Field-grown trident

markyscott

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#1
OK - so this is the furthest along of several tridents I've been growing in the ground. I've not done this before, but have had a lot of fun trying and learned a ton about what to do (and not to do) when doing this.

I purchased this as one of several trees about 5-6 years ago in 25 gallon nursery pots. I wish I had a picture from then, but I'm sure you can imagine - stick straight and no taper and a big bush on top. I got a deal - I bought them in the fall at one of those 80% off sales when the garden center was clearing the lot for Christmas trees. I brought it home and, motivated by one of Smokes posts, I'm sure, dug it up, worked the roots into the best semblance of a flat base I could muster, and chopped it 8" above the nebari. Felt weird tossing 9' 6" of a ten foot tree. But there ya go.

I planted it the ground in the full sun and hammered in several fertilized spikes near the rootball. The next year, I trained a new leader and watched it grow about 10' that year. I recut the top at a 45 degree angle with the new leader at the apex and sealed the cut. The next spring, I cut it back to a couple of nodes above the old chop and trained a new leader again - and so on until today, when I dug it back up for the first time to work the top. Here's a picture taken right after I dug the tree and a closeup of the healed wound from the original chop. It took about three years to close.

image.jpg

image.jpg

Scott
 
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markyscott

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#2
I worked the roots more, eliminating crossing roots and making a flat base. I cut off an old leader and carved into the wound a bit so it would heal over better. I eliminated branches keeping the beginning of a branch structure. And then into a grow box for a couple of years to work the roots and branches. Plan is to put it back into the ground for a few more years of growth after that.

image.jpg image.jpg

Scott
 

markyscott

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#3
So some things I think I learned.
  1. Make the first cut as low as you dare. The tree will have no movement below it.
  2. 45 degree angle. Not 60. Not 70. 45 degrees.
  3. Full sun is good. Trees in dappled shade are years behind already.
  4. Don't let the roots grow wild. Dig it up every few years to work the base or you'll spend years trying to correct a bad nebari.
  5. Train a leader and let it extend. I got consistently 10' or more of growth per year on the leader.
  6. Control the growth on the other branches.
  7. Feed. Jobes works great for this job.
Scott
 
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Eric Group

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#4
Wow! You have really got a good start to this one!

I agree with your advice about chopping as low as you dare... But be careful as well... I chopped one TOO low one year, and the damn thing didn't make any new growth! I am scared to chop back below the lowest branch on a Trident now...

You clearly left plenty of space on this one to know there were a bunch of nodes that would grow. You have some great taper started, and looks like you are headed in the right direction with the roots! A great job all a round! Maples like this can take a vicious whack job to the roots when really healthy... I am glad to see you get aggressive there!
 

Smoke

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#5
I like what you have done. The base looks good with the removal of the heavy wood. Start it in a colander and the root pad will develop really well for the correct size pot.
If this picture is the last point it has been trimmed to, I would take it back to the two red lines I show. The large chop is a no brainer and the small cut is right above a line node which will push a bud once chopped to that point. Make sure to seal the small one to preserve the line node. The large chop I show is to shorten the segment. If left as long as it is in the picture, it will show a long non-tapered neck there when in winter sillouette and you will not be happy with that.
MStrident.jpg
 

Smoke

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#7
See that dark ring right below my red line on the small branch? Thats where the buds will come from. I suspect about three if the tree is healthy.

Also, this is important. When any of the branches that are on the tree currently are going to be used in the final design, cut them back to the first pair after bud pop when they get about 6 leaf pairs. This insures that an internode will be close to the trunk with probably a second also, to cut back to when building the branch. What you don't want is the branch like the long curved one on the upper right with no nodes to speak of to cut to. It is not uncommon to see me in the backyard with a magnifying glass looking for nodes to cut to. Sometimes its needed.
 
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sorce

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#9
Real nice. Patience to heal....

Excellent!

Nice idea to chop the top Smoke.

Great movement.

Repost in spring!

Sorce
 

markyscott

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#10
Another lesson - it takes longer to correct the trunk and roots on an improperly grown trident than to grow a good one on your own. If the tree is simply let go to get a big trunk, it will be unbalanced with root and trunk problems that will take many years to correct. My advice? Fuhget about it - do it right and on your own. You'll save time in the long run.

Scott
 
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#11
When you have to make severe cuts under the rootline like this is is best to treat the cuts in some fashion or just put them in direct contact with the soil?
 

markyscott

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#12
The cut doesn't need to be treated. All my deciduous trees look like this. You don't want any downward growing roots. Only surface roots coming out along the same horizontal plane and radial to the trunk should be encouraged. Everything else should be ruthlessly eliminated.

Scott
 
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JoeR

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#14
So some things I think I learned.
  1. Make the first cut as low as you dare. The tree will have no movement below it.
  2. 45 degree angle. Not 60. Not 70. 45 degrees.
  3. Full sun is good. Trees in dappled shade are years behind already.
  4. Don't let the roots grow wild. Dig it up every few years to work the base or you'll spend years trying to correct a bad nebari.
  5. Train a leader and let it extend. I got consistently 10' or more of growth per year on the leader.
  6. Control the growth on the other branches.
  7. Feed. Jobes works great for this job.
Scott
May I ask why it must be a 45° angle?

Awesome roots on that one!
 
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#15
That's a fatty! Awesome progression. I am going to air layer my first trident this year and the base I plan on putting in the ground to thicken. I will let you know if 3 years how it looks!
 

markyscott

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#18
Huh never thought about that.
I always figured a 60° would be better because it may be a better transition. Good to know.
I'll post a picture comparing chops I did on two bald cypress'. One chop was 45, the other was more. You'll see the difference right away.

Scott