I’m referring to an attempted threadgraft on an Amur Maple which I performed at the start of spring this year.

Side A

This is a poor picture of the tree back in January.  A pretty straight, mature lower trunk followed by a much younger apex and not much inbetween.  This had bothered me ever since I bought it online four years ago but this year I asked for a few opinions on the Bonsai Ireland hub as to the better front and then decided that i would try and address the lack of branching on one side by performing a thread graft using a shoot from another tree developed from cutting.

DSCN4763A hole was drilled pointing slightly downwards and the shoot threaded through from right to left in the above picture.

DSCN4764You can see after a few weeks things were going well and for the whole summer I left the threaded shoot unpruned to encourage it to thicken as much as possible.  All other shoots on the donor tree were pruned to aid this.  However a few weeks ago I noticed a deterioration in the shoot and upon closer inspection the join at the exit hole on the trunk was loose and the branch damaged at this new junction.  I now believe this to be due to the weight of the branch pulling it down and preventing the the two cambium layers effectively joining .  I pruned the new shoot back but it was too late and the remained of the branch died.  Last night I had a closer look and it just fell off.


DSC_0331The donor branch on the entry side also popped off and so now I’m back to square one except with two wounds to heal! I’m starting to wonder if I should just lop off the apex and create a much shorter ‘broom style’ tree using a shorter trunk and using the thick lowest branch as a secondary trunk? Or maybe just lop off everything and start from scratch with the bare mature trunk?  Opinions would be appreciated 😉





4 thoughts on “Failure!

  1. It may be a practical failure but this has been a learning experience for you. Many wouldn’t even attempt this technique to begin with! As you progress in bonsai you will look at your trees with a more critical eye. In some ways you never get back that beginners feeling of every tree being amazing, especially your own trees that you see every day. I think you are on the right track with this one by chopping and starting from ‘scratch’ 😉 Eliminate the big faults early on and then you don’t have to suffer them for years to come.


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