Fall work on a Shohin trident maple

The fall color was really nice, due to mild weather and no early freezes like we had last year.

And with the leaves now gone, we can work on the structure a bit.

Remove strong secondaries, upward- and downward-growing shoots, and crossing branches.

The results:

I’m still sorting out the apex, and will allow the lower branches to widen just a bit more over time. For now, I’m happy with the progress.

‘Arakawa’ Japanese Maple fall cleanup

Here is a shot before the work. I started this as an air-layer about 10 years ago, and it has been mostly container-grown. It has a decent nebari developing under the soil which will have the characteristic ‘arakawa’ bark as it becomes exposed over time.

Close up

Removed leaves

Closer up

Branch grown and shaped for thread-grafting

To fill in this space, just under the cut scar and above where it originates from the trunk:

On to the pruning…heavy, long internodes, and those pointing up need to go:

Another example, before:

After:

This one looks pretty good, evenly balanced, tertiary branches emerging in pairs, laterally:

A branch terminating in 3 shoots, prune down to an acute pair, emerging side-by-side:

Crossing branches need to go, especially those which are heavy and pointing straight up. These are the strong shoots that will run long, and overshadow the rest of the tree, and weaken the branches around them.

Finished for now.

A comparison from winter 2019 to late fall 2020, one year of work:

The pot? Older Yozan with the kiln’s iconic red clay.

Changing Clothes, RMJ to Itoigawa 2020 update part 1

This project is 6 years in the making, 8 if you go all the way back to when I collected the tree in 2013. I grafted it with itoigawa in 2014, and finally had the confidence to separate it in March of 2020.

Original post:

https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/changing-clothes-rmj-to-itoigawa/

First update:

https://nebaribonsai.wordpress.com/2019/09/14/still-changing-clothes-rmj-to-itoigawa/

And now we’re current. I repotted the tree after 4 years.

I had previously removed the field soil from the front half of the tree, and the roots were growing well into the bonsai soil, so I didn’t disturb that area too much:

And now it was time to remove the remaining field soil from the back half of the tree:

Notice the difference in condition? Doing half at a time keeps the relatively recently collected tree strong.

Now it’s in all bonsai soil. I changed the planting angle just a little in preparation for styling the tree to move to the right, and accentuate the live vein and movement of the base.

Next up, the graft. It’s had 6 years, and it’s clearly attached in places. It has grown well, and each year, I reduced the live vein connecting the Itoigawa to its original roots:

Time to cut ties…

For now, I’ll keep the other trunk’s graft attached. Although, it seems to have taken.

This will provide more styling options later.

So, here it is for now: