Update on Chishio root grafts

Last March, Kathy and I placed 7 thread grafts through the base of the trunk in an effort to improve the nebari by increasing the number of roots that emerged from the trunk. The article is here:
https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/thread-grafting-a-chishio-japanese-maple/
During the ’13 growing season, 4 of the 7 grafts lived. Unfortunately, the two best-placed grafts didn’t make it.
I went very light repotting this year, with the goal of combing out the new roots radially, removing what died, and creating more space for the roots to grow. Here is what I found:
Front 3/13:

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Front 3/14:

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Back 3/13:

20140324-212516.jpg
Back 3/14:

20140324-212623.jpg
While the back was more successful, the scion emerging toward the camera in the last photo shows where I girdled the cambium on the way through the trunk, then backed it out…and the tree rooted itself beyond the graft point. I left it to see if it would swell up and touch the trunk this year, making it useful after all. Next year, I’ll attempt one more through the front center and try to close the gap there.

Now, let’s look at one more detail. The tree did great last year. Shortly after repotting, the leaves emerged as normal:

20140328-073913.jpg
The center tips were pinched out as normal:

20140328-074507.jpg

20140328-074517.jpg
Then it went back out on the bench, and a week later the leaves looked like this:

20140328-074659.jpg
What’s going on? What would you do? We’ll take a closer look next week.

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2 thoughts on “Update on Chishio root grafts

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