Possible to have a forest where trees are technically the same age? (Trident Maples)

Yamabudoudanshi

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Hi everyone.

This might be kind of a silly question but I know a lot of you are experienced with Trident Maples and probably have some insight on the subject.

I currently have a batch of trident seeds in the fridge and my main goal for some of the them will be to eventually create a respectable (hopefully) forest planting.

I know that with a forest group you want trees of different heights, thicknesses, and typically ages.

My question is this: Is it possible, through techniques like staggering sow dates, selective pruning, fertilizing, using different pots, and growing some trees on boards/tiles to achieve enough variation in heights and thicknesses down the road? Has anyone done this before, or do you typically start with different aged trees in your forest/group plantings?

Thanks.
 

Paradox

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The best way to do it with seed is to start different batches of trees each year for several years so you can get trees of different thicknesses eventually.

Having the trees all the same size/age would create a less believable and less interesting forest

I have been building a beech forest by buying a few trees every year over time
 

0soyoung

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Of course it is possible. There is a lot of natural variation, in height, in thickness, in vigor. These differences get amplified over time if you treat them all exactly the same.

Then you can also influence things, by removing some of the foliage from ones you want to grow slower and/or keeping some seedlings in very small pots and others in larger ones. In two or three years you can have some thick trunks to go up front and skinny short ones to go in back as well as ones in between with which to make your forest composition.

Also, if you don't want arrow-straight trunks, you can wrap some wire around the seedlings' trunks later on next summer to put what ever kind of movement you desire into them.
 

leatherback

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Absolutely possible. Already having a few trays that you are growing out, in a range from full sun, heavily fertilized to shade low fertilizer will create a huge variation in growing speed. That is before you consider the effect that regular pruning or letting a few of them shoot has on diversity.
 

Yamabudoudanshi

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Thanks for the great advice everybody.

I was hoping to treat these treas as a learning opportunity by intentionally giving them different growing conditions.
Now that I know it is worth the effort, I'll give it a try.
 

sorce

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worth the effort,
I think it's worth the effort for the learning opportunity, but that's damn near it.

Natural differences aren't going to give you enough variation, so you're going to have to grow them differently, thing about a forest is, they all grow under the same conditions.

So by default it won't look as natural as it could.

For what it's worth, you'll be spending 2 years trying to make a seedling look a year younger, when you could have planted it a year later, saved a year, and got the effect.

x5 x9 ?

You can tell every shitty forest that was put together at the same age. Even ones "better than @Forsoothe! 's."🤫🤭

Sorce
 

GGB

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I think it will pay dividends if you spend a few years sowing seeds/ground growing/buying bare root tridents and growing them all seperately. If you want a 9 tree forest have 25 trees to choose from if you want a 15 tree forest have 30 to choose from. A good forest is an incredible work of art. But unfotunately a rushed forest looks super lame.
People around here always say that literati is the hardest style to get right but I highly disagree, I think it's a good forest. I almost never see them
 

just.wing.it

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Most bonsai this or a bonsai should that ... of course it can be done. Use nature for a guide. We have All seen groups of trees the same age.
I put a group planting in a different category than a forest planting.
 

just.wing.it

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@just.wing.it .... key differences being?

Sorce
Well, I haven't consulted any of my books, but I bet there's a blurb or two about that in them....

I'd say that a forest should have a largest tree and smaller trees to create depth and forced perspective.
When viewing a forest planting, it should pull your eye in as if you're walking through it.

A group planting on the over hand....could have similarly sized trees, and not as many.
To me, a group planting can stand on its own, like a single bonsai in a pot, it may not need any more depth than a back branch or 2.

Another thing that comes to mind is "connected root" style, where the trees are closely grouped together but not a clump, nor a forest.

I think the number of trees plays a big roll for my eyes.
If I had to put a number to it, I'd say more than 5 trees, and you're entering forest territory, but there are always exceptions.
 

Adair M

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I think it's worth the effort for the learning opportunity, but that's damn near it.

Natural differences aren't going to give you enough variation, so you're going to have to grow them differently, thing about a forest is, they all grow under the same conditions.

So by default it won't look as natural as it could.

For what it's worth, you'll be spending 2 years trying to make a seedling look a year younger, when you could have planted it a year later, saved a year, and got the effect.

x5 x9 ?

You can tell every shitty forest that was put together at the same age. Even ones "better than @Forsoothe! 's."🤫🤭

Sorce
Yep! Those trees were all from a single batch of seedlings.

This first forest was put together 2 years ago.

83EA0D69-A6ED-4013-9F13-6C08F16C1F4F.jpeg

And this one, about a year ago:

319187B0-755D-452E-9A31-CF80160C0639.jpeg

Are they mature? Hardly. Give them a decade, and let’s see how they look.
 

sorce

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For me, these are always going to hover between the definition of group and forest.

Too many to be a group, not different enough to be a traditional forest.

Yep! Those trees were all from a single batch of seedlings.

This first forest was put together 2 years ago.

View attachment 279589

And this one, about a year ago:

View attachment 279590

Are they mature? Hardly. Give them a decade, and let’s see how they look.
This begins their limitation.

In ten years they will look like seedling started 10 years ago in the same pot.

Limited because now, pruning (read, branch structure changing) is the only accepted/safe way to change their girths.

These "forests" speak lazy American at best.
Impatient too.
The physical limitations bring this by default. One of a thousand of these plantings will escape that feeling. Definition, mallsai. Same, whack, garbage.

We can enhance our acceptance of this bullshit.
Or get better.

Sorce
 

JudyB

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I think it's possible to do what you are proposing, but I think you are limiting yourself in doing so. I mean you can ground grow some, pot grow some, purposefully stunt some.....ect.. But why not find some slightly larger trunks of different ages to add to the ones you're starting? For me the forests that really capture my attention are those that have a few much larger obviously more mature old growth looking trees.
 

Adair M

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For me, these are always going to hover between the definition of group and forest.

Too many to be a group, not different enough to be a traditional forest.



This begins their limitation.

In ten years they will look like seedling started 10 years ago in the same pot.

Limited because now, pruning (read, branch structure changing) is the only accepted/safe way to change their girths.

These "forests" speak lazy American at best.
Impatient too.
The physical limitations bring this by default. One of a thousand of these plantings will escape that feeling. Definition, mallsai. Same, whack, garbage.

We can enhance our acceptance of this bullshit.
Or get better.

Sorce
Hey, I’m not saying that the only way to create a hood forest is to set a bunch of seedlings. John Naka’s “Goshin”, for example, was created from individual trees, each trained separately for several years before being put together as a forest.

And pruning is NOT the only technique available to work a forest. Sacrifice branches work just as well in a forest as they do on individual trees.

@sorce, let’s see one of YOUR forests, if mine are so poor.

Oh, sorry, I forgot you don’t really have any...
 

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