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Katsura purchase advice

val rie (7a)
October 25, 2018
last modified: October 25, 2018

There is a JM Katsura for sale at 75% by my job. It looks very vigorous and especially for looking so good at this time of the year. I would get it as pre-bonsai material. Would ground-layer the graft away, ultimately. Is the trunk nice? Is this a good purchase?

edit: oops, almost forgot, the trunk is 2.5" thick

Comments (12)

  • stuartlawrence (7b L.I. NY)

    Very pretty tree! Nice purchase!

  • val rie (7a)

    Wait, I didn't buy it yet....!

  • stuartlawrence (7b L.I. NY)

    oh sorry, I re-read your post. It looks like a great deal :).

    The trunk looks healthy to me. I find Katsura to be a tough maple, at least that's the experience with mine.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)

    I know nothing about bonsai and have little personal interest in that so can't address that part of your question. But the tree itself looks good and quite healthy. And at 75% off, I wouldn't think twice about acquiring!! Japanese maples just do not go on sale here.....ever!!!

  • val rie (7a)

    hey gardengal48, so 75% means $35 after tax!! hehe

    I'll get it after work tonight if it's still there.

  • stuartlawrence (7b L.I. NY)

    Val rie, how'd it go? Was the tree still there?

  • val rie (7a)

    Yes!!!! I went and got it. The colors are amazing and it is so vigorous. I'm looking at pictures of it and trying to decide what vision I want for it.

  • Mike McGarvey

    I don't know if I would use it for bonsai. The bottom part is too straight and formal. It would be difficult at best.

  • val rie (7a)

    Huhh. Maybe the trunk is not bonsai ready yet, yes. I could just keep growing it for a while. What shape should I give it then?

  • PRO

    The only things that would discourage an experienced practitioner from using the tree as a bonsai specimen would be a conspicuous graft union - especially if it results in reverse taper and/or a significant contrast in the appearance of the bark above and below the graft, or an extremely ugly root system that looks like more work than said practitioner would like to take on.

    "Straight and formal" is easy to fix by way of a trunk chop and change of leaders to impart movement or a change in the existing planting angle ........ and what's wrong with a straight-trunked formal upright deciduous tree? and how would that be any more difficult than any other style of tree? As I look at the tree, it tells me it actually wants to be a formal upright, but an experienced practitioner could change its mind.

    "I could just keep growing it for a while. What shape should I give it then?" Any shape you like. Your tree is still very young, so let your imagination be your guide. If it's to be a bonsai tree, you very likely won/t be using any part of the tree above about where the white ID tag is now.


  • val rie (7a)

    What about air-layering one of the trunks coming off the main Y(maybe air-layer off the larger one, for a nicer taper) and at the same time ground-layering the main trunk below, above the graft?
    If this works I would change the planting angle and have a single trunk upright, and the air-layered part of the tree would be planted to become another single trunk upright.
    Does this make sense? Is this too early in the life of the tree to take it off its graft rootstock?
    Another possibility is to do the air-layer said above, but not do the ground layer. I just don't know if I should layer off the rootstock as soon as possible or if it doesn't matter and can be done anytime later(starting in the 2020 season or later).

    I am afraid that if I don't do anything this Spring, at the end of the growing season, this tree will just be the same thing but only just a little larger everywhere, which is not interesting to me.


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