sharp's pygmy branches

paul3636(6a Ma.)December 29, 2011

I purchased this maple in a nursery pot on the cheep.

It was cheep because the branches on one side are gone either by deer or breakage.

It appears to be healthy, has nice surface roots, and the branches on the other side are growing well.

I have tried to keep the sparse side in the sun hoping to encourage new buds and branches. Was this the right thing to do???

Is there any thing I can do to encourage branch growth on the sparse side.

It will eventual will be growing in a bonsai pot.

This will be posted on the bonsai web also.

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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

There are several ways to encourage back-budding in certain areas, or encouraging back-budding overall and then rubbing off buds that don't fit into the vision you entertain for the tree's future composition.

Planting the weak side toward the south (N of the equator) will help. Spraying a weak fertilizer solution on the bark in the area in which you'd like greater branch density is very helpful. Pruning roots on the current strong side but leaving roots on the bare side to grow unfettered will help channel the tree's nutritional resources to the weak side. The best way would be to promote lots of fine rootage by way of a full repot and root pruning this spring at the onset of bud movement. Allow the tree to grow wild for the entire summer. As noted, spraying the tree where you want buds every 2-3 weeks with either a fish emulsion solution or weak soluble fertilizer solution would be very helpful. If the tree is healthy & growing well going into dormancy in fall of '12, cutting the tree back hard in spring of '13, and you can cut it back so hard you're left with a trunk line only, will cause buds to pop all over the tree.

Experienced bonsai practitioners wouldn't be as concerned about branch placement (yet) as they would be about the trees nebari (buttressing and surface root system), the caliper of the trunk, and trunk taper. During the first few years, the artist's focus would be would be primarily but not exclusively on developing a strong nebari, as well as encouraging trunk thickening and chopping back to build taper into the trunk. Selection and development of 1-3 of the primary (lowest) branches would also be included as something to work on. During the first few years, roots can be grafted onto the tree in strategic locations via approach grafting or thread grafting of seedlings to the main trunk. If a branch refuses to grow where needed, you can also employ thread, in arch, and approach grafts to be sure the primary branches are located appropriately.

Happy New Year!!


    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 10:24AM
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paul3636(6a Ma.)

Thanks Al
That's the kind of help I was looking for.
A happy New Year to you all participants.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 12:06PM
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