Japanese Maples forum→Japanese Maple "Red Dragon" + "Emperor 1" Interesting Questions? Thoughts?

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erikscanon
May 23, 2020 8:35 AM CST
Hello, again!

First and foremost, thank you everyone for your kind words on my first post about my "Red Dragon". With that being said, I had a few more questions that I can't answer, even from scouring the internet, so...

1. My planted "Red Dragon", it's about 3 ft tall but 3ft wide, just planted it three weeks ago. My question(s)... I saw online that it's too late to prune, but also too early? So...
- When do I structural prune? Now? Summer? Winter? I saw some saw Structural in the winter as it's dormant and then prune fine branches in the Spring.

2. As for it being planted in the ground and if I CAN'T prune it, can I wire it accordingly? Like bonsai? As I'm a bonsai enthusiast. I was wondering if it's acceptable to wire a tree that is planted in the ground to help it grow accordingly until winter when I "could" structural prune it? I ask because it is a JUMBLE OF MESS. The branches are just chaotic.

3. I purchased a Emperor 1 yesterday from Lowe's in actually great condition and potted it for my patio. With that being said, I would obviously have to prune that tree as it is an avid grower, but it's in a big enough pot for I would say for 2-3 years. With that being said, even though it doesn't have a bonsai trunk, do you think I could wire that as well? Just being dilligent to check the growth rate as the Emperor 1 is a fast grower?

Just asking as if I can't prune, then I'd at least like them to grow into a starting shape for the time being.

Thanks!!!
central ohio (Zone 5b)
PlantingOaks
May 23, 2020 10:45 AM CST
My understanding is that structural pruning is only recommended in the winter because you can see the limbs better without leaves, not because the tree itself particularly prefers it.

Most modern pruning guides suggest that unless you are shearing, or worried about cutting off blooms, the best time for pruning is 'when the shears are sharp' a.k.a. when you have the time. Unless your tree is a tiny little baby with no leaves to spare, pruning enough to 'tidy up' isn't stressful. If you do need to prune more than 1/3 the branches off, the guidelines are to do part one year and part the next season.

As for wiring - being a bonsai enthusiast you probably know more about wiring than most gardeners :), but I don't think there should be a problem wiring a tree in the ground. That's basically what espaliered fruit trees are, right? Just watch extra carefully for it to start growing out of the wires more quickly than a potted tree might so it doesn't strangle itself.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
May 23, 2020 11:20 AM CST
I agree

Just remember JMs are very brittle. I don't wire them but prune to encourage growth in the right directions. I'm not much for wiring anyway as I either choose a tree with a pleasing shape and go from there or let the tree decide my direction. Its never a contest of wills. Isn't bonsai is supposed to be like a Zen riddle? Smiling
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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[Last edited by DaisyI - May 23, 2020 11:25 AM (+)]
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