Oshio Beni Maple   4 comments

Today I had the good fortune to recieve a phone call from my friend Chuck Nelson. Chuck has been into bonsai for almost 60 years. He and I placed first and second in the Third Kazari held in Hanford California. We met at the nursery and Chuck was already there by the time I got there. The nursery is huge and older being started in 1978. The owner of the nursery Yoshio Fujimoto, specializes in Maples of all kinds, with his specialty being red colored maples. All his maples are cultivated by seed from parent stock he started in 1961. Three parent trees are in his backyard. The tree I selected is a Oshio Beni, and red maple with seven lobes and red color in spring. In the hot sun of Fresno they do green by fall.

The trees are mostly in 25 gallon tall containers and most of them have escaped into the ground. The tree I selected was planted in 1983. It is now 31 years old.

Yoshio Fujimoto and Chuck Nelson


Chuck and I begin walking around the nursery and take it in. There is so much to see here, much more than just a couple hours can provide. The tree I would finally decide on came from this hoop house below.


Thousands of maples, all from seed.



So this would be the one I decided I would buy. A price is agreed upon and I pay the man. I have known Yosh for 15 years so the price was good. He has always found me fascinateing since I like the small trees and do shohin. He got a good chuckle on my decision and asked me “how I get this in shohin pot!”


Once the tree is home I can start to really study it and decide on what I wish to take off and what I will keep….for now. All my decisions today are safety cuts. These are cuts I do to induce backbudding before cutting to the place I really want to take it back to. I treat these cuts like any other and dress them properly since many times I am fine with this first decision later and just keep what grows next year.


Another look from the other side.


All safety cuts are made blunt. They are dressed and sealed. These are cuts that I know I will shorten later after back budding. If this were a trident I would just cut it back with little regard for health knowing in the spring it would bud everywhere. These are not tridents and are palmatums and have to be treated with a little more care than a trident. These trees are more likely to dry out and drop branches unexpectantly.


On transition from larger to smaller wood I take the time to use a grafting knife and smooth the transition for taper. Most likely I will be keeping places like this so I prepare it now.



The long stub on the left trunk was left long. At the end of the day I decided to take it back to the small branch sticking up. I prepared it for taper and sealed. It will be seen later in the final shot.


Here is a good shot of a tapered cut with my grafting knife to make the cuts ultra smooth. The cambium can be seen as a smooth green ring around its entirety and the wound should heal smooth.





All the cuts are know sealed with sealant. This is the green goo I like from the toothpaste tube. It is good and waterproof when it dries and stays pliable and allows the wound to heal right under the stuff.


I even managed to keep a few seeds intact.


This is what the leaves look like in spring, I copped these off a tree there that had some new shoots from a few weeks ago.


This is my result after removing what I did not want. I will be going for a graceful feminine maple with a nice rounded canopy on both trunks.



Currently the tree is 32 inches tall. I figure it should work out to about 40 tall when finished with the canopy.

While the base is large and flared I suspect the roots bolt straight down. I am sure this will have a huge claw to deal with…but its not like I can’t deal with it, I have done many.


This is the trunk size just above the flare at the bottom.





4 responses to “Oshio Beni Maple

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  1. Once again, a useful lesson, particularly for beginners who may be confronted with raw nursery stock! Thanks, Al

  2. Yoshio is ageless. He doesn’t look a day older than when I met him 12 years ago!

  3. This will be a beautiful maple Al! I’m quite envious of the maple stock available to you guys out there… But I’m sure my wallet and wife are both glad we don’t have the same here!

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