Thought I would have a tentative look for any new surface roots on this very large Japanese Maple. I decided to layer it last year as the existing root base consisted of three extremely thick roots that were unsuitable for bonsai. I was glad to see signs of new growth but far too early to dig up and investigate properly. I’ll leave it as it is for at least another year.
Top growth last year was very short compared to the long internodes usually associated with this type of material. All of last years shoots were no more than one or two cm long, presumably because of the work done to layer the roots.
I haven’t done any kind of work with this tree since I dug it up out of the garden four years ago. No further pruning, wiring, pinching etc… Just happy to let it grow out and let primary branches thicken. At some point soon I’ll wire these into position once I know the tree is doing ok.
A bit of neglect this year has meant some long internodes, unfortunately, for this little tree. These were pruned off, along with a reduction in the taller trunk to compact the image. I think it looks like a better framework now. Just need to build up the fine twigging over the next number of years.
Sacrifice branch left on to speed up wound healing. Job done. It was removed and the smaller branch beside left on to grow into the space.
Wiring finished. Stubs left on allow for dieback. These will be pruned flush in the new growing season.
I plan to repot into a container about half the size when the time is right. Hopefully this will slow vigour down and help achieve the necessary short internodes. I’ll also have to be careful about the quantity and quality of fertiliser in future.
Time to undertake some major rootpruning on this Japanese Maple. The main consideration was pruning away an ugly raised surface root and also reducing the depth of the rootball so that the tree would sit better in the ceramic pot it was taken out of last year.
nebari from the front
ugly root from the side
back view of root to be removed
Other raised roots were removed two years ago because I felt there was a better nebari hiding underneath the soil level and so the job was finished today, along with shortening the long roots at the front.
Over time, I’ll work to reduce the spider leg appearance of the nebari but this can be masked by moss in the short term.
When combing out I discovered long circling roots within the rootmass, presumably from when the tree was rootbound in a much smaller pot in the past. Unfortunately the previous owner must have just potted on without doing any rootwork each time. The soil itself was of poor quality, so I decided to give it a rinse as well. I also found some unwelcome guests:
Vine weevil grubs? Looks like it. Found three or four of these and disposed of them. I guess it’s not a good idea to apply a pesticide while the tree recovers from this surgery but if someone knows any better, the advice is appreciated.
front view of nebari
The tree was also placed to the other side of the pot to emphasise the trunk movement to the viewers left. Branches on the right will be tightly pruned and those on the viewers left will be allowed to extend over time to fill the negative space. This was in response to advice from Peter Warren during his visit to the NIBS last year. I’m looking forward to seeing it in leaf soon.
Before – August 2014
After – February 2016
Time to perform a first wiring of this Acer Palmatum ‘Deshojo’. The above picture was taken in the summer when I was allowing it some free growth. Being the middle of winter, it’s without leaf and I finally decided to make decisions about styling.
Last year I repotted it into this shallow pot and tried to pinch buds to promote ramification although I’ve never been convinced by size of the tree. I had to decide whether to keep it tall and use the thick right hand branch as a low branch, or cut it down a bit and go for an informal broom with a double trunk apex. Some virtual editing helped me decide:
So before and after (from above, facing viewer):
I’m going to ease up on the fertiliser and try to keep new shoots short. Looking forward to getting into a smaller pot sometime in the future.
One of my red leaved Japanese Maples (Acer Palmatum ‘Deshojo’). Glorious bright red leaves.