Trident Maple 1

dlayton

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OK. So, as luck would have it, my mom ran into these by chance... Got a good deal. Starting a thread for them both. I defoliated to see what I had to work with and then I trimmed heavy and wired.

I am pretty sure the tree is completely and totally root bound because when I water, the water just stands on the surface for a few minutes before slowly moving through the pot. I know the Nebari needs
some work but that will have to wait until spring.

Here are my questions for the experts.
1. Are the branches too long? Do they need to be shortened and if so how short and when do I do it?
2. What else needs to be done? Do I need to defoliate it again this year to develop ramification? Or am I putting the cart before the horse?
3. How's the overall height?

More pics are coming!


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Shibui

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1. Are the branches too long? Do they need to be shortened and if so how short and when do I do it?
2. What else needs to be done? Do I need to defoliate it again this year to develop ramification? Or am I putting the cart before the horse?
3. How's the overall height?
Most of the tree is to long. Unfortunately that's all too common when people hurry to build a bonsai and use long internodes for the basic structure.
There's a couple of branches that are OK or have good structure to cut back to and start building again but the 2nd branch appears to be really long and straight before any side shoots. Sometimes you can get shoots on the bare section by cutting and cross fingers but there is a chance you will have to start again right from the trunk. Grafting some new shoots at desirable locations could also be possible. Alternative is to put up with the long, straight branch.

For my taste it is also way too tall for the thickness of the trunk. Somewhere around half this height would look better IMHO.
Always hard to offer good suggestions based on just a couple of photos but I would consider using the strong branch about halfway up as a new leader. looks like it could be in a reasonable position, direction and angle to become a new apex but the branch itself doesn't look ideal as it is fairly straight and no taper. Might be OK if it is also chopped quite hard so you can get taper and more movement in the regrowth.
In this case I would consider layering the top off. This one has enough character to give a good small tree to make it worthwhile.

If the tree has been root bound for a while or not looked after well it could be a little weak. Response to chopping will be far better on a strong, healthy tree so it may pay to defer all that work until after repotting and recovery for a year to rebuild strength. You will need to assess strength and health.

Defoliation does not always = ramification. I get far better ramification results through grow and clip as leaves are left to feed the tree for more regrowth. Defoliation uses stored resources to grow replacement trees so it does weaken trees to some extent. It will not help the response to any chopping or branch reduction.
There is always a number of alternative ways to any bonsai so just consider the above as possibilities.
 

dlayton

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Most of the tree is to long. Unfortunately that's all too common when people hurry to build a bonsai and use long internodes for the basic structure.
There's a couple of branches that are OK or have good structure to cut back to and start building again but the 2nd branch appears to be really long and straight before any side shoots. Sometimes you can get shoots on the bare section by cutting and cross fingers but there is a chance you will have to start again right from the trunk. Grafting some new shoots at desirable locations could also be possible. Alternative is to put up with the long, straight branch.

For my taste it is also way too tall for the thickness of the trunk. Somewhere around half this height would look better IMHO.
Always hard to offer good suggestions based on just a couple of photos but I would consider using the strong branch about halfway up as a new leader. looks like it could be in a reasonable position, direction and angle to become a new apex but the branch itself doesn't look ideal as it is fairly straight and no taper. Might be OK if it is also chopped quite hard so you can get taper and more movement in the regrowth.
In this case I would consider layering the top off. This one has enough character to give a good small tree to make it worthwhile.

If the tree has been root bound for a while or not looked after well it could be a little weak. Response to chopping will be far better on a strong, healthy tree so it may pay to defer all that work until after repotting and recovery for a year to rebuild strength. You will need to assess strength and health.

Defoliation does not always = ramification. I get far better ramification results through grow and clip as leaves are left to feed the tree for more regrowth. Defoliation uses stored resources to grow replacement trees so it does weaken trees to some extent. It will not help the response to any chopping or branch reduction.
There is always a number of alternative ways to any bonsai so just consider the above as possibilities.
Thanks,

I am going to leave it alone until the spring and I can look at the roots.

Should I cut all the branches back to the trunk and just start over? That’s what I thought when I first got into it. Too thick, not enough movement, etc.

I was thinking “maybe” scalp it and plant it in the ground... and then thread graft branches where i want them?
 

Shibui

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Should I cut all the branches back to the trunk and just start over? That’s what I thought when I first got into it. Too thick, not enough movement, etc.
If branches are too thick the only solution is to remove them completely. Cut to leave a small stub at the trunk. Lots of new shoots will usually emerge from the branch collar and you can use one to develop a new branch if the tree needs on there.
If branch thickness is OK but too long and straight cut the branch at the point where you want the taper to begin and first bend. New buds should grow from old nodes (even though you may not be able to see them now). Use one to extend the branch, another becomes first side branchlet for the branch.
Cutting the trunk shorter when you shorten branches will usually give better results as higher sources of bud suppressing auxin is removed.

Waiting until spring is a good idea. In the meantime feed it and get as healthy as possible for the chop and regrow. Pruning/ chop can be done at the same time as root pruning if you want to.

Planting in the ground can help recovery and growth but is optional. Ground growing does not always give better results. Good parts grow and develop faster but problems also develop faster too.
 

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