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Thread: Rooting Japanese Maple cuttings for Bonsai?

  1. #11
    Whats it to ya? Finch's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
    South Dakota
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    If cuttings fail, there is always grafting.
    that makes no logic

  2. #12
    Your one and only pest! Ant's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
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    um, what exactly would he graft to?

    Oh, I wonder if I can graft a red maple on to a normal maple in my yard. (not the Japanese maple but those read leaved versions of all the maple trees in new England) I might try it this fall.

  3. #13
    scottychaos's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    Western New York, USA
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    I wouldn't recommend reason for it, and it leaves an ugly scar on the trunk..
    not a great idea for Bonsai..and no benefit that I can see..

    Air layering should be successful with japanese maples..
    and cuttings will root if you use rooting hormone and high humidity..
    probably not 100% success, could take all summer, but some should work..

    I once did a "cutting seminar" at:
    and I had about 50% success with Japanese maples..
    they have a humidity chamber there where they keep them for several months..

    but IMO the best way to get a good "starter tree" is to buy a small one,
    plant it out in the yard for 5-10 years, to thicken the trunk, then begin training as a bonsai..

    (you can buy tiny 2-3 year old japanese maples, spindly, pencil-thin trucks, for $5 - $10 at Bonsai nurserys..

    12 years ago I plucked some Japanese Maple seedlings out of the ground from a local park..
    they had sprouted under a grove of adult maples, and would have just been mowed over if I hadnt collected a few..these had just sprouted from seed..just two cotyledons and two small leaves..

    I took a flat rock, spread out the seedling roots along the rock, then buried the rock with the roots on top..
    so the roots would have a nice spread in the future..

    I planted 3 seedlings out in the ground at my parents house..
    for the next 12 years, whenever I would visit, I would just give them rudimentary pruning, so they didnt go too tall and lanky..

    This spring I dug them up..
    I just gave away two, and kept one for myself..
    Check out the root spread..this is the result of using the rock!

    For scale, the root spread is about 6", and the trunk has a diameter of 1.25"..

    I had never seen those roots!
    they were always buried under I never knew if my experiment (with the rock)
    worked until a few weeks DID work!
    only "error" is that there is no rear root..the root spread is only on one side, which forced the front of the tree to be that side..which wasnt my original favorite choice of front..but I think it will work out..

    I tried to spread out the branches the last few years, but I didnt do it soon enough and they were too "set in their ways" to bend apart..
    So I hacked the tree down to this:

    the tree is 18" tall..

    basically im going to start it new branches from scratch..
    I have the final concept worked out, in my head, I need to try to draw it out..
    it might not look like much now, but it has potential!

    somewhere I have a "before" picture..I need to dig it out..
    I want to completely re-do my Bonsai webpage..
    I havent updated it in like 7 years..
    and actually, geocities just died, so I need to move it anyway..
    I will work on that this summer..

    Right now I only have two Bonsai..the Maple and a Dawn Redwood..
    I have lost a lot of trees over the last 15 years..
    most died over the winter because of poor winter storage facilities..
    I was living in apartments..
    but now that we have a house, I can protect them properly..bury them in the ground.


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