Trident with an identity crisis!

JudyB

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Hi all, this is a trident maple that is just starting to get some decent branching built on it. I've been working on it from it's intended front, but as I have been turning it, I see it has an entirely different personality from the current back. The front I've been working with is very feminine, and I love it's curves. But the back seems very strong and masculine to me, and it seems to be pulling me in both directions now. I know that both sides have their issues, there is a very large branch scar on the "back". I never worried about that, as it was the back... I think it could make an interesting if very large uro, but I'd have to start working on this being the front soon I think so the branching can be arranged in a better manner. Also to decide where the apex goes. Still have a long way to go with this, but thought I'd get some input other than my own... First two pics are the "front" last 3 are the back. Thoughts?
 

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mcpesq817

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I sorta like the trunk line of the back, particularly with the fifth picture. You'll have to deal with the scar, but they seem to heal pretty quickly with tridents.

I think the problem with the current "front" is that the wired part of the trunk line is moving to the back of the tree, whereas the trunk line should generally be moving towards the viewer/front of the tree.
 
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cquinn

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I would keep the current front. Unless you're willing to let it grow wild for about 3 yrs to heal that big scar.
 

Jason

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I like your current front better than the back. The apex could be modified.
 

james

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Very nice start...

This tree has great potential. The current front has the advantage of nice trunk movement. The back has the large scar, while it can and will heal, it may still distract the eye. I agree that the front would ideally move forward, yet you will have plenty of opportunity to bring the ultimate crown forward.

If it was my tree, I would work on:

1. Movement in the lower branches which can still be shaped (as you are). Possibly bring the right hand branch midway up trunk up a bit, rather than down. Cut back major braches in spring, and shape with wire. Identify new leader, let it grow freely.
2. The scar at the top will heal rapidly, given all the nearby growth.
3. Consider reducing length of large surface roots with next repot.

It will develop nicely, if you get frustrated with the tree, I would gladly take it off your hands!

Good luck, nice job. Josh
 

Smoke

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This tree is very weak. The tree should have a full lush canopy right now. Dense branching by fall. This tree needs much more loose soil and heavy fertilizer to get happy. Tridents like water and fertilizer.

The scars will be VERY slow to heal with the branching the way it is. Scars need branches to close. The branch scar has nothing around it and will just stay that way unless something buds nearby and is let to grow wild for a few years.

This forum has had many new people come by this year. I think thats great. What the forum does not know is where a person wants to go with a tree. Does this tree seem to have the potential to be something really great in the future, and is the owner willing to do what is necessary to get it there?

Or do you enjoy looking at the tree in your back yard and wish to take it slow and will let the tree sort of make its way on its own.

I ask because the two are not mutually inclusive.

If you are inclined to do what really needs to be done I can give you some recomendations on what to do.

If you like it now, .... then, nice tree, you have done well.

Al

http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=138
http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4535
http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3149
http://bonsainut.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4641

This is what a well fed trident should look like right now.
 

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jk_lewis

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Smoke is right. You have a while yet before you have to concern yourself with "fronts" or "backs." The canopy needs a LOT of work.

I suspect you have been underfertilizing this tree. Miracle Grow at full Label strength weekly through the growing season, and at least one full defoliation each growing season for 2 or 3 more years might give you a better top (and some branches growing around the scar). Turning the scar into a hollow trunk should be a LAST resort. The hollow will be a continual source of irritation if left on the tree.

The best feature of this tree at this point is the base.
 

Smoke

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Smoke is right. You have a while yet before you have to concern yourself with "fronts" or "backs." The canopy needs a LOT of work.

I suspect you have been underfertilizing this tree. Miracle Grow at full Label strength weekly through the growing season, and at least one full defoliation each growing season for 2 or 3 more years might give you a better top (and some branches growing around the scar). Turning the scar into a hollow trunk should be a LAST resort. The hollow will be a continual source of irritation if left on the tree.

The best feature of this tree at this point is the base.

I would not defoliate this tree at all. This tree is not healthy enough for defoliation. Defoliating this tree would set it back two years. The next year would be very weak and the tree would get back to where it is now by the second year, so I don't see doing that much damage to a tree in this weak state.

Besides defoliating is for tree that have great tertiary branching and need further twiggyness. This tree does not yet even have correct prmary branching. What I would do is radical and probobly not something anyone else would be willing to do. Much the same reason I have not yet responded to the other trident thread I got in to.:eek:
 
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my constructive criticism would be that personally, I think that when you did your initial trunk reduction cut, that you did not cut down far enough...
the problem being that by the time you are able to build the correct taper, I feel that your overall height of the tree is going to be somewhat out of porportion with your trunk...

I think that it is a very common mistake, that often times one does not consider properly the exact location of where to do this cut. Often finding themselves a couple of years latter, reducing it down further, and practically starting over.

Your tree is very nice, but I too believe it has the potential of being great, if one would be willing to do the necessary evils, to make it such... I agree with Smoke here...
So what I would do, is re-cut the trunk down further, and I hate to say it, but restart again, sorry... Also, I would do some trimming on the larger roots, just to bring them back in and make the overall look a little tighter.
 

grouper52

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Ardhanari, the hermaphrodite form of Shiva. From the Hindu. :)
 

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Grouper52, not quite sure where you are going with that but ok...

Red Foxx, of the Sandford and Sons... You big dummy... :):):)
 
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grouper52

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stacy allen muse, your "Red Foxx" rejoinder would have me in checkmate under most circumstances, but I think we are playing on different boards. I'm not "going anywhere" with this, or with anything else. But what I AM doing is making a connection between JudyB's thought in the opening post of the thread -

"I've been working on it from it's intended front, but as I have been turning it, I see it has an entirely different personality from the current back. The front I've been working with is very feminine, and I love it's curves. But the back seems very strong and masculine to me, and it seems to be pulling me in both directions now."

- and this sacred blend of the masculine and feminine (wearing a crown of foliage to boot!). :D

I've been studying under Klytus these days :)eek:), but obviously don't have it down yet. My humblest. :eek:
 

Smoke

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I've been studying under Klytus these days :)eek:), but obviously don't have it down yet. My humblest. :eek:

Still August 30th...you just made it under the wire...

Best line of the month!!!
 

jk_lewis

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I would not defoliate this tree at all. This tree is not healthy enough for defoliation.

For heaven's sake. I didn't say do it NOW, or even this year.
 

JudyB

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Ok, first - great response, I love this board, people seem to be very engaged here. Will, I was thinking more Victor Victoria, but I'll take it. (But where is your suggestion? I'd love your input...) Smoke, as far as doing what needs to be done, that is why I am here, not to post pictures of my pitiful little projects. I'm learning by doing, and having help from you all is part of how I'll get to the next level. So fire away, and tell me what you'd suggest. I'm not averse to starting over with a new chop, but I also don't want to take the character that I first saw in this material away. I have a penchant for the singular looking tree, I'm not looking for a perfect copy of every other thing out there. But I also don't want to do bad work that I'll look at later and say What Was I Thinking! This tree just started it's new branching this year, seems like it's put on a lot of growth to me, following are pics of the tree, first after leaf fall with it's initial chop, and then late winter after taking it all back to the trunk. Do you still feel it's weak? I feed every week with a balanced liquid fert, sometimes during the active growth, twice a week on this tree. I can't do fert. cakes or fish emuls. as the raccoons will come and dig up the tree. Please feel free to say whatever you think needs to be done, but keep in mind, I'm not experienced with grafting, or some of the other more advanced procedures, so I must out of concern for the health of the tree proceed with some caution.

I'm honored that you'd take your time to help me.
 

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grouper52

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Judy, my thoughts are largely in keeping with those of jkl, smoke and the Red Foxx muse. I like your chosen, more feminine front best: the sense of the curve and the dance-like way it carries into the left side nebari is quite appealing, so I'd go with Shakti. :)

That is the one thing with real appeal here, and I believe you will have to bite the bullet and make some substantial long-term changes to make the most of that feature. The Red Foxx has it right in his photo (the photo of the tree, that is). The tree is too tall as you have it configured, and the only real interest is below his chop.

The nebari go on too far, front and back, and will look better if you follow his advice there as well. I like the drama of the nebari being a bit longer than normal on this tree, but they are so long currently as to be distracting. You don't want distraction, you want the eye watching the central dance.

I'd also plant some cuttings so that in later years you can create a new small nebari with an approach graft at that awkward, distracting middle spot. It should be REALLY simple to do so, esp on this tree, and you can learn how while the cuttings are establishing over the next few years. It will add greatly.

I'd consider a large grow box and soil approaching pure akadama, or preferably establishing the tree in the ground for a few years, and only do the radical cut after it is REALLY robust. The back budding, which will then give you lots of options for new branching, will be much better if the tree is flowing with a lot more vigor than it has now.

We've talked about wiring before, so I won't say much except that the wee little branchlet dancing down in the ten o'clock position in relation to muse's trunk chop line is the only one where you've gained anything from your wiring efforts. The others are merely wrapped, but not configured in any interesting or attractive way three dimensionally. Gracefully dancing branches would be preferable to really gnarly stuff on this tree, but a little gem-like ornament or two like that would greatly complement the image, like actual jewelry does for a woman. Unfortunately, that little bauble lies above the chop. :(

Hope that helps. This will be a long-term project if done right, but with potential to be a very attractive long-term project. Nicely chosen material. It will be wonderful to see it in about ten years, but keep us posted as it goes along.

Will
 

JudyB

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Yes thanks. Back to the tile! Ok, so can I put it back into the ground this fall, I'd like to get that good root growth season on it if possible. Since it's back into the ground, I won't need to cut any current roots... After looking again at the wiring, I agree. It seems like I'm doing so much when I'm bending, but after looking at the pic, it seems so.. well...straight. I'll have to work on that.

I'd rather have a longer term project than a mediocre tree in a year.
 

Smoke

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Yes thanks. Back to the tile! Ok, so can I put it back into the ground this fall, I'd like to get that good root growth season on it if possible. Since it's back into the ground, I won't need to cut any current roots... After looking again at the wiring, I agree. It seems like I'm doing so much when I'm bending, but after looking at the pic, it seems so.. well...straight. I'll have to work on that.

I'd rather have a longer term project than a mediocre tree in a year.

Where to go....

Tridents, my favorite subject. I am not partial to ground growing. First a thing or two about growing in the ground. Trees do not respond the first year. Ground grown trees come on strong in the second and third years with root management there after. Then back in the ground till thickness is achieved.

I prefer the escape method for tridents. It just as fast yet an ungainly root system can be controlled much better than if totally in the ground. Wrap root ball in burlap, plant in suitable can with larger drainage holes, plant can in ground and let it take off. This method will let you go for about 4 years without cutting the roots. Scars will heal in that time, and chops will melt away in four years. the burlap keeps the copact roots close to the trunk while those larger roots will penetrate and grow out the holes and bolt. these wil do the heavy lifting so to speak.

Ok on to the tree. You chosen front is Ok with me also. the only thing that bumps me is the unsightly chop at the top and why it seems to be a cleft and why the major part of the chop shows from the front? The chop looks so much better from the back.

Ok your trunk. This is what I would do.

First this trunk is pretty big already and it is not going to bend. First of all lets talk about taper. Real trees do not have taper like we seem to think they need in bonsai. Sure a tree tapers from bottom to top simply because the top is youngest. Old trees start to lose taper with age and seem to bulk up as they get older. When a trees verticle limit is reached it begins to grow out and flatten rather than continuing to grow taller. I hope you have been reading the other thread about the trident and a 5 year progression. I said "Nice pine", and the owner commented that he understood exactly what I said in only two words. He was growing a diciduous tree in a way a pine tree grows. Trident maples do not grow that way. They grow in a modified broom form.

This is the trunk on my maple without leaves. This is a photo from around 2004 or so.
 

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