Trident maple pruning?

digger714

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Good evening everyone. I have some tridents that i chopped off this past winter, and they are growing back great. I am wondering about pruning? If i am wanting to heal a chop, then i let the branch growing most toward the top grow out completely, not touching it? Then i keep all the others at the apex pruned off, or down to two nodes? Then as far as the sides of the tree, do i just let them grow wild, or keep pruned back to two nodes? Also, do i keep only one branch from starting at any one point on the sides? I know i can keep most of it pruned to two nodes, and keep some sacrificial branches at good areas, im just trying to figure out where those areas are. I hope everyone is having a good year so far.
 
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Digger my dear...

I have this urge to lightly slap you. To bring you to your senses of couse...lol No more no less.

Asking questions is best done in stages... or at least with distinct progression. I can't make head or tails out of some of the things you just asked, and it has nothing to do with my knowledge of horticulture, but rather the organization of the questions.

What's the most fundamental thing you want to know first on the subject of trident development... and let it build from there.

Your enthusiasum is endearing... make no mistake... I only rib you a little so that you might make best use of the help people will want to give in order to foster that enthusiasum to a lifetime passion.

Warmest regards,

Victrinia
 

digger714

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I need a slap every now and then, so dont hold back. Do i need a safe word or something, lol. Ive got so many thoughts going through my mind, that its hard to get it out sometimes. Okay, ill try again. I am at the point of repairing my cuts from last years chop. I have been letting them grow crazy this year, and am just having trouble grasping what to let grow out, and what to prune. I like the sizes of the trunks im working with, and am ready to start working on repairs and branching. You had told me to let some branches grow for sacrifice, but just not sure which ones. Sound better?
 
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That is so much better it's like a factor of 10. I'm so glad you took it in the spirit it was intended. :D

So the answer to your question isn't that simple without actually seeing the tree(s) in question. I don't suppose you have any photos? Plans for development are largely about the individual needs of the trees themselves, or else we are talking in strict generalities which may not be as helpful.

V
 

digger714

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Ive got several trees that i can apply this to, so ill take one, and be right back. Thanks alot Victrinia. I respect you guys so very much. I hope everyone makes this fun as well as informative. I know i try to in every thing i do. well, almost everything. brb

The pics are of a trident forest i have going. They were chopped and it was put together last fall. Where there are multiple shoots/branches growing from one spot, which would you take off? I know they are hard to see with all the leaves.

Or am i thinking about this too soon? should i let it just grow out for another year to get better roots, and heal from collecting, and chopping? I know i sound like im in a hurry, but i can wait. I just want to do the right things at the right times. Thanks again
 

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docs_bonsai

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Looks like a Chop to me...

Digger, I think you are at a disadvantage having all your trees in one pot. If you separate them you will be able to see all your trunks individually. That way you can see where the growth lines are, and what each tree is doing; new buds, apexes and so on. All this will help in reducing the chop scars and shorting your time spent on their development. The other trees won’t be in the way so you can see what is going on. Working on them individually will actually speed up the process; reducing the scars, back budding and structure development. This all can be achieved at the same time! Most people will say, I’d do a little now then wait for a season, and then do more. I say, be aggressive, as long as your trees are pushing new roots and are healthy you can accomplish a lot in a short time. I’ve enclosed a few shots of one of my trunk chops from field grown tridents. The first shot is an example of the trees in the ground. The second is the first season after dig. The third is fall of the same year. The fourth is after first shaping that same year and the last shot is March of the following year. I started this project in the fall of 2007... Enjoy!!
 

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rockm

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You don't really have to replant all these separately. In the case with forest planting, that can actually be a disadvantage of sorts, as when you recombine them years down the road, the branch structures on individual trees will inevitably conflict and you wind up chopping some off and having to regrow new ones to fill in. Believe me, this is a hassle, as you will wind up cutting off branches that you've spent perhaps years growing...

Also growing them together now will enable them to form a solid root mass, instead of individual masses that inevitably have to be cut down and reformed to make a cohesive forest down the road. With individual root masses, you will also have stability and support problems when you recombine--trees will want to flop over, etc.

A forest with meshed root mass is a lot easier to handle when root pruning.

Of course, all this means you have to be happy with how the trunks currently relate to one another now. Trunks that flow together visually are the anchor of good forest bonsai. Branching is secondary, really (healing trunk scars is about fifth on the list for now--it will happen pretty quickly wiht tridents anyhow-even with minimal branching at the scars)

If this were mine, I'd forget about healing the scars and select the apex shoot(s) on each tree, then select approrpiate branching shoots down the trunk, keeping in mind that those shoots should mesh into an overall design for the forest.

You want to select outward growing branches on each trunk (edit all branching that grows back into the interior of the planting)--with an eye to making an overall triagular (ish) pattern with those branches. You are basically treating the forest as a single tree in overall design, only with many trunks, instead of one...

Also, what are you growing these in? Looks like sand...
 

digger714

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Thanks for the input. I agree with keeping them in one container to get the roots to mesh. They were planted with roots toward the exterior of the container. I used a potting soil with a little sand, and some lava rocks broken up in small pieces. A little sand washed to one area. I have bonsai soil now to put it in when its a good time to repot. I thought i would wait until after leaf fall to change the soil. Would it be a good idea to change it sooner?

So i should select an apex for each tree, then take off any branches growing toward the inside of the forest? What about if i have a branch that is growing straight up lower than the chop, should i go ahead and take off the stub, or let the branch get larger first. I would think now, then the new apex getting larger would help heal the scar?

Thanks again for the help.
 

rockm

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Train any upward growing branches to a more lateral position--IF POSSIBLE--with wire. You're a bit late with this if the shoots have assumed bolt upright growth already. You want to start training them to lateral positions from the moment they have two or three leaves. With upward growing shoots, the angle as it comes off the trunk never really looks right even after the resulting branch has been made.

Select a leader shoot on the apex, let it alone all summer. You can prune it back come next spring.

As you put new shoots into their positions, don't prune them. Allow them to extend to almost ridiculous lengths. That will ensure vigorous growth that can be used next spring to begin constructing branches.

Stop worrying about healing scars. It will happen as it happens. Tridents heal very quickly, so this isn't really that much of an issue. Healing scars and developing branching are at cross purposes for the most part. You can do one, but it can impact the other.

Potting soil is really really bad as a bonsai soil, even with additional sand added. It holds onto far too much water--overwintering in potting soil, if you get freezes, is a recipe for disaster. If you added builders or playground sand you've compounded the drainage problem.

When did you pot this planting up? If it was recently, you can repot in bonsai soil now. I would avoid repotting in fall. It's not a great thing to do if you're new to bonsai.

Early spring before bud break is always preferable to fall or summer repotting.

If these were mine, I'd repot them immediately in bonsai soil...Washing the old soil off gently with a garden hose.
 

digger714

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These were put together in this container on feb 21 of this year. They were field grown from 1 to 3 years, and chopped on the 20th. It was done with the guidance of my ex teacher. Actually one of the trees seems to be dying. It did great until about 2 weeks ago when i saw some of the leaves turning brown, I think there is still one side of the tree alive. all the others are growing like crazy. So do you think i should repot now with my bonsai soil? Ive got 5 gallons ready for this forest if you think now is an ok time. The leaves and branches seem to have hardened off. I should probably go ahead and take out the sick tree now, and replace it later, like next winter before spring? Thanks for the help rockm.
 
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Benny w

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I would really be interested in an update of how the forest is doing. Been a minute since this thread was started and I'm willing to make a bet I hear crickets as far as an update. But would sure be interested in loosing the bet as the forest if kept up would be freakin awesome by now!
 

bonsaidave

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Ya that's not going to happen. The thread is 9 years old. If you click on peoples names you can see the last time they logged into the site. Digger has not been on the site for 5 years.
 
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