This “Murasaki Kiyohime” dwarf Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) has been growing in a local nursery as a landscape tree for about 30 years, yet it is less than three-foot tall. When I first saw it, I was attracted by its potential of becoming a natural style bonsai. I asked the nursery owner for permission to prune the tree, removed cross-branches, thinned out unwanted branches so that the overall structure is more airy. The total height was also reduced so that it has a better proportion with the thickness and height of the main trunk.
The pruned tree could easily go into a pot as a bonsai anyone would be proud of. I am contented with the joy of pruning this beautiful tree, never asked if it was for sale, and would be happy that it stays in the nursery ground for everyone to enjoy. I would go back every year to prune it. Being over excited, I forgot to take a photo of the tree before pruning. The following photo was taken with my phone after the work was completed. As a landscape tree, the branches had never been wired and they fanned out naturally.
“Murasaki Kiyohime” is a dwarf Japanese maple cultivar from the “yatsubusa” group. This is one of the few Japanese maples with very small leaves, 3-5 cm long, and is, therefore, a very desirable bonsai material. The mature tree is only about 1 meter tall. The leaves are heavily lobed. The margins of newly emerged leaves are marked by deep purple red color, which turn green when matured.
I have a “Murasaki Kiyohime” in pot. It came from a 3 gallon nursery plant. I potted it last year and wanted to make it into a shohin. However, the left branch is way too thick and straight. I like to put a curve near the bottom of this branch before cutting it back, or to completely remove it. But it seems like a waste to just cut it off, I might air-layer this branch before doing something major to turn the tree into a shohin,