Anyone familiar with this tree?

Alex DeRuiter

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And how would you go about forming something like this? Do you think the "root" that is currently on the rock was always a root, or is there a chance that it was a small and flexible trunk that was molded to the rock at a young age?

I've never done a root-over-rock project and I'm assuming that each species forms differently, especially is different techniques are used (also assuming there are different techniques used for root-over-rock), so I was just wondering if anyone might have some insight as far as what may have been done to shape this tree on its rock.

I don't remember where I got this image from, but from the file name it looks like it was displayed at Shun Ten 2006? If anyone knows who owns this tree, I would appreciate it so I could credit them -- and maybe even see the tree in person at some point.

Thanks ;-D
 

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Alex DeRuiter

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Any takers? lol -- I wasn't sure if anyone would be willing to speculate as to how this tree was grown ;)
 

rockm

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The photo is not all that great for detail, but I'd say the tree was grown over the rock from sapling stage. I don't think another trunk was flattened to make the root. It's alot easier to mold a young root to conform to a rock than even a small sapling. You would have noticeable gaps using more rigid saplings, even this far down the line.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Ahh, good point. I was under the assumption that it was a root and that the tree had been grown in a large pot or the ground for a long time; and now that you mention it, I suppose there would be significant gaps since it would be hard to shape even a small trunk to the rock...

I just wasn't sure since I have no experience with rock plantings. Thanks rockm ;)

Anyone know if this is a particularly well-known tree?
 

rockm

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I don't think this is a particularly well known tree. There are nicer examples, although this one is very good.

Growing a root-over-rock tree is time-consuming, which is why the best ones are always extremely expensive on the open market. There are a number of ways to do it, which all mostly entaily starting with a sapling with an extensive--yet flexible--young root system with roots that are very thin in diameter, selecting an appropriate rock, then selecting the appropriate roots, attaching them to the rock and letting the top grow unhindered until the selected roots embrace the rock naturally.

Some try to rush this process by using saplings that have thicker top roots that aren't very flexible. That usually results in big ugly gaps between the rock and roots, or an unnatural looking marriage between the tree and the rock.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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It's a good thing you mentioned that. I have some Trident maple sapplings that are now almost an inch in diameter that I was going to use for rock plantings. The roots aren't too thick, but probably too thick to be completely shaped to a rock -- though I suppose I could find a rock that would work....

Anyway, I appreciate the insight. I'll probably buy some decent Japanese maple seedlings later this season or early next spring and get some interesting rocks to start experimenting with. I do have to do a lot more research on what to make the muck with and probably some other techniques...so we'll see how it plays out. ;)

Thanks again.
 

mcpesq817

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I'm actually in my second season working on a trident maple root over rock. The rock I'm using and the trunk angle off the rock is actually very similar to the one you posted, so I'm going to save it as a model for mine - so thank you :D

What I did was use a TM seedling that was fairly flexible at maybe 6-8" tall with maybe only a 1/4" trunk, if that. The roots were very thin - not to the point of being hairlike, but having a bit of meat to them. I ended up positioning the roots along the rock where I wanted them, wrapped the entire arrangement using plastic wrap to keep the roots positioned against the rock, used a couple of anchor wires to ensure that the trunk stayed in the position I wanted, and then planted it in a big nursery container with the rock submerged under the soil line up until just about where the trunk comes off the rock. From then on, I've just fed and watered it like crazy, and otherwise left it alone.

Today, it's probably close to three feet in height and the trunk has thickened to probably close to an inch in diameter. A few months back I removed the anchor wire because the tree seems to be tightly against the rock. Next year I'll probably lower the soil line a bit and see how the roots along the rock are progressing, but so far I'm pretty encouraged.

So far the hardest part was just anchoring the tree to the rock. It probably would help if you had another pair of hands available to help. Other than that, we'll see down the road if mine looks even a tenth as nice as the one you posted. :rolleyes:
 
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just wondering if any one thinks the tree might have originally been grown sideways ??? With the scar it makes me think so ...
 

Vance Wood

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And how would you go about forming something like this? Do you think the "root" that is currently on the rock was always a root, or is there a chance that it was a small and flexible trunk that was molded to the rock at a young age?

I've never done a root-over-rock project and I'm assuming that each species forms differently, especially is different techniques are used (also assuming there are different techniques used for root-over-rock), so I was just wondering if anyone might have some insight as far as what may have been done to shape this tree on its rock.

I don't remember where I got this image from, but from the file name it looks like it was displayed at Shun Ten 2006? If anyone knows who owns this tree, I would appreciate it so I could credit them -- and maybe even see the tree in person at some point.

Thanks ;-D

It is probably a Trident Maple. These trees can be forced to grow some pretty spectacular lava like roots when grown over rocks. There is a trick to it but it was no doubt grown this way and is not as unusual as you might think, just not common any more.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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I'm actually in my second season working on a trident maple root over rock. The rock I'm using and the trunk angle off the rock is actually very similar to the one you posted, so I'm going to save it as a model for mine - so thank you :D

What I did was use a TM seedling that was fairly flexible at maybe 6-8" tall with maybe only a 1/4" trunk, if that. The roots were very thin - not to the point of being hairlike, but having a bit of meat to them. I ended up positioning the roots along the rock where I wanted them, wrapped the entire arrangement using plastic wrap to keep the roots positioned against the rock, used a couple of anchor wires to ensure that the trunk stayed in the position I wanted, and then planted it in a big nursery container with the rock submerged under the soil line up until just about where the trunk comes off the rock. From then on, I've just fed and watered it like crazy, and otherwise left it alone.

Today, it's probably close to three feet in height and the trunk has thickened to probably close to an inch in diameter. A few months back I removed the anchor wire because the tree seems to be tightly against the rock. Next year I'll probably lower the soil line a bit and see how the roots along the rock are progressing, but so far I'm pretty encouraged.

So far the hardest part was just anchoring the tree to the rock. It probably would help if you had another pair of hands available to help. Other than that, we'll see down the road if mine looks even a tenth as nice as the one you posted. :rolleyes:
You're welcome :D After I saw it I wanted to create something similar. Personally, even with its flaws, I think this a beautiful tree.

Good luck with your tree. It sounds like you should come out with some interesting material, though I have no clue what the rock or the tree look like. Would you mind posting a picture? :)
just wondering if any one thinks the tree might have originally been grown sideways ??? With the scar it makes me think so ...
Good eye! I hadn't considered that before, but it definitely does look like it was grown on its side.
It is probably a Trident Maple. These trees can be forced to grow some pretty spectacular lava like roots when grown over rocks. There is a trick to it but it was no doubt grown this way and is not as unusual as you might think, just not common any more.
You wouldn't happen to know or be willing to share these secrets, would you? ;)
 

monza

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I ended up positioning the roots along the rock where I wanted them, wrapped the entire arrangement using plastic wrap to keep the roots positioned against the rock, used a couple of anchor wires to ensure that the trunk stayed in the position I wanted, and then planted it in a big nursery container with the rock submerged under the soil line up until just about where the trunk comes off the rock. From then on, I've just fed and watered it like crazy, and otherwise left it alone.


Interesting but I'm confused, how did the roots get water and breath in plastic wrap?
 

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The wrap goes around the circumference of the rock, binding the middle of the roots to it. THe roots, grow out the bottom on the wrap. You can adjust wrapping and surrounding soil (the whole thing is planted below soil level usually in the ground) to force the roots down towards the bottom of the wrap as they seek soil. Using this technique you can eventually force the roots to grow downwards quite a long way--past the bottom of the rock. It takes time, though, for them to thicken to actually grasp the rock firmly.

The wrap also discourages side rooting away from the rock as they grow downwards.
 

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Dave - couldn't have given a better answer to your question than rockm just gave you :D

Axxon - I took a look to see if I had any pictures from when I put the tree on the rock last year, but I don't seem to have any. I unfortunately wouldn't get anywhere taking a picture of it now, as it's pretty much a big bush now. Went from a seedling about 10" tall and 1/4" caliper trunk last year to about 3' tall and about an inch caliper. Have been feeding it pretty heavily and it's just growing like a weed. I'll try and post pictures in the future when I start cutting it back and/or repot it.

Interestingly, the tree already seems very well anchored to the rock. I didn't bind it particularly tightly with the plastic wrap, and even had to use wires to keep it bound to the rock, which I removed this year. I just hope that the roots I positioned on the rock ended up remaining where I put them.
 
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Alex DeRuiter

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It is probably a Trident Maple. These trees can be forced to grow some pretty spectacular lava like roots when grown over rocks. There is a trick to it but it was no doubt grown this way and is not as unusual as you might think, just not common any more.

Hey Vance,

I'm curious now. I've been looking at several other postings of root-over-rock Tridents, and I noticed that in a lot of them the roots kind of just fatten up symmetrically, making a round root, instead of flattening out as they do in this planting. Is there any particular way you know of that will achieve this? Could it be done by wrapping the roots very tightly to the rock with plastic wrap and perhaps some "muck" to provide some cushion? Or maybe even going as far as wiring some piece of metal (or something else, perhaps) over the root, anchoring the metal to the rock, in order to push the root flat instead of letting it fatten up freely? Do you think maybe this is also achieved by gathering more than one root and planting them directly next to each other? All or none of the above? lol
 
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rockm

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Some roots remain kind of flattened as the tree ages, but some will fill out once the wrapping is removed and the tree continues growing in the pot.

Roots are selected and thinned, so the tree increasingly relies on the remaining roots to live. The increased activity increases their diameter over time.
 

Vance Wood

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Hey Vance,

I'm curious now. I've been looking at several other postings of root-over-rock Tridents, and I noticed that in a lot of them the roots kind of just fatten up symmetrically, making a round root, instead of flattening out as they do in this planting. Is there any particular way you know of that will achieve this? Could it be done by wrapping the roots very tightly to the rock with plastic wrap and perhaps some "muck" to provide some cushion? Or maybe even going as far as wiring some piece of metal (or something else, perhaps) over the root, anchoring the metal to the rock, in order to push the root flat instead of letting it fatten up freely? Do you think maybe this is also achieved by gathering more than one root and planting them directly next to each other? All or none of the above? lol

I have not done this but I have read or heard of Aluminimum foil being used. This technique works best with Tridents because this tree has the tendency to produce these kind of roots anyway.
 

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How is the foil used, exactly? Come on, Vance, I know you're hiding some interesting secrets... :D

Are you saing the foil would be placed underneath the plastic wrap?

What I'm wondering is if the root would kind of become smushed and thus not grow fat if the plastic wrap (and/or foil) was secured VERY tightly...causing the root to flatten out. If this were the case, I'm assuming that the tin foil and whatever you use as a barrier between the pastic and the root would serve as a cushion, preventing the root to grow a flat surface. Does that sound about right?

Rockm, that makes sense. I would assume, then, that it may be a good idea to leave the wrapping on until the tree is ready to be planted into a training pot in order to slow the growth. I don't know is cutting back the roots and putting it in a pot like that would slow the growth of the root, but I suppose it would also depend on whether or not you're letting the top grow out and use more of the tree's energy............

Does anyone know what kind of rocks are prevalent in root-over-rock plantings? Someone at a local bonsai shop suggested going to acquarium shops and asking to see some of the rocks they use in acquariums...but sadly there aren't too many acquarium shops around here.
 
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DaveV

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just wondering if any one thinks the tree might have originally been grown sideways ??? With the scar it makes me think so ...

I think you are right Stacy. If this is a trident, you may be exactly right.
 

Vance Wood

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How is the foil used, exactly? Come on, Vance, I know you're hiding some interesting secrets... :D

Are you saing the foil would be placed underneath the plastic wrap?

What I'm wondering is if the root would kind of become smushed and thus not grow fat if the plastic wrap (and/or foil) was secured VERY tightly...causing the root to flatten out. If this were the case, I'm assuming that the tin foil and whatever you use as a barrier between the pastic and the root would serve as a cushion, preventing the root to grow a flat surface. Does that sound about right?

Rockm, that makes sense. I would assume, then, that it may be a good idea to leave the wrapping on until the tree is ready to be planted into a training pot in order to slow the growth. I don't know is cutting back the roots and putting it in a pot like that would slow the growth of the root, but I suppose it would also depend on whether or not you're letting the top grow out and use more of the tree's energy............

Does anyone know what kind of rocks are prevalent in root-over-rock plantings? Someone at a local bonsai shop suggested going to acquarium shops and asking to see some of the rocks they use in acquariums...but sadly there aren't too many acquarium shops around here.

Trident's roots tend to be mushy to begin with, the major reason it is difficult to keep them through the winter in Michigan without some good winter protection. If the roots freez against the pot they turn to goo and usually kill the tree, the major reason I stoped growing them. Others have success, I don't, I tend to be too conifer minded. I believe the stone most used is Yin tak stone, excuse the spelling. I mentioned that I have not done this and I would have to do a lot of digging through my library to find the author but I believe it was in Dorthy Young's book.
 

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