My young Japanese Maple

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My young Japanese Maple

Post  Lut3s on Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:59 pm

Hi everyone, I just registered here yesterday so this is a bit of an introductory post as well as a bonsai post. My name's Jeremy and I started bonsai in the spring of '09. My first excursion was a Japanese Maple from the same parent tree as this one. Last autumn though I cut it too far back, resulting in it dieing during the winter freeze, so this year I needed a tree to get a fresh start with. I saw this tree (which was a seedling of the same parent tree) and right away knew how I was going to pot it, and train it.

When I first brought it in I placed it in a long narrow container with a lot of potting soil (Before I link to these pictures, understand they are high resolution and may take a couple moments to load) (shown are the roots alongside the old container). I realize now that this was the wrong way to go, and this morning I decided to fix it. The new container is a 1 gallon bucket that previously had a very sticky substance in it. I cleaned it out and cut a drain hole in the bottom. I placed some sort of grating I found in the garden and a sizeable rock on top of that (seen here), and filled up to about a third of the container with pea gravel (sorry for the blurry pic, using my cell phone to capture them.) The second layer was a bonsai soil mix that I bought last year that I have kept in my room. The mix has small pebbles that I'm hoping will encourage feeder root development, am I correct in thinking that?

With the target pot ready, I began work on the tree itself. After digging it out of its container, I worked the soil off of the roots and began to work on trimming them to fit into it's future bonsai pot (side by side of the bonsai pot and the tree). After a bit more trimming, I was happy with the height of the tree in the pot, and placed it in the 1 gal. bucket (taken in the shade so it's a little blury and this one was taken in the sun so the roots are shiny). I filled in the rest of the bonsai mix around the tree, and topped it all off with the soil from the original container. Happy with the placement and orientation, I finished the top soil layer and added some dead leaves on top to help the soil retain moisture. Here we have a closeup shot of where the tree meets the soil.

The ultimate plan for this tree is to cut it back down to size and plant it in the bonsai pot after I get the trunk grown out large enough. I don't have a feeding regimen yet so I would love to read about any of your feeding experiences with this tree. I would also love to hear about backbudding and if that's possible with this tree since I have no branches on the lower third of the tree. I'm including a couple more pictures for your viewing pleasure.

In closing, I'm looking to expand my collection, so what other trees should I look for specifically that are more or less 'beginner friendly'?


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My Young Japanese Maple

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:37 am

Instead of the training pot, I suggest you put your tree in the ground & leave it for several years. A juniper from the garden center would be something to work on meanwhile.


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Re: My young Japanese Maple

Post  JimLewis on Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:20 am

Did you do all of this in the last few days? This is pretty late in the year to be washing soil off roots and trimming them.

If the answer was yes, you will likely have a struggle to save the tree. Keep it in mostly shade for the remainder of the growing season. Water carefully, and don't keep the plant soggy. Just barely damp is best.

If it is still alive by fall, put it in an area where it will not freeze. It could be in a garage or cellar. You do not need light if its leaves are gone for the winter. But be sure it does not dry out -- again, without keeping it soggy.

Good luck.

And go to your local library and check out some of the books on bonsai that it hjas and do some reading.

Jim Lewis - - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician


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