pruning Japanese Maple and rhododendron, Japanese style

Discussion in 'Japanese Gardens' started by janetdoyle, Jul 10, 2007.

  1. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    We are new to Japanese maples, and would like to know how and when to prune a young, rapidly growing "green" Japanese maple about 5'2" high... it is quite full and fluffy, and we have read about pruning in "layers" atop one another; the tree has a nice "leaning" shape, up straight for about 2 feet and then a bend sideways and then up. We are using it beside a patio pond, and the patio is shaded part of the day [part of the morning, and after 3:30-4 pm], and owing to the hot dry mid-summers in Victoria we are afraid of over-pruning it as it is not immediately under tree cover. Something we read indicated that the top layer of leaves should be left alone, more or less, to shade the rest...

    The rhododendron is small, and opposite the Japanese maple and beside the small patio pond on the other side... Should it be left alone or can it be pruned in a specific style?
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    20,178
    Likes Received:
    319
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Like a bad haircut "Japanese" pruning attempted by those not well versed in it can be conspicuous and distracting. Maybe read up on it and take a class or two before attacking your plants. Once it's cut off you can't put it back.
     
  3. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    Yes, you are right -- regarding the proper way to prune [Japanese maples] Japanese-style.
     
  4. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Vancouver
    Read up on "bonsai pruning" and don't touch a branch until spring.
     
  5. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    Thank you for both correspondents regarding the necessity to study before pruning a Japanese Maple... my husband pruned it in the spring, and he agrees that next spring will be fine... meanwhile it is looking like the fluffy umbrella I have seen in some photos of Japanese gardens...
     
  6. whis4ey

    whis4ey Well-Known Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,011
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    Have you had a chance to look at the new book by Jake Hobson 'Pruning shaping and training trees the Japanese Way'
    Highly recommended ....
     
  7. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    I have just ordered the book, on your recommendation. Looks excellent, on the Amazon.ca website, and seems to be just what is needed for the beginner. Many different shrubs and trees thrive in the southern Vancouver Island [British Columbia, Canada] climate here, and they truly look beautiful when the pruning and garden is in the Japanese style. I will also look forward to exploring your website further. Thank you so much!
     
  8. everlasting

    everlasting Active Member

    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Manila, Philippines
    there are many bonsai forums here on the net and help you. try to view bonsai plants at this site and be inspired on how you'll shape that tree of yours.!
    http://www.bonsaistar.com/Gallery.htm
     
  9. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    Thank you for the site -- that will also give me ideas for having a cherry tree shaped next spring in our front condo unit's courtyard... the landscaper is of the same mind.
     
  10. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    An additional reply to everlasting: There is a fascinating-sounding journal with the website: http://www.rothteien.com/articles/bonsai.htm
    [my Firefox browser may not make that clickable, sorry] which company publishes Japanese Garden Journal, out of the state of Maine, of all places... I noticed it has an article and maybe more than one article [they aren't able to be read online owing to subscription necessities, unfortunately] on the relationship of Japanese gardening techniques to bonsai techniques. I have just purchased the previously-suggested book, so don't feel like immediately subscribing to the journal just yet, but would love to... one day I will. Perhaps someone on this forum does, and can attest to its usefulness. I would not think bonsai and Japanese gardening techniques would be altogether the same, but similar, no doubt... I am so tempted to really overdo the leaning-over or extravagantly-shaped idea, out of misplaced enthusiasm, no doubt, and am keen to get started... so I must spend the pre-spring year reading!
     
  11. cocobolo

    cocobolo Active Member

    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ruxton Island, B.C., Canada
    Janet: I take it by now you have had the pruning book by Jake Hobson for awhile. Did you find it useful? I suspect I may need something like that.
     
  12. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    Yes, it is wonderful. The proper title is Niwaki: pruning, training and shaping trees the Japanese Way, by Jake Hobson, Timber Press, ISBN 978-0-88192-835-8, by the way. However, it is not strong on Japanese Maples at all -- the emphasis is on hedging material of all sizes and large evergreens, and fascinating details on how the Japanese themselves perform the tasks, but it is very detailed in the techniques.

    I have held off touching some of the shrubs I have as I have been working on maintenance gardening and getting other planting done, and some shrubs I have planted for flowering colour are not suitable for pruning anyway. I wanted the book on hand in case I decided to go in that direction. I did trim a couple of Japanese Maples according to this book except for the one my husband has loving control of on the patio, but he does a good job with it. My gardening reach is always longer than my grasp, and several items I have in my townhouse garden have needed other kinds of attention including identifying some native wildflowers from weeds and saving them, and laboriously weeding and planting groundcovers under the shrubs rather than doing all mulch, which has been time-consuming. Some mulch had to prevail. However, I am watching carefully for an opportunity to plant another small tree and train it this way. I may go the extremely-shaped hedging route at some point but haven't done that yet, as I have opted for some flowering [hopefully, unless the deer in Saanich get at them] shrubs such as weigela and spirea which are not much seen here in this area and the Japanese plan has been sitting on the shelf, but I at least have this resource to dip into. I recommend it highly, and it is frank about the styles the Japanese don't prune heavily for, but leave a bit wilder, which is interesting. There is a lot of elaborate grooming of this sort done in my neighbourhood which is too confining in style for me, but I would like to play with it a little, with particular pieces, using more free-form shrubbery as a backdrop.

    I do think you should order it.
     
  13. cocobolo

    cocobolo Active Member

    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ruxton Island, B.C., Canada
    Janet:
    Thank you so much. I think you just sold another book by Timber Press!!
    Have you by any chance visited Pacific Flowers Nursery in Sidney?
    Just curious as I hope to get there later this week.
     
  14. cocobolo

    cocobolo Active Member

    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ruxton Island, B.C., Canada
    Oops, got the wrong name, I think it might be Peninsula flowers, and they are in association with BC Bonsai.
     
  15. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    All I need is another nursery to visit, but that sounds intriguing and I'll try to track it down. It's interesting how one needs to visit at least 6 or 7 to get a complete picture of possibilities, although even then I suspect it's not enough.
     
  16. cocobolo

    cocobolo Active Member

    Messages:
    156
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ruxton Island, B.C., Canada
    Janet: you might find them at 8512 W. Saanich Rd in Sidney. I'm going to try to get down there tomorrow and load up!
     
  17. janetdoyle

    janetdoyle Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    620
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Victoria [Saanich, actually, northeast of Victoria
    This place looks fabulous in its variety of hardy perennials and stress on pre-bonsai and specialty Japanese maples, conifers, grasses, etc . I am looking forward to checking it out. The website for others interested is http://www.bonsaibc.ca/index.html
     

Share This Page