Semi-cascade palmatum

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Semi-cascade palmatum

Post  Velodog2 on Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:48 am

Sharing for the first time a Japanese maple I've been working on for around 8 years or so (it was purchased in the same shopping trip as the subject of the "Small palmatum" thread) that is cutting grown and appears to be kiyohime or similar. I've spent most of the time developing the cascading branch while I let a couple of sacrifice branches thicken the base before layering them off a couple years ago. I had intended to remove the topmost branch but have now decided to try to develop it as the apex, although it is relatively weak and is some years behind the rest off the tree. We shall see how my patience holds. The second topmost branch had gotten too long and I have partially cut it back this fall and am waiting to see how well it buds back before doing what needs to be done with the rest of it. There is also a "plan b" apex branch you can see curving off to the left that I will probably lose soon if the other development goes well.

There is obviously still a long ways to go to have a good bonsai here but I think I have developed a fairly decent base to work with. Maples continue to be a challenge for me but at least this one has more flexible branches than most. As always any comments or suggestions are welcome


Velodog2
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Re: Semi-cascade palmatum

Post  steveb on Sun Nov 27, 2016 1:27 am

This tree has great potential and I really like the general form.  I haven't seen many cascading maples so this is a treat.    

Aside from the crown, I'm thinking the cascading branch needs some refinement.  I have a green Japanese maple that is also about 8 years old that I developed from a cutting.  The trunk is probably about the size of yours - I'm guessing 1.5 inches or so.  I'm starting to develop branches and am noticing long internodes for my particular maple.  At times, I'm completely cutting branches off if the internode is too long.  What happens next is pretty cool.  Two or three shoots grow from the trunk where I cut the branch.  I can then choose the one with the shortest internodes and start developing it.   

Thanks for sharing and again great tree.

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Re: Semi-cascade palmatum

Post  Velodog2 on Sun Nov 27, 2016 1:51 am

Thanks for the comments Steve. I also love JM cascades and purchased this specifically to make one. It seems like such a natural style to use them for. I agree that even the cascading branch needs a lot more development and refinement. Looking at it I wonder what I did with all those years! But to be fair, growth on this tree has not ever been particularly vigorous or fast, and it does not bud back anything like what you describe. Good luck with your cascade, would love to see pics.

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Re: Semi-cascade palmatum

Post  Leo Schordje Yesterday at 6:13 pm

Nice JM. I like the idea of a cascade JM and this is not a bad start. If it is 'Kiyohime' it is a better choice than 'Kotohime' reason being 'Kiyo hime' is less apically dominant, tends to be wider than tall, than 'Kotohime'.

8 years does seem a long time and still a rather thin trunk, but the "Hime" types are very slow growers, and are difficult to get them to produce a vigorous growing sacrifice branch for thickening a section of trunk. If it were mine, I would keep it in oversized pots as grow pots until you get a much thicker trunk. Personally I find maples difficult, but that is my lack of horticultural skill. I know many different ways to kill a JM. Embarassed When I finally get them to grow well, I too end up cutting of the vigorous growth because internodes are too long. A difficult balance, tight growth with short internodes versus healthy rapid growth.

You would definitely get quicker results with a ''normal'' type cultivar of JM. But you would have more trouble developing a shohin size tree.

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Re: Semi-cascade palmatum

Post  Velodog2 Yesterday at 10:03 pm

Thanks Leo. I've also wondered what I did with the 8 years. It's is a slow grower for sure, but it also survived a number of years when I was watering trees with well water that turned out to have alkalinity levels through the roof!  I suppose it's a testament to my perseverance that I didn't give up cause for a lot of years I just had poor growth on everything and many losses until Hugh Meehan told me to test for alkalinity. Their nursery is in my area and they had terrible problems until they found the cause. Now they treat their water with acid while I just use rainwater. So it's actually just lucky this tree is alive.

Even with better water and more consistent fertilizing I rarely get more than the initial spring flush of growth from it, and that is not overwhelming.

I've tried shohin with non-cultivar JM and it is an excercise in frustration because of the fast, course growth. Either way they are difficult to get good results with.

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Re: Semi-cascade palmatum

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