Japanese Maple Advice

Just bought a Japanese Maple (see first link) and want to eventually turn it into something that looks kind of like the ones shown in the second link. I know it’s going to take years, and its not ideal growing Japanese Maples in LA (not enough dormancy, temp change etc.), but that’s my goal. Don’t currently have room to plant it in the ground, but might be able to within a year or so.

From what I understand, I have to let it grow for years, until it reaches the desired trunk size after which time I should do a trunk chop? The trunk has some decent movement, but not sure if it’s enough and if it will translate well when the trunk thickens. Any advice on that?

Should I repot next year?

As I’m letting it grow, do I trim any of the side branches? Do I worry about the roots at all at this time? Do i try to shape/wire the branches?

Also, I know it needs shade, but do I give it any partial sun or do I keep it in the shade at all times?

Repotting the tree this winter will be a good first step. Low wooden boxes are great for developing maples as they promote lateral root development.

Some sun is OK for maples. Whether or not the tree gets sunburned will tell you if the tree has too much sun.

As for developing the trunk, if you simply let it grow as is there will be no taper and little movement. Better to cut the trunk back to a location where you want to add movement. You can train new growth that develops at that point to be the next section of trunk.

If you want to continue to thicken the trunk you can postpone branch development. That said, if you have small branches that you want to use in the future, you can keep them for development later.