each other and sometimes out of the same place. Also the root ball of this tree was shallow, as it was growing on horrible rocky soil. Sometimes I worry that there is too much foliage relative to the root system. I don't want to dehydrate a freshly transplanted tree, but I also dont want to shock it by cutting back too much more. Any thoughts on this?

One last observation. The root system has one massive root and much fine root below. At some point in this trees life, shouldn't this massive root be pruned. How do I encourage some nice large radial roots insted of my current huge, potentially girdling down the road, root?


Last edited by Mpedley on Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:57 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typo)

Mpedley
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Re: Advice on Collected Amur Maple

Post  Marty Weiser on Sat Jun 09, 2012 11:40 pm

I would leave the long thin shoots to since they will supply energy for the roots. I would direct the bases of those shoots that may become part of the design since they will thicken quickly.

I would cut the heavy curved branch back and trim the stub I mentioned now. Seal the would so it does not dry out around the edges and you still have lots of time for the tree to start to heat that major wound.

Yes, you will have to cut off the major root that may cause issues. If the tree grows well this season it can be done next year. It is less than optimal to do root work in 2 consecutive years, but an amur maple will tolerate it well and then the finer roots that grew this year will be able to take over and start creating a nice nebari. I like to grow maples in fairly shallow trays to encourage that. I really like to get the roots started in the right direction before I do a lot of top styling. That way I don't loose good top stuff if something goes wrong when I prune the roots and I also find that well distributed roots helps promote well distributed branches.

If you repot next year to take care of the major root and decide to remove one of the three remaining big branches I would wait another year before removing the branch. You can keep the one to be removed pruned back to encourage the 2 that will remain, but that avoids making another large scar that same year as you remove a heavy root.

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Re: Advice on Collected Amur Maple

Post  Mpedley on Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:48 am

(referring to photo 2) If I remove the long curved branch and select the central branch as a leader, would the far left branch be too large? Perhaps I could remedy that by cutting it back after It is trained to bend down. My leader has currently died back at the top naturally. Should I wait until spring to cut it back. Maybe see where it buds and then make a cut above that before going back in and making an angled cut after dieback. Should I wait for the plant to establish before wiring the large branches? I have some 1.5 mm aluminum wire perfect for fragile branches like those whips, so I assume it is ok to wire these.

Could the long curvy branch be cut back to an inch or two, and dealt with in the spring? Dependeng how it looks then, I am thinking about taking a dremell and creating a hollow, punky stub out of it.


After I get some time, next weekend likely, I will execute my final plan and share photos.

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Re: Advice on Collected Amur Maple

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