Trident maples, a chronical

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Trident maples, a chronicle

Six years to the month I began a project that would come to be the most rewarding of my bonsai journey so far. I started developing three trident for the future by growing them out to what I would call sumo proportions. Many will remember the project as chronicles at bonsaiTALK 6 years ago, but more recently I have not updated how the tridents had changed.

The Process.

I purchased five trident maple yard trees. They were growing in five gallon nursery containers and had grown into the ground. The root mass was very compact and most of the wood was contained outside of the container. The trunks were about 1.25 inch across and the trees were about 12 feet tall, not many branches and basicly broom sticks. Ripsgreentree helped me dig them out that day and saw them down shorter to get them into my pickup.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
The next weekend I began the journey of chopping them back to small stumps. Each tree was taken from the nursery can and cut in half with an axe across the root mass to shorten it. This did the trees no harm since the root ball was very bad and roots issued all over the trunks. The root ball was nearly two feet long beneath the crown of the trunk due to growing into the ground and out of the can. Each trunk was shortened down to the lowest bud on the trunk.

The process works like this. The tree is now fertilized watered heavily allowing full unrestiricted growth in full sun. The canes that shoot up from the base of the trunk will reach 9 to 10 feet in one season here. I have a 9 month growing season with fairly mild winters so growth is almost year round. These canes are left on thru the winter.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
In spring, just before bud break, the canes are cut back to with in 1/4 inch of the trunk. This is crucial. DO NOT CUT FLUSH WITH TRUNK. What we want here is massive trunk growth due to scarring of the prune cuts. Tridents build callous tissue very thick and it is the thick tissue that adds girth to the trunk base. Continue this process by allowing rank growth thru the year and prune back in each spring. For these trees I did this for three seperate years.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
In the fourth year select an appropriate leader to become the basis for trunk extension. This will become the tapered part for the new tree. Keep all canes from growing now and focus all energy into building the leader of the tree. This is the most difficult and time consuming part of the process. A little talent and experience is needed here to keep the tree from growing too long before chopping back, sometimes two times in a season. Take a three week vacation and you may have to chop it back and start over. Buds will have to be selected for pushing the trees new leader in the correct direction. This can be a crap shoot sometimes and is not always the direction you hope for as the tissue stretches and moves like molten lava as it grows.

The front one year may be the back the next year. Hopefully the tree will posess enough good attributes and look good from all angles when it comes time to put on branches.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
At the beginning of the fourth year it is ready for it's first repot since starting. The tree was allowed to grow for those three years and repotting too soon will stall progress when growing tissue. At this time the beginning of two ground layers would take place. If this project was to mean anything I would need to have a root mass that would work in a suitable shohin pot. That would mean having a very compact small root pad around the tree. Not many large roots but a good fiberous root system that would allow for bending and working in the roots around in a small pot. During the whole process the trees were grown in pure construction grade sand. They were also grown thru the whole process in the five gallon nursery type containers they were brought home in. Not the same ones, but new ones that were not destroyed by my axe. As the project moved on they were cut down to about 4 inches tall by the end of the project. The trees never saw the ground nor were they grown in colondars. I feel there is absolutely no need for all these gimmick type items and while some may have good luck with them I have done fine with black plastic pots. Humic acid...now thats a different matter!
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Redwing

Yamadori
Messages
93
Reaction score
2
Location
Pacific NW
USDA Zone
8
For a guy laughs at Will's editorial performance, you'd think you could spell-check your thread title, Al.
 

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
For a guy laughs at Will's editorial performance, you'd think you could spell-check your thread title, Al.
Good thing I don't profess to be an editor.
 

Redwing

Yamadori
Messages
93
Reaction score
2
Location
Pacific NW
USDA Zone
8
Confession: I am enjoying the thread. Interesting stuff. I do wonder whether you shouldn't have worked the root base more early on, taking off everything growing down to build a tapering nebari right from the start. Thoughts on this? Would you do it the same if you were to do it all over again?

-rw
 

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Two more years would be spent on developing taper and roots. In the fifth year it was layered again. This time in the spot I would choose based on trunk development and taper. This is a very tricky thing to do since roots do not always issue close to the layer area. Sometimes tridents will issue roots a full inch above the top cut making the tree useless because it makes it too short. I have found that by making my first cuts and then dressing them with a razor sharp grafting knife and useing hormone on tissue paper I can controll where the hormone goes. This allows for roots to issue at the cut area since I am dealing with a tree only 6 inches tall. One inch too high and the tree is useless.

edit: The tissue paper is cut into a strip and glued in place with the hormone right at the edge of the top cut.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
During the fourth and fifth year special attention is paid to choosing any branch buds that pop out in usefull areas. Keep all the buds and develop them carefully. The key is to stay on them and cut back to two leaves every other week. Allowing the internodes to grow too long and harden off will require removal of that branch and starting over.Thread grafts are appropriate now as well as approach grafts. Allowing shoots to lengthen will allow a person to use stock from the same tree insuring the same size leaf. Just bend them around to key spots and thread graft or approach.Tridents vary greatly in leaf size and the wrong stock grafted on looks funky...trust me! I have some tridents that get leaves no bigger than my little finger nail.
 

Attachments

  • Like
Reactions: GGB

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
As I came into the sixth year I was amazed at how well the little trees responded. I have just stayed on them for branch ramification and will continue to do that thru the years. This year, the sixth, I decided to carve out the original pruning scar from the original chop. They never popped buds there and I thought that a hollow would look better than the dead wood that was flat and boring. A little work with the die grinder and the wood was chewed away revealing a small hollow. I did not want to over do this and will allow the tissue to roll over and semi heal. If it looks good I may allow it to heal completely over if it wants to.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Both trees have between 3 and 4 inch trunks at the base and are only 6 inches tall. What happened to the other three? Well in this project I chopped three for the future. I still have the third one but did not get to repotting it. It will be added here next weekend. That tree is the subject of a split/double type trunk. It is still undergoing radical techniques and looks funny now but will look good in about two more years. The other two? I chopped them and started the root development phase first. Now they are ready to undergo a new process I am working on for building the trunk. They will undergo phase two for the future future.
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Are the two above done? Not by my standards. They still need smaller pots but as you can see above, what I started with and getting them in these pots was a lot of fun.

They both still need better branching and better ramification. That will come with time.

The third one, its coming along.

Cheers, Al
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Confession: I am enjoying the thread. Interesting stuff. I do wonder whether you shouldn't have worked the root base more early on, taking off everything growing down to build a tapering nebari right from the start. Thoughts on this? Would you do it the same if you were to do it all over again?

-rw
Had you waited till I was done posting the whole series you would have read about it and wouldn't have needed to ask the question
 

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
While I was repotting I potted a few other tridents. This one was done the same way only on a smaller scale. This tree was developed independantly of the other three and used different techniques which will be applied to the other two that have undergone layers to develop root bases before the trunk gro out.

This tree is 4 inches tall and has a two inch trunk base. It was started from a pencil size cutting.
Yamakii pot.
 

Attachments

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
This tree was an import from Korea. I have had it in a gro container for two years growing a new nebari on it. Still three years away from exposing it though. Here it is in it's new pot.

Trunk at base 3.5 inches and 7 inches tall.

Pot by Yoshimura

Cheers, Al
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Redwing

Yamadori
Messages
93
Reaction score
2
Location
Pacific NW
USDA Zone
8
Had you waited till I was done posting the whole series you would have read about it and wouldn't have needed to ask the question

Sorry, Al -- you just got me so excited.
 

Smoke

Ignore-Amus
Messages
11,563
Reaction score
19,735
Location
Fresno, CA
USDA Zone
9
Thats OK, your enthusiasim is refreshing.

Al
 
Messages
700
Reaction score
77
Location
cincinnati, USA
While I was repotting I potted a few other tridents. This one was done the same way only on a smaller scale. This tree was developed independantly of the other three and used different techniques which will be applied to the other two that have undergone layers to develop root bases before the trunk gro out.

This tree is 4 inches tall and has a two inch trunk base. It was started from a pencil size cutting.
Yamakii pot.
wow, i really like this one the most.
 
Top Bottom