Partial defoliation of a Japanese Maple 

In the early summer, as the first flush is hardening off, it is good to remove one of each pair of leaves, to let more light into the tree. This promotes back-budding, and keeps interior shoots from dying off.


Before:


Dense canopy:

After:

Less-dense canopy:
Carnage:

The trunk is beefing up, even after 12 years in a pot, with annual repotting.


Part of the charm of this cultivar, Chishio Improved, is the bright red new growth.  Here is an area that was pruned back a month ago, and new growth is popping out brightly!

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2017 Repotting: Japanese Maple, Chishio

Unlike last week’s azalea, this fella is on an annual Repotting cycle.  It’s been in straight akadama for the last few years, and the root system is doing very well in it.


I take my time on this tree, combing out the roots carefully, and then hosing out the soil between; repeating the steps several times until the old soil is washed out.  It allows me to find and eliminate any of the roots that are growing on the bottom and are trying to get strong.  “Planing” the underside of the trunk keeps it spreading out over time.  


Wired back in, and planted deep enough to keep those roots growing.  One day, it’s going to have a very nice, natural nebari.


This tree has been in a bonsai pot for 13 years now, and while it’s tough to see progress year to year, looking back 10 years shows a different story.

2007:


2017:

Some late winter pruning

This shohin 6-trunk Japanese Maple clump came to me in leaf last year, and while leafless, it’s a good time to reduce heavy branches to thin, multiples shoots to pairs, and long shoots to a single node.  This is a well-developed clump with lots of movement and nicely dwarfed leaves.  

Before:


Reduce long, unforked shoots back to the shortest internode or fork:


Carnage:


Results:


Officially in the shohin range…


This spring, it gets a new pot, an Ikkou which was a tribute to Tofukuji; mostly by proportions and shape of feet.