Koto Hime Japanese Maple Progression

i ordered this guy from Brussels bonsai. it was a four year old if im not mistaken. it was $50 well spent i think. i had been experimenting with native yamadori already and i wanted some more variety in my collection.


come on packing guy! Brussels wouldnt even answer my email about it.

i didnt know much at this time, but i did know i didnt like the nebari. Theodore(rip) didnt like it either. so i attempted a layer next.

it grew a little after i layered it.

well, i knew they could be layered now

i cut everything back to single trunk and started over.



cleaned it up a little and peaked at the roots



its been growing like crazy this year

the callus knocked the rest of the cut putty off by september. i think i finally have a plan for this tree.


Fun project - these trees are great if you have the patience to develop them. Bill Valavanis has great examples in his collection of what can be accomplished over a number of years.

Am enjoying the narratives - thanks for posting!

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cut back and repot. check out that nebari. i feel good about growing this guy out now that i got a fantastic base to work from.


Nice! Top right is my pick at this stage. With those being kept covered and continuing to develop the result should be amazing. It is nice to see someone taking the time to develop the foundation before rushing ahead.
Well Done.

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thanks for the kind words. i took these pics right before i finished hiding the roots again. i figured if i set the tree high and expose the roots too early i wont get the secondary roots to come out close to the trunk. i did shorten every strong root to encourage ramification. do you think 3 years would be enough time for a second cutback on the roots?

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I would be inclined to check the surface roots each year for ways to improve. More frequent cutback is more likely to encourage diversification of the root system. That being said let the actual progress be your guide. A more refined look rather than a plated base will likely suit the particular species.

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growing well


cut a few leaves to get a look at whats growing on. i want to cut back a few of these strong shoots coming out of a clump on top and focus on a new leader.

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It’s filled back out again. All the shoots I cut off rooted too, so I have some more trees to grow out. Airlayers and cuttings are a breeze with this guy.

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What a great story so far. I am always tickled when cuttings root and I know there will be more material to play with. I can’t wait to see where you take this next!

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happy Thanksgiving

i don’t plan on cutting the sacrifices yet. I’m going to let them grow next year and see if they contribute to trunk thickening. if they start giving me reverse taper I’ll get rid of them then.
cuttings are doing good too

Looking good - make sure you don’t end up with awkward swelling near the sacrifice branch on the top of the curve in the trunk. Wounds healing fast too!

i need to add some movement to a few of those clump branches in case i want to keep them and sacrifice the leader

That is a good idea, i find this cultivar needs to be wired a bit sooner rather than later. branches tend to lignify faster with the shorter internodes i think.
Things are coming along nicely, thanks for sharing.

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Following the progress has been fun. Your tree is super healthy and I love the shape of the leaves. What was the fall color?

so far i haven’t gotten any good fall color. the leaves usually just turn a grayish green, crinkle up, and fall off super fast. i heard these trees are not really good for fall viewing, and it seems to be true in my experience.

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the cuttings already have nice radial root spread.

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Are you planting the trees on a flat surface underneath?