Bonsai tree: Japanese Maple

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bonsai tree: Japanese Maple

Some of you may have been following the development of this Japanese Maple Bonsai. I just took the brilliant red leaves off yesterday; we’ve had a lot of sun here in Portland and they did not last longer than 1 1/2 weeks. But it was a beautiful fall.

In any event, the small trunk to the right—which was originally an airlayer of a branch from this tree—has grown well and feels well ‘locked’ into the nebari. I’ve been piling cake fertilizer near it to stimulate the fine feeder roots that are the ones that fuse into a solid mass eventually. The upper roots were so active that they were growing right up into the cakes. I had to literally cut the fertilizer balls off yesterday.

One of the downsides of this higher rate of fertilizing is that the apex of the tree gets stronger, so I removed leaves in the top part of the tree during the growing season. It will take a couple years before this tree settles down again, but we did need that strength to fuse the smaller trunk in. The roots were so active that the tree has risen almost half an inch in the pot since this spring.

I will be repotting the tree next year, and the two photos here show the new front for it. The shift is subtle, but that small difference allows an arc to the trunk that supports the flow of the tree to the right.

Former frontFuture front


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