Newbie needs help propagating a Japanese maple

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Newbie needs help propagating a Japanese maple

Post  kieron on Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:17 am

First and foremost, I'd like to state I'm brand new to the art, living in Massachusetts, and I know I have much to learn.

Due to a series of circumstances beyond my control, I'm presented with a very narrow window of opportunity to propagate a Japanese maple dissectum with great personal significance. My research has lead me to believe I am approaching this entirely too late in the season to be successful, but the opportunity will be lost if I don't act shortly.

The included images are of the tree and a closeup of the leaves taken on 18 July.

Research has pointed me towards air layering, but I'm open to advise from those with more experience and learning to point me in the right direction. I'm basically looking for any advise in propagating and helping the new tree to survive. In the worst case, I have a month in which to pot the air layer or branch cutting, best case would be closer to 90 days.

Thanks in advance!

http://i39.servimg.com/u/f39/18/43/21/82/maple11.jpg

http://i39.servimg.com/u/f39/18/43/21/82/leaves11.jpg

kieron
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Re: Newbie needs help propagating a Japanese maple

Post  0soyoung on Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:44 am

It is indeed too late for an air layer this season. Furthermore, it takes longer than 6 weeks to have a harvestable layer in much of the US - about 4 months in my location - and another 4 to 6 weeks for to harden the layer for its first winter. I've never had any success with JM cuttings, but it sounds like that may be your only option if you must have a piece of this specific tree.

Alternatively, consider buying an identical cultivar tree and growing it to keep your memories alive. The fact that you are wanting to propagate it suggests that it is the image of the tree that is important and not the tree itself, per se. This would be a very bonsai-like endeavor. to grow and shape a new tree to make the image of the one pictured that is so meaningful for you.

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Re: Newbie needs help propagating a Japanese maple

Post  marcus watts on Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:02 am

why not just dig it up?

a layer will not be ready in time so you will leave the tree scarred and potentially ruined if you try, cuttings will be very unlikely to work too.

dig a great big rootball, keep the soil ball together,wrap it up in a breathable cloth and then plant it in the ground in prepared soil or a big box IN the Shade. the tree will survive and even if the fine branches die back new buds will form in the spring

cheers

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Re: Newbie needs help propagating a Japanese maple

Post  kieron on Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:27 pm

Thanks for the replies, I'm new to this community and didn't expect to see them so soon.

@osoyoung - it is this specific tree that I'm after. To spare the sordid details, my wife and I are separating and selling our home. The JM was one of the first things she fell in love with at the house and I want to eventually gift her with a non-traditional sokan-styled bonsai from this particular tree. It is my hope to style the bonsai to symbolize more of a partner relationship instead of parent/child.

@Marcus - unfortunately, digging the tree up is not an option for a variety of reasons, including my new residence and leaving a large depression in the front yard just before the house goes on market.

If it is too late to layer, then I hope to have success with a cutting.

Thanks again for the advice.

kieron
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Re: Newbie needs help propagating a Japanese maple

Post  prestontolbert on Tue Jul 23, 2013 2:17 am

In my experience it is very difficult to get air layers or cuttings to take from dissectum maples in the best of conditions. And the roots are usually weak when it works. If you really want to make a bonsai from this tree, the best choice is to do what marcus said. Find someone to lend a shady spot in their yard for a beautiful jm, replace the hole in the yard with some hostas, and retrieve your maple when you have a stable situation.
good luck, PT

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Re: Newbie needs help propagating a Japanese maple

Post  marcus watts on Tue Jul 23, 2013 7:26 am

Hi,

dont give up so easily with such simple to solve things - a hole in the yard!!! fill it in with a bag of soil, plant a home depot tree in the spot.....and if you dont have anywhere to keep the dug up tree at your new place you equally would not have anywhere to put the layered top surely? the place both would need keeping would be the same - ie outdoors, sheltered and shaded. Maybe arrange for it to sit in a friend or family members yard for the next 3 years as that will be the initial timescale to getting it recovered and very roughly into bonsai shape

if the tree is that special you should not even contemplate a late summer layer on such a tight timescale that potentially could result in the entire top dying off would you?

time to find a spade Laughing 

marcus watts
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Re: Newbie needs help propagating a Japanese maple

Post  AlainK on Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:18 am

I once read an article in a bonsai magazine about a Japanese who used an interesting technique for cultivars that are reputed to be almost impossible to propagate by cuttings: he would graft a scion on a vigorous rootstock, put a wire around the graft (whip grafting), and add sphagnum moss around. Thus when the graft takes and the tree gets strength, it airlayers naturally as a callus forms.

Maybe you could try this, it's not the right season, but maybe you'll be lucky enough to have one survive. I haven't tried it personally but this "mixed methods" approach seems very interesting.


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