TXGreen
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Japanese Maple Indoors for Summer?

I got a Japanese and a trident maple last month, and they are starting to show signs of what I think might be sun burn on the tips of the leaves. New growth is red/brown and curled. They are getting morning filtered sun from sunrise to around 10:00, then direct from 10:00 till about 2:00.

I know maples are meant to keep outdoors, but I think the Dallas summers (100+ for the next two months) might be a bit much for them. I am keeping them well watered.

Would there be any major problems with keeping them in a east facing window with a little over 2 hours of morning sun until late August? I would then return them to their outdoor location which is just outside said window when the temp begins to drop to low 90s and leave them out through the winter/spring and return indoors for the 100+ part of summer?

Any feedback is much appreciated!

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TXGreen,

Do you have central air inside? Even if you don't I'm concerned about humidity levels inside. You might be better off looking into some shade cloth.

You might find that this species is outside of your abilities, geographically speaking. Even here my A.p's begin to look ratty in midsummer.

Norm

TXGreen
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No central air in the room in question. In fact the three large windows facing east are wide open (screen) throughout the summer. There is a floor fan blowing to keep circulation. Short of allowed light amount and increased circulation, the environment (temp and humidity) should be pretty close to outdoor.

There are some spots outdoors on my patio that would minimize sun to maybe an hour with some early morning daple. Might that be preferable to the indoor situation described above?

Thanks for the reply!

kdodds
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Yes, I would say, if at all possible, keep them outdoors and move them to a spot that's a little more shady, where they'll get some relief. You said "a maple" and then "they are". Do you have more than one? Are these in bonsai pots already or trainer/nursery pots? I ask because, if it is (they are) recently transplanted, you can definitely see less tolerance for full sun and might be able to move them back into full sun in a few weeks. FWIW, several varieties of Maples, not just Japanese, will "color up" in the sun. I just collected a good dozen trees of two different cultivars. And all were collected from shaded locations (in the undergrowth). These are fully green, leaf and petiole. However, one I already had from seed from the same tree sits in the sun. That one is more red in the leaf, especially new grrowth, and has red petioles. It also, although younger, has nicer bark development than h the recently collected ones, some of which are still pretty soft and green, even at maybe twice the thickness.

TXGreen
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I have a younger trident maple, and a more mature Japanese.

Trident

[img]https://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g58/esdouglass/3e5e2cf2.jpg[/img]

Japanese

[img]https://i53.photobucket.com/albums/g58/esdouglass/4072843c.jpg[/img]

I'm not sure when they were potted. I got the trident about three weeks ago, and the japanese maple about a week ago. We are just getting into the serious heatwave part of summer for the next 2 months.

I'll try moving them to high shade minimal sun area.

kdodds
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I don't mean any offense, but both of those trees are a either too small or underdeveloped to be consider for bonsai pots. Are you planning on training/growing them further? Or are they as thick as you'd like? And what happened to the roots on the Japanese Maple? I think, with that amount of staining, a root up design won't suit. Since the staining is also so glaringly evident, I would also say that the repotting was done fairly recently.

TXGreen
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I would certainly like to train/grow them further.. And the more offense the better as I am relatively new :). Especially to deciduous as these are my first.

If these were your trees, what would you do with them to allow for continued trunk maturation, and a healthy future (other than compost them and use the results for new trees).. :)

I'll handle yelling at the seller. :x

Edit: if you could point me to a reputable seller online that pots correctly assuming the customer wants to mature the trees that would be nice as well. I bought the trident from a (supposed) reputable online seller, and the Japanese from a local bonsai shop, which I assumed knew what they were doing. Other than that around here it's street corners and mallsai.


Thanks for the input

kdodds
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I'm not a big maple buyer, soI really wish I could help on finding a reputable seller, but can't.

IF they were my trees and I wanted the trunks to thicken, I'd get them into much bigger, deeper pots. Hard to tell without scale, but the Japanese looks like it could do with a 5g. Actually, it looks like it was probably in a 5g, in very rich soil. The smaller Trident looks like it could probably do with a 2g. BUT, that's only if you want them thicker. If they're already thick enought, you want to do a trunk chop on the Trident, way too much trunk before the first branch exists now. Hmm.. the Japanese, I don't know, I think I'd first get those roots mostly back in the ground first, maybe leaving only the topmost exposed, and the rest as "nebari" to be developed. Once that once done, I'd have to see. It looks like you alread have a scar at the notch of the two trunks from a weird chop that left two leaders. That's about where you'd want to chop again, but the dual trunk flare presents a problems. If you go lower, the chop will be too low, IMO, but it you leave both trunks as stubs, It'll be too high, again IMO. I think I might, and only might, take off the right branch and strip some bark down, creating a dead wood stub, then trunk chop the left trunk. IMO, the lines are better with the left trunk kept, not the right. JMO, really.

TXGreen
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So to summarize- repot them both in large pots. Let them grow until trunks reaches desired thickness. At this point, place trident in bonsai pot. For the Japanese, after desired base trunk diameter is reached, trunk chop the left trunk about an inch over the first/bottommost fork, and cut the right to form a Jin - if I read correctly (do tell if I did not) :) .

Questions:

When I go to the bigger pots, what kind of soil?

Should I do anything with the roots when moving to bigger pots (combing, any pruning)?

While in the bigger pots, should any pruning, shaping, wiring occur, or just let them go wild

When (seasonally) should the major trunk chop work to the Japanese occur??

Should I bury a portion of the trunk with the trident, or keep the soil line where it currently is?

Pardon my noobness - and again thanks for your insight.

TomM
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TXG,

Going back to your original concern, being that these two maples are recent purchases, they need to acclimate to their new home first and foremost. While maples do benefit from a good sunny location your Dallas heat has caused a little leaf scorch. You need to find a place with a bit more light shade or shade cloth protection and a good watering regimen. We don't know what conditions they came from - likely a greenhouse operation or nursery with screening. Now they need to re-adapt.

In the event that they were potted this spring they should not be re-potted again for another 2 years or so. Then they need to regrow good healthy roots before another major stressful change like trunk chopping. The soil appears fresh and new - fast draining. Be sure to water thoroughly every day - morning and evening - during hot weather.

Better photos from low level and front, back, side angles would help with future growing and styling concerns. But lets get the trees stabalized first.

I would also suggest that you get in touch with the good people over at the Dallas Bonsai Society for some basic tips on growing maple bonsai in your 'climate'. They have the pertinent experience we lack from afar.

Tom

kdodds
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Yes, agreed with Tom, what I have stated previouly is with concern to FUTURE development. Sometimes I, and other bonsai enthusiasts, do tend to forget that "future" can mean very different things to someone with and without experience. A two year wait period before repotting is, IMO, a little conservative. You have to consider that you won't be potting down, but rather potting up. If this is the case, if you decide to pot up in order to grow them out, this can certainly be done this year once they've been completely stabilized and acclimitized. When potting up, you don't need to do anything more, in this specific case, then look at the roots for health, make sure there's no rot, grubs or other predators/parasites, that kind of thing.

On styling while growing out... well, you've basically two schools of thought there. First let me say that any pruning WILL slow growth and thickening of the main trunk.

Now, the loudest, most obnoxious school of thought will insist that you absolutely, 100% should not, never, ever, never, prune anything while growing out. This school's insistence sort of follows logic, though, IF you consider their blindered, cookie cutter methods. The end result, IOW, will be to chop the trunk anyway, leaving a single leader, if possible (sometimes it's not). So, any "styling" you've done above this line will be a waste of time and will inhibit (even if only slightly) the growth you're trying to encourage. This IS the fastest way to grow a fat trunk with a very pronounced taper, but, even still, can take an easy three years, using the thirds "recipe", minimum, up to 10 years or more, depending on the desired height of the finished tree.

However, there's a second school, believe it or not, that's a lot quieter these days, and significantly more zen (and IMO, true to more original bonsai principles) in their approach. Here, you'd be growing out, yes, so you'd minimize pruning as much as you could, but you'd still prune, and wire. You might not have a finished ideal in mind, or you might but it could change mid-stream as the tree grows in different patterns and lines. You develop the whole tree at once, acheiving lines and designs that may change over time as the tree progresses. And how long does that take? Ah, well, you could feasibly still have your tree in a proper pot in three years time, with a less thick trunk and a less pronounced, but IMO more natural, taper, but more likely the tree will take 5-10 years. BUT, you DO have an advantage there in that your trees have already been grown out for some time, just with no bonsai intent or purpose in mind, apparently.

Oh, and with the Trident, I'd repot with future Nebari development in mind. Check the roots, and if they're mostly growing sideways, great, you can leave them a little bit exposed to discourage high feeders that would other potentially need to be pruned and could leave scars. Otherwise, bury as you like and worry about Nebari after your trunk it where you want it to be.

If your trunks are nowhere near your ultimate goal, I would seriously suggest following the advice of the first school, unfettered growth in large pots (or in the ground).

TXGreen
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A lot to wrap ones brain around :)

What is "potting up" vs. "potting down"?

I assume potting up means going to a larger pot, and in this case I can proceed now and let them do their thing for a couple of years, pruning when or if I so choose, until the trunk is desired size, then proceed with trunk cut (for the japanese), and bonsai potting for the trident.

This being the case, what is the recommended soil for the larger pots?

I have looked into the Dallas Bonsai Society. I have been told that they can be a bit unfriendly to new-comers, or those not already "in the know". Although that might just be one persons experience. I have heard the Fort Worth Society is much more friendly. I will probably check them both out.

Thanks!

tomc
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TXGreen wrote:This being the case, what is the recommended soil for the larger pots?
I found that if I was setting trees to feild to bulk up, no special soil is needed-beyond one that contains enough humus to be easy to work.

When planting 'up' to bigger pots your soil could contain a bit more crushed bark (its hot in TX I hear).

Mine tend to end up in paper-white pans, or the bottom half of five gallon pails. I have found that I needed to modify bottom drainage to increase size. I use hardware cloth as the retainer to reduce soil escaping.

FWIW when I was in NH, I bought (and sifted out) my crushed granite by the ton, and bark (sifted that too) by the yard...
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luigonz
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just wondering did you get your trees from sunshine miniature trees in Dallas?

I bought a fukien tea there, and killed it unfortunately (tried to grow it indoors and the humidity was too low). I find, as a begineer, looking at other local nurseries for interesting and dynamic trunks( even at big box stores) is much cheaper!

and yes, my dear father has a j maple in san antonio, it struggles every summer. j maples really need cold and tons of rain. not to prevalent in texas.

TXGreen
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Yes the j maple was from sunshine. They are helpful with answering questions, etc, but also seem to tell you what you want to hear to make a sale (oh yes the trunk will thicken up, yes these will produce fruit)

I've learned to take it with a grain of salt.

I've purchased a fukian, banyan and sweet plum from there and all are doing well. We shall see the outcome with the A.p.

The trident came (online) from

I think as I learn from my mistakes and successes, moving forward I will collect from wild/garden centers and turn to bonsai myself. This seems a better way to educate myself.

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