Small Japanese maples

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Small Japanese maples

Post  JimLewis on Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:42 pm

I'm not wild about Japanese maples as a species, but I do have a very few. Here are two. Both stand about 6 inches off the soil surface. Both are badly over potted while they do some developing.

Neither is anywhere near being a "finished" bonsai. Both are the result of severe trunk chops.

The first little tree -- and informal upright -- is about 4 years old, if I recall. I hope I can keep it at about its current size. I'm trying to develop some branching in the canopy through defoliation sometime next month when the weather evens out a bit, so I'm resigned to the fact that it may have to get a little taller.

Suggestions welcomed.





I've shown the second on here before I think when it was a bit younger. It too is about 4 years old, but I've been working on it for a bit longer than the other. I'm working toward a broom here, but I'm afraid that the branches may be getting to heavy. I'm trying to work around the damaged lower trunk. because the other sides just have no grace and flow.

Here too, I welcome suggestions.



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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  oakandwalnut on Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:22 pm

I really like the first one! Nice feel to it. Did you grow this in the ground first?

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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  JimLewis on Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:20 pm

When I got it, itr was in a pot -- and was a typical tall, thin whip.

I like it best, too.

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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  Rui Marques on Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:23 am

Well, if no one likes the 2nd one, i'll take that. Very Happy
Just kidding!


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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  Fore on Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:18 pm

I too like the first one best. And I too think on the second tree, the primary branches are getting a bit thick in comparison to the trunk. Any plans on how to deal with this Jim?

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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  JimLewis on Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:34 pm

Any plans on how to deal with this Jim?

Nope.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - 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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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  Ryan B on Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:24 pm

This came as a shock to me Jim, so it may to you as well. During a recent one in one with Bjorn Borhom, I was told not to ever defoliate, that they never do at Fujikawa Kouka En where works and was apprenticed! Rather, cut one leaf of each two leaf pair and trim fingers off the remaining leaf if additional light is needed to the interior buds. He said that true defoliation weakens a tree too much, doesnt result in more budding than this method, and will cause dieback eventually. News to me, but it sounds good in theory.
He's a pleasure to work with too, BTW.
Ryan
http://japanesebonsaipots.net/

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Small Japanese Maples

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:39 pm

Just my personal opinion, but I find shohin bonsai with large leaves unconvincing. For trees this size, I would prefer Nia, boxwood, serissa, box honeysuckle, or other species with tiny leaves. I would like to see Japanese maples at least a foot high.
Iris

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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  lordy on Wed Apr 25, 2012 6:37 pm

Ryan B wrote:This came as a shock to me Jim, so it may to you as well. During a recent one in one with Bjorn Borhom, I was told not to ever defoliate, that they never do at Fujikawa Kouka En where works and was apprenticed! Rather, cut one leaf of each two leaf pair and trim fingers off the remaining leaf if additional light is needed to the interior buds. He said that true defoliation weakens a tree too much, doesnt result in more budding than this method, and will cause dieback eventually. News to me, but it sounds good in theory.
He's a pleasure to work with too, BTW.
Ryan
http://japanesebonsaipots.net/
Cutting alternate leaves on a maple also gives you discretion regarding future direction of growth (a la clip and grow). At the same time it allows light inside.

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Small Japanese Maples

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:01 pm

The climate & growing conditions in Japan are quite different from the US outside of Washington & Oregon. It would be helpful to know what results they get from defoliation in Britain, which has a climate like Japan. After 23 years, I have learned to be wary of pronouncements from even the Biggest Experts.
Iris

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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  Fore on Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:34 pm

Ryan B wrote:This came as a shock to me Jim, so it may to you as well. During a recent one in one with Bjorn Borhom, I was told not to ever defoliate, that they never do at Fujikawa Kouka En where works and was apprenticed! Rather, cut one leaf of each two leaf pair and trim fingers off the remaining leaf if additional light is needed to the interior buds. He said that true defoliation weakens a tree too much, doesnt result in more budding than this method, and will cause dieback eventually. News to me, but it sounds good in theory.
He's a pleasure to work with too, BTW.
Ryan
http://japanesebonsaipots.net/

Well cutting one leaf off while still leaving the other pair is a partial defoliation no?

Lordy made a good point though, it's a good way to direct growth.

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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  JimLewis on Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:58 pm

Iris, do you think the leaves on these are too large? They're about the size of a quarter. And I haven't defoliated them yet -- which will result in much (1/3) smaller leaves.

I'm leery of following "how they do it in Japan" advice here, too. But I appreciate the suggestion.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - 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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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  AK_Panama on Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:11 pm

Love the white pot Jim!!

Cheers!

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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  lordy on Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:20 am

JimLewis wrote:Iris, do you think the leaves on these are too large? They're about the size of a quarter. And I haven't defoliated them yet -- which will result in much (1/3) smaller leaves.

I'm leery of following "how they do it in Japan" advice here, too. But I appreciate the suggestion.
Jim, I dont know if I would consider them too large, but the possible health detriments of defoliation might be a problem, since there arent too many leaves on either now. It has been demonstrated that it may not be in the best interest of the tree physiologically to defoliate just for show. I would rather have them alive even if some thought they needed smaller leaves than compromised from a health standpoint.

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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  0soyoung on Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:47 am

If you are serious about this, there are several Japanese maple cultivars with small leaves and, IMHO, they will all make excellent small bonsai.

shin deshojo (or the old deshojo cultivar)
shishigashira (aka 'lions mane')
higasayama (aka 'popcorn maple' - small variegated leaves that looks like popcorn when emerging)
okushimo
Sharp's Pygmy
and also cultivars with names ending in 'hime' - these are short bushy/mounding types that usually have smaller leaves.







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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  iant on Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:50 am

I think you do, actually, like Japanese Maples as a species. Just admit it!
I'm also of the opinion that they look best a little larger given leaf size. However I'm sure you could grow a beautiful smaller one. It looks like you're on your way to that end.
Nice trees,
Ian

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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  AK_Panama on Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:48 am

I have never heard of detriments to defoliation. Does this apply solely to this specie? My apologie, bc of my climate I know nothing of maples.

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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  JimLewis on Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:01 pm

lordy wrote:
JimLewis wrote:Iris, do you think the leaves on these are too large? They're about the size of a quarter. And I haven't defoliated them yet -- which will result in much (1/3) smaller leaves.

I'm leery of following "how they do it in Japan" advice here, too. But I appreciate the suggestion.
Jim, I dont know if I would consider them too large, but the possible health detriments of defoliation might be a problem, since there arent too many leaves on either now. It has been demonstrated that it may not be in the best interest of the tree physiologically to defoliate just for show. I would rather have them alive even if some thought they needed smaller leaves than compromised from a health standpoint.

I understand, but these have been defoliated annually every year for the last 4 years. They seem to handle it well enough.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - 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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Re: Small Japanese maples

Post  JimLewis on Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:05 pm

0soyoung wrote:If you are serious about this, there are several Japanese maple cultivars with small leaves and, IMHO, they will all make excellent small bonsai.

shin deshojo (or the old deshojo cultivar)
shishigashira (aka 'lions mane')
higasayama (aka 'popcorn maple' - small variegated leaves that looks like popcorn when emerging)
okushimo
Sharp's Pygmy
and also cultivars with names ending in 'hime' - these are short bushy/mounding types that usually have smaller leaves.

I'm not serious enough about Japanese maples to go out and buy any. These are just generic Japanese maples. Someone may have given them to me. I don't recall. I have a couple of others growing in the ground that I haven't looked at yet this year. That's more Acer palmatum than I've owned in almost 40 years.

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Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - 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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