I’m new to this forum and Im looking forward to learning and participating in discussions.
I have been growing this Japanese Maple from a sapling I bought on the side of the road years ago. I always intended to make it a bonsai but I wanted to allow it to grow and mature for a few years before making any significant changes. I’ve grown happy with how the trunk has grown and would like to start developing the branches better now so I’m reaching out for some advise on where I could start with that. I’ve taken photos from different angles to help. Any input is appreciated. Thank you.
I must say that is a very decent yard-adori. Good nebari ( as far as i can see), good movement in the trunk, existing branches are good. Lots of possibilities.
My advice would be to contact a local bonsai club and ask there, this is a tree with potential so people that can actually see the tree and knwow hat to do with it can help you.
You already did a very good job growing it in the ground to thicken it up, now its time to take the next step and cut it back hard, dig it up and put it in a training pot/box
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Thank you. I’ve cared for it for about 10 years now. I’ve had it in the ground for 2-3 years to let the trunk grow thick and beaches grow freely. I’ve just kept it from getting taller than I wanted it to be. I’ve been more patient than I thought I’d be with the process but I’m excited to begin to tame it and give it more shape.
Since I am happy with the trunk and nebari, I was planning to move it to a training pot this spring. My questions:
1. I chopped several branches this winter. Is it ok to move this season or should I wait another year?
You can absolutely move it this spring. But see the point below.
2. There are large branches that I don’t want anymore can I cut them all back this year or wait?
IF you are moving the tree too, I would not remove the big branches completely. Japanese maples are prone to dying back and when you also reduce the roots functioning this may be enhanced. You could cut back to stumps, leaving maybe 3, 4 nodes worth of branch there (Do you know about nodes?)
4. If I remove the sacrificial branches and no longer have them will the scars still close
They will close, but use a good cutpaste (NOT the regular stuff used in horticulture). Also, it is important to prune the back back to slightly below the trunk surface, and to prune when the tree is active. Cutting deep when dormant is asking for die-back
I have not seen any proof of that. Sap is water, sugar and starches. When trees lose sap they lose vitality. Summer pruning is how it is done by everyone I know and I can guaranty that it works better.
"Certain species of trees, such as maples (Acer spp.) and birches (Betula spp.), drip sap when pruned in the early spring when sap flow is heavy (see table below). Although unattractive, sap drainage has little negative effect on tree growth. Some of the sap dripping can be avoided by pruning in summer or at other times of the year."
This is an excerpt from an article written by Ed Gilman from the University of Florida hort.ifas.ufl.edu/woody/pruning-when.shtml
There are tons of research papers and articles written by industry & academic experts on this topic. The "bleeding" sap my be unsightly, but it is not harmful and it should only be taken as a subjective consideration based on aesthetics... not health. By all means, continue doing what works for you, but anecdotal evidence is nothing more than anecdotal.