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.
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
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.
I’m referring to an attempted threadgraft on an Amur Maple which I performed at the start of spring this year.
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.
A hole was drilled pointing slightly downwards and the shoot threaded through from right to left in the above picture.
You 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.
The 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 😉