Going to buy some maples to trunk chop

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Going to buy some maples to trunk chop

Post  Glaucus on Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:16 am

While I have read a lot of what I can find on the net, I am new to bonsai. I have been given the idea that trunk chopping maples is a good point to start with. I don't want to buy expensive bonsai. I want to create new ones. I expect it to take 20 to 30 years. I want a good quality end product.

I live in a rural area in the Netherlands so there are several nurseries that are probably small compared to the standards in some country. There is Esveld with the largest maple garden in the world(they believe), but that is on the other side of the country. I am a student, don't have a car and I am cheap.
This means selection is going to be small.

So the main rule of bonsai is supposed to be that the height should be 6 times the diameter of the trunk. A 35 cm
high tree sounds like a good idea. That means the trunk I buy should be about 6 cm thick. That isn't too big. But I do wonder how tall and how expensive such a tree will be.
Next is good root flare, natural movement and taper. Nebari will likely be absent, but root flare I can't see even if it is there, right? Natural movement and taper I also don't have hopes for finding.
Maybe I should also buy something that has a trunk still thin enough to wire?

Next question is, how low do I trunk chop? Say I have my 6 cm thick tree that is going to be 35 cm high, should I chop it at 11 cm? That is quite low. How low is still possible?
There is also another way to do a trunk chop. Buy the same tree, cut it off at 20 cm. Then 20 cm will be 1/3rd. So tree in total will be 60cm. So I need to grow the trunk to 10 cm before I do a second trunk chop at 40 cm?
It doesn't seem like a good idea to first chop to 2/3rd and then later chop a second time even lower.
There are so many ways I can think of to apply the same technique. Which one is 'best'?
So should I buy something with the right diameter and chop off everything I don't need? Or should I buy something that still has to fatten up and trunk chop only to encourage new low branches that will help fatten and taper up the trunk?

Final question, how long should I wait before I buy a tree and chop it? I think it will take up to mid march for the leaf buds to really swell up. I do know that it usually takes until late April for the whole process to be completely finished on all plants. Of course that will be way too late. But is right now too early?

Then I also risk running into grafts. Does anyone know how common this is and is it always obvious to identify. With grafting you want to hide all scars of it. So ideally for them I won't even be able to tell. What do they even graft those maples onto? Just different cultivar of the same species?

Glaucus
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Re: Going to buy some maples to trunk chop

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:34 am

Glaucus wrote:While I have read a lot of what I can find on the net, I am new to bonsai. I have been given the idea that trunk chopping maples is a good point to start with. I don't want to buy expensive bonsai. I want to create new ones. I expect it to take 20 to 30 years. I want a good quality end product.

It is good to have a long view in Bonsai

I live in a rural area in the Netherlands so there are several nurseries that are probably small compared to the standards in some country. There is Esveld with the largest maple garden in the world(they believe), but that is on the other side of the country. I am a student, don't have a car and I am cheap.
This means selection is going to be small.

I have grown maples from seed and if you have a long view this is an another activity, in addition to the purchase/chop idea.

So the main rule of bonsai is supposed to be that the height should be 6 times the diameter of the trunk. A 35 cm
high tree sounds like a good idea. That means the trunk I buy should be about 6 cm thick. That isn't too big. But I do wonder how tall and how expensive such a tree will be.
Next is good root flare, natural movement and taper. Nebari will likely be absent, but root flare I can't see even if it is there, right? Natural movement and taper I also don't have hopes for finding.

I hope someone from your part of the world will respond, it is possible here to find "whips" that are young but tall potted trees for about $10 USD.

Maybe I should also buy something that has a trunk still thin enough to wire?

I don't think that is the way to go, most maples I see are formal or informal uprights, without a lot of movement in the trunk.

Next question is, how low do I trunk chop? Say I have my 6 cm thick tree that is going to be 35 cm high, should I chop it at 11 cm? That is quite low. How low is still possible?
There is also another way to do a trunk chop. Buy the same tree, cut it off at 20 cm. Then 20 cm will be 1/3rd. So tree in total will be 60cm. So I need to grow the trunk to 10 cm before I do a second trunk chop at 40 cm?
It doesn't seem like a good idea to first chop to 2/3rd and then later chop a second time even lower.
There are so many ways I can think of to apply the same technique. Which one is 'best'?
So should I buy something with the right diameter and chop off everything I don't need? Or should I buy something that still has to fatten up and trunk chop only to encourage new low branches that will help fatten and taper up the trunk?

Your first chop needs to be your lowest, then chop again as the tree grows a leader, this produces taper.

Final question, how long should I wait before I buy a tree and chop it? I think it will take up to mid march for the leaf buds to really swell up. I do know that it usually takes until late April for the whole process to be completely finished on all plants. Of course that will be way too late. But is right now too early?

Here, I would chop at the beginning of bud break.

Then I also risk running into grafts. Does anyone know how common this is and is it always obvious to identify. With grafting you want to hide all scars of it. So ideally for them I won't even be able to tell. What do they even graft those maples onto? Just different cultivar of the same species?

Grafts are done to get fancy leaves on hardy root stock. You are going to pay more for these trees. Again, I hope someone from your part of the world responds. In Florida most maples don't do well. We have a native maple that does very well. When I travel north I see a lot of grafted stock. Hopefully you will be able to find a ungrafted maple with fairly small leaves. If the tree you look at is a named variety of maple you can bet it is grafted. If it just has the scientific name and no addition then it will probably be the species and ungrafted. There are books on maple bonsai in English, one is by Peter Adams.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Going to buy some maples to trunk chop

Post  my nellie on Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:04 pm

Glaucus wrote: ... ... There is Esveld with the largest maple garden in the world(they believe), but that is on the other side of the country. ... ...
Hello, Glaucus!
Nice nickname and btw Greek! Very Happy
You can contact Esveld and they can ship to your destination, I believe.
I have contacted them some months ago but the cost of dispatch was tooo big for Greece.

my nellie
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Re: Going to buy some maples to trunk chop

Post  Glaucus on Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:09 pm

Yes, I know. I got my azalea from them. But I have no specific taste for specific cultivar. And there's no advantage to ordering a random tree. If anything, I have to go there and look myself.

And if a tree is big it is going to cost a lot. And then I chop it to almost nothing.

Glaucus
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Re: Going to buy some maples to trunk chop

Post  Bob Pressler on Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:05 pm

Glaucus wrote:Yes, I know. I got my azalea from them. But I have no specific taste for specific cultivar. And there's no advantage to ordering a random tree. If anything, I have to go there and look myself.

And if a tree is big it is going to cost a lot. And then I chop it to almost nothing.

It is always better to see what you're getting and chopping it down to almost nothing...thats just the nature of the beast.

Bob Pressler
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Re: Going to buy some maples to trunk chop

Post  my nellie on Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:11 pm

Glaucus, look here Maillot Bonsai. They have lists of species and cultivars and there are also photos of them, i.e. the leaves of every species.
It may be helpful to your selection. Look for the small leaved varieties.
In any case it is always better to buy a tree in leaf because you can judge if it is healthy.


Last edited by my nellie on Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:12 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : add text)

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Re: Going to buy some maples to trunk chop

Post  Glaucus on Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:20 pm

Don't both A.palmatum and A.buergerianum reduce their leave sizes in response to pruning? These are the two main species I will be looking at. Is a small leave cultivar then really still important? I won't have that many to pick from anyway. And I will have a hard time judging leaves anyway unless the plant comes with a picture on it's label.

And if specific cultivar are all grafted, I can't pick them anyway?


I do have some seeds. Both A.buergerianum seeds I ordered and A.palmatum I collected. They haven't germinated yet even after they went through a cycle of stratification.

Also, about roots. Is it best to keep all the roots for more and faster regrowth? If so, when should I prune away all roots that don't help a root flare and that won't in the end help with nebari?

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Re: Going to buy some maples to trunk chop

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:12 pm

Glaucus wrote:Don't both A.palmatum and A.buergerianum reduce their leave sizes in response to pruning? These are the two main species I will be looking at. Is a small leave cultivar then really still important? I won't have that many to pick from anyway. And I will have a hard time judging leaves anyway unless the plant comes with a picture on it's label.

Either of the above mentioned maples should work. The leaves will reduce.

And if specific cultivar are all grafted, I can't pick them anyway?

Right

I do have some seeds. Both A.buergerianum seeds I ordered and A.palmatum I collected. They haven't germinated yet even after they went through a cycle of stratification.

I have germinated a lot of our native A. ruburm but I don't remember how long it took. I know our native maples seeds don't need stratification. Our maples set seed at this time of year before they leaf out. If other maples do this, stratification would not be required.

Also, about roots. Is it best to keep all the roots for more and faster regrowth? If so, when should I prune away all roots that don't help a root flare and that won't in the end help with nebari?

While you are developing the tree you should leave as many roots as possible. It is easier to prune later than to graft in.

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Going to buy some maples to trunk chop

Post  sunip on Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:33 pm

Hello Glaucus.
You got some good advise already here.
Why you do not start at the same time with some Acer Campestre, they are easy to grow and cheap?
You will find them in every nursery as hedge material mostly in bushels of 20 or so in spring.
You can wire them to any movement, when they are still young,
you also can gain movement by cutting branches.
I remember Willam N Navalis showed us some weeks ago a maple in his garden and
a harmonic and mature maple bonsai beside of it, who was taken as cutting from that same garden tree.
(If i remember rightly)
So look for good cuttings, not easy to root i think though.
For Acer Palmatum at garden centers, they are ALL grafted, you are really lucky to find one without,
however i found some.
And then, look always at the individual plant and (very important) to the roots,
so get your fingers in that pot and get dirty, there is no other way.
No need to travel, there will be some nursery in the neighbourhood who has certainly maples.
Funny Alexandra was talking about Esveld, i was there today and got those Azalea Amoenum
you advised me on, i also got a Rhododendron Lysolepsis, Morten Albek showed us.
Walking in their Acer-aboretum you see wonderfull trunks on the older mother plants, but mind you
the younger ones for sale, are all grafted.
And besides of all this, why you do not save up some money and buy a pré bonsai along with the other endeavours?
regards, Sunip;)

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Re: Going to buy some maples to trunk chop

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