Very young maple

by Tim
(Temple City, CA USA)

Mickey Mouse plant

Mickey Mouse plant

Mickey Mouse plant The Maple Nursery Maple

I learned a lot from your website. Your suggestions are greatly appreciated.


I "harvested" about twenty tiny maples from our garden, seeded from a neighbor's large tree. These are now ranging in height from a couple of inches to about 18 inches, in small (4") pots. They are all doing well after 6-18 months in "captivity."

The trees are in a sun/shade area in the Los Angeles area. I think they are in a good location and most have been through our winter (lowest temp was about 40).

How do I plan long term care?

Do I
start to shape now or wait until trunk is XX inches thick?

top prune to encourage lower growth and thicker trunk?

transfer to larger pots? and when? (what season, what size pots, how big should the tree be?)

be patient and come back in 10 years?

I have some Chinese elm and Mickey Mouse plants in the same situation.

Thanks,

Tim

_______________________________________________________________


Reply -

Hi Tim,

Firstly I have to say your trees look marvelous. It looks like you are doing everything the right way!!! The Maple looks fantastic!

To answer your questions.......

start to shape now or wait until trunk is XX inches thick?

- If you wait for trunk thickness the tree will be less malleable and harder to shape. Also, the tree will continue to shoot upwards and outwards. You have to ask yourself how 'big' you want the tree to be. Starting to shape now will reflect your vision and begin the form-building. I would start shaping now!

top prune to encourage lower growth and thicker trunk?
- Yes. Prune around 1/3 of the top growth (bigger leaves first). You could also get away with trimming back some of the branches, ensuring any cuts are treated before winter. This will also lead to back-budding closer to the trunk.

transfer to larger pots? and when? (what season, what size pots, how big should the tree be?)

- From looking at your individual maple I feel you could get away with planting them in their own pots now. I would go for a round, unglazed, medium-depth pot for now. Concentrate on thickening the trunk and developing shapes and repot as your tree starts to take the form you want - probably in 3 years time - all depends though on conditions etc. You don't want your maples to become too tall - i would honestly try to keep them at around 20-30 inches. Of course this is all down to preference but i'd suggest you are close to being in the 'ballpark' as far as height goes. Now you just have to control this and concentrate on trunk and branch density, whilst facilitating foliage growth and symmetry. Prune, wire and watch. Feed fortnightly during spring and summer.

be patient and come back in 10 years?
- NO! Nurture now!

All the above would relate to your elms and MM trees too, given their ages. Have a look at our info on Maples and Elms for pruning tips. The Mickey Mouse will react the same as most basic bonsai!
Hope this helps!!!

Very impressed with your work!

Jay - Bonsai-made-easy.com




Comments for Very young maple

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 08, 2010
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Thanks!
by: Tim

Hi Jay,

Thank you for your compliments and suggestions. I'll get to work. You run a great website!

Tim

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to question?.