Trident Maple - To chop or not to chop

jaarseth

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I recently got this maple, but I am not happy with the trunk line/y-split (I feel the branch on the left is to massive). I seek advice on how i should the design further.
I see a couple of options as I see it, but feel free to suggest options I might have missed.
Option 1: chop main trunk, repot at new angle, and grow branch on left as new main leader (giving tree more movement) (pictures option 1)
Option 2: chop side branch and emphasize a formal upright design (picture option 2)
Option 3: do nothing, probably choose front as showing in picture (3-2)
Option 3: Suggestions..?
 

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Shibui

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I am always in favor of taper so would probably follow option 1 to remove the thicker part and retain the thinner section for taper and movement.
It is all very well proposing a change of angle but without checking the roots it is not possible to say whether that can be done. Main trident roots will be stiff by this stage so moving existing roots is difficult - impossible. Tilting the trunk may leave some roots sticking out of the soil- not a good look. If you are very lucky the roots will be deeper on one side so tilt is possible without and changes. Sometimes a few upper roots can be removed to allow such a change of angle. Sometimes it is just not possible. Check roots before making any commitment to design changes but now is not a good time to bare root for you. You can carefully excavate the surface soil to see what roots are there but probably defer any major work until the correct time of year for your area.
 
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Option #3. Let it sit in an area and watch it for at least a few weeks. You might come up with better ideas then. Since you just got the maple you don't have to force yourself to do anything if you are not ready. It is a healthy looking maple.
 

AlainK

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Like Shibui, option 1.

And as a fan of air-layers, that are easy to grow in a few weeks'time, I'd air-layer the other brach in late april/early may, and severe it in late June.
 

Leo in N E Illinois

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Option 4: Informal Broom

The informal broom is much more naturalistic, maples in the real world actually take this form. It follows a 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 ..... continue the pattern. Unlike the formal broom, where all the branches emerge from a single cluster on the trunk the informal broom the trunk branches to 2, then each of those sub-trunks branch to make 4, each of those sub-trunks continue rising up and branch to make 8, and so forth. The trunks rise up and then arch out, giving you a wine glass shape. It can be a tall glass for white wine, or it can flare outward as for reds, or it can be very wide as for champagne. Each sub-trunk segment should be less than the length of the previous.

I'd make the first cuts as below. Remove all the smaller side branches too, as below the first sub-trunks there should be no branches.
Trident broom - front pivot.jpg

Just one of the options, I am not a fan of single trunk line on deciduous trees, I prefer more naturalistic designs. Look at Walter Palls maples for inspiration. But if you don't like the idea, that is okay too.
 

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