field grown trident


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Hello all,

I just got this trident maple from Frank Kroeker. :) It's about 3ft tall and the trunk is about the diameter of a coke can. I was wondering if any of you had thoughts on where to go from this. The trunk is awesome and the roots are pretty nice too. Any thoughts are appreciated!



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In my opinion, it's not trunk finished and I would work on that before styling. I would keep it happy this year, slip pot into something a bit larger than the nursery can it appeared it came from. The picture could be deceiving but the tree looks to be taperless along the trunk. It's unfortunate that some of those stubby limbs were cut as some look like they could've been candidates for a new trunk leader and put you ahead of the game. Next spring I would chop that thing down 2/3s or so, cut a good half off rootball and place in anderson flat or back in ground to work on the next trunk section. All this might sound critical but you have a sizable tree there with what looks like it's going to be a nice nebari but the trunk just doesn't have appealing taper so instead of rushing to get it styled as is, if you wait a bit longer, it'll be a great tree.

thanks for the suggestion. I forgot to mention that i think I'm going to go some kind of loose formal upright/informal. I like the relatively straight trunk, which is why I picked the tree, but I just was wondering how/if to wire this tree. I don't really want to do a drastic trunk chop, but I would like to cut one of the two branches at the top so there's one distinct leader. But i'm still brainstorming

After the leaves harden off you can do some moderate pruning to direct the tree's energy away from regions that you don't want thickened. Most, if not all, branches won't be used in the final design as they will be too thick and straight by the time the apex of the trunk is complete. You'll probably want the thicker branches lower to the base and as you move up the tree, branching is thinner so that branching and trunk taper up and out. The ramification and taper of the branches is achieved by clipping back selectively and then wiring (new shoots) in the direction you want it to grow. These tridents keep wanting to grow upward so need to be pruned back hard on top. I realize now you want a straight, more formal trunk but I don't think you want a telephone pole with shoots coming out. I think if you keep things under control this season, you can do more major work as spring rolls around next year. Determine your final height and look and go from there. I don't know if I would want to go any taller than shown here without a bigger base on the tree. With that said, I think one can say that you would need to do some heavy pruning next spring to get some pleasing taper into the apex of the trunk so that it isn't such a sudden jump from thick to thin.


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