Acer palmatum (beginner)

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Acer palmatum (beginner)

Post  pixies on Thu Aug 28, 2014 11:56 am

Hello, I hope you can help me understand how to create a bonsai tree Smile I started reading about how to grow one, but i got confused (there are so many styles and ways)
I bought 20 seeds of acer palmatum, and planted them this year in may. 10 of them germinated. Since then i have repotted them and now i have "little trees" from 10 to 35 cm of height.
I wonder when i should try to cut the trunk and when. Should it be cut in half or only cut the top?
thank you for your answer (sorry for my bad english)

pixies
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Re: Acer palmatum (beginner)

Post  Rick36 on Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:37 am

Hello, pixies. Since no-one seems to be responding I'll tell you my opinion, and perhaps it will provoke others. If the Lithuanian climate allows. I suggest you plant all of your seedlings in your garden and wait 3 to 5 years for them to grow up. In the meantime read and learn, be careful not to believe everything you hear, beware of the commercial interests and related advice you may get. If you don't have a garden, plant the seedlings individually in the largest pots or boxes you can manage and wait as before. By the time they are big enough to work on you will have learnt enough to proceed. Cheers and Good Luck.

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Re: Acer palmatum (beginner)

Post  Precarious on Fri Aug 29, 2014 11:48 am

It's hard to beat the sound advice from Rick36. If the size of your growing area is limited, do what you can to select 'specimens' based upon the plants that catch your eye, esp the trunk. As time goes on, that is the part of the tree you will least be able to change. A beginner's bonsai book, or information at many commercial bonsai websites will give decent information that will get you on your way quickly. I wish you the best.

Precarious
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Re: Acer palmatum (beginner)

Post  CityofTrees on Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:14 pm

Hi pixies (if that is your real name Razz ) This is good advice that you've received thus far. Don't worry about styles and all that yet, you won't have to worry about that for quite some time. I'm a beginner too so I understand what you mean, all of the info out there (some of it contradictory) can be very confusing for someone new to the art. Really, the most important thing to learn initially is simple plant physiology and how to keep your plants healthy and growing well. The trees you have are deciduous and good beginner trees, as they are very forgiving and don't require much special attention early on for development as bonsai. This is different than some more advanced species like pine that do require some special attention early on in life for later development as bonsai. So the ones you have will just need to grow for a number of years before starting their development as bonsai, the quicker the better of course.

Like Rick and Precarious said, get your hands on as much beginner information as you can. Reputable books, forums and informational websites can be of great use to the new enthusiast. Some good beginner books are:

Sunset: Bonsai (Susan Lang & Editors of Sunset Books
The Art of Bonsai: Creation, Care, and Enjoyment. (Yuji Yoshimura & Giovanna M. Halford)
The Complete Book of Bonsai (Harry Tomlinson)
Bonsai Workshop (Herb Gustafson)

These can all be found online and there are many more. Take a look at this list of reviews of beginner books here on IBC. Also take a look at Brent Walston's website over at Evergreen Garden Works. He runs a nursery out of Northern CA that is known around the US for high quality bonsai stock and also has one of the best websites for beginners that I have ever seen. His approach is very straightforward and no-nonsense. Here is the link to his site, please visit it and spend some time reading through the "Articles" section, of course starting with the "beginner" articles. Come back and re-read these articles from time to time, they'll start to sink in and make more sense as you develop your skill.

www.evergreengardenworks.com

Keep asking questions and people will answer. Best of luck to you.

Garrett

CityofTrees
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Re: Acer palmatum (beginner)

Post  Marty Weiser on Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:28 pm

Good advice above. I like to grow Acer palmatum seedlings in pots. The first year all of the seedlings in a single pots with 2 - 4 cm space between them. Then repot into 10 cm diameter pots while cutting off the taproot and spreading the surface roots. You can wire to give the trunk some shape at the start of the third year, watch to make sure the wire does not cut in a scar them since they will grow quickly. I repot again in the spring of the 4th year using a wide shallow container around 20 cm wide by 4 cm deep. I also cut off the roots that are growing downwards and those that extend beyond the 10 cm diameter of the pot they were in. This encourages a nice spreading root system that I have attractive in these trees. After another 2 years I repot into 30 cm by 4 cm pots with the same trimming. I find that the trees do better in the smaller pots as long as you remember to water them since the roots will be warmed by the sun.

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Re: Acer palmatum (beginner)

Post  pixies on Sat Aug 30, 2014 12:44 pm

Thank you all for your advices Smile
I have a garden but i think they will not last trough winter in the garden because i kept them mainly in the greenhouse. I even tried to add more CO2 to one of the plants, but that didnt worked Very Happy
So, as i understood i should keep them in peace for about 3years and then try to cut something Smile

pixies
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Re: Acer palmatum (beginner)

Post  appalachianOwl on Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:49 pm

Don't worry about styles and all that yet, you won't have to worry about that for quite some time. wrote:


I will offer up a different approach, in that it's all relative to me what your looking to be your results. Whether you want a big tree or a little tree, straights as an arrow or contorted beyond recognition. Early design and planning will help avoid waisted years in my opinion. Have you come across info on "sacrafice" branches in your research so far? Many good sources on the web, but as advised be careful what you read, and if it takes and experiment to learn something than so be it. Good luck and good growing! -Jacob

appalachianOwl
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Re: Acer palmatum (beginner)

Post  Leo Schordje on Sat Aug 30, 2014 6:28 pm

You have had some excellent advice here, the articles on Evergreen Garden Works website posted above are very good. also check out the articles at Bonsai4me http://www.bonsai4me.com/

The additional recommendation I'd like to offer is buy or collect more plants for bonsai. See if you can find a nursery tree already in a pot, with a one inch (2.5 cm) or greater diameter trunk and many branches. You need something you can work on while waiting for your seedlings to grow enough to work on. The cure for impatience waiting for a tree to grow and develop is to get more trees. While the horticulture of raising young seedlings is definitely part of bonsai - it is not the exciting part of bonsai that most of use think of as 'doing bonsai', so get some additional material to work on. Outdoor hardy trees and shrubs should be grown outdoors - year round. Just about any type of juniper can be made into bonsai. If you can find the Amur maple & Tartar maples should be hardy outdoors year round in your location. (Acer ginnala and Acer tartaricum). They grow fast and will give you plenty to work on. Trident maple is a favorite for bonsai - I am not certain it is winter hardy in your area, but is also an excellent candidate if you can find it. (Acer buergerianum) Tridents grow fast and have ideal bonsai characteristics.

Since you have a greenhouse - get some tropical shrubs. The choices are limitless, many species to choose from. I recommend Ficus if you have a greenhouse that is warm in winter (above 15 C) or pomegranate if your greenhouse is cool, close to freezing in winter. Both species are exceptionally hardy, make good bonsai, and are good trees to learn on, as they will "forgive mistakes". There are many other good choices, don't limit yourself to my recommendations. You need more material so you can actually "work on something". Doing the reading and learning is fine, but not as much fun as actually cutting, pruning, bending, wiring and all the other stuff that we do to our trees. Since you can only do these things to trees a couple times in the life of a tree, you need more trees so you can do these things. The solution to being impatient - is get more trees. Above all, have fun.

Leo Schordje
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Re: Acer palmatum (beginner)

Post  pixies on Mon Sep 01, 2014 10:07 am

We have a greenhouse only for the spring and summer. Winters here can be pretty harsh Very Happy Recently while gathering mushrooms i saw lots of young mapples. so i think i could take couple of them Smile

pixies
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Re: Acer palmatum (beginner)

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