New to bonsai got a trident maple (garden cenre) and need advice on trunk chop

boratjan

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I got this tree for like R50 converted to dollar bout $7 so couldnt say no. It has a 8 inch trunk diameter. I know it has a straight trunk (from what I've heard thats not ideal) but at that price and scarsity of bent trunks I bought it. Please give me advice on where to chop and how to style it.

Regards

Jan

DSC01619.jpg

DSC01619.jpg
 

boratjan

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oops heres the other foto

oops added the same foto twice. Wanted to add this one

DSC01620.jpg
 

Bonsai Nut

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Wait until early spring, then chop it low to the soil - just above the point where the base flare ends. Angle the cut about 45 degrees, with the scar facing the back of the tree. Then plant the tree in the ground and let it grow freely for one year and let us see where you stand. It is too early to worry about styling, and even too early to worry about your new trunk leader. At this point you are just trying to create taper and heal the primary scar. Keep ALL shoots that are low on the trunk close to the roots - you want them to thicken the base.

You are going to have a large scar that will take years to heal and you may find that it is not worth the time and energy. However just by going through the process you will get a sense for how these trees bud back, how quickly scars heal, etc.
 

boratjan

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Thanks for the advice Bonsai Nut. What do you think about trying an airlayer on the top part where the trunk splits?
 

rockm

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"What do you think about trying an airlayer on the top part where the trunk splits?"

If you want to wait another year, then go ahead (although that split is not all that attractive there are much better places to air layer on the trunk).

Given the plant is in a bag and in REALLY bad soil, waiting another year, though, isn't going to do it much good.
 

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Weeeeellllll.... I'm just being honest when I say this material is going to take a lot of work and a lot of time. You may find that your patience with the material wears out before the tree itself starts to look good. But that's ok! It is best to learn, and then look back and say "NOW I know EXACTLY what they are talking about." We have ALL been there, and learned the lesson of how much to expect from a tree... The other lesson to learn - it is best to fix problems NOW and give the tree a good start EVEN if it will take years to grow to potential, than to try to short-cut the process and say "well I don't really want to chop it too hard because it will take too long" and end up with a tree that will NEVER be worth anything much.

Right now this tree has two assets: its trunk flare at the base, and its roots. Anything more than 6" above the ground isn't really worth salvaging in my opinion. If you were to do an airlayer up high, you would be left with a smaller scar, but a smaller trunk as well.

So why do I say the roots are an asset? At this point you want powerful growth above all else. Powerful growth means more back-budding, faster growth of shoots, and faster healing of the trunk scar. DON'T TOUCH THE ROOTS (at this time)! (i.e. don't try to repot it, or trim the roots or anything). Putting the tree in the ground provides even more power for the tree to grow fast and strong. You want the tree to be as powerful as possible... and then you can see for yourself how quickly the scar heals, what the trunk looks like as the scar is healing, whether or not you cut at the right spot, whether the buds pop in the right places, etc.

There is a little poem I remember any time I transplant a tree:

The first year they sleep.
The second year they creep.
The third year they leap.

Put the tree in the ground and fertilize it like crazy and the trunk scar MIGHT heal in three-five years. It might take longer, but it certainly won't be shorter. Don't put it in the ground, don't fertilize it heavily, don't let the shoots grow strong, and the scar may be there indefinitely. This is how much pre-bonsai material is developed - it is field grown and chopped, and grown, and chopped. Each time you chop it a little sooner, and don't let the shoots get quite so big, and each time the scars are smaller and the trunk taper is better. I am leaving out a lot of nuances, but that is the general drift...
 

boratjan

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ok so I need to cut the tree +- 6" above the ground. pop it in the ground, fertilize (how often and organic or non organic?), let the branches grow till one is a bit smaller than the main trunk and repeat the same thing? Is this the methode for all sizes of trees? (sorry for dump question im still new at this) and in future what trees should I buy or how should I develop them? (I like the maples would like to stick to them)
 

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I wish I could direct you to a good book. I have a library of "Bonsai Today" magazines, and they have great articles in edition #8 and edition #23 with great photos... I don't know of any books off the top of my head that show detailed field growing processes. Maybe someone else can chime in?
 

boratjan

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Is there a digital subscription to any bonsai magazines because i cant find them where i stay
 

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