Acer Buergerianum (Trident Maple) #1

leatherback

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Nice gifts to get.
What is your plan for further development? I think were this my gaden, I would level out the nebari and create a shorter tree to grow in a bit more taper. Might be tempted to go all choppy-chop-chop!
 
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I have to solve the nebari. Not sure what I want to do with it yet stylistically and will spend the winter thinking about that.

Top I would like to keep mostly, but i may chop the apex off and rebuild. If @MACH5 does another lecture for our club next year, i'd like to see what he would do with it.
 

Shibui

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Those high roots have caused inverse taper down low.
Trunk is long with little taper. Typical of fast grown tridents where trunk thickness is the primary aim and no real thought to future bonsai trunk.
Bot these are not good for bonsai.
Consider layering at or just above that upper root to create better nebari and get rid of the inverse taper.
Trunk will need a low(ish) chop and regrow apex and most of the branching to make any reasonable bonsai.
Quite frankly I would throw this one out and start again. I can grow a far better tree in less time than it will take to fix the current problems.
 
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Thanks Shibui. I dont disagree with much of what you said.

I think your recommendation of an air layer is the best option to deal with the trunk. I think that will be my next step for this tree next year. My thought is late spring to do this and then detach in early autumn. Sound about right?

Top needs work for sure... i might try air layering the top off at the same as I am air layering the roots off. There should be enough foliar mass to do both at once.

I'll see where it's at by then.
 

Shibui

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Air layer for the base is probably not practical because it is hard to wrap plastic around that low. Ground layer is more appropriate. Ringbark or tourniquet just the same but just build up the soil to cover the area or plant the whole tree in a deeper pot so you can cover the area with potting mix. Maybe pedantic making an issue of the name but technique is slightly different.
Mid - late spring sound good. I've often done this earlier at repot because it can be easier to make cuts when you have the tree out of the pot. If it is healthy and well cared for after you should have no problem getting roots by the end of summer. With ground layer there is no problem laving the tree intact for a year or 2 because new roots are in the pot and have room to row, plenty of food and water.
Layer the top by all means but having 2 poor trees is probably no better than having one poor tree. If you do try to layer the top try making the cut at an angle to the trunk so the new trunk will lean over a bit when the roots are planted horizontal. Informal upright trees look far better when the trunk is not vertical out of the ground.
 
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Tackled this tree the other night. I noticed buds starting to move so figured Id go for correcting the roots as best as I could. Might have been a bit dramatic but i think I left enough to allow for the tree to recover.

No current plans on the scarring down low. Need to think about that.

Bud movement showing...
20200303_191520.jpg

Root base in pot. There were some significant woody parts with a lot of thickness associated with the high roots.
20200303_191710.jpg

What was left after cleaning out and root pruning. The left side of the tree will probably need grafts or something down the road. There are no roots there. I am hoping with the dramatic root work, the tree pushes roots close to the trunk at the height of the current big roots allowing me to cut back in a year or two.
20200303_200727.jpg

New front with a little wire on the low branches.
20200303_202252.jpg
 

Hartinez

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Tackled this tree the other night. I noticed buds starting to move so figured Id go for correcting the roots as best as I could. Might have been a bit dramatic but i think I left enough to allow for the tree to recover.

No current plans on the scarring down low. Need to think about that.

Bud movement showing...
View attachment 287008

Root base in pot. There were some significant woody parts with a lot of thickness associated with the high roots.
View attachment 287006

What was left after cleaning out and root pruning. The left side of the tree will probably need grafts or something down the road. There are no roots there. I am hoping with the dramatic root work, the tree pushes roots close to the trunk at the height of the current big roots allowing me to cut back in a year or two.
View attachment 287007

New front with a little wire on the low branches.
View attachment 287009
Hey Orion. I really appreciate your patient and straightforward threads. This tree def needs some work. I’d follow @Shibui advice. You could get a few trees from this. Air layer at the red lines and chop at the green line after the layer is complete. That first branch becomes the new leader, and will thicken awfully quick. When you repot next spring, change the planting angle, rotating the tree clockwise. Then do the same thing with the tree you air layer. 68A6ECCF-335F-4863-8149-9461CBD268F7.jpeg
 
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Thanks @Hartinez for your compliments on my approach. I believe bonsai, and horticultural hobbies generally, are intrinsically about patience. The slowing down of our human perception of the pace of life to focus on the slower pace of different living forms can help us be more patient, observant, and direct in our own lives. Perhaps this is what drew me to the awareness of the hobby at such a young age, and once again back to the hobby now.

Yes, @Shibui's original plan for this tree is a good one, and I saw the trunk line you also see as well. I want to care for this tree this summer before any air layering because Im not familiar with it's care and dont trust my own care enough yet beyond basic techniques. I agree that an air layer where you see it is a good idea and produces two superior trees long term. I think the bottom part of the tree is salvageable long term but I'd like to utilize the tree's current energy to help rebuild the root structure when I can.

Where do you see possible styling option above the point of air layer you point out?
 

Shibui

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Vertical trunk is not so good for informal upright style which is what you would get by chopping at a branch.
Tridents are good at growing new roots at the surface so it may even layer itself now it is buried deeper but layering technique is far faster and more reliable to get roots where you want them. Leaving it vertical like this will only get new roots around a vertical trunk. I would lean that trunk over to the right so the first trunk section matches the 1st branch/new leader.
2nd branch is another possible chop point in which case lean the trunk left.
 

Maloghurst

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I think your original plan to use this to practice building branch structure on a trident is a good idea. Someone said they would throw it out and start over but one day you will have a tree with good nebari and using this as a learning tool is it’s best purpose in my opinion.
 

AlainK

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Nice tree for a garden, but if you want it for bonsai :

tri.jpg

"1" is so boring, no movement, thin branches, even opposed branches, etc.

You must have missed what Mr Hartinez wrote, which wa the best advice you could get.
 
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Wanted to give it a season to grow after the root work before doing anything drastic.
 
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Out of curiosity, why the hate for formal uprights? The majority of trees grow in this form/structure but everyone is so preoccupied with making the twistedest tree ever?
 

Shibui

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I suspect it is our natural inclination to notice things that are different.

Also formal upright bonsai is really hard to achieve. I've tried and failed a number of times and believe that's why there are so few formal upright bonsai. Many have tried but few succeed.
 
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