Advice for this Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum)

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Advice for this Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum)

Post  David Noya on Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:04 pm

Hi IBC,

I bought this nice Acer palmatum in spring 2010. I've got a couple of problems with it and hope you can help me with it.

A couple of months ago I noticed a large crack in the bark of the trunk. This crack grew overtime and it occured to be a dead piece of trunk underneath it. I think it is caused by the stabilisation-wires that cut into the big root. After partially removing the bark I noticed healing-wounds along the dead piece of trunk (see picture). My problem now is that I do not know how to preserve the healthy bark along the healingwounds. Can I just make a clean cut in the bark at the place where the healingwounds are> Is it necessary to seal the cut off bark with woundseal? I cannot find proper how to on the internet so I hope you can advice me.


Another one of my problems is a styling-problem of this Acer.
More specific, choosing a front and ditch the secondary trunk/branch. or not. The problem with cutting of the secondary branch is that on that side of the trunk there are hardly any branches. When i cut it there is no balance anymore. Choices, choces, choices...Therefore I'd like your opinion.
Cheers
David

The following pictures shows the maple with a couple of possible fronts.







David Noya
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Advice for this Japanese Maple

Post  bonsaisr on Sun Nov 20, 2011 11:44 pm

I am very sorry to tell you that a crack in the bark like that usually means the tree is rotting inside. Happened earlier this year to a tree I bought at a club auction. There is generally nothing you can do about it.
Iris

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Re: Advice for this Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum)

Post  Sam Ogranaja on Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:50 am

I can't offer any advice on the rotting but it seems like Iris knows what she's talking about. I say keep going with it and use it in the design. You already own it and I'm sure you don't want to throw it away.

Good luck with it
Have a great week!!!
Sam

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Japanese Maple

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:56 am

The problem here is that it is an infection, so he will need to sterilize his tools every time he works on this tree. Is it worth it?
Iris

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Re: Advice for this Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum)

Post  David Noya on Mon Nov 21, 2011 1:15 am

Thanks Iris and Sam for your advice and diagnose. I have no other indications yet that there is some kind of infection going on, the tree grew healthy this growingseason. It looks more like the bark is pushed up by the formed callus around the starved deadwood. There are no ckracks in the trunk itself, only in the bark at that specific place... Question
If youve got more specific info about the type of infection, please share with me so I can study it and anticipate.
Thanx
Gr david

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Re: Advice for this Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum)

Post  drgonzo on Mon Nov 21, 2011 2:20 am

At first glance it Looks like you've got either the beginnings of Heart Rot, or due to the placement of the damage and the way you described it as starting with a crack, Crown root rot, those other surface roots and the lower trunk of the tree look dark and discolored as well, which is a cause for worry. If indeed you have crown root rot there is little that can be done, Maples are very susceptible to rots and fungus. Remove a good inch or so of the soil and see how far down the damage goes, take a pic and post it if you can.
What probably happened was the wire dug into the cambium and the wound it created became infected, its possible the wire also acted like a strangler root and choked the larger root that was under it. As you say the tree is healing which is a good sign, the tree has stopped the damage from proceeding any further up the trunk via the cork cambium and the vascular phloem. However that dead heart wood that has now been exposed WILL rot if not cared for. And thats where your attention needs to go.

Since this looks like an expensive tree that otherwise has obviously grown strongly this year the only hope would be to carve away ALL the rotted damaged wood back to good hard wood then treat with a wood preservative and get the tree into a 100% inorganic mix (straight-up calcined clay will do) I would at that point allow the tree to grow unpruned for a season or two to callous any cambium damage that the carving process may cause and further strengthen the tree.

Its either that or watch it rot from the inside out slowly over time. That dark discoloration is the beginning of the rotting decomposition of the heart wood, poke around at it with a knife and see if any of that is getting soft or mushy.
-Jay

p.s. did it change color early this Fall? Earlier say than last year or other trees around it.

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Re: Advice for this Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum)

Post  David Noya on Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:40 pm

Thanks Drgonzo for your reply. I will pay attention to the dead part of the trunk/root and will treat it with woodhardener after carving the rotten parts. I poked a little and to what I can see/feel it's just a very minor part which was a bit soft, maybe a cubic centimeter or so. That is at soillevel. I also removed the first one and a half centimeter of soil and didnt find anything suspecios other than a very nice hidden nebari Shocked
To treat the tree completely, that is inspect and treat the dead areas above and below soillevel, I want to bare root and repot the tree asap. I planned to repot and rootprune and plant the tree in a more shallow pot, but I prefer to repot it right now without rutepruning. With winter arriving within a couple of weeks I do not know if that is wise to do. I have a little shed where the tree can stay this winter but it is not heated or isolated. So chances are temperature inside will hit freezelevel but not that much. It will be protected against winds during wintertime....
What will be wise in this case???

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Re: Advice for this Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum)

Post  drgonzo on Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:56 pm

I would just leave it for the winter, and until you have addressed the rot issue properly AND allowed time for the tree to grow strongly to heal and carving I would not put it into a Bonsai pot, a light root trim can be done in early spring if you think its pot bound in the current pot, but other than that if your planning on doing any sort of serious carving work you need to leave as much of the roots and tree intact in order to heal the work. The carving work would be best done in mid summer, not now.

Basically you have a tree that is sick, and until its been cured and is recovered completely, your bonsai training (which is a stress on the tree) must be put on hold in favor of the ensuring the over all health of the tree. Trust me; rushing now, especially when there is a health issue present, greatly increases the chance of a dead Maple.
-Jay

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Re: Advice for this Japanese Maple (Acer Palmatum)

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