Ebihara maples

Discussion in 'Maples' started by markyscott, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. markyscott

    markyscott Masterpiece

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    Over the years Jonas Dupuich has written some very nice articles about some of Mr. Ebihara's techniques in growing Japanese maple. Here's one example.

    http://bonsaitonight.com/2009/02/14/ebihara/

    Jonas talked about a number of grafting techniques and how Ebihara developed these beautiful spreading root bases on maples. All of his trees are apparently developed in pots - he did not grow trees in the ground - yet he achieved some really remarkable results. One of his techniques - planting on a wooden board - is something I've been experimenting with for the past couple of years. I thought I'd share some results.

    Here's a Japanese maple I've been working with - I purchased it from Don Herzog at Miniature Plant Kingdom about 3 years ago or so.

    IMG_0001.jpg

    I attached it to a board using the techniques I'll document below and planted it in an Anderson flat. It's been growing for 2 years, more or less undisturbed other than fall cut back and pruning.

    - Scott
     
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  3. markyscott

    markyscott Masterpiece

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    First lesson. Do not use plywood - it won't last for two years.

    plywood.jpg roots.jpg

    Scott
     
  4. markyscott

    markyscott Masterpiece

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    One of the keys to this technique is that you want a flat rootball, with no downward growing roots. You have to be ruthless in eliminating them and ensure that the root base is absolutely flat across the bottom. All of the roots should extend from the same horizontal plane across the nebari and the tree should sit flat on the table by itself.

    IMG_0002.jpg IMG_0003.jpg

    Work those roots flat.

    - Scott
     
  5. markyscott

    markyscott Masterpiece

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    The next step is to prepare your board. The Anderson flat is 13"x13", so I cut about a 10"x10" board. Use about a 1/2" or so untreated pine board. Drill a hole in the center and screw the tree to the board with a long deck screw. You want the tree to be firmly seated on the board to minimize downward root growth and so that downward roots that do appear do not push the tree up - the roots are forced to extend outward. This is why you must ensure that the root base is absolutely flat - you want it to sit flush with the board with no air gaps. There will be no soil in there and you don't want water to puddle up and cause root rot. IMG_0004.jpg IMG_0005.jpg IMG_0006.jpg

    Scott
     
  6. markyscott

    markyscott Masterpiece

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    Next step is to train the roots. First, eliminate any thick crossing roots that cannot be redirected. You want the roots to extend radially away from the trunk. The roots should be balanced (all about the same size and vigor), so cut back any roots that are too thick and leave the thinner roots to be a bit longer. You want all the roots to exit the nebari on the same horizontal plane, so eliminate any roots that exit the nebari too high. Then redirect the root growth so all the roots are growing radial to the nebari. I use galvanized nails - I just orient the roots in the direction I want and then hold them in place with nails pounded into the board.

    IMG_0007.jpg IMG_0008.jpg

    Scott
     
  7. markyscott

    markyscott Masterpiece

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    Finally, the entire board is wired to the Anderson flat. Put a thick drainage layer beneath the board. Fill in soil on top of the board and roots until the nails are covered and you're ready for spring! Easy peasy.

    IMG_0010.jpg IMG_0011.jpg

    The idea behind the technique is that over time, the roots near the nebari will slowly fuse causing that melting base that Ebihara is famous for. Looking forward to seeing how it works for me.

    Scott
     
  8. drew33998

    drew33998 Omono

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    How about using horseshoe nails to keep the roots exactly where you want? Of course you would have to keep a surmountable gap between the top of the nail and the top of the roots. I think I will try this at my next repot! Thanks
     
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  9. Zerojoke

    Zerojoke Seedling

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    I've got a few maples I'm repotting this year. At least one of them needs substantial branch development, so hell, might as well do this with it.
     
  10. Dav4

    Dav4 Imperial Masterpiece

    I was planning on doing this to a few maples next week, so thank you for the timely reminder on how to do it right:rolleyes:.
     
  11. skrit

    skrit Yamadori

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    This seems like a very nice photo montage of a technique that's hard to describe correctly with words alone. Great job!

    Just wondering if reducing the roots a bit further on the left side (of the last picture) would result in better balance once the tree starts growing again. I know that removing large root mass can stunt the growth of the tree and what you're doing is already pretty invasive. I guess I'd just like to know if that sort of unequal distribution will balance out naturally, as the tree finds the side with fewer roots retains more nutrients longer, or if the side with more roots will always have more / thicken up quicker than the other side? (until next repotting I guess ;))
     
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  12. Adair M

    Adair M Imperial Masterpiece

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    I posted this type of thing a couple years ago in the zelkova forum. I used screws to position the roots. Boon told me I should have used nails. I liked the screws because I felt the banging would dislodge the tree screwed to the board.

    In the last winter Intensive, Boon shared a new version that doesn't use nails yo hold the roots, it uses wire.

    You still attach the tree on the board as you describe. Holes are drilled through the board, and the roots are held down in place with wire run up from the bottom, much as you would secure a tree into a pot through the drain holes.

    Here's a copy of the handout: image.jpg
     
  13. markyscott

    markyscott Masterpiece

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    That's a good idea. I'd be worry a bit about the nail cutting in if it grows too big, though. With nails there is no chance of that. What do you think?

    Scott
     
  14. markyscott

    markyscott Masterpiece

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    We'll see how it looks after the next repot. I did cut that side back a bit more. On other trees with unbalanced root systems I've root grafted seedlings on, which helps. This was not particularly invasive - it was much more so the first time I did it. This time it was incredibly easy. Just a little clean up and root pruning.

    Scott
     
  15. MACH5

    MACH5 Masterpiece

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    Great work Mark! I always appreciate good and detailed attention to the nebari even before you worry much about the top. Do make sure to address at some point soon the whorls of branches since those will take no time to get ugly swellings and create reverse taper.

    I've got a few maples in the ground where I am trying this out.
     
  16. wireme

    wireme Masterpiece

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    IMG_20150303_123517.jpg Nice Mark, great pics, looks like a lot of fun with this technique looking forward to updates. I may try it out with this little sugar maple, about 6yrs from seed now. I currently have a bit of plastic bag under the roots in a pot. Will be repotted in spring '16 I think I'll try this method then.
     
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  17. markyscott

    markyscott Masterpiece

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    Give it a go. I've had trouble planting on a slab in the past because the downward roots were not prevented - they just lifted the tree up off the slab. With this tecnique, no downward roots will grow until the board rots away

    Scott
     
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  18. markyscott

    markyscott Masterpiece

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    I feel ripped off, Boon hasn't given me this handout yet. Maybe it's just for the advanced class.

    Scott
     
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  19. Adair M

    Adair M Imperial Masterpiece

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    He gave it to all of us at the January Intensive.
     
  20. markyscott

    markyscott Masterpiece

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    That's what I get for skipping an intensive - I'm sure I'll see it soon. Thanks for sharing!

    Scott
     
  21. Adair M

    Adair M Imperial Masterpiece

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    Next winter, maybe. He doesn't always hand out the same stuff.

    Except for the wiring diagrams!
     
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