Shohin Acer Ginnala One Year On

Now that the growing season is coming to an end I’m evaluating the progress of my bonsai material and trees.  Are there noticeable differences in terms of appearance and health?  Not everything has improved one year on but I’m very happy with this wee shohin Amur Maple:


Autumn 2014


Chopped Autumn 2014


Autumn 2015

Shohin Amur Maple summer update

This is the small tree that originated as a hardwood cutting from the parent tree in the post two days ago.  It was dramatically chopped last autumn too in the hope that new buds would set over winter and this tree fared better.  I’m very happy with the new branching and I’ll continue to pinch out emerging buds and build up girth in the bottom branches and leader.


Before. Summer 2015


The back of the tree



Amur Maple Parent

Well after removing all branching last autumn and leaving a bare trunk, I was happy to see some new buds earlier this spring but unfortunately not enough appeared.  Some at the apex and some clustered around an old wound too low down.  One has popped in a suitable location for a bottom branch so I wired it and am letting it thicken.  The others at the apex have been repeatedly clipped and the new emerging buds nipped to promote short internodal length.  I’m feeding vigorously to try and get these new buds in the middle of the trunk.  I may have to try more threadgrafts at some point.  Large old wounds were also reopened to try and encourage more callousing which has been pretty poor over the last year.

DSC_0277 DSC_0278 DSC_0279


Amur Maples Root Pruning

These hardwood cuttings are a few years old now and as usual are first to bud out.  Mixed results when inspecting the roots for each tree.  The first one was growing in a plant pot.


360 root spread



Long, thick roots shortened.



Ready to go in the ground

The next tree was less impressive and has never really flourished even though it has been in the ground since rooting as a cutting.


Before work – great lower trunk



Before pruning – a lot of awkwardly growing roots.


After – not much good left! All one sided.


In the ground with a tourniquet



Shohin Amur Maple repot

I undertook some drastic pruning of this Amur maple last year and at the weekend noticed buds starting to swell so it was time to root prune and repot.


Before – in a seed tray


Definitely in need of a repot!

I was a bit disappointed to find one thick root that dominated the pretty much one sided nebari.  I expected better because this was originally a cutting from a parent tree.  In hindsight, I should have checked the roots last year.



Flat, fine root mass

However, there were still other roots present that helped me determine the front of the tree last year when pruning.  Aside from the thick root, I was really pleased with the rest of the rootball which was quite flat and even.  It was like cutting a cake. I removed a substantial amount on the side with the thick root and also pruned that back too.  I had a spare shallow cream pot available and so placed the tree in that.  It should make a nice image when more branching and foliage is developed this year.   I tilted the tree towards the front and some fine roots were exposed once potting was complete so some moss was placed on part of the surface to prevent them drying out.




Job done







Two Amur Maple Trunks

The last few beautiful red leaves were falling from two of my Amur Maples (Acer Ginnala) over the weekend so I decided to carry out some heavy pruning.



New front with large wound hidden. Apex leaning towards viewer.

New front with large wound hidden. Apex leaning towards viewer.


This first one was the subject of an earlier post regarding a failed threadgraft.  I’ve decided to take it back to a bare trunk because I’ve never been happy with the straight lower half and kinked upper part, as well as being dissatisfied with the very heavy low branch.  If I get the right budding in the spring I’ll then have complete control over the branch development, aiming for a formal upright style .


September 14

This one was started three years ago as a hardwood cutting from the mature parent maple in the photos above.  It grew in the ground for one year and then was planted in this seed tray two years ago to give the roots plenty of room to run. I let it grow unrestrained last year and pruned last autumn and did the same again this year to develop some taper. The result is now a stocky little shohin sized piece of material.


After pruning

After pruning.

Front view. Turning the tree to the right slightly more will give a better view of trunk movement.

I’m relying on a lot spring budding in hopefully the right places for both of these trees and if I get that then these maples will give me a lot of hands on experience throughout the year of developing deciduous trees.  Fingers crossed.