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.

Shohin Shimpaku summer cleanup

Before:

Foliage cleaned up, undersides and dense areas only:

Soji, cleaning up the soil and adding a fresh top layer to get it through the rest of summer:

Work completed for now.

The pot is by Shinobu, an award-winning Shohin pot maker whose work is regularly featured at the Gafu-ten exhibition each winter in Japan. I think it’s a fantastic fit.

Incidentally, this composition is 5 years along from an air layer.