Building Maple Subtrunks

one_bonsai

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I'm developing this Trident with two sub-trunks. My question is, once the main trunk is thick enough, will the two sub-trunks be too thick to be useful?

20210711_145038.jpg
 

BobbyLane

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in traditional bonsai styles subtrunks arent really desirable, they are used more in naturalistic bonsai styles. if you present a maple to someone who favours traditional bonsai styles, 9 times out of ten the advice will be to bring the tree back to one trunk line.
sub trunks work, sometimes they dont, it depends on the tree...
here is a maple i at first wanted to try utilizing two sub trunks on, but in the end i opted for reducing one of the trunks...

but in your case i would remove the left trunk completely because its straight and ugly, while the right trunk clearly has movement.

i would also advise you to do research on different styles and tastes. if you do like to see sub trunks on trees, do some research on naturalistic bonsai.
 

Shibui

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It all depends what you want the tree to look like.
Why sub trunks that divide so far up?

They whole tree should thicken proportionally so thickening this as it is should result in the lower trunk thickening proportionally more than the separate trunks above. If the slingshot look is what you are after I'd go ahead and grow it on as is. If it does not work out or you change your mind on the Y shaped trunk you can cut the left side and still have a reasonable informal upright trunk as just suggested.

Before putting this back in please shorten those roots substantially. New roots almost always grow from the end of a cut root. Cutting shorter will not harm the trident maple and will give you much better root system for the future.
 

one_bonsai

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Why sub trunks that divide so far up?
I haven't pruned the top or the roots properly yet because I wanted to see what people said first. I will prune the Y down much lower if that's what I decide to go with. Just like Y shaped trunks with deciduous, they look more natural.


Before putting this back in please shorten those roots substantially. New roots almost always grow from the end of a cut root. Cutting shorter will not harm the trident maple and will give you much better root system for the future.

I was going to put the roots in a separate thread but since you mention it..... I dislike pancake nebari. I prefer a nebari with distinct roots. If I shorted all the roots. will this eventually develop into a pancake?
 

Shibui

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I was going to put the roots in a separate thread but since you mention it..... I dislike pancake nebari. I prefer a nebari with distinct roots. If I shorted all the roots. will this eventually develop into a pancake?
All roots will eventually thicken and merge.
If you are happy with long, straight roots then be my guest and grow them like that. When it won't fit in an appropriate sized bonsai pot because the roots are all too long you might think back to this conversation.

All in all it sounds as if you have very fixed views on what you want so no real point in us giving much advice
 
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All in all it sounds as if you have very fixed views on what you want so no real point in us giving much advice

Ouch. This conclusion is not what I gather from reading @one_bonsai's posts in this thread. I will echo @BobbyLane to say it really depends on style. Also, that the left subtrunk is quite straight and long as-is, and it should either be reduced significantly or removed entirely. I do wonder about what looks like damage to the base of the right subtrunk, though, which might be difficult to correct for.

OP asked if the subtrunks would be too thick after growing out the base. I would say not necessarily, if it fits with your design. As I understand, the cross-sectional area of two sub-trunks will at their largest only equal the cross-sectional area of the main trunk below, because the vascular system will naturally equalize. They should not get too far out of proportion because of that effect. The purpose to cutting them both off and starting over would be to grow a new trunk section with a lesser cross-sectional area than below, i.e., taper.

And yes, those roots definitely need to be cut back significantly.

Good luck with it, @one_bonsai!
 

BobbyLane

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thats the catch 22 with this material, Leatherback is right in that the two subs are already very thick, and the trunk below them is not quite as thick.
going forward the two subs may continue to grow at a much faster rate than the base, there is currently no branches or sacrificial shoots there. we dont know if its going to be ground grown or pot grown. going forward OP will have to decide whether he's ok with a swelling developing at the fork or not.

i created a V in the fork on my maple, with carving, to minimise the wood there.

in a pot, base wont thicken much with no shoots there.
in the ground, youd need to keep an eye on it.
 

sorce

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Just start it a node lower.

It's a great opportunity.

Sorce
 

one_bonsai

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Sounds like the consensus is to go with a single trunk, so I think I'll go with that. This will go back into the ground, so would I chop here:
 

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Shibui

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Yes. Thank you. I not sure how that conclusion was made either.
Apologies if I have misinterpreted and/or overreacted.
From my reading: After several very experienced members question the forked trunk the response appeared to be rather dismissive:
Just like Y shaped trunks with deciduous, they look more natural.
but now a change of mind:
Sounds like the consensus is to go with a single trunk, so I think I'll go with that.
Not sure what a 'single trunk' bonsai looks like. All trunks divide into branches of one sort or another and those branches then divide into smaller ones and so on. The big difference is the angles they emerge from the trunk.

As I said earlier - and others have also picked up on, what you do and how you develop a tree depends very much on what you expect as the final result - style, size, etc. Maybe the reference to Y shaped trunks means broom style? That would fit well with the current vertical trunk. Developing a broom style or 'natural' style needs different development to informal upright or other traditional bonsai styles.
From experience the first trunk reduction chop and subsequent branching works well at around 1/3 of planned final height (give or take). My reference to the height of the current fork was based on that 1/3 - 2/3 proportion. If you plan a tree 3-4 times the height of the current fork then it is in about the right spot. Subsequent forks and branching look best when each subsequent section is shorter and thinner than the previous sections. If the current sub trunks were to be kept both would need to be pruned to the first node to achieve the next fork in proportion and so on.
Thickness also looks much better if it decreases step by step. The current branches are both approaching the thickness of the trunk below. They may look OK as they continue to thicken but there's every chance it will look too heavy. Nothing is certain but it is certainly easier to make the change now if you don't want to take the gamble on overly heavy branching.

It s very easy to overestimate the size and length of primary parts of a developing tree. I've found it far safer to go a little smaller and a bit thinner than first impressions because the proportions look different as the trees grow.
Thinking ahead, having some sort of plan and knowing a little about what results from different techniques makes it far easier to develop something closer to what you want.
 

MrWunderful

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Cut the left branch off, and next summer chop the right to the lowest live node. Then you will have a start to decent line. The nebari is a great start, but will eventually be a pancake if you root prune it and put in a shallow pot. If you dont want flat melted roots, put it in a large deep pot but they will be unattractive.
 

one_bonsai

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Sounds like the consensus is to go with a single trunk, so I think I'll go with that. This will go back into the ground, so would I chop here:

View attachment 385926View attachment 385926
Apologies if I have misinterpreted and/or overreacted.
From my reading: After several very experienced members question the forked trunk the response appeared to be rather dismissive:

but now a change of mind:

Not sure what a 'single trunk' bonsai looks like. All trunks divide into branches of one sort or another and those branches then divide into smaller ones and so on. The big difference is the angles they emerge from the trunk.

As I said earlier - and others have also picked up on, what you do and how you develop a tree depends very much on what you expect as the final result - style, size, etc. Maybe the reference to Y shaped trunks means broom style? That would fit well with the current vertical trunk. Developing a broom style or 'natural' style needs different development to informal upright or other traditional bonsai styles.
From experience the first trunk reduction chop and subsequent branching works well at around 1/3 of planned final height (give or take). My reference to the height of the current fork was based on that 1/3 - 2/3 proportion. If you plan a tree 3-4 times the height of the current fork then it is in about the right spot. Subsequent forks and branching look best when each subsequent section is shorter and thinner than the previous sections. If the current sub trunks were to be kept both would need to be pruned to the first node to achieve the next fork in proportion and so on.
Thickness also looks much better if it decreases step by step. The current branches are both approaching the thickness of the trunk below. They may look OK as they continue to thicken but there's every chance it will look too heavy. Nothing is certain but it is certainly easier to make the change now if you don't want to take the gamble on overly heavy branching.

It s very easy to overestimate the size and length of primary parts of a developing tree. I've found it far safer to go a little smaller and a bit thinner than first impressions because the proportions look different as the trees grow.
Thinking ahead, having some sort of plan and knowing a little about what results from different techniques makes it far easier to develop something closer to what you want.
Thanks. Appreciate it.
 

one_bonsai

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Cut the left branch off, and next summer chop the right to the lowest live node. Then you will have a start to decent line. The nebari is a great start, but will eventually be a pancake if you root prune it and put in a shallow pot.
So after I chop to the lowest node and let it grow, would I cut that same trunk down a node or two higher that winter?
 

MrWunderful

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So after I chop to the lowest node and let it grow, would I cut that same trunk down a node or two higher that winter?
Theoretically, yes if the taper is to where you want it. Some let them go two years in between chops. you have to balance the rapid growth with the size of the wound that will have to heal after The chop.
 

one_bonsai

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Theoretically, yes if the taper is to where you want it. Some let them go two years in between chops. you have to balance the rapid growth with the size of the wound that will have to heal after The chop.
Great advice. Thanks.
 

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