Last year I repotted a Japanese maple forest that was created by Gene Lynch. As a result, the tree is far more vigorous this year than it was last year. I pinched it for a few weeks as the new shoots emerged but quickly fell behind as more new shoots appeared.
Japanese maple in April, 2022
When maples are healthy, it’s safe to pinch new shoots to shorten internodes and prevent branches from thickening. Since I missed the window for pinching, I decided to prune the long shoots back to a single pair of new leaves.
After reducing new shoots
Pruning revealed the silhouette but the tree was still too dense to let light into the tree’s interior. Because I want to preserve some interior branching I removed every other leaf on the top half of the tree.
After thinning leaves – 31″ tall
Revealing the tree’s structure made it clear that the composition would benefit from repositioning some of the trees. I may rebuild the forest in a year or two to straighten the main tree and move others to create more interest in how the trees are arranged. In the meantime I’ll continue to create greater branch density by keeping new growth in check.
Submission period closing in one week for the Pacific Bonsai Expo!
You have until April 30 to submit your tree to the Pacific Bonsai Expo. The process is simple: email a photo of your tree to pacificbonsaiexpo at gmail dot com (see Call for Entries for details).
There are lots of reasons not to show your work. Your tree might not be ready. Your tree might not be accepted. Your tree might not win a prize. You might not feel your tree accurately reflects the quality work that you or your teacher can produce.
These reasons apply to many of the trees we see on display. We can make our trees better given more time. No single tree can convey everything we or our teachers are capable of. And we can’t all win prizes!
Despite this, there are some pretty great shows held throughout the world. For those who have already submitted trees to the Expo, thank you! We’re thrilled about the submissions we’ve received and we’re just as excited to see the submissions you’re working on. Your contributions will make this a great event – we’re looking forward to seeing you this fall!
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