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Early Spring ’11, my friend was house sitting at a house with a large rough bark japanese maple, Acer Palmatum ‘Arakawa’. Since I have not seen any bonsai ‘Arakawa’ maples in Australia, I decided that I needed to propagate some from cuttings. My aim in the end is to have some ‘Arakawa’ maples with large ‘plate-like’ nebari – inspired by Ebihara.

I didn’t take any pics of the ‘cutting’ process, but I struck them in one of two mixes, the usual way. The first mix was pumice and akadama fines and a little sphagnum, the other was pumice and chopped Sphagnum. I’d have to say that the Pumice/Akadama mix produced the better roots, but took more work to keep moist in Summer.

This year I decided to use a number of commercially available mini green houses rather than the usual plastic bottle. It made it far easier to monitor humidity and the number of cuttings that struck showed that it was a worth while investment.

Edit:- a pic of the mini green houses that I used

Even though I don’t smoke, I still have the quintessential bonsai measuring stick.

I used graded pumice in the bottom of the pot, then half filled the pot with a graded mix of Akadama and pumice.

Graded akadama and pumice mix

Out of the cutting tray

Reasonable root growth, not ideal though.

Hard to see, but this cutting has a one-sided ‘root ball’. Definitely a problem in a future bonsai, but root work each year will see more roots emerge from the callus.

Cutting sitting in the pot ready for more soil.

Filling the pot

Tamping the soil

Done. I potted some into a coarse mix to observe the effect it would have on the growth, I have been told that a coarse mix leads to coarse/stronger growth due to more air being present in the mix. We’ll see if it makes a difference.

A good watering until the pots run clear

10 down,  50 more to go.