Creating branch ramification on shohin Japanese maples doesn’t happen quickly. After three years of producing short internodes, the tree is now ready for cutback to improve the silhouette and branch structure. (You can see the progress to date here.)
Before I started pruning, I removed the old leaves.
Shohin Japanese maple
After removing the leaves
The cutback is straightforward. When there are more than two branches growing from a single location, I cut back to two. Beyond that, I reduced a few larger branches to make the tree more compact.
Here’s a close-up of how I thinned a busy area.
As you can see, the internodes are mostly short, but there are far too many growing from the same spot.
Here’s the same branch after cutback.
I did similar work on the rest of the tree. Here it is when cutback was complete.
Cutback complete – 7″ tall, 13″ wide
The goal for the next few years is to encourage the tree to produce even shorter internodes. In time – maybe three-to-four years – I expect the tree to have something closer to the silhouette I have in mind for it.
Winter Bonsai Intensive Update
There’s one spot left in each of the Winter Development Intensives to be held January 10-12 and 24-26.
I’ve started lining up projects for the classes (bare-rooting mature deciduous trees, repotting collected junipers, grafting, etc.) and am really looking forward to it!
As always, the bulk of the class will be hands-on to provide you with as much opportunity as possible to improve your skills.
Reserve a spot online for the winter bonsai intensives.
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