smstrick20
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:16 am
Location: Charlottesville, va

tall nursery stock october maple, best way to proceed?

I was given a 6 foot tall october glory maple last season, something a friend got from a garden store giveaway, it has the makings of some nice nabari, the trunk at this point is only about 2 inches in diameter. The top of the tree had been damaged before it got to me so as I planned on using this as bonsai material eventually i lopped off the top 2 feet which has given me an array of back budding and amazing new growth this spring. My question is, how to proceed as far as maintaing the growth as I grow the trunk to the size I want? The tree is in a half barrel pot with lots of room to grow, should I just let it grow freely for the next few years until I get my trunk size, or is it better to chop it down a bit to encourage lower growth as ultimately I want it to be around 28-36", and if I do cut it down will that slow my trunk growth tremendously? Thanks, just the idea of letting this thing grow back above and beyond 6 feet could get precarious, especially as I may be moving and that means moving my trees soon. Any advice or assistance is much appreciated.

kdodds
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Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

For a 36" tree, you're going to need the trunk to be a mminimum of about 4" in diameter (not circumference) for a tall thin tree, with 6" being better and more convincing. Those are minimums. Anything you do as far as removing branches, twig, and leaves will slow that process down, yes. But tremendously? Well, that depends on how much you're chopping, the overall health of the tree, the length of the growing season, how much it's being fertilized and with what, etc.

Just let it grow pretty much wild each season. There's no real need to let it get to 6' tall, you can take off the leader before it gets that height (most bonsai nurseries DO keep their stock maples limited to certain heights). And if it gets too wide, you can trim a little of that back too. But, that's it. No "styling", especially since anything you do will really be wasted effort. For maples, anything above the lower third will be lost to the chop (although you CAN airlayer) once the trunk is the desired girth. Anything below, if left to groe, will be too bulky to be convincing in the "finished" tree. So, it should just be allowed to grow otherwise.

smstrick20
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:16 am
Location: Charlottesville, va

Thanks, thats king of what i was thinking just never tried to grow a tree that size into the size i want before, usually buy larger stock and chop away. Eventually it will make a nice little tree, that or it will end up in the yard lol

kdodds
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Posts: 1436
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 12:07 am
Location: Airmont, NY Zone 6/7

Yeah, I'm not familiar with the cultivar. Some A. rubrum are already smaller leaved and adapt to bonsai very well. But, the larger leaved varieties generally don't reduce well enough to be considered convincing as anything but large bonsai.

smstrick20
Newly Registered
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:16 am
Location: Charlottesville, va

I have seen this cultivar produce some very nice larger bonsai so hopefully this one will make the cut.

linlaoboo
Green Thumb
Posts: 469
Joined: Sat May 22, 2010 5:15 pm
Location: NJ

When trying this tree just be prepared to struggle with long internodes and leaf reduction problems. Some also will become weaker when defoliated. I'm air layering a friend's Acer Rubrum from his back yard. The full leave size is about 3 to 4 inches. I'd agree if it doesn't reduce well for me I'll use it as a landscape tree too =)
ficus, maple, elm, juniper, pine

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