When to chop Maple?

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When to chop Maple?

Post  Ryan on Tue Mar 13 2012, 19:41

Hi all,


I have been getting mixed results from several forums and online sources as to when to chop back Trident Maples. I read on Bonsai4Me that chopping in spring will cause the tree to bleed tons of sap, but then I read that you do chop when the buds are swelling, yet I also read that you chop once the tree is in full leaf. So, when do I chop? I've got a Trident that needs a chop back and it is pushing buds. Chop now? When chopped, do I need to seal the wound?

Ryan
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  bucknbonsai on Tue Mar 13 2012, 22:57

you can get away with giant chops in the spring as long as you also reduce the roots (you can mess with roots as leaves start to open- american bonsai society magazine in 2011 the one with a double trunk bouganvillia on the cover has an article of bjorn borholms that shows pictures of the exact stage that tridents and japanese maples can have their roots messed with) If you do a giant trunk chop with an intact root system then you can have a lot of bleeding. So if you are digging them anyways then go ahead and now is likely fine (bjorn says japanese maples you have to be exact with timing of root damage but with tridents its way more flexible) If you are not digging then I would wait till summer dormancy. I have good luck with appropriate sized callous tissue forming on tridents when I do major cuts in summer dormancy.

bucknbonsai
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  drgonzo on Wed Mar 14 2012, 00:17

I just did some pretty heavy branch work to my Trident and this was just as the buds were extending and showing green and I was surprised how "dry" the tree was. I was expecting a gusher! I did a test branch first of course to make sure.

-jay

Buck when did Bjorn say it was best to do Japanese maples?

drgonzo
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  bucknbonsai on Wed Mar 14 2012, 00:22

He states the buds should actually be extending and the first leafs starting to just barely unfurl, yet the picture he showed look like bloom pods opening to me. But he did show a picture of when not to repot and that was when the buds were obviously swollen but not open yet, he says japanese maple limbs are just to weak to repot at that stage even though the tree looks very much awake. Hopefully someone has computer skills and an ABS membership and can scan in a picture of it.

bucknbonsai
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  Ryan on Wed Mar 14 2012, 01:19

Thank you both!

I will not be digging the tree, it is potted. There are some leaves that appear to be unfurling. Here's the tree as of last year:


I would like to chop it down to here or so:


Here are some nebari shots:



So then if I'm going to hack it way back, how much do I take off the roots? Should I do roots first then chop?

Ryan
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  bucknbonsai on Wed Mar 14 2012, 01:40

you need to get it out of that pot and into a shallow growing pot on a tile or in the ground on a tile. you need to remove all downgrowing roots so that your nebari fatten up better. those 2 heavier roots you have out to the sides should be pruned to slow them down and let the other thinner ones in the nebari run long. by putting them on the tile and getting rid of unneeded verical roots you will get a swollen base fast. You need to graft some roots on the back side. You can get away with like 75% root reduction on tridents if done at the right time, maybe even more. How tall are you wanting your finished tree to be, that determines where you want the first trunk chop.

bucknbonsai
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  Marty Weiser on Wed Mar 14 2012, 01:51

What about doing a high trunk chop (above 6 - 8 branches) this spring which may bleed a fair bit and then doing the low chop in the summer without doing any root work? The idea is that with a tree that is this tall, the first chop will stimulate some low buds that will then grow after the summer chop. I have not tried this approach since I have not had a tree this tall to chop, but it makes sense to me.

I agree that it needs to go into a shallower pot/box to develop the nebari. There is a very good start that needs development.

Marty

Marty Weiser
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  Ryan on Wed Mar 14 2012, 02:03

Thanks for the replies!

The heavier root on the left side is covering a smaller root so it definitely will go. I unfortunately cannot plant it in the ground, so I'll have to fasten a grow box. As to how tall I want the finished tree to be, I'd say no more than a foot tall. I like smaller trees, easier to carry. When I do repot it and cut off 75% of the roots, should I also bare root it so that I can plant it over a tile?

Interesting idea Marty, I'll be curious as to what others say.

Now, time to get searching on building a grow box....

Ryan
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  Ryan on Wed Mar 14 2012, 02:23

Another quick question, wouldn't reducing the roots make it harder for the tree to push new leaves after the chop?

Ryan
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  drgonzo on Wed Mar 14 2012, 02:29

Ryan wrote:Another quick question, wouldn't reducing the roots make it harder for the tree to push new leaves after the chop?

Makes sense. The way I always handle drastic reductions (beyond all visible buds) is not to touch the roots in the same season. Thats mostly because my growing season is short and also because doing both at the same time has been the only time I've killed trees. I like to use the force of a full root system to get good growth going before frost hits

If that were my tree I'd whack it at 3 inches or so at the end of May, keep it in good sun and see what happens.
-Jay

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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  Ryan on Wed Mar 14 2012, 02:33

drgonzo wrote:
Ryan wrote:Another quick question, wouldn't reducing the roots make it harder for the tree to push new leaves after the chop?

Makes sense. The way I always handle drastic reductions (beyond all visible buds) is not to touch the roots in the same season. Thats mostly because my growing season is short and also because doing both at the same time has been the only time I've killed trees. I like to use the force of a full root system to get good growth going before frost hits

If that were my tree I'd whack it at 3 inches or so at the end of May, keep it in good sun and see what happens.
-Jay

See now why do you suggest the end of May when the tree is in full leaf?

Also, would I be able to use a large bulb pan, or large (very large) cut down pot instead of a grow box? I'm not the best carpenter Laughing

Ryan
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  drgonzo on Wed Mar 14 2012, 02:37

End of May up here for me in Ny would give time for new growth to push. Yeah in full leaf, maybe with a bit of spring vigor left for some extra push, You're in VA so you might be able to do it sooner. Like I say I wouldn't disturb the roots so I would save my grow box and tile for next year after the tree has pushed new growth from the chop this year.

I'll be doing something very similar to what your contemplating with another known "bleeder" Betula nigra and I'll wait until after the first set of leaves have hardened nicely (May-ish) and I wont mess with the roots.

-Jay

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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  Ryan on Wed Mar 14 2012, 02:39

drgonzo wrote:End of May up here for me in Ny would give time for new growth to push. Yeah in full leaf, maybe with a bit of spring vigor left for some extra push, You're in VA so you might be able to do it sooner.

I'll be doing something very similar to what your contemplating with another known "bleeder" Betula nigra and I'll wait until after the first set of leaves have hardened nicely (May-ish) and I wont mess with the roots.

-Jay

Thanks!

Why should I even be concerned about the tree "bleeding", as from what I've read trees cannot "bleed" to death.

Ryan
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  drgonzo on Wed Mar 14 2012, 02:43

Ryan wrote:
drgonzo wrote:End of May up here for me in Ny would give time for new growth to push. Yeah in full leaf, maybe with a bit of spring vigor left for some extra push, You're in VA so you might be able to do it sooner.

I'll be doing something very similar to what your contemplating with another known "bleeder" Betula nigra and I'll wait until after the first set of leaves have hardened nicely (May-ish) and I wont mess with the roots.

-Jay

Thanks!

Why should I even be concerned about the tree "bleeding", as from what I've read trees cannot "bleed" to death.

This is true, most trees will wall off the wound eventually, some take a while to do so and in the process sap (sometimes a lot of sap) can be lost. I really dont think you'll have much trouble from this Trident though.

drgonzo
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Re: When to chop Maple?

Post  bucknbonsai on Wed Mar 14 2012, 02:45

ryan i grew up doing a lot field growing (mostly all tridents) not far from you and with tridents you can get away with anything (as long as its the right time of year and you keep the root hairs moist while working on it) I do not know what kind of soil that nursery pot has but with mine from the field I keep a 100gallon cattle trough filled with water in the bonsai growing area and with just a few vigorous dips up and down like churning butter motion, pretty much all the dirt will fall off enough to do what you need to do. I tend to reduce top and bottom at the same time and do it in the spring and i have never killed a trident. you will still have plenty of buds popping even with huge root reductions, I promise. and if you want your tree to be no taller than 12 inches, depending on the style I would definitely do your first chop maybe only 4 inches high, and i would do it now as well. If your going to thread graft new nebari on the back I would pot up seedlings in real small pots now and then in mid summer you can disturb very little soil of the main tree and drop the undisturbed little root balls in place. Or you could just do the graft now while you are bare rooting it (easier to drill at exact right place then)

bucknbonsai
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