Question on development

Hey everyone,

I have a question regarding development and removing structural flaws. It has been said that for a tree in development, we should not touch it. However, I have not seen anything regarding pruning to proactively avoid structural flaws such as whorls. Understandably, the more foliage translates to more traffic and then more thickening, etc., but do we want to avoid these things ahead of time or let them grow and deal with it later? Thank you.

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You can do maintenance pruning. Take care of the crossing branches, growth above and below branches, and growth towards the trunk, bar branches ( if the trunk is starting to lose taper), and depending on the size and length of your branches, the internal portions close to the trunk can be cleaned for better circulation and sun exposure.


Thank you @ThienXiang. What about in regard to something like a sapling (in my mind, I’m picturing this Japanese Maple I just acquired which is probably 3 years old)? The main trunk is running very long so would it normally be allowed to just grow uninhibited or should I trim it down and push the growth out through the branches instead?

A picture would help…but on a sapling I would let it grow out in a larger container than a bonsai pot. The smaller the container the smaller the growth rate.

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I think it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish. If you want a thicker trunk, it’s best to just let it grow wild and plan on chopping it later. Repeat that process a few times.

Nothing wrong with correcting potential structural flaws on pieces you think you’ll be keeping, like first and second branches or lower parts of the trunk.

Sometimes it’s good to keep extra branches around. They won’t necessarily form whorls or inverse taper immediately and will give you more options later down the road. But it all depends on what you are trying to accomplish.

When a tree is in development I find it best to wait until the latest possible moment to make pruning decisions.


What are trying to accomplish? What’s your time frame? If you correct the structural flaws now, the growth rate will be affected because you will lose foliage and the tree will spend energy dealing the pruned areas.

What size of bonsai do you want too. If you’re at 1/3 to 1/2 of your desired trunk girth, you can trunk chop to your planned 1st branch to start movement and taper.

Before all that, how’s your nebarii? It might be a good idea to develop that first while your maple is still young.


@ThienXiang I’m trying to accomplish a thick(er) trunk without growing the trunk extremely tall and then trunk chopping, if possible. If more foliage equates to a thicker trunk, does it matter where the foliage is? As far as time frame, I’m not in a hurry on these guys. They’re more of a project on the side while I learn and practice my techniques on other trees. In regard to the nebari, I was considering replanting the juvenile Japanese Maple on a tile to spread everything out.

@nmhansen Thank you, I may just grow it in the ground when I get my new place in August (but planting in the spring time).

Thanks for your advice guys, much appreciated!

Sounds like a plan. Let the tree grow in the ground while you learn. You’re welcome. Good luck!

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Hi everyone,
Here is my vine maple.
It is not perfect as I did not restrict the growth of upper part of tree. How do I limit elongation of branches?
I have a sense that V M behaves differently from others. Would put second set of leaves with decent feeding and partial defoliation?

It doesn’t look like your picture(s) loaded.
Would you be more specific on your goals for the tree?

I can not figure out how to send photo after it bring "uploaded… Any suggestion. Have 3 pictures in waiting.
Thank you…

Mira, in the reply dialogue box, select the “upload” icon and select “from my device.” After that, click “choose files” and navigate to your images within the respective folder. From here, either select your images or drag and drop them into the box and finish by clicking “upload.” Hope that helps!

Thank you. Is upload equal to send? I simply was not able to find “send” after uploading…

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This is the upload icon:image, when you are typing a message.
Then you will see this:
Click browse…
Select your files, and then the upload button. :smile:

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Thank you for help. I am receiving the info that my photo is toouch to upload and I am sent to use some other applications…
I would like to learn
A. Would partial defoliation be a good choice for vine maple? Does it leaf up again after such procedure?
B. There is a lot said about fall transplanting of quince.
From the energy point of view and the time needed for root stabilization in new soil, what is the best moment to do so?

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Hey Mira, unfortunately, I don’t know nearly enough to help you. However, I think if you post this as a separate topic, you’re bound to get the best information and much quicker as well. If you need help, let me know :smiley:

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