Field-grown trident

markyscott

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Anyway, I hope that helps you see the branch patterns I’m shooting for in general, and I think there are many natural examples of this. But I think it’s also important to not be too dogmatic or uniform in branch structure there are also examples in nature of lower branch dominance.

To achieve this look, one must wire the shoot early so as to avoid an unnatural bend. Anyway, this is the look I’m going for with this tree.

@Smoke, I’d be curious to know what you view as natural vertical movement in branches and how you go about achieving it.

S
 
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Smoke

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I'll just enjoy watching you build your tree. My opinion is personal and best keep it that way. I enjoyed your pictures and thanks for posting them.
 

markyscott

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I'll just enjoy watching you build your tree. My opinion is personal and best keep it that way. I enjoyed your pictures and thanks for posting them.
Thanks Al. I always appreciate your insight and feedback.

S
 
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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.

View attachment 68087

View attachment 68088

Scott
Well done.
 

Gary McCarthy

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You can see a new shoot has emerged At the base of the spring shoot. When this shoot is ready for wire, I’ll prune back the spring shoot and wire the new branch down as the new leader - like this:

View attachment 193628
Thus creating movement and taper along the primary branch.
@markyscott will you be doing this type of cutting back to and upward shoot on all the secondary branches to keep it consistent throughout the tree? Or will you be cutting some secondary branches back to lateral shoots so it's not all the same throughout the tree?
 

markyscott

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@markyscott will you be doing this type of cutting back to and upward shoot on all the secondary branches to keep it consistent throughout the tree? Or will you be cutting some secondary branches back to lateral shoots so it's not all the same throughout the tree?
Both. I’ll cut back to the upper shoot on branches for which I’m lengthening and trying to develop taper. I’ll cut back to lateral shoots on branches for which I’m trying to develop side branches. The new growth in the previous picture has uniform width along this year’s growth. Cut back and wire to create movement and taper. Side branches will come later.

Scott
 

Gary McCarthy

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Both. I’ll cut back to the upper shoot on branches for which I’m lengthening and trying to develop taper. I’ll cut back to lateral shoots on branches for which I’m trying to develop side branches. The new growth in the previous picture has uniform width along this year’s growth. Cut back and wire to create movement and taper. Side branches will come later.

Scott
Got it. THANKS Scott!
 

thumblessprimate1

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Very nice tree. How strictly do you follow this rule or guideline? I've seen some amazing trees that are somewhat loose in it. Perhaps to a novice there's something I'm missing.
Here's an example of a tree with crossing branches and branches from a bottom node. I don't have the photo anymore, so visit my Instagram to see the second photo which is a closeup.

http://instagr.am/p/BdgZCtfFeN5/
 

markyscott

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Very nice tree. How strictly do you follow this rule or guideline? I've seen some amazing trees that are somewhat loose in it. Perhaps to a novice there's something I'm missing.
Here's an example of a tree with crossing branches and branches from a bottom node. I don't have the photo anymore, so visit my Instagram to see the second photo which is a closeup.

http://instagr.am/p/BdgZCtfFeN5/
It’s a guideline. Blind obedience to any guideline is poor technique. But having them is helpful for making informed choices on pruning decisions.

S
 

thumblessprimate1

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It’s a guideline. Blind obedience to any guideline is poor technique. But having them is helpful for making informed choices on pruning decisions.

S
Thanks, Scott. I used to follow it too much. Seeing real trees, are an eye opener.
 

cmeg1

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I like the upward branch selection.
I am going to utilize it on a couple Elms.
On Zelkova ,I always think of Broom and in fact have not seen a mature landscape specimen in any other form.Not that you couldn’t train them though in the upward selection to portray some other tree.
I think it’s great.
It would be nice to see this throughout a mature bonsai,and one could say it is a natural growth thing with trees,which is awesome,but to see it repeating in a mature bonsai also portrays how the bonsai is years and cycles and how this style it has was maintained,perhaps the artists conception of what this bonsai image is to them.
 
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MACH5

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Thanks, Scott. I used to follow it too much. Seeing real trees, are an eye opener.
Martin I agree with Scott. You never really want to follow guidelines too strictly. The result becomes predictable and mechanical. Nature is unpredictable. There is usually so much variety of branch lines within a single tree.
 

SU2

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I am only a couple years ahead of you. I find my wiring skills have improved quite a bit with just practice. I have also gotten to the point though where I have cut down on my collection because it was taking too much time. I find it is better to spend more time focusing on better trees than rushing on worse trees.
I've been finding a quick improvement in wiring speed on thinner/regular gauged wires, thicker stuff still has me using pliers instead of my fingers... And yeah I couldn't agree more, I've got close to 100 trees and the growth is almost impossible to keep-up with right now, have a couple more months of this heavy growth but I've been trying to pawn-off my crummier trees onto non-bonsai'ists that I try to get into bonsai, just gave a bougie to a friend who'd had interest in bonsai last week actually, he was psyched that I'd give him a tree (it was kind of a thick trunk but could never be made into anything decent, still it's fine for a first-piece and I explained all this to him) am hoping to find more and spread it, if I get someone doing it seriously that I'm friends with it'd be very very nice for me of course ;D
 

0soyoung

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Root grafts are clearly taken based on the amount of growth.
You see swelling of the root stem just above the graft similar to what happens with other approach/thread grafts or what exactly that lets you be confident they have taken? It doesn't seem to me that the growth of the (mother) tree is a good gauge (which what I get from your statement).

... just clarification
,,, just asking.. ;)
 

markyscott

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You see swelling of the root stem just above the graft similar to what happens with other approach/thread grafts or what exactly that lets you be confident they have taken? It doesn't seem to me that the growth of the (mother) tree is a good gauge (which what I get from your statement).

... just clarification
,,, just asking.. ;)
I was talking about the seedlings whips. We’ll find out for sure when I repot, but given the species and the amount of top growth on the whips, experience tells me it’s highly likely they’ve fused at the graft union.

These:

E9E33A79-895E-444B-9408-AFF52D407C1F.jpeg

S
 
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Gustavo Martins

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Fall work.
Do trident maple leaves turn any fall color for you in Houston? and do they ever fall?

My tridents still pretty much green and although the tree appears to have stopped growing I don't know what to expect. Last year, they didn't shed any leaves but it was the first year and I assumed they were acclimating (they came from a region where winters are a bit colder).
 
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