If these were yours?

Smoke

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Trident number one.

How about this thing. I think it's a male tree.

What would you do?

Base is about 6 inches across and the stub sticking up is about 1.5 inches across and about 5 inches long.
 

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Smoke

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Trident number two

This tree is a little better. Base is again about 6 inches across and the trunk tapers well. The trunk has good movement but the branches are bad.

What could be done to improve it?
 

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Concorde

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Smoke...Trident number 2 is by far superior stock material. As you said, the trunk has good movement. Also, the trunk is very clean and smooth. As far as improvement, you be the judge.

Art
 
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yenling83

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I would wire tourniquet one of them and ring bark the other to see what works better and i'd do it in spring. Re do the nebari. I used the wire tech on a regular Japanese maple and got good results-completely radial roots. Then I'd plant in a training pot for two years before repotting. in the second year i'd thread graft a few branches. Second year I would repot again adjust the nebari.
 

Attila Soos

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To me, improving the nebari would be the number one goal, for both trees. Right now, the nice, spreading nebari that is characteristic of tridents, is missing on both trees. So, after the end of January, I would completely remove all the soil, do a thorough analysis of the root base, and create a plan to drastically improve it. The plan may include root pruning, carving, root grafting (using young trident seedlings), layering, planting in a wide and shallow pot, or planting in the ground - depending on the state of the roots.
 

Smoke

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I would wire tourniquet one of them and ring bark the other to see what works better and i'd do it in spring. Re do the nebari. I used the wire tech on a regular Japanese maple and got good results-completely radial roots. Then I'd plant in a training pot for two years before repotting. in the second year i'd thread graft a few branches. Second year I would repot again adjust the nebari.

To me, improving the nebari would be the number one goal, for both trees. Right now, the nice, spreading nebari that is characteristic of tridents, is missing on both trees. So, after the end of January, I would completely remove all the soil, do a thorough analysis of the root base, and create a plan to drastically improve it. The plan may include root pruning, carving, root grafting (using young trident seedlings), layering, planting in a wide and shallow pot, or planting in the ground - depending on the state of the roots.

Good calls, I agree on the roots. I think the bases are good they just need improving.

Anyone have any ideas about the upper part of plant no.1?
 

Smoke

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It's too straight and without taper, so I'd say it's got to go. I see a chop in it's future.

Excellent! I agree.

Where would you chop it?
 

Smoke

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Which should be done first, fix the base or chop the top?
 

chappy56

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I too prefer the second one and would, at some point, try an approach graft to improve the roots. BUT, the very first thing I'd do is pack it up very nice and ship it to Bloomington, Illinois.
 

Kirk

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Which should be done first, fix the base or chop the top?

I would work on the base first. The vigorous top growth would promote faster growth/more desirable base. Once that began to look better, chop the long, straight portion of the trunk to re-grow an apex.
 
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Brian Underwood

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That second tree is pretty rockin'. I would maybe approach graft some more branches in the right places to balance it out. The other is a tough project. It will have to have a big chop below the vertical branch, which will then become the new apex.
 

jk_lewis

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Good calls, I agree on the roots. I think the bases are good they just need improving.

I agree. Unless there is some great hurry about "improving" the tree, I'd let the base fix itself with time, and concentrate on the tops. You can remove all the branches, chop if you feel the need, feed heavily, then select what you want from the new sprouts.

Slow makes better bonsai. Or so I've found.
 

Si Nguyen

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Hi Al and everybody, these are pretty good material! For the first trident, I got a semi-cascade or slant style feeling from it. I wouldn't bother with all the branch or root grafting stuff. Life is too short.
I think there must be at least 2-3 good options with a slant or semi-cascade position, but I would need to see more pics from different views of this tree to be sure. Here's one option from your first view. I think this will make a nice shohin in a few short years.
Good luck!
 

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Si Nguyen

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Tree #2 is very good! I don't think you would need to do much to it. It'll fill in nicely in a few years.
Here's the front view for me.
Si
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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2nd tree has potential...graft a few roots into the holes at the nebari and use the front Si suggested.

If the 1st tree was mine, it would go in the ground for a few years...not much to work with as it sits now. The base will improve in the ground and likely not resemble it's current form in 3-4 years.
 

DaveV

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I was thinking the same thing as Si for tree #1, a semi cascade.
 

greerhw

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sell em and buy me a shimp.

keep it green,
Harry
 

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