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How do I trim Red Maple before transplant from ground to pot?.

Posted by surfpirate none (My Page) on
Wed, Mar 28, 12 at 13:07

I have a young red maple growing in my yard (maybe 4-5 years). It is tall and thin, probably 8' tall 3" at base of trunk. I would like to trim the tree down to only 2'-3' this spring and then remove it from the ground and put it in a large pot this fall. Then over the next couple of years reduce the pot size and train the tree for bonsai.

I'm am looking for any advice, I've never pulled a tree from the ground and put it in a pot before. Is this tree to old/big? Any techniques for trimming it so I get good results for future bonsai would be helpful. Is 2'-3' to tall or should I trim it shorter?

I would like to include a picture of the tree but I don't see how to include one on this forum.

Thanks for the help.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: How do I trim Red Maple before transplant from ground to pot?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 28, 12 at 13:29

You don't give your zone or where you live, and advice largely hinges on whether or not the tree is already in leaf.

Al


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RE: How do I trim Red Maple before transplant from ground to pot?

Zone 10, south Florida. The tree has only about three leaves showing right now. This is why I'm looking for advice soon so I can trim before any more leaves show up.


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RE: How do I trim Red Maple before transplant from ground to pot?

Al,

Here is a picture of the tree now. Please copy it and draw suggested cuts. Remember my plan is to cut it down to a 2'-3' height.

Sean

Photobucket


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RE: How do I trim Red Maple before transplant from ground to pot?

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Thu, Mar 29, 12 at 22:12

You can chop it any time - let it fatten in the ground for now. What I would do is root prune it while it's in the ground. First, I would sharpen a spade (straight blade). Imagine an octagon about 24" flat to flat. I would insert the spade straight into the ground about a foot from the trunk at N, S, E, and W flats of the octagon. In the fall, I would insert it on all 8 sides of the octagon, then lift the tree in the spring. Severing any long roots will cause a lot of fine rootage to grow near the trunk and make the tree easier to get into a small container w/o trauma.

IF you plan on keeping any of the lower branches after you chop them, I would make sure that all branch joints are bifurcations - no trifurcations. This means that only 2 branches can originate from the same point. The maples natural tendency is trifurcation, so correct that in any branches you plan to keep.

Al


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RE: How do I trim Red Maple before transplant from ground to pot?

Al,

I really appreciate the advice.

I have many potted plants, all kinds of cactus, aloe, some Jade that I am letting grow feral and some that I am shaping which has been very rewarding. I have what feels like an entire grove of potted pineapple that have produced fruit over the past couple of years, more orchids than I care to count, and some other odds and ends. Years ago I killed several bonsai including a dwarf juniper and a fire nandina. So I did a lot of reading and started up again with Jade and have had very good results. I planted this maple when it was less than a foot tall and allowed it to grow for the purpose of creating a bonsai. I'm a little pressed to pull it out of the ground sooner than I want because I anticipate moving to MD in the winter and I would like to take it with me.

I'm looking forward to shaping this tree and plan on keeping this forum updated with my progress over the next couple of years. So stay tuned.

Sean


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RE: How do I trim Red Maple before transplant from ground to pot?

Here is what it looks like immediately after cutting the tree.

Photobucket


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Follow up to Red Maple cutting

Here it is with some growth on it a couple of weeks later.

Photobucket


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