Field-grown trident

markyscott

Masterpiece
Messages
4,449
Reaction score
11,753
Location
Houston, TX
USDA Zone
9A
For tridents, the drill is:

1) prune off downward growing shoots
2) prune so that you have two shoots at each branch
3) keep one upward growing shoot for every 2-3 downward growing shoots
4) on the extending shoots, remove all of the old leaves and keep the leaves out on the end of the branch. This is to let light and air get to the interior growth.
5) don’t touch the weak interior growth - it’s super important, so leave that stuff alone. We’ll eventually cut back to those shoots - it’s how we create taper and movement in the branch structure
6) wire out all of the new growth. If you need additional thickening, keep the growing tip. If not, you can prune back a bit. If you prune back to last years growth, try and prune back to an extending shoot. That’s cutback and its best done in late fall or early spring. Early spring if you’re in a cold climate - in Houston, late fall and early spring occur on the same day.

When I’m pruning leaves, I grab an alternate leaf pair and cut them both with the same cut.
B56268C4-386C-46FE-BD58-E9E884C0264E.jpeg

By removing leaves, pruning and wiring the strong extending shoots, but leaving the weak interior growth alone, we’re weakening the strong and strengthening the weak, helping to bring the growth into balance.

Scott
 

markyscott

Masterpiece
Messages
4,449
Reaction score
11,753
Location
Houston, TX
USDA Zone
9A
Let’s dissect one branch to discuss the thought process.
4AD792BB-9D6E-4F24-9DBE-E803F625DB51.jpeg

(1) is the leader. It should be thicker than the side branches. I’ll leave the growing tip and more leaves on this one to allow it to continue to extend during the growing season
(2) is a side branch. Right now it’s thicker than the leader. I’ll prune the growing tip and remove a few more leaves. Hopefully I’ll get some back budding when I do - it its in a good place on the branch, I can prune this shoot back to some interior growth.

Other factors
A) Notice that the movement is synchronous and there is up and down movement as well.
B) Branches lower down should be thicker and longer - let the lower branches extend more and keep more leaves than the upper branches. You can completely defoliate the apical branches. They’re very strong
C) There are lots of branch geometries that people build on their trees - make sure that it makes sense for your design. On this one the lower branches come out horizontally and they get more vertical higher on the tree. Nearly 45deg near the apex. Whatever your shooting for, make it systematic - don’t have upward lower shoots and downward upper shoots or branches on one sid elf the tree coming out at a significantly different angle than the other unless its a purposeful part of the design. Otherwise its just looks messy.

S
 

just.wing.it

Imperial Masterpiece
Messages
8,847
Reaction score
10,872
Location
Blips and Chitz (Northern MD, 6b...ish)
USDA Zone
6B
Let’s dissect one branch to discuss the thought process.
View attachment 189656

(1) is the leader. It should be thicker than the side branches. I’ll leave the growing tip and more leaves on this one to allow it to continue to extend during the growing season
(2) is a side branch. Right now it’s thicker than the leader. I’ll prune the growing tip and remove a few more leaves. Hopefully I’ll get some back budding when I do - it its in a good place on the branch, I can prune this shoot back to some interior growth.

Other factors
A) Notice that the movement is synchronous and there is up and down movement as well.
B) Branches lower down should be thicker and longer - let the lower branches extend more and keep more leaves than the upper branches. You can completely defoliate the apical branches. They’re very strong
C) There are lots of branch geometries that people build on their trees - make sure that it makes sense for your design. On this one the lower branches come out horizontally and they get more vertical higher on the tree. Nearly 45deg near the apex. Whatever your shooting for, make it systematic - don’t have upward lower shoots and downward upper shoots or branches on one sid elf the tree coming out at a significantly different angle than the other unless its a purposeful part of the design. Otherwise its just looks messy.

S
You da man Scott!
I love this stuff!!!
You're helping advance Bonsai culture in the US!...for anyone who wants to read it, that is...
 

Tieball

Omono
Messages
1,619
Reaction score
1,335
Location
Michigan. 6a
USDA Zone
6a
Thanks. Really well-documented. Thorough. I appreciate the time and effort you put into details within the photos. And the thorough topic coverage in your writing. Excellent helpful insight into tree growth and future-thinking. Mighty fine!
This is material I read over several times...so in sticks and sinks into my more conscious-thinking so I approach trees with a purpose and not just branch cutters.
 

markyscott

Masterpiece
Messages
4,449
Reaction score
11,753
Location
Houston, TX
USDA Zone
9A
In the fall, I’ll cut back - way back. Like this:

A9CA4E62-42F2-4BA4-95BF-2E4FD5D54337.jpeg

Next spring, where there are 5 branches now I’ll have 10 new shoots emerging in the spring. All within a couple of inches of the trunk. This is what I mean by developing branches from the inside out. To build branches, you have to let them grow. On broadleaf hardwoods, you’ll need to wire before the branches harden completely. So do it in late spring before they harden off. You can do some wiring in winter also, but don’t bother with anything bigger than a matchstick. Cut those off and start over again. And don’t pinch trees in development - let them grow until the branch structure is in place. Once you’re there, you can start using refinement techniques like pinching and partial outer canopy defoliation.

S
 

markyscott

Masterpiece
Messages
4,449
Reaction score
11,753
Location
Houston, TX
USDA Zone
9A
Here’s the final product:

AA564401-89ED-498A-9FA7-C2A24C52E8E2.jpeg

Wild isn’t it? Long shoots and big leaves. That’s what a tree in development should look like. With luck, I’ll be able to do this a couple more times during the growing season.

One down, twenty to go.

S
 

markyscott

Masterpiece
Messages
4,449
Reaction score
11,753
Location
Houston, TX
USDA Zone
9A
Thanks. Really well-documented. Thorough. I appreciate the time and effort you put into details within the photos. And the thorough topic coverage in your writing. Excellent helpful insight into tree growth and future-thinking. Mighty fine!
This is material I read over several times...so in sticks and sinks into my more conscious-thinking so I approach trees with a purpose and not just branch cutters.
QUOTE="just.wing.it, post: 556747, member: 19277"]You da man Scott!
I love this stuff!!!
You're helping advance Bonsai culture in the US!...for anyone who wants to read it, that is...[/QUOTE]

Thanks Tieball and JWI. I’m glad you got something out of it.

S
 

Gary McCarthy

Shohin
Messages
396
Reaction score
378
Location
Buffalo/Rochester NY area
USDA Zone
6a
@markyscott REALLY appreciate your threads on how you develop your maple trees. I like that you show us what work you're doing, how you're doing it, and also why you're doing it. It's VERY helpful to a novice like myself.

Can I ask a "novice" question. In the 2nd to last picture you just posted where you're showing where you're going to be cutting the secondary branches back to, is there any reason to wire movement into those branches since they're eventually just going to be cut off? Do they just make the tree look better for the time being :)

Thanks!
 

petegreg

Masterpiece
Messages
2,702
Reaction score
3,598
Location
Slovakia
USDA Zone
6a
@markyscottCan I ask a "novice" question. In the 2nd to last picture you just posted where you're showing where you're going to be cutting the secondary branches back to, is there any reason to wire movement into those branches since they're eventually just going to be cut off? Do they just make the tree look better for the time being :)

Thanks!
I will double this question, Scott.
I can understand why...
You need your thin branches growing to the length to increase the thickness, than cut back for taper and again...this kind of defoliation plus bending opens them for more light...and back budding.
But does this help you with visual imagination?
BTW thanks for threads like this.
 

Hyn Patty

Shohin
Messages
456
Reaction score
478
Location
NC mountains
USDA Zone
6
This is an amazing thread! Thank you so very much for sharing all of this with us. It's exciting and informational. I've book marked it to come back to later time and again.
 

markyscott

Masterpiece
Messages
4,449
Reaction score
11,753
Location
Houston, TX
USDA Zone
9A
This is an amazing thread! Thank you so very much for sharing all of this with us. It's exciting and informational. I've book marked it to come back to later time and again.
Thank you HP. I’m glad you feel as though you got something out of it.

S
 

markyscott

Masterpiece
Messages
4,449
Reaction score
11,753
Location
Houston, TX
USDA Zone
9A
@markyscott REALLY appreciate your threads on how you develop your maple trees. I like that you show us what work you're doing, how you're doing it, and also why you're doing it. It's VERY helpful to a novice like myself.

Can I ask a "novice" question. In the 2nd to last picture you just posted where you're showing where you're going to be cutting the secondary branches back to, is there any reason to wire movement into those branches since they're eventually just going to be cut off? Do they just make the tree look better for the time being :)

Thanks!
I will double this question, Scott.
I can understand why...
You need your thin branches growing to the length to increase the thickness, than cut back for taper and again...this kind of defoliation plus bending opens them for more light...and back budding.
But does this help you with visual imagination?
BTW thanks for threads like this.
Hi Gary and Peter. The movement beyond where I plan to cut back is not so important as that part of the branch will not be retained. But wiring the branches into position is good practice for several reasons. First, the branches “occupy the space” of the final branch allowing you to make better design choices. Wiring them allows you to better visualize the eventual branch structure so that the branches you’re developing can be properly positioned from the get go to achieve your final goal. Finally, it’s good to extend the wire to near the end of the branch so you can ensure the branch ends are getting enough light and not shading the branches underneath.

S
 

Gary McCarthy

Shohin
Messages
396
Reaction score
378
Location
Buffalo/Rochester NY area
USDA Zone
6a
Hi Gary and Peter. The movement beyond where I plan to cut back is not so important as that part of the branch will not be retained. But wiring the branches into position is good practice for several reasons. First, the branches “occupy the space” of the final branch allowing you to make better design choices. Wiring them allows you to better visualize the eventual branch structure so that the branches you’re developing can be properly positioned from the get go to achieve your final goal. Finally, it’s good to extend the wire to near the end of the branch so you can ensure the branch ends are getting enough light and not shading the branches underneath.

S
That's what I love about you @markyscott, ANOTHER great explanation. THANKS!

I need to head down to Houston for an UP CLOSE & PERSONAL look at your trees :)
 

BigBen

Shohin
Messages
336
Reaction score
272
Location
7a - Long Island, NY
USDA Zone
7a
Outstanding work, and thanks for keeping us updated on this work of art!

These are the types of threads that energize me even more than I already am.
Looking forward to more updates, as time marches on.
 

AndyJ

Mame
Messages
188
Reaction score
92
Location
Cumbria, UK
Just want to add my thanks too Scott. Great thread for beginners to follow; I've currently got five tridents growing through a board that I plan to make into a clump and a single trident just a couple of years old. Your thread helps me learn what to do for when my trunks get to th size I am after.

Thanks again,

Andy
 

Bonvivant25

Sapling
Messages
26
Reaction score
5
Location
Elmhurst, illinois
USDA Zone
5
Noob question here! Why did you wire out the branch if you were going to cut it back so hard in the fall?
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Gary McCarthy Maples 4
markyscott Maples 34
Gdy2000 Maples 9
kostasd87 Maples 14
rrgg126 Maples 13

Similar threads


Top Bottom