Acer palmatum/Mountain Maple Bonsai Progression Series

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Acer palmatum/Mountain Maple Bonsai

March 2006: During the Spring , I potted the tree into a new Erin Pot. As this was the first repotting (by me) of this tree, I bare-rooted the bonsai entirely. It took a long time to separate the encircling roots but after an hour or two, I realised the tree had a great nebari that had been hidden under the soil.

The best side of the nebari was towards the previous back of the tree; so the tree was turned 180° to show the nebari to its best effect. Unfortunately, the change in thetree-front did mean I had to change my previous plans for the branch structure. A good example of the need to determine the definite front of a tree before making a permanent plans!

The image above shows the tree after repotting, further branch pruning and wiring in March 2006.

Acer palmatum/Mountain Maple Bonsai

Acer palmatum/Mountain Maple Bonsai

The two images show a close-up of the nebari/trunkbase in Spring 2006 and later, in the Summer 2006.

In the first image, two crossing roots (towards the right) have merged together and created an ugly 'elbow' protrusion. Rather than remove this piece of root during the Spring, I waited until midsummer when I knew that its removal would prompt much quicker healing and closure of the resulting wound.

The wound is very prominent at present and will take 3-5 years to heal over (assuming strong and vigorous growth in the tree) but as with the branch structure of this tree, an ugly fault is often best addressed immediately rather than ignored.

Acer palmatum/Mountain Maple Bonsai

September 2006: There are many improvements that can still be made to this Japanese Maple bonsai in the future. However, its appearance has improved in a very short time and it has already recovered some of the beauty it lost just over a year ago.

maple bonsai

August 2008: Two years later and the bonsai has progressed further. Much work has been put into refining the branch structure, increasing the movement and taper of the branches and this in turn has reduced the size of the leaves. As maybe noted, the first left branch has also been removed, this has allowed me to turn the bonsai a few degrees anti-clockwise (without the branch facing directly forward at the viewer) to show the nebari to its best effect. Work is still needed on the first (right) branch to increase leaf mass.

I have also concentrated on developing the nebari (surface roots) and buttressing and this has allowed the bonsai to be planted higher above soil level, enhancing the strength of the trees base.

Current height 14"/34cm, root spread is 6"/15cm

maple bonsai

Finally; the maple showing its vibrant autumn colours

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