You may remember my tall Swamp maple, Acer rubrum ‘drummondii,’ from last fall. It’s been on death watch since I brought it home in 2017. Well, it’s not dead yet nor is it dying. I don’t yet see any signs of deterioration that have plagued my attempts to collect large specimens over the years. So we’ve got forward motion.

I showed you this snapshot from early March.

Quite a difference over the past couple of months! I’m very pleased with how this tree looks. To be sure, it’s overgrown by about 25%, but in order to properly develop the branch structure of this tree I’ve had to let it run a bit. I need all of the branches to be thicker. Branches are typically thickened by letting them run and pruning them back. With maples (and most other deciduous species), you have to strike a balance between allowing a branch to run and keeping your internodes close together. With this tree, I have worked hard to maintain relatively short internodes, so that when I prune back the branches pretty hard I’ll get the ramification close in to the trunk. That’s the way to properly develop this bonsai.

I continue to be pleasantly surprised by this Swamp maple. Assuming nothing bad happens, I’ll update you later in the growing season.