Field-grown trident

barrosinc

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#81
Make it initial chop straight across. You don't know where the chopped trunk is going to pop out. Once you do get new buds popping, then you can decide on how to angle it.

If you angle cut it to begin with, there's a possibility that the trunk will die back all the way to the roots on the lower chopped side.

Yes, do seal the chop.
An image of what Adair mentioned.


http://bonsaijournal.com/beginners-trunk-chop-101.php
 

markyscott

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#82
I have a couple of neglected (mostly) field grown maples that have a long, straight trunks with nothing happening until about a foot above the soil line.

Should I do a 45 degree chop and then seal it, or should I do the "digging out" step you mention above? Also should the seal go all the way to the end of the cut and sort of fold over the edge? I think that's correct to prevent drying out, but I want to be sure I'm not inhibiting new growth.

Also, one of the trees has long, narrow wound/scar going down one side. Any thoughts on where to make the chop? My inclination would be keep the chop in line with the wound on the tree so the existing wound sort of merges into the wound from the chop. But I'm not really sure if that's exactly right or exactly wrong!

Thanks for this thread!
Hi Bart99. How long has it been since you worked the roots? I don't let them go more than three years or so. They can get out of control.

In terms of the chop, as the others mentioned, cut straight across and as low as you dare. Don't worry about the angle or the deadwood. Then see where the tree offers you a leader. When it's established you can make the angled cut.
 

Bart99

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#83
Hi Bart99. How long has it been since you worked the roots? I don't let them go more than three years or so. They can get out of control.
Thanks for all the replies!!

The tress were in the ground for at least 3 or 4 years. I did a very rough (and major) pruning on the tops last year about this time and hacked away at the roots to get them out of the ground. They spend the last year in pots. So I'd guess you could say that I've never really worked the roots, but something has happened to them in the last year!

I think my plan going forward is to do a horizontal chop 4 to 6 inches from the soil line, work the roots to eliminate big and twisted (in the wrong direction) ones, and then screw the base of the tree on to a cedar shingle and plant them back out in the garden for at least a year before taking any more action.

Does that make sense?

Also, when I do the horizontal chop, should I just leave the cut surface flat, or nip away at it like you did above?

Thanks again to all, for all the help!
 

markyscott

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#84
Thanks for all the replies!!

The tress were in the ground for at least 3 or 4 years. I did a very rough (and major) pruning on the tops last year about this time and hacked away at the roots to get them out of the ground. They spend the last year in pots. So I'd guess you could say that I've never really worked the roots, but something has happened to them in the last year!

I think my plan going forward is to do a horizontal chop 4 to 6 inches from the soil line, work the roots to eliminate big and twisted (in the wrong direction) ones, and then screw the base of the tree on to a cedar shingle and plant them back out in the garden for at least a year before taking any more action.

Does that make sense?

Also, when I do the horizontal chop, should I just leave the cut surface flat, or nip away at it like you did above?

Thanks again to all, for all the help!
Makes sense to me. Work the roots carefully - it'll be a better tree in the end if you do. In terms of the cut, just saw cut straight across and wait. Once the new meander is established you can go back in and clean up the wound. After a few months it will be obvious where the trunk has died back and you can contour the shape with knob cutters and/chisels.
 

CasAH

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#85
Scott, thank you for the detailed thread. I learned a lot from it.

My question is when did you attach the base to a board to develop the neberi? I did not see it in any of your posts.
 

markyscott

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#86
Scott, thank you for the detailed thread. I learned a lot from it.

My question is when did you attach the base to a board to develop the neberi? I did not see it in any of your posts.
I did not plant this tree on a board. I've described the process on some other trees in a different thread.
 

markyscott

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#88
So this tree broke bud in late February or early March. 6-7 weeks later it's time to work the tree.

IMG_8486.JPG

It's had strong growth all spring and some of the extensions are several feet long. These things are hardwood weeds in Houston. Early spring is easy - for trees like this in development, I start fertilization as soon as the buds break and watch for signs of leaf curl. Starting about now, things start getting busy.
 

markyscott

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#89
So when is it time to work the tree? For me, it's when the spring flush hardens off. I don't touch the tree until then.

IMG_8487.JPG

What is hardening? Establishment of the cuticle. The cuticle is the waxy covering that reduces transpiration. Early spring growth is light green and very soft. As it hardens off it gets firmer and darker in color. That's the moment to work the tree - when the spring push has hardened off but the branch hasn't fully lignified so it's soft enough to work. Pruning back at this point will eliminate the auxin produced the the growing tips and tree is strong enough to push a second flush of growth and reliable back-budding.

On a trident, you can even see small brown patches forming on the green branch as it starts to harden.
 

markyscott

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#90
So, the first thing I do is eliminate branches growing in the wrong direction. Downward facing growth, growth back into the tree and shoots emerging where they are not needed all get eliminated.

IMG_8488.JPG IMG_8491.JPG IMG_8493.JPG IMG_8495.JPG
 

markyscott

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#91
Where there are strong interior shoots, it's a good thing. That means we have an opportunity to cut back in to old lignified wood to a new growing shoot. It creates movement and taper in the branches.

See this branch? It's straight and without movement or taper. But there is a young shoot closer to the trunk! That means we can cut back to a new leader.
IMG_8519.JPG IMG_8520.JPG

See? Now we can wire that new leader into place to build the next branch segment.
IMG_8521.JPG IMG_8522.JPG

On broadleaf trees, I like to build branches like this - from the inside out by cutting back in early spring before bud break and in late spring after hardening.
 

markyscott

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#92
I also thin the leaves to allow light and air into the interior. Starting with the older leaves and working my way out salons the spring shoot, I just grab a leaf pair and cut them off together.

IMG_8512.JPG IMG_8515.JPG

I'll leave a pair or two of leaves out near the end of the branch. If I want them to thicken, it leave a more and if I want to slow them down I'll remove them all. And if there are any interior shoots with clusters of leaves that did not extend I leave them complete alone.
 

markyscott

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#93
Here's the tree after pruning and wiring the spring growth.
IMG_8537.JPG

Branch structure is coming along.
IMG_8538.JPG

Here's the idea.
FullSizeRender.jpg

Branch labeled 5 is the leader. I'd like to thicken this branch more so I left it longer with a few more leaves on it. Branch 1 is the first side branch and needs to thicken more. So I left the growing tip and leaves. Branch 2 and 4 are in good proportion, so I removed the leaves and pruned off the growing tip.
 
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#96
What's the rationale for removing the leaves growing back on a branch but leaving untouched the tip and first leaves? Aren't these (the ones growing closer to the trunk) the less strong ones?
 

markyscott

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#97
What's the rationale for removing the leaves growing back on a branch but leaving untouched the tip and first leaves? Aren't these (the ones growing closer to the trunk) the less strong ones?
Hi Gustavo. I'm glad you asked.

I only remove leaves from strong extending shoots. There are other weak interior shoots that will leaf out, but not extend. I leave this weak interior growth alone. Removing the old leaves close to the trunk on the strong extending shoots allows light and air into the interior of the tree and keeps the weaker growth healthy while at the same time slowing down the growth on the strong shoots. Keeping the leaves at the end of the branches helps keep the new shoot healthy and strong so it continues to extend and thicken. On a trident if the shoot gets too strong you can cut it back and defoliate the shoot entirely and you'll still get another flush of growth in the growing season.

Also, cutting back strong growth like this will cause a lot of back budding. I want to keep any interior shoots that emerge strong and healthy. So it's good for them to get plenty of light as they develop. So we don't want them competing for light with the old shoots that have already extended. Removing the old leaves on the strong shoots that pushed during the first spring flush helps with this.

The tools to balance energy on broadleaf trees are pruning, wiring, and selective defoliation, allowing light to the weak parts of the plant and removing foliage from the strong parts. This technique keeps the tree strong and healthy as it develops. With luck (and the long Houston growing season) I'll be able to do this 3-4 times this year.

Hope that helps.
 
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Hi Gustavo. I'm glad you asked.

I only remove leaves from strong extending shoots. There are other weak interior shoots that will leaf out, but not extend. I leave this weak interior growth alone. Removing the old leaves close to the trunk on the strong extending shoots allows light and air into the interior of the tree and keeps the weaker growth healthy while at the same time slowing down the growth on the strong shoots. Keeping the leaves at the end of the branches helps keep the new shoot healthy and strong so it continues to extend and thicken. On a trident if the shoot gets too strong you can cut it back and defoliate the shoot entirely and you'll still get another flush of growth in the growing season.

Also, cutting back strong growth like this will cause a lot of back budding. I want to keep any interior shoots that emerge strong and healthy. So it's good for them to get plenty of light as they develop. So we don't want them competing for light with the old shoots that have already extended. Removing the old leaves on the strong shoots that pushed during the first spring flush helps with this.

The tools to balance energy on broadleaf trees are pruning, wiring, and selective defoliation, allowing light to the weak parts of the plant and removing foliage from the strong parts. This technique keeps the tree strong and healthy as it develops. With luck (and the long Houston growing season) I'll be able to do this 3-4 times this year.

Hope that helps.
I have a lot to learn and practice. Thanks for the well thought out, communicated and photo supported guidance to procedures. I particularly like knowing "why" and "when" something is done...so I can better put it together in my head for objectives.
 
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