Chipmunk attack on Trident...

rockm

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Yeah, my wildlife adventure continues and now involves bonsai (it was only a matter of time).

I have a question for trident experts--with a long set-up.

Here goes:

I defoliated my larger trident (4 inch trunk, about 18 inches tall) in May. It has begun pushing new leaves--which are about dime sized now.

Yesterday, I noticed the entire bottom primary limb had been cleaned of the new sprouting leaves, which lay scattered on the soil surface shriveling in the mid-day sun:mad:. A couple of the secondary branches had been chewed off as well. That made me realize my resident chipmunk had been busy. The little guy has been a fixture in my backyard since this spring. He is a very young rodent and doesn't have much experience in living and is prone to do all kinds of strange things. He is mostly unafraid of me, since I see him regularly when I'm working on my trees. He likes to stretch out on the soil surface in bonsai pots to keep cool--he apparently enjoys the shade the trees provide and the safety of their elevated location on the benches :rolleyes:

Anyway, my question is, since the branch was already defoliated in May, how big is the danger that it will die off completely with the second inadvertent defoliation? Is there anything I can do to help it recover?
 

treebeard55

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I don't know much about tridents, but if you want to condition your would-be beaver to stay away from your trees, unbaited mouse traps work pretty well for me. A few repetitions of the "SNAP!" seem to teach 'em.
 

Bill S

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Jason may be the best one to answer this one, but I'd just add, lots of sun, maybe shade the rest of the tree a bit, but this is just me thinking.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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I don't have enough experience to provide any good insight, but I would assume that if you put the tree in full sun (since from my experience tridents love it [come to think if it you probably already know this]), it will produce enough energy to push some more buds out...and this is only an assumption because tridents seem to be relatively forgiving for anything except freezing and underwatering.

Anyway, I wanted to say that I'm glad you're not hell-bent on finding the animal and killing it. lol -- I remember talking with Diane Valavanis once when I was purchasing some flowering apricots from International Bonsai, and she suggested watering the tree with water mixed with cayenne pepper. I wonder if this could be used as a foliar spray, though....

Good luck :D
 

rockm

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"it will produce enough energy to push some more buds out...and this is only an assumption because tridents seem to be relatively forgiving for anything except freezing and underwatering."

That's not certain. The tree has already expended quite a bit of energy pushing two crops of leaves this season. The species is also extremely apically dominant. Lower branching is not nearly as vigorous. Given that it has been in a relatively shallow container and root pruned last year, it isn't rampantly vigorous as it might be.

I won't have to hunt the chipmunk down. The neighborhood black snake (who is a monster at 5 /12 feet) will probably do that for me. He hunted down and ate this chipmunk's parents this spring...which is why the rodent moved into my backyard.

And cayenne pepper works for about 15 minutes if you're lucky...:D
 

cquinn

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It seems Tridents are rodent magnets. A friend of mine had his tridents chewed up by rats when they were in Winter storage. They must have special sugars because the rats did not touch the Japanese Maples.
 

Alex DeRuiter

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Well thanks for completely invalidating my post, rockm. lol -- Just kidding. Knowing that the tree has been recently repotted and isn't as vigorous as it could be, I'm now less hopeful.

And I always thought the cayenne thing would work, but I guess I don't have to bother trying now. You could always put up one of those electric fences. ;)

Or........have you thought about making a chipmunk/squirrel feeder thing in a corner far away from your bonsai? This could distract him, but I suppose you risk the possibility of drawing more animals to your trees...
 

Bill S

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Decon works great for this issue, 2 years ago 2 apples, and 2 J maples well eaten, this year the only thing missing was the decon.


Day is done, done the day................

Taps if you didn't know any of the words.
 

rockm

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Cayenne pepper CAN work, but not for long if the rodents (or any other wildlife) are hungry. At least I have a tall fence that keeps the deer out.:D
 

Attila Soos

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The only thing you can do, is to move the tree away from any further chipmunk danger, and place it in an area of OPTIMAL growing conditions. Optimal means, as perfect as possible. Nice morning sun (for about 5 hours) and dappled afternoon shade. Tridents are very resilient, I rarely see die-backs, but it happens. I have many of them, and this spring I dug out one of them too late, from the ground. It had lots of new leaves, and they all shriveled after a week. The tree looked like dying for a few weeks, and then it exploded with new buds from the same shriveled areas. I know that this is the second defoliation, but I think that the branch can easily come back, if the roots are healthy, and the tree is under no stress.

However, if there is a third defoliation....that's another story.
 
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rockm

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Thanks Attila,

I've got my fingers crossed. I've moved the tree, placed a bright T-shirt over the soil surface in hopes of putting the little beggar off for a while -- I'm sure the shirt won't bother him after a few days, but hopefully, it will change his behavoir in the meantime--It being out of his "regular" patrol areas.
 

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