Chuhin Maple Work

This Maple has been on a bit of a journey with me. I exhibited it in the BSA Show back in 2012 but soon after it was the victim of an insect attack and I lost about 6 branches including the full apex. Check out the links for the story.

Two years later and things are progressing nicely. This year saw extremely vigorous growth yet again, indeed, I needed to defoliate and remove all those branches that had gotten away on me. It’s a bit of a balancing act trying to keep the finer ramification on some branches while developing a new apex and healing over major wounds.

This is the maple before the work. I have already removed extension growth over a month ago and removed half of the otter leaves but as you can see, it’s still dense.



This two wounds at the back of the tree. One had been filled with cement many years ago, probably in Japan, the other has gotten progressively worse and is now in need of work before the whole centre of the tree rots. I opened up the edges of both wounds to help promote new callusing and try and get the wounds to heal over totally over the next few years. The new hole will be filled in and then sealed.


Other wounds from the removal of dead branches also received a little work to promote healing.





The wound filled and sealed with cut paste.


The top wound resealed. The straight apex shown below will be removed and regrown. At the moment it is helping heal over the larger wound at the top by drawing sap to that area.


A way to go yet but slowly we are getting back to where it should be.


Good Signs

I had a closer look at the Chuhin Maple to see if there were any signs of new buds to replace the branches I lost to insect attack in the Spring. Signs are good. Budding is starting not just at the apex but also lower down.


Chuhin Maple Update

After Winning an Award at the BSA Exhibition back in March, this Maple came home only to be eaten by some sort of insect. It was given free growth until now to see where it might bud from.

I have lost several branches including many at the apex. Yesterday I decided to remove the dead branches and start the process of rebuilding it back to it’s past level. I think I’m now over the disappointment. I’m posting it here which is a clear sign that I’m moving on. I’m even looking forward to the rebuilding process.

This was it before I did anything yesterday.

Here you can see dead branches in the apex and some of the very strong new growth.

Dead branches removed and the wounds before sealing.

The dead bits.

and the tree as it sits after the work.

A long winding road, having taken a wrong turn, I’m now heading back the right way again.

Chuhin Maple Show Preperation

I’m taking this Maple with me to the BSA Exhibition  next Friday in the off chance that it’s up to the mark for the display. I had to do a little work to get it in order. This is it to start with.

Some little dead stubs had to be cut out to keep it tidy.

Next up I gave it a good soaking in a container of water.

I then scraped off the lose mix from the soil surface to make way for the moss.

Moss at the ready I made a start with getting it applied.

I used 3 different types of moss collected from three different sites. By mixing them up as you plant it, you make a more interesting surface.

I like to add a little moss with seed heads to the back of the pot. I think it helps add depth to the overall composition.

Next step was to water in the moss and get rid of any debris from the surface, then give it another press down.

Job Done, hopefully it’ll make the cut.

Chuhin Maple, Colour at Last

I was starting to think that this maple had forgotten about Autumn this year but a little colour has started to creep in. Another week should see it at it’s peak colour.

Bonsai Sizes!!!

Am I the only person to find the sizing classifications of bonsai a real pain?

Everywhere I look on the Internet I see different classifications. Some are similar and some have no resemblance at all. Some are classes in themselves and others call the same thing a sub category of a size class.

Peter, from Willowbog Bonsai, queried my sizing of a Trident Maple I have in another post. He was spot on, I had it down as a Kifu size tree when Chuhin would be more accurate. I could also call it Katade-mochi!

The Japanese Maple I call Chuhin could be called Kifu , although some would say Kifu is a sub category of Chuhin and others don’t even mention kifu as a size at all.

From what little I know about all this, in Japan they don’t worry too much about sizes and measuring tapes are never seen at exhibition. It’s more down to the feel of the tree than the dimensions.

I know there are some very knowledgeable folk out there reading this, either for amusement or through friendship 😀 , Id be interested to here your views.

Here are some of the sizes I have stumbled across on the net.

I have added Peter’s and my own comments from the other post below to explain how this topic became my focus for the morning 🙂

peter snart says:

is Kifu not between shohin and chuhin ?? surely that trident is a fairly big tree ??
they all look very well !! lots of nice maples throughout the UK lost following the last 2 winters !!

Sizes confuse me a tad to be honest. Everything I read contradicts! Some don’t have Kifu at all. I have done a bit more googling this morning and have come to the decision that no one agrees on this at all. The Japanese Maple above, that I have called Chuhin, is 28 cm tall and could be called Kifu or Chuhin. The Trident is 48cm tall and, as you say would be better called Chuhin as well. However it could also be called Katade-mochi! There seems to be about 3 different size classification for Bonsai out there. Considering how complicated bonsai is, this doesn’t surprise me! :-) I think I’ll just stick to calling the Trident ‘Stratford’ to differentiate it from the others :-D Might be worth a post on the blog about this ;-)

peter snart says:

I sympathise with what you say !! I was lucky enough to win best Kifu at the N.Trophy a few years back with a P. densiflora that I thought was shohin , talking to Marco about it later he claimed to have never heard of Kifu despite his time in Japan ! many years ago in B.Today there was an interesting article that had been taken from Kinbon, where a few Japanese masters got together to discuss what constituted bunjin style , the consensus seemed to me, at least, to be that a tree had to ” feel ” like a bunjin to the viewer !!!! never mind thinking about style criteria , I think the size issue is a bit like that as well , no matter what a tape measure says, the bonsai has to ” feel ” like a shohin , chuhin or whatever , John Armitage reports that he has never seen a tape measure used in shohin bonsai shows in Japan , they are more interested in just enjoying the trees than worrying about size , of course , the other side to that is that I suppose generally folk know what is appropriate for each show and what it not !! I good example is bunjin style in the shohin category , this style of bonsai can be still shohin and yet be much taller than the 22 or 25 cms height limit !! alternatively I believe that a tree that in all respects seems ” big ” can be within the height limit for chuhin and yet not really be appropriate for the category .
confusing ? perhaps just to western minds !!!