Japanese maple

How would you improve this maple?

Japanese maple

I have an idea…and will post an updated photo in several months. But until then, let me know what you think. What are its faults? What would you do with it?




  1. Peter says:

    With the lack of taper in the upper/middle part of the tree, I think an airlayer at the upper part of the tree where a lot of movement takes place would create two more balanced trees.

  2. Houston says:

    I enthusiastically agree with Peter. Although it is already a good tree, it is definitely too tall and lacking taper in the upper half. And the top would make a great “instant” bonsai with wonderful movement if you made an airlayer of the top 1/3 just below the bend.

    For the bottom portion of the tree, I would prefer a more maple-like branching pattern. It’s too late to adjust the angle of the lowest branch (at least for someone of my ability). Perhaps you could tilt the tree toward the right and adjust the angle of the second branch? You could even perform a second airlayer of the middle portion of the tree, and work with the second left branch as the top.

  3. xwires says:

    Nice maple. The trunk has a pleasant meander to it and the roots look good from here. I’d first try to even the tree’s balance – the apex looks quite stronger than the branches. I’d also want to improve the directional balance – it’s not clear whether the tree points left or right. Beyond that I’d continue to develop the silhouette as much as possible to carefully define the spaces between branches. Looking forward to seeing your updates!

  4. douglas haga says:

    The maple needs rhythm in the balance from left to right ,enhancing the trunk perhaps with a Jazz theme , bebop, not acid groove.

  5. Al Polito says:

    It’s a decent tree but it bothers me the most from the roots to the first branch. The roots convey a sort of pigeon-toed-ness, and there’s a lack of taper to the first branch, which is where I’d like to see the most taper.

    I think this tree would be very interesting planted at the edge of a forest, somewhat radically tilted 45 degrees to the right, bottom right branch removed and the others re-trained to show the tree’s natural adjustment to having been disturbed and tilted, perhaps by the falling of a large conifer or something. It would be neat to also include the remnants of said fallen tree in the forest — something I never see in forest plantings but that I’d like to see. Yes, I’d like to see snags and downed trees in forest plantings. Somewhere you might find owls and salamanders.

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