Clump Japanese Maple

About 2 years ago I acquired a “forest” planting of Japanese maples. The health was questionable but it looked like a nice planting at a reasonable price. At the time the planting was composed of 2 main groupings with 8 trunks. The tree was planted in a dense mucky soil and from information I found online I thought it would be best to immediately repot it…..only that it was past bud break. Being ignorant in repotting practices I bare-rooted and repotted the tree in April. For Southern California that’s about 2 months after the ideal repotting window. What health it had began to decline further and for the remainder of the growing season I had unsightly and weak foliage.

2015 Late Spring

Thankfully the tree did not kick the bucket. This is a photo early on after repotting but the tree was looking pretty grim by November. Being more knowledgeable the following year I repotted the tree during the appropriate window. Additionally I chose to separate the forest planting. With poor branching and not the most convincing arrangement it would never look really good. The planting was separated into 3 groups: the clump, main tree, and a small but well ramified tree. Here is the clump after a really solid growing season without any significant problems:


The tree was repotted last week and underwent a basic styling. Trunks were positioned with guy wires and the twigs wired out. All coarse growth and branching was pruned off. I am hoping for good ramification and branching this next season so that I can really begin getting this tree into shape.

2017 post styling

There are actually 5 trunks in the group instead of 4 when originally purchased. The 5th trunk appeared over the last year and I decided to keep it. The lateral buds should give me branching to play with and help it fit in with the other trunks. The base is fused together well and the nebari is developing well with currently hidden, but nice radial roots. I think over the next few years it will start looking pretty nice. I may allow some whips to grow so that I can approach graft them where needed and rework some of the apexes which have larger internodes. Let me know what you think!

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