Japanese maple, var. "Going Green": color of bark

Hi everyone,

I found at a local nursery this Japanese Maple “Going Green”. I believe it has a beautiful potential for a twin trunk (sokan) design. I did not purchase the tree yet, since I have concerns about two questions, which I would like to discuss with you:

  1. According to the vendor, the bark’s grey color at the root base will stay. However, he also states, the green bark as well. I am not sure whether that’s correct, though. As far as I know, the bark of Japanese Maples turns grey/brown over time, so I am wondering whether the vendor did not know better or whether this is a (very) special behavior of the variety “Going Green”? (I could not find any of the classiv V-shaped grafting marks, although the soil was very compact, so digging in was difficult – according to the vendor, the tree has not been grafted)

  2. What can I do about the scar between the two trunks? The other side of the tree does not have such a scar, but I want to keep my options as wide as possible.

If other pictures should be required, please do not hesitate to ask.

I am looking forward to your answers and the discussion with you :slight_smile:

Best wishes,

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Can you widen the view to see the scar in context of the whole tree. That would determine how significant it is. To me it looks fairly natural (so should be acceptable) perhaps where the two trunks are fusing together? There appears to be a less natural line running laterally over the upper nebari which I would be more concerned about?

Hi Florian,

I’ve only had a ‘going green’ for a few months so I can’t yet comment on how the bark ages. However, I’ve had another “small leaf, slow growth” cultivar for over a decade… a ‘little princess’. I know that the ‘little princess’ doesn’t form bark at the same speed as other cultivars. After more than 10 years of culture, mine has almost crok bark on the nebari level, some mature bark above the nebari, a green trunk section, mature bark once more where the hokidachi started then it’s all green above that. It could be a common trait between the 2 cultivars.

Your vertical scar will normally go away once the trunk has thickened some more.

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Thank you so much for your replies! :slight_smile:

@Burslf, please find below a wider view of the trunk.

@Michael_P has the different color of the trunk parts been an issue for you in the overall design of the tree?

I agree that vertical scar between the two trunks will disappear as they fuse and age. I would remove the thin root that grows over the top of the main roots on the left ASAP to minimize that forming a permanent scar. I also note that the two trunks are about the same size - you will need to minimize foliage on one so the other can grow more and provide some asymmetry between the trunks.

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it will be redesigned next year as it had a few unfortunate accidents in the last 2 years that ended up with the following sequence of events:

-the last branch of the major trunk snapped when the tree was lifted it off the ground this March
-the three thread grafts I attempted to save the situation failed (birds or rodents broke the branches being grafted)
-the major trunk has started dying back (2 weeks ago)

The same bark maturity issue is showing on the minor trunk, which will probably become the new major trunk… mature bark for 1/4" on each side of the node, juvenile bark between the nodes. I will try to address it in the redesign by keeping the internodes short… maybe that will take care of it. I’ll probably end up making a sumo mame out of it… it would take too long to turn it into a decent shohin at its growing speed.

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Florian, I agree with Marty about the root. As soon as you can take it off. Is there a third trunk peeping round the other two? You may be able to create a nice clump style.

If that is a tie down wire on the roots, I would cut it now. It is biting in. Good nebari is a base for a good design.
Will only cause an ugly scar at best, and strangle the roots at worst.
There are better ways to tie the tree into the pot… If the roots are not consolidated enough to use the chopstick technique, or a hidden screw, at least put a plastic sleeve over the wire. Watch the applicable Mirai videos.
A photo of the whole tree would be interesting.

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@KurtP - Since it is nursery stock, I am not sure if it is a tie down wire. A root growing across other roots seems to be more likely. Please find below the whole tree :slight_smile: as I metioned, it is raw nursery material, developing this tree will definitately take some time.

@MartyWeiser - I plan to chop both trunks at different heights to create taper. Thank you for the tip on removing foliage on one of the trunks :slight_smile:

Why not wait until next spring and reduce the size by taking a couple of air layers? You could then grow them on also and have more trees to play with.

I had that notion as well. Space in my garden is an issue, though.
The nursery was so kind to make a reservation on that tree, so I still have two weeks to decide about the purchase. If I buy the tree, I will have plenty of time thinking about air layering :wink:
I was not sure whether the bark was an issue, but what I take from all of your answers, the bark will change, even though it will take time. Thank you all for your support :slight_smile:

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The biggest advantage to making air layers is that you will have the exact same genetic individual should you ever need to graft branches down the line.

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