enystree
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advice for novice on acer palmatum chitose yama

hi, i've wanted to grow a tree in a pot on my little patio for a longtime and just bought a thin little maple in a 1 gallon pot. someone suggested I buy a pot as deep as the height of the tree so I did (about 20-24") but it's huuugge and when I came home it looked to big for for the tree. it's terra cotta. so I also got a smaller plastic one which would fit into the bigger one and figure I'd repot in the terracotta perhaps next year.

I bought regular potting soil and plan to repot this weekend. patio gets lots of western sun in summer but I do have a completely shaded corner. but I see that j.maple is good for Bonsai and I am completely new to that. I'm sure I'll learn a lot here but if there are a couple of crucial steps I should know to nurture my jap. maple I want to start her out right. thanks.

Enystree of Oaktown
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enystree,

Welcome to the forum and to bonsai. I think you should slow down a little and do some reading and research. Your plan has several questionable elements. Now that the tree is in leaf, it is not the ideal time to transplant. Unless you have a compelling reason to re-pot it I feel it would be prudent to leave it as it is until next spring.

You could do what is known as a 'slip-pot' this year. This is where the tree is moved to a slightly larger pot without disturbing the roots substantially. If you do this you will miss an opportunity to begin working the roots until it is re-potted properly.

Regular potting soil is not generally used for bonsai. Although it is counter intuitive the shallower a pot is the poorer the drainage. To counter this a very gritty, open, free draining medium is preferred. Particles about the size of the head of a matchstick are about right.

The larger pot you describe is indeed way too big and, depending upon your intentions, the smaller one may be as well. I have a Maple about the size of yours that I potted earlier this year, it is in a small flat that is 8 X 12 X 3 deep. This seems to be good fit for this tree. It allows room for root growth but is fairly shallow which helps in preparing it for its future life in a bonsai pot.

[url=https://img190.imageshack.us/my.php?image=acer.jpg][img]https://img190.imageshack.us/img190/5669/acer.th.jpg[/img][/url]

I purchased this tree in 2005 as a one year seedling and it is just now beginning to show some potential. I know it does not look much like a bonsai now but sometimes you have to allow a tree to be a tree for a while in order to grow out and gain some girth and character.

All of this assumes that you are anxious to begin training it in the near future. Another option would be to pot it up, probably in the smaller of your new pots, and simply allow it several years of growth before any type of training begins. By doing so you will end up with a better tree in the long run but it will slow down your bonsai aspirations for 3-5 years. If you choose this path I still think doing it next year is a better choice. You can then be more aggressive with the roots than if you simply slip-potted it this year.

So first decide if you feel the trunk is something you can work with or you would like it to bulk up a little more first.

Norm

enystree
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Yay! thank you so much Norm. No I am not in a hurry to Bonsai train it at all. in fact, I may actually want it to be large enough to provide a bit of screening in a couple of years. so I won't repot it anything till I have learned some more here.

i am confused about one thing. sites I looked at says it does well in sun, adds to coloration etc. but the spike on it at the store said shade. and it isn't from a nursery or even garden specialty store so I am more inclined to trust your guys'z opinions. so- sun? shade? bit of both?
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enystree,
i am confused about one thing. sites I looked at says it does well in sun, adds to coloration etc. but the spike on it at the store said shade. and it isn't from a nursery or even garden specialty store so I am more inclined to trust your guys'z opinions. so- sun? shade? bit of both?
In his highly regarded volume Japanese Maples, ISBN 978-0-88192-501-2

J.D. Vertrees writes:
"New leaves are often pale crimson but open to a rich purple red. However, they do not color well in deep shade. As the season progresses, a bronze green to dark green color appears. Fall color is a rather bright crimson."
Norm

builder0101
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I realze this is an old post but I was reading it and can't help but think the tag was suggesting it was a "shade tree" not that it was an understory variety. Just a thought.

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