Rebuilding a Japanese Maple

Updated: Oct 8, 2020

Rebuilding a Japanese Maple


Now that all the defoliating has been done to the refined trees here at Aichien, it was time to work on the project trees.  This time, Mr. Tanaka tasked me with this large Japanese maple that is being redeveloped.  All the branches growing on the tree have been grafted with a better leaf quality.  The tree was allowed to grow during the Spring and now that Summer is right around the corner, this was a good time to continue it’s development.  The goal at this point is to wire the new branches and graft three areas that need branches.  In this post, I will talk about the grafting technique I used, wound management and a hint about defoliating.




What is Approach Grafting ? and Some Terms

Approach grafting is pretty much using two self sustaining branches and fusing them together.  In this case, I’m going to take some of the long branches from one part of this tree and attaching it to another part of the tree.  The nice thing about approach grafting is that both branches are still being feed so there isn’t any water flow cut off. The chances of a successful union are much higher and reliable with an approach graft.

The best time to do an approach graft is during the growing season.

Here are a few terms that I will use to explain the approach graft operation:

Scion– The new branch I used for grafting

Stock– The branch I’m grafting on to

Graft union– the point where the Scion and Stock are attached.


Lets Get to Work!


One importuning thing that people don’t really talk about is the hard surface that a callus needs to grow on.  In this case, the surface is the hard wood.  Sometimes, this hardwood can be soft or rotted out because of exposure to water or humidity.  If that was the case on this tree, the callus will grow slightly and stop.  If we find a deciduous tree that has a rotted out wound, we would have to dig the rotted wood out and fill it with a hard putty or cement to give the callus a firm surface to form on.  Luckily, this time, the hard wood is still hard.

On With the Grafting!