Trident Maple advice needed

KKBonsai

Seedling
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Hi Guys,

So I got this Maple from a nursery. I really like the curves in the trunk. The top part isn't exactly tapered but I'm okay with it for now.

Ideally, I'd like to remove some of the side branches and rework the apex. I'd also like to make a maple over a rock one day.

Would be advisable to remove most of the side branches and re-grow them again?

Also hypothetically, if I were plant it in the ground, would the trunk actually think and stay in the current shape that it's in?

Any other advice would be really appreciated.

Thanks.

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SeanS

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The top has reverse taper, I’d air layer it off and create a smaller tree from the top. Then regrow the apex on the twist lower trunk and develop that tree.

in the ground it will thicken and stay in the current twisty shape.

Where was this from?
 

leatherback

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For now, you have a very unhappy trident. All and every action should focus on the HEALTH now. So leave the stubs. They are not harming the tree, but removing them will cause wounds why might easily die-back if the tree is unhealthy.

Plant it deeper, up to the blue line should be covered by soil, certainly during development. Once this tree is happy, pruning the top branch will result in loads of side-branches to pop.
The shap will not change from what you have no. Ground planting will help thicken it up. But as said above, the swell in the top-secion is here to stay. Consider layering off at the red lines, AFTER regaining full vigour.

I would consider chopping very low, just above the first curve, and rebuild frmo there..

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Shibui

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So back to your original questions.
When you plant it in the ground it will keep most of the bends. Trees tend to send sap along the shortest route from roots to apex so the trunk will thicken a bit more on the insides of the bends and a little less on the outsides. That will mean the bends will appear to straighten out just a bit as the trunk thickens. Obviously the more it thickens the less dramatic those bends will be but you will have to grow a very thick trunk before it absorbs all of those bends.

The existing branches all appear to be dead so I can't see any point keeping them. I would leave just a short stub when reducing them and hope that some new shoots will sprout from the branch collars. Do you have any idea what caused all that die back and dead branches?
I suspect that some of those exposed roots will also be dead but if they do appear to be alive definitely cover them up for the summer to give them the chance to grow and ramify a bit. Your tree will look so much better if those higher roots actually form the basis for the future nebari.

Root over rock is best started with thin, flexible roots. Starting with an older tree with hard roots will not give a very good result in my experience so I would forget about that for this particular tree.

You have already told us you are not uncomfortable with the upper trunk so I won't bother offering gratuitous advice on that section.
 

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