Trident Maple - Stick-in-a-Pot - Progression

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#1
The first bonsai tree I ever purchases was a Trident maple from Brussels Bonsai. It was your stereotypical Stick-in-a-Pot.

As purchased in the fall of 2015.
20150926_191247821_iOS.jpg

Unlike most of the trees I bought back when I first started, I didn't do anything with this tree for over a year. Here's how she looked in the fall of 2016. As you can see, no cutting, shaping, pruning, wiring...nothing. Just kept it alive...
20161015_230258217_iOS.jpg
This spring...2017, I decided to start working on the tree...

First, a repot and a change in planting angle...
20170222_202403092_iOS.jpg 20170222_202406361_iOS.jpg 20170222_203101484_iOS.jpg 20170222_210512014_iOS.jpg

I then decided on a chop and created some movement in the tree. I added some wire to bring the apex down a bit.

20170529_014732379_iOS.jpg
 
Last edited:
Messages
318
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674
Location
St Louis, MO
USDA Zone
6a
#2
Here is the tree in late summer:
20170823_114446425_iOS.jpg

As the colors were about to change:

DSC_0001.jpg DSC_0003.jpg

Full color, just about a week ago. Bright yellow instead of last year's red...
DSC_0248.jpg

This morning, I pulled off the rest of leaves...here's the tree naked, before I worked on it...

DSC_0280.jpg

And finally, the tree after a bit of trim and some wire...

DSC_0282.jpg

So, there you go. My first tree...2 years later. I'm pretty sure @William N. Valavanis is not gonna accept this tree into next year's US National Bonsai Exhibit, but it sure has provided me with lots of fun. So, what do you think?
 

Bonsai Nut

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#3
You didn't kill it, which is more than most of us can say about our early trees :)

You have it planted too high in your pot, which makes it look a little unbalanced. In a perfect world you want that maple to be planted at the soil level with visible surface roots grasping the soil like it has been there for centuries... not like it is getting eroded away by flood waters.

My other suggestion is that your chop scar is too high. Next time, make sure you cut down into the space in the crotch between your new trunk and your primary branch, so when it callouses over and heals it leaves you with a natural trunk line and not a horizontal bulge.

DSC_0282.jpg

Overall a great start!
 

Dav4

Imperial Masterpiece
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#4
Good start, and your chop and new planting angle made this a tree with much more upside going forward. I agree with B'nut's assessment of your chop and planting height. I would take it a step further and suggest that your tree should be planted lower AND be planted in a bigger training pot. You've got a nice root base but it won't thicken out of the soil and some of the smaller roots may die back. Also, your upper trunk needs to fatten up a bit. Finally, have you thought about cutting your second trunk section back further and turning your second branch on the right into the new leader?
 
Messages
318
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674
Location
St Louis, MO
USDA Zone
6a
#5
You didn't kill it, which is more than most of us can say about our early trees :)

You have it planted too high in your pot, which makes it look a little unbalanced. In a perfect world you want that maple to be planted at the soil level with visible surface roots grasping the soil like it has been there for centuries... not like it is getting eroded away by flood waters.

My other suggestion is that your chop scar is too high. Next time, make sure you cut down into the space in the crotch between your new trunk and your primary branch, so when it callouses over and heals it leaves you with a natural trunk line and not a horizontal bulge.

View attachment 166201

Overall a great start!

Hey, thanks for your thoughts. I can work on the trunk level at the next repot. As for the cut at the chop line...is it advisable to go back and re-cut that using a knob cutter? Or is too late and I should just let it grow out?
 
Messages
318
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674
Location
St Louis, MO
USDA Zone
6a
#6
Good start, and your chop and new planting angle made this a tree with much more upside going forward. I agree with B'nut's assessment of your chop and planting height. I would take it a step further and suggest that your tree should be planted lower AND be planted in a bigger training pot. You've got a nice root base but it won't thicken out of the soil and some of the smaller roots may die back. Also, your upper trunk needs to fatten up a bit. Finally, have you thought about cutting your second trunk section back further and turning your second branch on the right into the new leader?
Thanks for your thoughts, much appreciated!

Is this what you had in mind with the new leader?

D9A4D57B-7622-47E8-8024-58EE8BA38FED.jpeg
 

Dav4

Imperial Masterpiece
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#7
Thanks for your thoughts, much appreciated!

Is this what you had in mind with the new leader?

View attachment 166233
Yes....and you could use the current leader as a sacrifice to thicken the lower trunk while the new leader begins it's development.

...and I would definitely clean up that first chop with knob cutters at your earliest convenience and seal well. You could do it now or wait until late winter. It will heal with a scar that will be barely noticeble in a few years.
 

Bonsai Nut

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#8
Hey, thanks for your thoughts. I can work on the trunk level at the next repot. As for the cut at the chop line...is it advisable to go back and re-cut that using a knob cutter? Or is too late and I should just let it grow out?
I would if I were my tree. I try not to come across as being bossy and saying you NEED to do something... but you will be pleased down the road.

Make sure to use cut paste. It is a little late in the season for it so you might be better off waiting for early spring.
 

miker

Chumono
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#9
Nice work! Also, it is kind of cool to see that your tree is capable of putting on a range of fall color displays. I agree with raising the soil level.
 
Messages
318
Likes
674
Location
St Louis, MO
USDA Zone
6a
#10
You didn't kill it, which is more than most of us can say about our early trees :)

You have it planted too high in your pot, which makes it look a little unbalanced. In a perfect world you want that maple to be planted at the soil level with visible surface roots grasping the soil like it has been there for centuries... not like it is getting eroded away by flood waters.

My other suggestion is that your chop scar is too high. Next time, make sure you cut down into the space in the crotch between your new trunk and your primary branch, so when it callouses over and heals it leaves you with a natural trunk line and not a horizontal bulge.

View attachment 166201

Overall a great start!
A quick update. Made the cut and recently repotted lower in the pot. Should be ready for Spring.
9D3E3EC2-C28C-422E-B1C4-F808CF74B8CC.jpeg
 
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