Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

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Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  Richard S on Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:33 pm

Hi folks

I'm still fairly new to bonsai and as a result I have a lot of trees that are in plant pots /training pots etc. Most aren't very "bonsai" looking to be honest. However, things are starting to progress a bit and this spring I'm transferring a few into their first proper ceramic pots. This Field Maple (Acer Campestre) is a good example.

Obviously the tree is still very raw and needs a lot of work. The lower branches need strengthening and upper branches need to back bud so I can cut back some of the excessively thick sections but I do feel it's heading in the direction I want. It improved a lot in the last growing season too so I'm hoping for good growth this season again.

A few years of Walter Pall style "hedge cutting" should help increase the ramification. In the mean time it should look ok once in leaf.

If I can get the back branches and the lowest right hand branch to grow vigorously enough I might remove the very straight branch/secondary trunk as well but that a consideration for the future really.

for now I guess it's just let it grow, cut it back, let it grow, cut it back etc, etc.

Anyway, hope you like it (constructive criticism very welcome as always).

Regards

Richard


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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  chris on Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:25 pm

Hi Richard
I like the upright form that you are aiming at, good trunk as well
Just a few things jumping out at me, why is the tree offset in the pot rather than in the centre and there are a few catapult branches

Regards Chris

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  Guest on Tue Mar 11, 2014 2:19 am

Richard,
If you are following Walter Pall's method of Hedge cutting as you said, You are on the right track.
The natural layer of canopy is also on the right direction.

One of his works using this technique.



regards,
jun  Smile

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  RKatzin on Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:29 pm

Hi Richard, I like your tree very much. The trunk is shaped very nice, but I think there are two sets of antlers that are really distracting and taking too much energy from the rest of the tree.

The bottom one on the right is growing into more of a secondary trunk than a branch. If you want the other lower branches to grow more vigorously then you need to weaken this powerful piece or remove it completely. I would remove it because I don't like the angle at the connection. It is too upright, like another trunk and this tree looks great on its own.

The one at the top is just too big and chunky to be in the top of the tree. The branch you can see through the Y is more to my liking. Trees do not do what we want them to do. By that I mean that they tend to feed the strong and shed the weak branches. If you want weaker branches to gain strength then we must weaken the stronger. On Walters tree you can see where bigger, stronger branches were removed. This is a constant process with maples and if its not done then they grow out of the design.

I think the whole tree would look better and respond better to hedge clipping if those two pieces are removed, just my opinion, Rick.

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  Richard S on Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:55 pm

Hi folks

Thanks for taking the time to comment on my tree, much appreciated.

Chris

Yes, you are quite right. The planting position is not ideal but there is a reason for this. Although you can't see most of it this tree has a massive root spread and in fact only just fits in this pot (and it's a big pot). I have begun to address this but to have positioned it centrally this time around I would have had to cut back all of the roots on the right hand side to bare stumps.

For the health of the tree I thought it would be better to do this in stages so it will perhaps take another two re-pots (say 4 to 6 years?) to get it somewhere near centred. By then I hope the top will be considerably better and I may be thinking about a different pot anyway. For the time being though this one is fine and looks a lot better than the black plastic tray it was sitting in. You are right though, it's not particularly well positioned at the moment.

Jun 

Thanks. I am very much hoping to develop this tree in a twin trunk, informal broom form with two crowns, one at the top and the second lower down on the right (if that makes sense). I'm also hoping that the over all effect will fairly naturalistic so the Walter Pall approach seems to me like the way to go although for reasons already stated by others I may need to be a bit more discerning in my branch selection!

Rick

To be honest I quite like the twin trunk effect (I agree it's more of a trunk than a branch) and I don't particularly mind the initial angle that it's growing at either although it's not perfect. However, beyond that I would have to say that you are quite right about the ugly, thick "antlers" and "catapult branches" as Chris called them.

Looking back I now realise that I made a very basic beginners mistake with this tree. When I acquired it, it had almost no branches to speak of, just stumps. I was rather cautious and just left it to see what would grow. Actually quite a lot grew from almost everywhere so I cut it back. Last season I did the same thinking I was starting to build a good branch structure but I now see more of what you see. In places at least I have been building on a poor foundation! To some extent then I have wasted two years of development but I don't suppose it has done the tree any harm and it's all part of the learning process!

The good news is that new, thinner branches in the crown are exactly what's need there so that should be a relatively quick fix. The bigger question is do I remove the second trunk altogether as you suggest and make more of that lower branch or simply cut it well back and re grow the straight ugly section?

At the moment I'm undecided but thanks for the suggestion anyway. I may very well decide to go that way.

Regards

Richard

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  RKatzin on Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:43 am

Hi Richard, I just wanted to say that this is a very nice tree and you've done a great job bringing it this far! Frankly, what you've described is basicly how I've been growing maples.

Keep up the good work!  Rick

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  Richard S on Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:20 pm

Hi folks

Thought I'd update this old post about my large Field Maple. It's been a while (2yrs !!!) and despite my best intention I did nothing with this tree in Autumn 2014 because I was busy moving house so yet another year of potential development got wasted. Oh well, that's life.

Finally got it cut back and re-designed in Autumn 2015 though and got rid of the second trunk and stags horns. A significant improvement I think but as always I'd welcome feed back and constructive criticism.

This is what it looks like today.




Regards

Richard

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  BobbyLane on Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:45 pm

I think that looks a lot better, i think the main trunk was too heavy to have a second trunk trying to mirror it. it looks way more dominant now. thats a big chunk of Field maple Cool

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  Richard S on Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:52 pm

Thanks Bobby, it is still very rough and needs a lot of work but I think I have a clearer idea of where I want to go with it now.

Still not quite sure what to with that first branch though?

Regards

Richard


PS wishing I'd bothered to take a better photo of now as well Wink

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  BobbyLane on Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:15 pm

That first branch is a bit long and straight isnt it and the one above it has more movement and character.. you might not need it when the one above it fills out. if it back buds i'd cut it in half or remove it.


Last edited by BobbyLane on Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:17 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  Tom on Wed Mar 02, 2016 5:16 pm

Richard S wrote:
Still not quite sure what to with that first branch though?
If it has reached the thickness you want, I'd consider cutting it about one third of the way along the first, straight section - just above the point where there look to be traces of old buds / twig removal. Then regrow, then cut back again, to get some taper and movement into it.

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  Richard S on Wed Mar 02, 2016 6:46 pm

Thanks guys.

Ordinarily I would expect back budding on a branch like that if I cut it but in this case I'm not sure. The back of that branch is dead (like the other one). I think the tree needs something on it's right side because second branch is very much at the back so I'm not sure about just cutting it off you never know.

Time will tell.

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  MichaelS on Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:12 am

Guest wrote:Richard,
If you are following Walter Pall's method of Hedge cutting as you said, You are on the right track.
The natural layer of canopy is also on the right direction.

One of his works using this technique.



regards,
jun  Smile

To quote a Japanese author, ''This (hedge clipping) is an atrocity that should only be applied to very young trees''. I agree completely. It is the most perfunctory of techniques.

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  Richard S on Thu Mar 03, 2016 6:50 pm

Having a couple of years more experience now I would say that the Walter Pall hedge cutting method is appropriate for developing ramification and promoting back budding on certain species at certain stages of development. I think the key point to remember is that you still need to go back to the tree at the end of the season and edit the structure. So it's not really a case of just cutting the profile like a hedge and leaving the interior a congested mess.

That obviously would be a mistake.

In any case I was over ambitious suggesting the use of that method on this tree. The basic structure was very poor and needs to be completely rebuilt. The maple is obviously not at an appropriate stage for such a technique yet and probably wont be for some considerable time.

It worked well on my elm clump though.

Regards

Richard

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

Post  Tentakelaertje on Fri Mar 11, 2016 8:59 pm

MichaelS wrote:
Guest wrote:Richard,
If you are following Walter Pall's method of Hedge cutting as you said, You are on the right track.
The natural layer of canopy is also on the right direction.

One of his works using this technique.



regards,
jun  Smile

To quote a Japanese author, ''This (hedge clipping) is an atrocity that should only be applied to very young trees''. I agree completely. It is the most perfunctory of techniques.

Just curious, but why is that? Why not apply it to older trees, too?

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Re: Large Field Maple in its 1st pot

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