Training Hana Matoi

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Lisa Harry, Jun 15, 2021.

  1. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Hi All
    So I’ve got this new baby Hana Matoi and was wondering if I could remove the lower two branches safely. I would like to train this to be a tree with a a canopy (no lower legs). I know when bonsai you often will keep a sacrificial lower branch to create a thicker trunk but for what a I want to do I think the tree is wasting energy having it? So question is
    1. Could I clip the lower two branches
    2. If so when is the safest time
    3. Would I leave space for die back say 1-2” from the trunk or flush to the trunk.
    4 if to the trunk paste or no paste

    thanks for your help

    lisa
     

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  2. 0soyoung

    0soyoung Well-Known Member

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    ALL energy in trees comes from the foliage, so there is no such thing as 'wasting energy' other than having foliage that doesn't receive sunlight (which the tree takes care of all by itself). Quite simply, if you don't like a branch, cut it off.

    Now, or most anytime during the growing season is okay, but it is best to wait for those times extending growth has paused, like about now and again around Aug/Sep. Newly extending shoots and emerging new leaves consume carbohydrates and it is only after it has 'hardened' that it contributes carbohydrates (energy) to the tree. But this only becomes important when you are repeatedly pruning the tree as commonly done with bonsai. I have a personal rule always keep a leaf/bud pair on a branch unless I am removing it. Being more aggressive can sometimes result in a dead branch.

    Generally it is recommended to leave a stub when you prune, certainly when you prune branch tips it is a good idea so that you won't unintentionally damage the buds/leaves of the node. The little stub will easily break off cleanly by this time next year. When pruning a branch from the trunk, though, I prefer to cut back only to the 'branch collar', that swelling around the branch base where it joins the trunk, when removing an entire branch. because I can identify the branch collar and I find leaving a stub here to be quite unsightly. However, one should never remove the branch collar as it is key to the tree growing over ('healing') the wound. If you are unsure about identifying the collar, I suggest that you leave an inch-ish long stub when you remove the branch. By next spring it will be visibly obvious that the stub itself has died. The collar will still be green. Then you will know the 'branch collar' and also can safely remove this one dead stub without damaging the collar (i.e., in the future it likely will be a one-step process).

    IMHO, the worst time to prune is the time from a few weeks after leaf drop, through winter, until you see buds beginning to color and swell. This leaves the tree extremely vulnerable to pathogens and extensive die-back. Otherwise, you don't need to worry about die-back. Of course, always sanitize your pruning/cutting tools before/after using them (I prefer wiping pruning blades with 70+% isopropyl alcohol) so that you don't unknowingly spread a pathogen from one tree you pruned to the next.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
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  3. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Thanks for the great explanation @Osoyoung that is very helpful.
     
  4. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Active Member

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    regarding your step #3, I would cut it flush to the trunk. The tree is young and will heal and seal itself quickly. No need for any sealer (imo) as well.
     
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  5. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    'Hana matoi' is a tree with a kind of "umbrella" port.

    Forget about it unless you want to "train it" in a 2.54 (1 inch) tall container. Don't listen to the bonsai gurus - huh huh huh... A potted tree is not a "bonsai" : another option is to leave a strong leader to have a stronger tree, like a straight top branch twice the size of the tree in Autumn, that you will prune back in late winter. Advice guaranted of course (???) from Guru AK - ;0)

    I totally agree.

    Of course, if need be, some major pruning can be done after leaf fall. In that case, it's essential to apply fungicides right after pruning, and just before budbreak. Lime suflur, Bordeaux mix, or any copper-based product.
     
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  6. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Thanks for the suggestions @Otto Bjornson @0soyoung and @AlainK This is what I did the other day I cut the two lower branches. Let me know if they are cut correct. Thanks
     

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  7. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    They are.

    But being a bit paranoid, I always paint all the wounds with bordeaux mix ;°)
     
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  8. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Thanks AlainK Ill remember that for next time.
     
  9. Margot

    Margot Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    This runs counter to advice given for pruning all trees, not just Japanese Maples. Numerous experts and websites say not to remove or damage the collar - not one I've seen recommends it.
     
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  10. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Active Member

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    Yikes.. over 30 years and not a problem yet trimming 1000's of maples from our nursery and hundreds more of private clients thru out the lower mainland. What is most important is clean equipment and quality tools that make precise cuts. Poor quality tools can leave scars and weak cuts that pull outer bark away the cambium layer which is what will do the damage. When maples are young and tender just like the one @LisaHarry is mentioning, a flush cut is fine.
    And I don't consider myself an expert, just a developed work ethic and training from several experts many years ago.
     
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  11. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Thanks Otto I have made sure I clean all my tools with alcohol and I did pick up really nice bonsai cutting tools that I swear are surgical! My little waterfall is suffering but I truly believe it is mainly from the heat and not entirely from my pruning job. I still have hope that I can save it/ revive it but time will tell.
     
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  12. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Active Member

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    I was wondering about that little fella! With this heat bomb, even the healthiest established maples are suffering. We just had three days in a row with plus 40C temps in Chilliwack ( I guess you were mid 30's as you have the ocean next door). Never have seen these temps before. I think BC even made global news stories as a result.
    Don't be discouraged with the signs of stress just keep it protected from the sun as much as possible
     
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  13. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Thanks so much for the words of encouragement, I’ve updated that thread recently. I’ll keep updating it, the poor guy has 75% of leaf scorch/ curled leaves but I still have faith for God knows whatever reason. Something in my head says it can loose leaves and still survive with enough love! It is under my covered deck which reached 40c I’ve used a mister on it often, it receives filtered light from the overhead cover (no direct sun) it’s on those raised pieces of wood and I added a little water to the basin it sits in. The grow bag barely touches the water. Fingers and all other things crossed!
     
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  14. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Margot and Otto are right, both of them in their way.

    I think I've already posted sketches showing what is to me the best way : leaving the collar at the top, but cutting shorter than on Lisa's pics.If I haven't, here they are (again) :

    Ze branch (this maple was raised in France...) :
    taille-branche_210126a.jpg

    The collar, at the top :
    taille-branche_210126b.jpg

    If the stub you leave is too long, rot can come inside the trunk :
    taille-branche_210126c.jpg

    If you cut too deep into the trunk, healing will take longer ("knob-cutters" for bonsai are not that good after all, except on small cuts)
    taille-branche_210126d.jpg

    Leaving the top part of the collar is the best. The wound heals from the top. You can leave the bottom too.
    taille-branche_210126e.jpg
     
  15. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    PS : the above is for branches, not twigs. If the twig is only a few millimeters in diameter (up to 5 mm, 1/5 of an inch), it's better to leave a 2-3 cm long stub : it will just dry out.
     
  16. Otto Bjornson

    Otto Bjornson Active Member

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    just curios, are these your own hand drawn sketches? They have a very "charlie Brown" ish texture and feel to them! Nice explanation!
     
  17. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Thanks @AlainK for the illustrations and input I really appreciate it. I do have knob cutters and so forth. I really like this Hana Matoi can’t wait till it fills in. Do you know if it’s a super slow grower.
     
  18. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    It's definitely not a "dwarf" one. Mine is potted and still young, but I think that at least in its first years it will grow... reasonably well.
     
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  19. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    Huh huh...
    Yes, they are, but I don't drwaw very often, so I don't really have a "style". And...

    CharlieK.jpg

    I have a shorter chin and bigger glasses, I hope this caricature won't raise hell for its exaggerated or awkward traits...
     
  20. Lisa Harry

    Lisa Harry Rising Contributor

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    Well this little guys is doing good new leaves this week!!
     

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  21. Riverdale27

    Riverdale27 Active Member

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    No pruning in winter? That's new to me. The first thing you find when Googling when to prune is:

    For Japanese maples, it is recommended to do structural pruning in the winter and wait until late spring, after the leaves come out, for fine pruning. Summer can also be a good time for removing larger branches and for removing dead, damaged, or diseased wood.
     
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  22. AlainK

    AlainK Generous Contributor Forums Moderator Maple Society 10 Years

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    I wrote :

    This is because since there is no, or very little sap circulation, the wound won't begin to heal until the tree gets out of dormancy. Winter is usually a rainy season, so rot can set in as well as bacterial or fungal diseases. That's why I always apply - tatata! - the magic Bodeaux mix on the cuts.
    Diluted lime sulfur may be even better because it sticks longer on the wound. But like vaccines (2 doses of A, then one dose of P a couple of months later) , lime sulfur in late Autumn, then copper in late winter/early spring may be the best : the spectrum of the 2 products could be complementary...
    Just a guess.
     

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