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Turn Japanese Maple Seedlings into a Clump Style Bonsai, Part 1 | Bonsai-U

May 09, 2020
this guy here or this here our two largest in terms of the diameter at the base that will end up being sort of our central main trunk and we're going to build the rest of the

seedlings

or

clump

style

around that

part

icularly large trunk so I'm going to put them both next to each other here and in the future we can leave one of these growths will become the main trunk but I want to at least bring them closer together and those are going to be our starting point here now as you do this you want to make sure that that you're getting the bases as close as possible if they touch that's even better if it's not as big a deal because as they thicken over time they will actually grow and coalesce but if you can get them together from the first year all the more go ahead now you don't have to score the base of each of these

seedlings

to actually get them to join and cling and fuse together so i'm not going to worry about taking sandpaper or a grafting knife to or something like that and expose that cambium layer to make them actually edit in here over time naturally they're just going to graft on and essentially fuse with each other naturally on their own so now that we've got them it doesn't really matter how we built the rest of these. this but I'm going to go more or less in a radial pattern for the most

part

and again I'm going to work with these guys to get them as close as possible down here at the base and if we need to cut some of the roots that are sticking out we can but if I have the most of the land here and we're just dealing with seedlings, you really shouldn't have to cut a lot of those roots. the larger one here there are some gaps between those shallow roots so I'm going to stick some of the smaller seedlings through those gaps again so they're nice and close together and again we're trying to build this kind of in a radial pattern all around of those bigger logs there are bigger seedlings but there really isn't much of a rhyme or reason to this, generally it's just sticking them together and trying to blend or stick to the base early on ok so now that we've got them all very close together here at the base what we're going to do is tie them together at the base so they don't fall apart in the pot or during the transplanting process here in a few minutes or over the course of the next year now there are a couple of ways to tie these together one would be to use a zip tie like this this is a decent option although it tends to bite into the base of the trees a bit now a better option is to use a piece of gum and a tee I rub aluminum or aluminum wire depending on where you are in the world now the reason I like to use the rubber here and the aluminum wire is so it doesn't actually bite into the base of the tree it's much less likely to bite that that zipper tie is we are going to use this today around the base of the sole now i have cut a piece of rubber here that is much longer than actual size around the base here when we actually tie this together the reason is I want this to really overlap here at the end.
turn japanese maple seedlings into a clump style bonsai part 1 bonsai u
I don't want the wire to touch those little new seedlings or the trunks of the seedlings at the base I just want contact with the rubber, so this piece of rubber is a little bit longer than the actual circumference here of the base of these seedlings, so first thing here is what we're going to do is glue the aluminum wire through the rubber and this is size 2.5 aluminum here which will hold up pretty well. That is the right size for seedlings of this size. If you are working with seedlings, they are a bit smaller. a 1.5 mil or a 2 mil but for these since they're a little bigger we're going to use this colon life here now what I want to do is make sure I'm attaching this right at the base right above of the nebari here so we can make those trunks merge right at the base of the trees here again we're going to take this twist at the end here and then I'm going to use the gin pliers here to really crank on this and twist it and I'm right handed , so I always go clockwise here when I'm shooting in the twist that's good for this kind of thing or if I'm securing a tree and planter with the cable or if I'm using a cable for a guy wire For example, always pull and

turn

clockwise, that's too much.
turn japanese maple seedlings into a clump style bonsai part 1 bonsai u

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turn japanese maple seedlings into a clump style bonsai part 1 bonsai u...

It's easier that way, so I'm going to put it nice and tight there, right at the base, now you don't want to tighten it so much that it ends up biting into the trunks or seedlings and potentially killing them, but it you want. tight enough for those guys to stay together and stick together through the next growing season so what I'm going to do here is shorten this so it looks a little bit neater and looks pretty nice right? Now the reason I'm leaving this extra long here is because again we're leaving that rubber wrapped inside the wire.
turn japanese maple seedlings into a clump style bonsai part 1 bonsai u
If I cut it, it's likely to spiral out and fall apart, so I'll leave this extra long it looks ugly but it doesn't really matter, this is all going to get buried underground anyway. oh over the next year that brings us to the next step in this process and that is to plant this thing in a container so let's do that next okay so the next step in the process here is to plant our new little

clump

ok TRUE? here now i recommend you use something that drains quickly and provides plenty of aeration or oxygen penetration to the root system you will get much faster sticking of the trunks much faster thickening and better overall development so for the first pot I'm going to use here is a net pot or strainer this is often called a pond basket and they will also be put in ponds and plants planted in there to grow up to the surface of the water so in any case these they work really great here you can get them at various outlets on the internet so I'm going to plant this in a very free draining soil mix and the soil mix I use is a seaweed mix from Japan this is a 3/16 inch particle size and I'm 50% akadama 25% sign that it's river sand and when I say river sand I don't mean very fine cobblestone sand again that river sand will have a particle size from 3/16 inch and then 25% lava rock this is going to give us a very fast very free draining mix it's going to allow the roots to look for that water we put out we do it over and over again you're going to get a lot of fast plant growth over the first several years so I'm going to fill this up we're going to put the tree on top of it right here so I filled the basket a little over half full so we're going to put this up here and this is a nice flat bottom for this here and we're actually going to bury it in the pot so I'm not really worried about tying this up with wires but I'm going to move it down a bit to make sure if there are any little air pockets under the root system we're removing them because that could kill the plant if I have air pockets in there now after moving this over here I'm just going to air out the nebari on the surface here just a little bit to make it a little bit radial that way again we get that kind of nice lateral movement with the roots and an extension of the base of the tree and then the final step here is just fill this with the same seaweed mixture on top here and I'll work it in a little bit with a toothpick ok that's enough to put together the initial setup of a Cappadocia

style

bonsai

clump style now next here will be to get this out and obviously water it until all the water

turn

s from brown to clear and then we'll put it on the bench and in about a week or two weeks we'll start fertilizing this tree next year.
turn japanese maple seedlings into a clump style bonsai part 1 bonsai u
I'm going to let this tree run year round and then the second year I'm going to pull this tree out to see if the roots have fused together and then we'll start making selections in terms of the heights of the trunks and potentially putting wire in the trunks. trunks as well to give them a little extra movement and fan them out to make them look a little more aesthetically pleasing now what I want to do next is take a tree that I actually did last year the same way we're going to take it out of the pot and see if those trunks have been fused together at the base and then i'll show you the next step in the development process so let's jump into the next one okay this is one of those projects we put together last year it's actually a Trident

maple

but it was done in a very similar way to the last tree the only difference to this one is we actually used the zip tie here at the base and what's really cool about this is we just tightened it so tight it actually started to bite er a little bit because this was buried a little higher up it actually started to grind the layer in other words it started to produce rootage above the zip tie and it's starting to really produce it in a radius pattern which is great per what this is a benefit of using a zip tie or just a piece of wire without rubber as you can sometimes drive them into the soil layer and essentially create a nice nebari. or a 'new nebari on top of that bridle or that wire so in the case of this tree that's exactly what happened the trunks are almost fused at this point but I think it needs about another year to really hold on, so we're going to leave that bridle here.
I took it out. I trimmed a bit of the longer roots coming out of the bottom. We're going to put this back in another net pot, like the last tree, once I get it in. net pot in the case of this tree since it's a little taller a little bit later on I'm actually going to wire it to that net pot and then we're going to lay out some of the trunks here but to put a little of movement on those and show you what it looks like one more note here if notice this tree only has four trunks right now when we put it together last year we used five seedlings and one of them died that's why you want to use multiples more than what What do you think you're going to want to finish?
So, as many of you know, the number four in Japanese is a bit of a taboo number because it's pronounced the same way as the character for death, so it's like the number thirteen in the West. , so they know that having four trunks is not. necessarily an ideal situation but for now I'm going to leave them as they are we're going to repot them and then maybe at some point I'll cut down one of those logs that won't work in the final design but the next step we're going to encapsulate this guy ok , so now that we have this encapsulated and secured in the container here, what I want to do is add a little bit of wire to all of these trunks to get a little bit of movement and movement out of them to make them look a little more interesting, like so what I'm going to do is The use here is aluminum wire this is a 2.5 Miller now of course depending on the thickness of the whips you're working with or the seedlings you're working with that will determine the thickness of the wire gauge you're using here but in this case a 2.5mm just fine we may have to bend it on the thicker of the seedlings here but this should work pretty well now what I want to do is cut this wire about 1/3 longer than the length of these here because what we're going to do with this is actually stick this into the ground so I'm going to go right up against the base of the tallest tree actually this is the tallest tree here so we're going to go up against the base of that I'm going to come in from the back here I'm going to push this all the way to the bottom of the container here and that will give us a nice secure hold for this cable so when you really we move the boot it doesn't slide and it slides all over the place now that I'm putting this cable in I'm going at about a 45 degree angle which is pretty typical for working with broad sheet material they tend to be a little more brittle than working with conifers or at least most conifers anyway so a 45 degree angle will give you a little extra holding power if it was a conifer I'd probably raise it to a sixty degree angle because it is not real You definitely need to have such a narrow passage in a piece of coniferous material again depending on the species, so we're going to take this all the way here and as you can see we have a little bit left over, which is totally fine.
I'd rather have too much than too little. remaining trunks here and then I'll put them in a nicer position so I ended up doubling three of the four trunks with that 2.5 Miller now usually what I recommend you do that instead of putting on a piece that's super thick that I could really and fold it you know as one piece because if you put really thick wire in here you risk damaging the bark or breaking those seedlings in half so I recommend going a size down or half a size down. and then duplicate just for safety now the next step here is to set up these trunks so what i want to try to do is create kind of a sinewy look something that you know looks like it's supposed to fit basically in other words i I don't want some of the trunks to go one way, some of the trunks to go the other way and then the movement doesn't match up.
I want everything to look consistent, so what I want to do is start with our main trunk here, this is the moretall and the thickest so it's actually slightly on the back as it's planted now again this thing can completely change we might end up using the other side and long term it's the front but for now we'll look at it as the potential in front of the tree so i want to pie with that main trunk i want to bring it back first and then forward and then a little bit of movement to this side this will give us depth and also give a side to side movement where you look at it from the front, it looks quite interesting.
So for the depth part, we're going to bring it back a little bit here, then we'll go around, and then we'll bring it forward with a little bit of side-to-side motion to the top here. looks pretty good off to a good start now the next step is to set the secondary trunk here the one that's the second largest so we're going to do that and what I want to do is try to mimic at least the first part of the movement of that first trunk here so I'm going to bring it inside here to get a little bit of movement we're going to bring it back in this direction and again I'm going to pull it out to the side and this is going to come a little bit further on as it's on the front of our main trunk here that way we're building depth from front to back so it doesn't look as one dimensional or two dimensional we want that kind of 3D look for this trig when we see it from all angles ok so it feels pretty good there now the next step will be to be the next smallest Strunk, which is this guy here now.
I don't want everyone to go in the same direction. I want them to fan out and away from each other to be a true group style. We are not trying to build type. for a windswept look, we wanted it to look like a big broadleaf tree that you might see growing in a field somewhere, so I want it to move in this direction, but I also want the movement of this trunk to again mimic the main trunk line here, so I'm going to pull it back a little bit and instead of turning the apex back in the same direction to the left, I'm going to have it finish coming out to the right here and that will give us that outward motion that we're looking here that feels pretty good right there all right and the final trunk of course is our little one here so I'm just going to mimic the inside curve or the first curve here of that secondary trunk and again since the tree moves on average to the left, i want the vertex of this one to also move to the left too, that's something similar, that's a good start for you to know, set up a tree like this and get that movement overall now the next step here is to make sure you don't let this wire bite into these logs if you've ever worked with deciduous trees you know that if the wire bites you will always have scars that will never heal and always look pretty ugly , so I really have to watch this to make sure it doesn't bite what that means is the leaves run out here once they harden up here in Tennessee anyway mid May is the right time to cut the wire sometimes they thicken quicker and you have to cut it off sooner but yo well if you can leave that wire for the first spurt of growth hardening that's usually enough to set the trunks or at least get them to stay in position for a bit of course , you'll have to rewire them, let's say you know next year for example. at the same time just add a little more movement to them but hopefully we can get it to stay essentially mid-May now at that particular time once the leaves start to harden off then we'll start fertilizing this tree at that point by popping the thing and trying to thicken certain trunks especially that main trunk here i want to make it thicker than your trunks in the future so i hope you guys enjoyed this

bonsai

episode next episode we're going to jump into really looking at that

maple

fully grown adachi cob style

japanese

that I showed at the beginning of this episode and I'll walk you through the steps to transplanting that by looking at the bottom of the roots and really showing you how to grow a nice radially spreading nebari into a cob style tree adachi thank you so much for watching this episode if you like what we do here be sure to LIKE and SUBSCRIBE below and, if you really want to support us, you can click the link in the description below, it will bounce you to our website where you can make a donation to support Bolin.
We will tell you that in the future we want to thank you very much for watching this episode and see you next time. care

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