Acer buergerianum A progression

parhamr

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I’m working on an upright Trident Maple. It’s one of many trees where I’m attempting a fairly conventional and traditional aesthetic to build some of my skills. I’ll update this thread over time with progress.

I got the tree in 2014 as a $14 sapling with a pencil-thin trunk in a 4" pot. I moved it into a 14" wide mica pot. This was before I joined BSOP and had access to better material.

I’m growing it out and trying to produce taper and girth by letting the tree grow 6–8 feet tall each season. I’ve been trying to keep the lower, inner branches viable and ready for refinement through careful pruning

Here’s the earliest photo I have, from April 2015:
2374F2CD-7EBA-4F11-B14F-3865D343E4D3.jpeg

December 2015:
869DDFB2-7371-439E-9BA4-A02AFAA29551.jpeg

April 2017: (moved into a 21" square grow box of 3.5" depth)
B63CA330-DFD0-46B8-8F80-A315E1205EBA.jpeg

November 2018: (it’s the tallest tree, red colored leaves)
781B87DE-C45D-4126-B888-62151FD61861.jpeg

March 2019: at a BSOP repotting demo (the box was entirely filled with roots!)
1B6D7BF7-55F9-460A-9B50-D84E451550FE.jpeg

Now… (in a 15" Anderson flat)
E702A67C-08CB-460C-A8FD-12DA4002457B.jpeg

The trunk is thickening nicely:
91848382-4CD0-41DA-A542-0622DF493092.jpeg

The 2017 chop site is fully closed with new tissue:
90083FEB-E5B3-4EF7-BB0D-B45F08A7FC73.jpeg

This year’s leader is thick and the stub from the latest trunk chop is ready to be trimmed flush this winter:
DE0BE6C9-228E-4AED-A9D2-FD64808820BA.jpeg

So that’s where I’m at right now. This is a work in progress and I’m in it for the journey. In upcoming years I might end up doing some grafts or layer the tree to improve the nebari.
 
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Wilson

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That thing is bulking up nicely for you! Looks like good work so far, and real promise in the coming years.
 

Maloghurst

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I’m working on an upright Trident Maple. It’s one of many trees where I’m attempting a fairly conventional and traditional aesthetic to build some of my skills. I’ll update this thread over time with progress.

I got the tree in 2014 as a $14 sapling with a pencil-thin trunk in a 4" pot. I moved it into a 14" wide mica pot. This was before I joined BSOP and had access to better material.

I’m growing it out and trying to produce taper and girth by letting the tree grow 6–8 feet tall each season. I’ve been trying to keep the lower, inner branches viable and ready for refinement through careful pruning

Here’s the earliest photo I have, from April 2015:
View attachment 264547

December 2015:
View attachment 264538

April 2017: (moved into a 21" square grow box of 3.5" depth)
View attachment 264545

November 2018: (it’s the tallest tree, red colored leaves)
View attachment 264544

March 2019: at a BSOP repotting demo (the box was entirely filled with roots!)
View attachment 264543

Now… (in a 15" Anderson flat)
View attachment 264541

The trunk is thickening nicely:
View attachment 264542

The 2017 chop site is fully closed with new tissue:
View attachment 264539

This year’s leader is thick and the stub from the latest trunk chop is ready to be trimmed flush this winter:
View attachment 264540

So that’s where I’m at right now. This is a work in progress and I’m in it for the journey. In upcoming years I might end up doing some grafts or layer the tree to improve the nebari.
When you cut flush on a trident where exactly would you make the cut?
The red or yellow line? Or somewhere else? Do you make it convex or concave? Perfectly flat?
Thank you!
BEEAD8DE-8A68-42CC-A293-E318A4D0EBA1.jpeg
 

parhamr

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When you cut flush on a trident where exactly would you make the cut?
The red or yellow line? Or somewhere else? Do you make it convex or concave? Perfectly flat?
Thank you!
View attachment 264584
I cut at the red line because that’s where the actual collar is and where the tissue compartmentalization has ended. I use a fine saw and cut flat. Then I fine tune it a touch with a sharp blade and cover it with liquid cut paste.
 

Adair M

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So... what does it look like now? The reason I ask is based upon at March 2019 picture, the trunk has fattened, but there’s no taper to the trunk.
What’s the plan for the future?
 

parhamr

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So... what does it look like now? The reason I ask is based upon at March 2019 picture, the trunk has fattened, but there’s no taper to the trunk.
What’s the plan for the future?
See photo six for how it looks today.

Yes, there’s not yet a lot of visible taper. From the basal flare to the lower trunk and then to the upper trunk it definitely decreases in circumference, but I will continue development growth for probably another five years to make some significant taper. The lowest few branches will be instrumental for this.

I’m envisioning a final height somewhere around 28 inches tall. The branches will continue their current pattern—outward and upward in a naturalistic fashion. I plan for a rounded apex and a proud and dignified form. The branches—and gaps between them—will be gently asymmetrical.

It’s going to be fairly middle of the road, but a respectable show of skill and development. I doubt this will look as natural as what Walter Pall does, but I feel confident I can reproduce some of the work of Dennis Vojtilla.
 

parhamr

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In addition to letting the lower branches grow large for trunk thickening, I’ll be correcting some of the foliage distribution and branch placement through grafting. Last night I did my first ever thread graft.

The middle section of the tree is a bit sparse, especially on the right and back sides from this perspective. You can also see the upper trunk region almost has reverse taper, which is partially from the trunk chops and partially from the quantity of branches up there.
02991AD7-97D3-46C9-922C-00501D48ECCD.jpeg

So I drilled a hole in a middle section of the trunk where there wasn’t enough branching.
FFE100C3-8E5D-462A-98DC-C919705918B6.jpeg

I picked a branch that would reach this spot, protected its buds with a wrap of parafilm, and then gave it some loose copper wire to hold and support the bend.
95A84F4B-4CA5-4503-8E4B-EA11D3D1F1F3.jpeg

The buds had already started swelling on this tree, due to the mild winter, so the wrap and a large hole (1/4" if I remember correctly) were required.
D6389D35-E328-4F11-BA26-BB818B53D81D.jpeg

With the scion approaching its desired position I unwrapped the film and adjusted the wire.
1EB5CE9C-E733-45F6-8EB4-49F81D41DA16.jpeg

Here’s how big the hole had to be for the safety of the buds. The tree will easily close up the wound.
635E525C-8244-4ADB-95DC-AF0C388541E0.jpeg

I finished up this work by gently tapping the tip of a chopstick into the back side of the hole and then I wrapped the entire wounded area with parafilm to prevent the wound from drying out.
120F1184-1AC4-4C2C-A48C-6DD11045375A.jpeg

I was tempted to make two more grafts but I think I’ll play it safe to wait and see before applying whatever I may learn to the next round of grafts.
 

River's Edge

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In addition to letting the lower branches grow large for trunk thickening, I’ll be correcting some of the foliage distribution and branch placement through grafting. Last night I did my first ever thread graft.

The middle section of the tree is a bit sparse, especially on the right and back sides from this perspective. You can also see the upper trunk region almost has reverse taper, which is partially from the trunk chops and partially from the quantity of branches up there.
View attachment 282709

So I drilled a hole in a middle section of the trunk where there wasn’t enough branching.
View attachment 282710

I picked a branch that would reach this spot, protected its buds with a wrap of parafilm, and then gave it some loose copper wire to hold and support the bend.
View attachment 282711

The buds had already started swelling on this tree, due to the mild winter, so the wrap and a large hole (1/4" if I remember correctly) were required.
View attachment 282712

With the scion approaching its desired position I unwrapped the film and adjusted the wire.
View attachment 282713

Here’s how big the hole had to be for the safety of the buds. The tree will easily close up the wound.
View attachment 282714

I finished up this work by gently tapping the tip of a chopstick into the back side of the hole and then I wrapped the entire wounded area with parafilm to prevent the wound from drying out.
View attachment 282715i

I was tempted to make two more grafts but I think I’ll play it safe to wait and see before applying whatever I may learn to the next round of grafts.
If I might make a suggestion. on the exit hole I feel it is advisable to secure the thread graft up against the upper part of the hole for improved healing. The method I use is to lodge wooden toothpicks in the space just below the thread graft. I cut them short and press in for a firm positioning. Then I use cut paste to seal the exit area from drying! I advise against liquid sealants as they interfere with the cambium bonding in my experience!
I prefer the double pointed wooden tooth picks, inserting the point first and snapping off at an appropriate point, then carefully pressing in just below the entrance level. This leaves a solid surface for the tree to form new bark over top rather than a vacant space.
 

River's Edge

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@River's Edge thanks Frank! I was hoping for some inputs from folks who have done this. I’ll tweak it.
Here is a similar project. Lion Head maple pre-wired for thread graft! I also like to consider the angle of entry and exit when drilling. Prefer to drill from the top down if that makes sense with a smaller hole first. Then clean the top edge with a knife! The bottom is usually a bit larger diameter and I start from the bottom with the smaller hole as a guide. If one takes the time to position the buds carefully near the exit, then cut back for node length control is easier down the road. Also the closer the buds are to the healing area seems to help with a faster union. I use a thicker piece of wire to carefully clean debris out of the hole before threading! Wool or jute on the wire seems to catch debris easily.
One other consideration can be to combine the entry hole on the edge of a scar to promote faster healing by leaving the thread graft in place longer. This year I am experimenting with leaving the back side of a thread graft in place and reversing the flow to provide a branch at both ends of the graft. Will use a tourniquet to reduce flow and encourage reversal in the branch. I have heard it works but have not seen it for myself. Similar to the staged removal of an approach graft to ensure stronger bond before disconnection of the donor plant.
IMG_9555.jpg
 
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