Feeding a Japanese Maple

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  bucknbonsai on Fri Jan 06, 2012 1:08 pm

This would be a perfect tree to slip a tile with a hole cut out down over it. Your tree has zero nebari and the tile would produce perfect nebari in a few years. I would do it now while it has no branches. Check out the bonsai4me website.

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  Treekovsky on Fri Jan 06, 2012 5:56 pm

Such great info from you all, thanks a lot!!! What a Face

So I have a list going of "do nows"...
1) Re-pot into a larger grow facilitating pot
2) Re-pot using good, coarse bonsai soil
3) Work on the nebari / roots (not physically messing with roots, but work on getting more to grow)

Do NOT...
1) Fertilize until spring
2) Keep it in it's current pot

About the nebari, this is a new concept to me (as really all of this is), but I do have a specific question. So I re-pot into a larger container, and use a ceramic tile in a way I need to research and learn how to use. My initial question right now is does the tile sit above or below the surface of the dirt? And how much larger than the existing trunk should the hole in the tile be? Also where should the tile placed in relation to the tree? Right above where the roots bend (see pic above) or some spacing (an inch?) above that?

One more question - I was going to post this in another topic, but we've got a good ball rolling here so here goes. Notice the cross-trunk branches (the first large one actually crosses more than pictured)...





It seems every branch that grows on the tree does this. I don't have anything to give size reference here, but the larger branch (first) is about the width of a toothpick. I assume I will eventually need to try to train these branches with wire to grow outward (not crossing). Question is when is the right time to begin? I've read in one place to do it right before dormancy (like now), and another place to do it in the summer. But beyond season, the real question is is this the right time to worry about it at all? Are the branches too frail and small right now (should I wait until they're thicker)? If not, given that I'll be doing all of the above (the do nows) would it be better to wait until a less-stressful time for the tree?

Sorry my posts are long and ignorant. I appreciate your comments greatly!!!

~ k

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  coh on Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:46 pm

I may get shouted down, but I think some of the suggestions you've gotten, while not wrong, are a little premature.

What you've got there is your basic Japanese maple seedling...probably 2 or 3 years old, from the looks of it. It probably has a very small root system (did you get a look at that when they repotted it?) If so, immediately putting it into a large "grow" pot or box is probably not a good idea. The extra soil volume would most likely stay too wet and could cause root problems. I think a better approach would be to put it in a pot that is slightly larger than the root system. The pot it's in right now might actually not be a bad size, but that would be impossible to say without seeing the roots. Once the root system fills up the pot, then you go up to the next larger size.

As for using a tile with a hole - I've never done that, but the idea is that as the trunk thickens, the tile essentially "layers" the trunk, which forces new roots to grow above the tile. You can then develop a nice radial surface root system. You might want to just grow this tree for a year before trying something like that, as I'd imagine it will need some time to acclimate and strengthen. Learn how to take care of it first. And you could always just do an air layer on the lower trunk as well.

One basic question you should answer before worrying about wiring any existing branches - what size do you want the eventual tree to be? And how thick of a trunk? If you're planning on letting it grow for a few years to thicken the trunk, then chopping it down, etc, then those current branches will be removed anyway.

Best advice would be to find the closest club and take a beginners class if possible. Good luck!

Chris

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  drgonzo on Fri Jan 06, 2012 6:57 pm

I agree with everything Chris advises, following that advice will bring you and your tree to a good place.
-Jay

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  Treekovsky on Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:17 pm

Hmm, well, that sounds more comfortable... haha I think I found a local group that happens to meet this Saturday. I'm going to go and see what I can start learning that way. My real immediate concern is to not kill the thing. So parting advice on this thread is just keep it watered for now and start getting bolder in a few months to a year?

(I don't know what the roots look like, although it was originally in a much thinner plastic nursery "pot" - it was deep but very narrow, I'd say in my opinion the roots couldn't be filling the pot the tree is in now).

Thanks everyone ~ k

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  bucknbonsai on Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:27 pm

isnt the advantage of using a tile instead of a regular air layer the fact that you get basal flare/swelling with a good nebari rather than just a trunk that goes strait down to good nebari with no basal flare?

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  coh on Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:39 pm

Not sure...others will have to speak to that possible advantage. What it will definitely do, though, is force all those new roots outward immediately, whereas a standard air or ground layer will tend to have them growing more downward...which will require adjustment once the layer is separated. But I imagine one could probably come up with a way to get the same result with a standard layer...by fitting something (lighter than a tile) around the trunk at the layer location. Think I've read of CDs being used.

The other possibility with this tree - the one photo appears to show a root "split" just above the soil. Depending on what else is there, it could be a candidate for root over rock perhaps.

Chris

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  GaryWood on Fri Jan 06, 2012 7:57 pm

Buck, here is a link that shows the result of the tile method. Some like it, some don't. As your experience and taste growing bonsai evolves, differing methods to work with are just "tools" in the drawer.
Wood
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_hsamskzRxzk/TNAX-NGdYvI/AAAAAAAAADQ/x9CxGFZyTUo/s1600/IMG_0129.JPG

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  Treekovsky on Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:07 pm

I've thought about the root-over-rock thing. Does that make it harder in the future to re-pot?

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Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Jan 06, 2012 10:16 pm

I suggest you just fatten up the tree for a year or two while you learn more about bonsai. That will be time enough to think about styling it.
Iris

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  Treekovsky on Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:01 pm

Yeah, that's what I'm going to do, just wondering about the root-over-rock style out of curiosity at the moment. I do actually have a general idea of what I want the tree to look like ultimately, a pretty natural style, not obviously trained-the-heck-out-of. That is as far as branches and trunk go. Not sure about what I'd like to do at the base though.

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  lordy on Tue Jan 10, 2012 6:25 pm

I used to grow a lot of plants under fluorescents and I did notice that tubes with a color temperature near the 5000K's (blue) produced better foliage growth. -Jay


I just put in some tubes that say grow light or for plant use right on them, and they are decidedly pinkish, as opposed to two others that are also in the fixture that are cool white that are towards the bluer side. I did not pay attention to the color temps however.

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

Post  JimLewis on Tue Jan 10, 2012 7:58 pm

Treekovsky wrote:I've thought about the root-over-rock thing. Does that make it harder in the future to re-pot?

Nope. You just lift tree and rock as a unit, trim off as much of the ends of the roots (and any messiness that has grown up higher on the rock), and replant together.

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Re: Feeding a Japanese Maple

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