Trident Maple cutting

How to make a bonsai tree in 15 years.

A cutting made in 2007, here is the first photo it appeared in, 2008, year 2:

End of 2009 growing season, year 3:

Dug in spring 2010 for some root work, and grown for a year in a container to develop some in-close roots:

2012, end of year 6, allowed to grow to about 15′ tall in the previous 2 growing seasons:

Chopped down to 7″ tall in spring 2013, year 7:

And the second trunk section is the result of a single growing season, spring 2014, year 8:

Dug for a move in spring 2015, took the opportunity to do some root work. It has been containerized since? Year 9:

Pruned back hard in the fall of 2016, end of year 10:

2017, keeping final branches short, and developing a tapering trunk while trying to heal chop scars. Year 11:

During spring 2018, I was not happy with the movement and bulging at the upper trunk section, so I chopped it again, setting it back a couple years. I also repotted it, to arrange and flatten the roots in preparation for a shallow bonsai pot, year 12:

At the end of 2019 growing season, the first chop scar from 2013 was closed, as was the second chop from 2014, leaving only the 2018 chop (visible below) left to heal. Time to turn attention from trunk to primary and secondary branches. The trunk has reached the size I wanted, the flare of the base is good, but may need some approach grafts in the center.

After pruning and wiring:

Repotted and into the first bonsai pot in spring 2020, year 14:

And after 5-6 haircuts during the growing season.

Stay tuned for fall color soon!

Ginkgo close-ups

I took a few shots of this tree just as fall color was starting to peek in. New posts coming soon, but for now enjoy some photos.

This is a ginkgo grown from seed I collected in 1997, making the tree 23 years old. It is about 18” tall, in a 13.5” wide Tokoname pot. I decided to try a masculine pot this year, hopeful it would be a nice match at fall, and a little larger to get through a year of typical massive root growth.

Mistakes while carving Shari

Red shows dead spots:

Had I followed the dead areas first instead of trying to carve a spiral Shari as shown in the virt below.

I would have preserved the left live vein on the right trunk.

Allowing 2 or 3 live veins

Keeping the left live vein alive would have added interest and options for styling.

Ultimately I’m growing to like the tree, but I always wondered if I could have brought out a better tree from the material. Here is a shot after pruning and wiring this spring.

And another after it filled in a bit more. Next spring, I’ll get it into a more decisive pot.