Field-grown trident

Vin

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In the fall, I’ll cut back - way back. Like this:

View attachment 189663

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
I disagree slightly Scott. If you're planning on cutting back to the red line then why waste your time wiring much beyond that point? I cut back for ramification and taper. If a secondary or tertiary branch appears where I need one then my cutback is made with that in mind. If I'm wrong please let me know as you are way more experienced than I. Thanks!

Vin
 

leatherback

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Noob question here! Why did you wire out the branch if you were going to cut it back so hard in the fall?
Have a read through the past ~10 posts which are exactly about the why. You are not the first to ask the question :D. In short, good practice & you stop the branches from being shaded by itself.
 

drew33998

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Why not cut back to the closest nodes on these branches and then wire the new shoots out in 8 weeks when they harden? Ps your shoots grow and develop quickly. Even trees in the landscape here are just extending new growth. I have noticed a pattern with some of my deciduous trees. 8 weeks from new shoots is the length it takes my trees to harden new growth.
 

markyscott

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Why not cut back to the closest nodes on these branches and then wire the new shoots out in 8 weeks when they harden? Ps your shoots grow and develop quickly. Even trees in the landscape here are just extending new growth. I have noticed a pattern with some of my deciduous trees. 8 weeks from new shoots is the length it takes my trees to harden new growth.
Hi Drew - thanks for your question and sorry for my delay in answering it.

So it’s been about 8 weeks and the new growth has hardened off - that’s the right time to work the tree. I’ll be cutting back like you suggest in the late fall or early spring. With trees in which my focus is branch development, my goals are different. I’m not only building ramification: 1) I’m directing growth. I want to make sure that the new wood I’m adding to the branches this year has the right orientation and has movement, 2) I’m balancing energy. I’m reducing the strength of the strong apical growth and increasing the strength of the weak interior growth. And 3) I’m building branches. I’m increasing the strength of the branch leader and decreasing the strength of the side shoots. After this treatment I will get a new flush of growth and there will be backbudding all over. I should be able to repeat this process in another 8 weeks. At that time, I’ll cut back even into old wood if there is a new shoot to cut back to. That creates movement and taper.

S
 

drew33998

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Hi Drew - thanks for your question and sorry for my delay in answering it.

So it’s been about 8 weeks and the new growth has hardened off - that’s the right time to work the tree. I’ll be cutting back like you suggest in the late fall or early spring. With trees in which my focus is branch development, my goals are different. I’m not only building ramification: 1) I’m directing growth. I want to make sure that the new wood I’m adding to the branches this year has the right orientation and has movement, 2) I’m balancing energy. I’m reducing the strength of the strong apical growth and increasing the strength of the weak interior growth. And 3) I’m building branches. I’m increasing the strength of the branch leader and decreasing the strength of the side shoots. After this treatment I will get a new flush of growth and there will be backbudding all over. I should be able to repeat this process in another 8 weeks. At that time, I’ll cut back even into old wood if there is a new shoot to cut back to. That creates movement and taper.

S[/QUOTE
Ok I'm watching this thread to see the back budding. That was the part I was interested in.
 

SU2

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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
This is just fantastic thanks @markyscott !!!! I literally just asked someone why they'd done the same thing yesterday on Reddit lol (haven't checked their reply yet) but just didn't understand why anyone was bending to-be-pruned branches past the future prune-site, though lately I've been doing a bit of that myself for the reason you mention ie of letting light get where it's needed BUT this idea about seeing where the branch is going, for having an eye toward future-growth, is just awesome! Thanks a lot, had stumbled in here for other reasons and so glad I caught this post :D
 

SU2

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I re-read this thread every year in preparation for my trident work. It is really gold from @markyscott The one thing I always forget, is how long it takes to do all this work on a larger trident!!
It really is insane how long it takes to wire trees, I'm in my 2nd 'real' growing-season with bonsai now and, since they've actually got a year's worth of roots and branch-structure, they're just growing like weeds and I'm quickly realizing how over my head I am in terms of keeping-up with them, really don't want a bunch of sub-par trees but can't wire the growth at this rate in fact I reduced fertilization because of this!

Do you find there's a real speed-increase in wiring in a short-enough (say, half a growing season) time-frame to get 'natural' at it, the way people in videos wire like it's nothing? I've spent so many hours wiring, probably around 15hrs minimum so far, and am not even a quarter of the way through my garden (have been doing it in little sessions here & there because I can't just sit for 2 days and wire trees no matter how much I'd like to!)
 

Lars Grimm

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It really is insane how long it takes to wire trees, I'm in my 2nd 'real' growing-season with bonsai now and, since they've actually got a year's worth of roots and branch-structure, they're just growing like weeds and I'm quickly realizing how over my head I am in terms of keeping-up with them, really don't want a bunch of sub-par trees but can't wire the growth at this rate in fact I reduced fertilization because of this!

Do you find there's a real speed-increase in wiring in a short-enough (say, half a growing season) time-frame to get 'natural' at it, the way people in videos wire like it's nothing? I've spent so many hours wiring, probably around 15hrs minimum so far, and am not even a quarter of the way through my garden (have been doing it in little sessions here & there because I can't just sit for 2 days and wire trees no matter how much I'd like to!)
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.
 

just.wing.it

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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.
Yeeeaah....
I'm like....if I'm spending time with my "better" material, I can double up the productivity of that time, by developing young material simultaneously....time is time...might as well use it up!

With that said...
I am down to 34 trees.
Edit:
I mean, letting the youngins grow!
 

Smoke

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Noob question here! Why did you wire out the branch if you were going to cut it back so hard in the fall?
Not a noob question. It’s the same question an old timer trident grower might ask also? I hardly wire any of my maples at all. Just early to establish direction and then after that totally directional pruning. The former looks to man made. Maple trees don’t have curving branches ever. Only angular movements, but lots of them!!!
 

Smoke

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Just to clarify since I know the pictures will be coming soon to point out that , YES Keppler maples have curving branches. Yes they do in the primaries and I do wire to establish a line and many times it is rather curvy. But the ramification built on top of that is directional and not baby wired. Scott is doing that in his pictures to set that initial line of what looks to be secondaries at this point and has wired them to the tips. How he does that is his business but I don't like to wire or waste the wire or time. If I'm cutting it back I allow it to grow and do the cutting.

The larger question here is why the fan of branches from what looks like secondaries emanating from a single point like a hand. To me that is what I would wonder about. The wire is nothing but the fan conjurs up all sorts of man like images???? I build my branches always cutting back to two's. That eliminates the hand look.
 

markyscott

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It really is insane how long it takes to wire trees, I'm in my 2nd 'real' growing-season with bonsai now and, since they've actually got a year's worth of roots and branch-structure, they're just growing like weeds and I'm quickly realizing how over my head I am in terms of keeping-up with them, really don't want a bunch of sub-par trees but can't wire the growth at this rate in fact I reduced fertilization because of this!

Do you find there's a real speed-increase in wiring in a short-enough (say, half a growing season) time-frame to get 'natural' at it, the way people in videos wire like it's nothing? I've spent so many hours wiring, probably around 15hrs minimum so far, and am not even a quarter of the way through my garden (have been doing it in little sessions here & there because I can't just sit for 2 days and wire trees no matter how much I'd like to!)
Keep at it! Like any other technique, it gets easier with time and practice.

S
 

markyscott

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Just to clarify since I know the pictures will be coming soon to point out that , YES Keppler maples have curving branches. Yes they do in the primaries and I do wire to establish a line and many times it is rather curvy. But the ramification built on top of that is directional and not baby wired. Scott is doing that in his pictures to set that initial line of what looks to be secondaries at this point and has wired them to the tips. How he does that is his business but I don't like to wire or waste the wire or time. If I'm cutting it back I allow it to grow and do the cutting...
I think we’re aligned on this. I wire to build basic branch structure. Later when I’m focused on twiggy growth and ramification I do a lot less wiring, although I only have a few trees that I would consider to be at this stage. I agree that it’s important to establish direction, taper, movement and structure of the main branches. My personal practice is to wire them a fair distance along the growing branches and then prune back to encourage branching or allow extension where I want more thickness.

Here’s an example on this tree of one of the things I’m trying to accomplish.
E63ED5E4-EA3F-4517-9324-9461B28D63F6.jpeg
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:

1DC5582B-DE64-4D17-81F2-2A365495D677.jpeg
Thus creating movement and taper along the primary branch. I don’t know how to redirect these shoots to creat taper and a new leader without wiring.

The larger question here is why the fan of branches from what looks like secondaries emanating from a single point like a hand. To me that is what I would wonder about. The wire is nothing but the fan conjurs up all sorts of man like images???? I build my branches always cutting back to two's. That eliminates the hand look.
I agree that these choices are more important and I agree with the practice of cutting back to two’s. Hopefully it won’t look like a hand when its done, but please keep me honest as I go - I appreciate the feedback.

Scott
 

Smoke

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I think we’re aligned on this. I wire to build basic branch structure. Later when I’m focused on twiggy growth and ramification I do a lot less wiring, although I only have a few trees that I would consider to be at this stage. I agree that it’s important to establish direction, taper, movement and structure of the main branches. My personal practice is to wire them a fair distance along the growing branches and then prune back to encourage branching or allow extension where I want more thickness.

Here’s an example on this tree of one of the things I’m trying to accomplish.
View attachment 193627
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. I don’t know how to redirect these shoots to creat taper and a new leader without wiring.



I agree that these choices are more important and I agree with the practice of cutting back to two’s. Hopefully it won’t look like a hand when its done, but please keep me honest as I go - I appreciate the feedback.

Scott
I know Adair also subscribes to the notion of using upper buds and lower buds for the extension of branches. Do you have any pictures that show this practice in a really good winter picture tree. For the life of me I can't see what the benefit of using that upper shoot is for????

For me it seems to make the branch wonky in its direction???%$*@
 

markyscott

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I know Adair also subscribes to the notion of using upper buds and lower buds for the extension of branches. Do you have any pictures that show this practice in a really good winter picture tree. For the life of me I can't see what the benefit of using that upper shoot is for????

For me it seems to make the branch wonky in its direction???%$*@
I can try, but it’s a style preference and I recognize that all of us might not see things the same way. But here’s a branch on the Cemetery Oak - the Texas Champion Southern Live Oak, along with my interpretation of its growth.

9047D01E-A75F-4D45-B2E9-ECC5AC0A6F98.jpeg4CB31B52-4645-4DC4-8DEE-F199A10792F0.jpeg

It appears to me to be a nice example of upper shoot dominance.

Scott
 
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markyscott

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I know Adair also subscribes to the notion of using upper buds and lower buds for the extension of branches. Do you have any pictures that show this practice in a really good winter picture tree. For the life of me I can't see what the benefit of using that upper shoot is for????

For me it seems to make the branch wonky in its direction???%$*@
Here’s a famous Japanese Maple, along with my interpretation of its growth.
CACF6034-05FE-4518-87CF-1E563D815BAB.jpeg1D7C960B-7290-49AB-BE52-7BB8776A5E33.jpeg
On this maple too, note the curved branches with MOSTLY upper shoot dominance. But if you look carefully there are also a few examples where the lower shoot has won out.

S
 
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markyscott

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I know Adair also subscribes to the notion of using upper buds and lower buds for the extension of branches. Do you have any pictures that show this practice in a really good winter picture tree. For the life of me I can't see what the benefit of using that upper shoot is for????

For me it seems to make the branch wonky in its direction???%$*@
And here’s a Japanese Maple bonsai at Kouka-en that I think captures these growth patterns

FD2144A8-943B-4411-8F88-74250768B68D.jpeg

Just like on the natural JM, they’ve mostly pruned the lower shoot and wired the upper shoot down to create this effect. But you can also see a few places where they’ve done the opposite.

S
 
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