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The Japanese Maple specialist

Advice - Notes on trees shaped as bonsais


Spring pruning

It is time for spring pruning when the first pair of leaves appears. Sometime in April, a pair of leaves will grow in between these two leaves; prune this young shoot.
Mini bonsais: Use tweezers to remove the central bud as soon as it emerges.
After this operation, new buds will appear at the base of each of the remaining leaves; these buds will become branches.

Early summer pruning

This pruning is done in June. The twigs that have grown since spring are pruned using the same method as for spring pruning, but an additional pair of leaves should be left intact. This should be done with an eye to the final shape you want your bonsai to have.

Summer pruning

This pruning is done in August. The same procedure as early summer pruning should be used.
The objective of this pruning is to encourage the growth of your Acer’s small branches and to form foliage masses.

Shaping with wire

Wiring is not essential to shaping an Acer as a bonsai because the plant can be structured correctly with regular pruning (this species responds quite well to pruning).
Only thin branches can be trained and shaped without the risk of breakage.
We strongly recommend wiring (using proper techniques) in October, leaving the wire in place until March. Wiring must be avoided in April and May because it can cause irreversible damage during periods of vigorous growth.

Tip :

Master T. Murakawa told us that the best time is when the leaves are red in autumn. You remove them, and put the wire in place for the winter.


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