Will the Real Seiryu Please Step Forward!

Discussion in 'Maples' started by Idacer, Apr 20, 2005.

  1. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Okay, I'm confused. I've got two new trees, both of which are supposed to be Seiryus. Both of them are small. One is a newly-grafted tree, the other is a rooted cutting. Though both trees have a dissected leaf and look like they might have an upright form, the similarities end there. One has a much smaller, more yellow leaf with noticeable red margins. I will admit that this tree has received more direct sunlight in the last couple of weeks, which is about how long it's been leafed out. The other is a nice solid green color and it's been leafed out for about a month. Maybe these are two different strains of Seiryu? Or, maybe one of them isn't a Seiryu at all?

    Any thoughts?



    Thanks,
    Bryan
     

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  2. mjh1676

    mjh1676 Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Bryan,

    Here are some leaf shots from my tree this spring. What one would like to see is a very feathery appearance to the leaf, and often I see the leaves with Seiryu in bunches to some degree. The first leaves don't have the reddish/orange margins, but on the new growth with a little sun, they come after the first emergent set. Your darker green leafed tree on the right has some hope, but I am not sure of the tree on the left.

    My tree is second year in the ground, probably 5-6 years old and in full western exposure.
    MJH
     

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  3. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Michael,

    Thanks for the pics. But, I'm not sure that I'm any less confused than what I was before. Your Seiryu seems to be about half-way between my two specimens. And your reference to the term "feathery" would be more applicable to my tree on the left. All I know for sure is that it's really tough to make clear determinations by looking at pictures. Too bad the virtual world isn't quite up to par with the real thing :)

    After reviewing my original post, I realized that I didn't indicate which tree was which. The yellower, smaller-leafed tree on the left is the rooted specimen. The tree on the right was grafted. Do you suppose that some of the difference could be attributable to overall health and vigor? I guess I'm wondering if the rooted tree is displaying symptoms of stress -- not enough of a root system to push full-sized lustrous leaves? Could that be another reason why many Bonsai artists prefer the rooted cultivars? Maybe I'm way off base here. Just thoughts.

    Thanks,
    Bryan
     
  4. SilverVista

    SilverVista Active Member

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    Bryan,
    You might want to grow both on for awhile before being too worried about the differences. Did both plants come from the same place? Did either come bare-rooted? The pale leaves look like the cutting may have been somewhere that had too much moisture and insufficient light, resulting in early senescence -- I have seen that once in awhile on the lowest leaves of trees that I have over-watered and kept in heavy shade. The cutting may also have had fewer nutrients stored in its tissues over the winter, resulting in a weaker bud break. It's hard to guess without knowing all the minute details. I do think that if you continue to care well for the little guys, they will most likely even out and look more alike as time passes.

    Susan
     
  5. Idacer

    Idacer Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Susan,

    I got the rooted cutting in mid-January. The vendor had removed the pot and wrapped the roots and damp potting soil in a plastic bag for mailing. I immediately potted in a two-gallon container. This tree spent the remainder of the winter in an unheated garage. He's been out in a location where he gets 4 or 5 hours of afternoon sun for the last couple of months -- since before bud break. On colder nights, I pull my potted JMs into the garage.

    I performed the graft in late January. The scions came from a completely different source. I've babied the grafts, keeping them warmer and under the protection of a covered patio. So, the graft hasn't received as much direct sunlight.

    There could be some difference in the potting mix that these two trees are in. The rooted tree probably has more sand and more organic matter (e.g., leaf compost). Could the rooted tree have been too wet? Maybe. But, I have a ton of JMs in pots and I monitor all of them with a moisture probe. This is the only one that's looking "out of the ordinary". But, now that you mention it, I will be sure that he "dries down" a bit before he gets any more water.

    Thanks,
    Bryan
     
  6. Layne Uyeno

    Layne Uyeno Active Member 10 Years

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    Bryan,

    The reason bonsaists like rooted cuttings (and layered branches) of cultivars is purely aesthetic, i.e. no graft scar. This is especially important with the smaller, yatsubusa type cultivars as the understock can become, with age, larger in caliper than the scion.

    In theory rooted cuttings, with time and care, can be just as healthy and vigorous as grafted trees. What you have to understand is that the tree wants to grow. A scion grafted onto one or two year old rootstock has a head start in that roots are there for the plant to draw nutrients and moisture from to feed new growth. Whereas a rooted cutting wants to put out new growth but doesn't have the developed root system to support that new growth.

    A seedling has balanced growth in that it has just enough roots to support its new leaves and branches and just enough branches and leaves to support the root system. A grafted tree, to use a visual, is bottom heavy in that it has more roots than leaves. This imbalance is not really a problem with grafted trees. A cutting, on the other hand, is top heavy in that it has more leaves than roots. If the balance is really off this can be a problem as there aren't enough roots to feed the leaves and the tree suffers. That's why when bonsaists prune the roots they also prune an equal amount off the top.

    One trick you can do is to pinch or prune any new growth. This will conserve the tree's energy and encourage more root development.

    Hope this helps,

    Layne
     

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