New purchase Japanese maple

Just purchased this Japanese maple which I think is a great starting point. Its 17in tall. The pot it is in I think is a bit too big/deep. I do have plans on repotting into a shallower pot. I’m posting to see what you guys think I should do at this point in terms of design. Should I repot into a wooden box, let it run for 1-2 years to thicken primary branches, then cut back to secondary branches, or repot into a bonsai pot and work on development in a slower pace. Any branches you would get rid of? Open to all discussion.


You got a nice JM, congratulations!

I will let others provide specific advice about branches and branch placement, but I can comment about the tree’s overall development. I think the secondary branches are already well on their way to having the appropriate diameter and heft for the tree, given the size of the trunk. I think you can focus on continuing the refinement of the tree: making final branch selection and encouraging ramification on the branches that remain. The secondary branches will continue to develop while you do this. Going back to a grow box may not be helpful given where you are with this tree, and may actually encourage the kind of scruffy growth you no longer need or desire.

You could work on this stage either in the pot it is already in, or in a smaller pot. It may be easier to achieve tight ramification in the latter. The trade-off is that secondary branch development may be marginally slower, because the overall vigor of the tree will be lower.

I’ll let others take it from here!

I think you have pretty much ready bonsai that needs refinement focus. Right now you could wire it as it is good time to do so if it literally just dropped leaves.
Yes, smaller container that helps you with refinement too so repot early spring next year just as buds start to swell / open.
Lovely tree btw :slight_smile: keep us posted on progress

Don’t forget to work on flaring out the roots at the base when you repot.

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Thank you for your insight Maaku! That was my doubt too with the wooden box. I think you nailed it, I will repot in a smaller pot and work on ramification. You bring up a good point in that the branches will continue to thicken/ develop (althought at a slower pace which im okay with). I do have a total of three branches (of the right side, off the right side slightly towards the viewer, and the back) before the first branch on the left. So I may get rid of one next fall its too late to do so now, and after i see it in spring post flush. I appreciate it!

Thank you CoffeeCherry! You and Maaku have the same idea so that is what i’ll do. I did minor wiring to two small branches in the apex, but unfortunately I think Its too late to wire the whole tree or larger branches that I want to bring down slightly with guy wires. I can do that early spring.