Kotohime development help

This weekend I repotted my legacy Kotohime. I think this is my 5th repot now and I missed again.
I got the front and new angle where I wanted it
However, I didn’t pot it up high enough. :confused: I also didn’t take off enough of the top back to account for the forward lean.

Anyway, I feel like all of the primary branches are out of whack. Idk how long this tree has been neglected. I’m growing a branch towards the main trunk in order to do a thread graft, but idk if I even want to keep that trunk. Thoughts?

Oh, definitely open to air layering off branches. Already have one planned. I love the species. Would love to have more of them and free at that.



You seem to have a great base to work from. The trunk and the number of straight branches may give you an indication of how long the tree was neglected. Are you able to put movement in to any of them?
The 5th repot? How long have you had the tree?
How big is it? What is your vision for the species?
‘What are you trying to accomplish?’

Sorry, I wasn’t clear. 5th repot of the year for me. First repot ever with this tree. I got it around October last year. I find that I like a more natural looking tree. Broom style is my favorite when it comes to a maple. I get that ppl want taper and what not, but that doesn’t look natural to me. I’ll strive for that in some trees, but for the most part I like broom style.

The long branches just feel so out of proportion to me, but without any budding on the trunk I don’t have much to cut back to. That’s why I’m kind of thinking of using thread grafting to get branches where I want them. I’ve never grafted though. I’ve considered approach grafting as well, but with such fine branches it feels like thread is the better way to go?

Something along the lines of this tree. I feel like the base is a great start. I can’t put much movement into the branches though, so it feels like a rebuild is in order.

You mentioned taking an air layer? What sort of a rebuild do you have in mind?
My understanding of maples is that you develop branch structure after you have the base where you want it. That can involve some fairly hard cuts.
I’m a newby - and pleasantly surprised how easy it is to make recommendations on the trees of others, while I struggle with those same decisions myself!
My impulse would be to air layer the tall central trunk, creating the broom stick tree, while maintaining the wide base on the shorter remaining tree. Good luck!

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Haha, yes, it is far easier to make suggestions. I just mentioned air layering if the suggestion is to remove a large branch. I just worry about not having a “stop branch” when I cut back the large branches to prevent too much die-back.

My biggest issue is that long central trunk with no taper. Like I mentioned though there’s nothing on that branch to stop die-back. The other branches I may be able to cut back to a smaller branch and start the rebuild on those. I’ll see if I can mock something up later.

Great improvement! I like the adjusted angle and front. I see the trunk line following the yellow line in the attached picture. As you mentioned the central trunk is straight and lacking taper. On a tree like this you might be tempted to keep more branching, but that can be rebuilt on your improved trunk line.

Man alive, that’s drastic. :flushed: I’m gonna have to stare at it a bit, but you could be on to something. The question is am I brave enough to do it. :weary:

I should have read the full thread before I marked up this photo, as I see your thought process is already trending in this direction.

I would suggest air layering where it’s marked green and ultimately cutting where it’s red. I’m not familiar with the cultivar, but if it’s in good health and growing vigorously then you may be able to do all that work in one year and get significant back budding down the trunk in the second year to work with.
That said, if you’re not awear of the health of the tree then perhaps give it a year of free growth first to strengthen it?
How was the root mass when you reported?
Also, do you have any photos from side and back? If you are making big cuts you might be premature in defining the front.

Good point about finding a potential new front post cut. The base is best from that angle, so I didn’t really consider it. The roots look really good actually. Especially considering what it was planted in. Basically a mixture of fine bark and sand.

I’m definitely not doing anything immediately. The earliest I could do anything is after the first flush hardens. That’d be the earliest that I could even start an air layer. It had a lot of foliage last year though and looked healthy when I bought it. There’s a branch on the left that’s definitely got to go and was a planned layer from day 1.

There are a few sites that died back into the branch though from previous cuts. If you look at my first pic you’ll see where I cleaned out hollows, filled with putty and covered with cut paste. Based on that evidence alone it’s easy to see that this species, or at least this tree, dies back a bit. Perhaps the most prudent route would be to go ahead with the first planned layer and when I separate it try cutting through half the branch first and then the second half some months later.