First time! Japanese Red Maple Bonsai. Need pointers!

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First time! Japanese Red Maple Bonsai. Need pointers!

Post  ishJJx3 on Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:55 pm

Hey everybody, I just signed up today.  I hope to get better acquainted with you all over the years.  (:
My name is JJ.  I live in Mississauga, Ontario.  (Pretty much Toronto)
In a recent trip to Oregon, I visited their beautiful Japanese garden.
They had a bonsai section in the Gift Shop Dojo.  There was Seed Starter kits (manufactured by Eve's Garden).  I picked up a Red Maple Seed Kit.
I'm now back home in Canada.  I've spent this entire afternoon and evening researching about taking care Bonsai.

I'm not completely sure how I'm supposed to handle the bonsai tree with my current conditions.
Here are my concerns that I'd like some advice on:

-My Seed Kit instructions are telling me to put my newly planted seeds/pot inside a provided plastic bag to create a terrarium environment.  I understand what they are suggesting, but it doesn't tell me much more than to put it in a bag.  How long would it stay in the plastic bag for?  Should I do this at all?

-I found out that Japanese Red Maples should be kept outside.  It's September; the days are getting colder from here.  I don't know how much progress I'll make in growth by the time dormant season comes around.  When dormant season comes around and if the tree doesn't grow enough to live through the winter, what should I do?  How do I even know if it's grown enough to survive winter?

-The pot supplied with my seed kit is 3" x 3" x 2.5".  It's pretty small from what I can compare to other shops.  Is this size okay to start with?  Or should I get something bigger like 6" to start?

-I have 8 seeds.  Given the size of my pot, how many should I plant at once?  If I succeed in sprouting more than one in the same pot, should I let it be?  Or do I have to only have one growing in the pot at a time?  If I were to use wire training to have them intertwine, would it drastically affect the growth of the saplings?

-I've seen some maple tree bonsai with thick, beautifully developed/aged trunks.  How do they accomplish this?  The majority of maple trees I've seen have much thinner trunks and tend to be taller.


The last concern isn't as important as the first four.  I have many more questions, but I'll start with these as they're the most important as of this moment.
Thank you in advance for any help!

-JJ

ishJJx3
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Re: First time! Japanese Red Maple Bonsai. Need pointers!

Post  leatherback on Wed Sep 04, 2013 7:10 am

Welcome to the site!

To start off.. Very brave to start off with seeds. Just now that you are looking at a minimum of 5 years before you have anything 'tree-like' this way. Most people would start with starterplants, instead of seeds. (Did you realize that bonsai re grown out of regular seeds, but that the techniques used create the small tree-style?)

Maple seeds need to experience a period of cold humidity before they germinate. So unless your seeds have had a cold treatment (Stratification) they will not germinate before winter. Easiest way to get them to sprout is plant them, put the pot outside (Protect agains mice etc) and wait for sping. (Look on the web for stratification of maple seeds for other techniques).

As before: I do not think your seeds will sprout. If they have had a cold treatment, I would not plant them before winter. The rest of the season is too short to get any form of growth and will leave you disappointed.

The pot is fine for the first stage.

Wiring only comes in later. I suggest you read up a little (There are several good websites, such as bonsai4me with excelletn information). How to go from seedling to an aged bonsai is a little much to just explain on a forum.

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Re: First time! Japanese Red Maple Bonsai. Need pointers!

Post  ishJJx3 on Wed Sep 04, 2013 2:54 pm

leatherback wrote:Welcome to the site!

To start off.. Very brave to start off with seeds. Just now that you are looking at a minimum of 5 years before you have anything 'tree-like' this way. Most people would start with starterplants, instead of seeds. (Did you realize that bonsai re grown out of regular seeds, but that the techniques used create the small tree-style?)

Maple seeds need to experience a period of cold humidity before they germinate. So unless your seeds have had a cold treatment (Stratification) they will not germinate before winter. Easiest way to get them to sprout is plant them, put the pot outside (Protect agains mice etc) and wait for sping. (Look on the web for stratification of maple seeds for other techniques).

As before: I do not think your seeds will sprout. If they have had a cold treatment, I would not plant them before winter. The rest of the season is too short to get any form of growth and will leave you disappointed.

The pot is fine for the first stage.

Wiring only comes in later. I suggest you read up a little (There are several good websites, such as bonsai4me with excelletn information). How to go from seedling to an aged bonsai is a little much to just explain on a forum.
Thank you very much for the information!
So I looked up some information on the stratification of Japanese Maple Seeds, and I think I got the idea.
Here are the instructions that I've narrowed my searches to:

1: Place the seeds in hot water from the faucet. Let them return to room temperature over 24 hours. Most of them should sink to the bottom of the container by 24 hours.
2: Place the seeds in a zip-lock bag mixed with peal and sand. Apply a small amount of water to keep the seeds moist. Poke a few holes so the bag can breath.
3: Store the seeds in the fridge and keep them there for 90-120 days. Add a few more drops of water if the seeds appear to be drying out. If mold develops, sparingly use a fungicide.
4: After the 90-120 days, remove the seeds that have pushed out a root radicle, and plant them into individual pots.

The stratification process should be started in December, so the seedlings can begin to be grown and taken care of in the spring in March/April.

Does this sound okay? If there's anything more that I should know for this process, let me know!
Thanks in advance (:

ishJJx3
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Re: First time! Japanese Red Maple Bonsai. Need pointers!

Post  leatherback on Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:24 pm

Personally, I have never seen the need for the hot water treatment. Feel unnatural to me. And.. Nature knows best (So why bother with a fridage, if it gets cold outdoors). I would consider potting up in coars sand, placed in a sheltered spot. Keep from drying out, but never soaking wet. And wait for spring.

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Re: First time! Japanese Red Maple Bonsai. Need pointers!

Post  ishJJx3 on Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:00 am

leatherback wrote:Personally, I have never seen the need for the hot water treatment. Feel unnatural to me. And.. Nature knows best (So why bother with a fridage, if it gets cold outdoors). I would consider potting up in coars sand, placed in a sheltered spot. Keep from drying out, but never soaking wet. And wait for spring.
Hmm that sounds like a much more suitable method. Though I may have to consider using the fridge because-- where I live, it gets very cold in the winter. At times it's colder than -25C (-13F), and I've heard that temperatures as threatening as this can cause severe damage to the life of the seeds during this period.

Oh what's the difference between coars sand and peal sand? I've also seen some sources that suggested putting the seed in a ziplock bag in the fridge with no soil or sand of any kind. Will I be able to easily get this soil/sand from my local garden store?

Thanks in advance (:

ishJJx3
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Japanese Red Maple

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:27 am

We just went through this same routine with another new member. I think he was struggling with juniper seeds. Forget it. If you want to start right away, go to a garden centre and get yourself a Ficus, like tiger bark or Golden Gate. Not a standard Ficus benjamina, but one of its dwarf cultivars if they have it. It won't grow much in the winter, but you can practice on it.
Next spring buy a Japanese maple starter. Make sure it is seed or cutting grown, not grafted. And join the Toronto Bonsai Society.
The best way to grow a thick trunk is in the ground, but some Japanese maples are not hardy in your area. You are in USDA Zone 5, Canada Zone 6. You can put it in the ground, with a rose cone for the winter. Alternatively, you put it in a very big pot in coarse soil & feed heavily.
Iris


Last edited by bonsaisr on Thu Sep 05, 2013 9:33 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Tweaking)

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Re: First time! Japanese Red Maple Bonsai. Need pointers!

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