A few other areas to address on this maple include:
1. Smoothing out some of the callus tissue.
2. Softening the heavy upper left branch.
3. Making the color of the tree homogenous, as the current colors are distracting.
Ready? Lets get started.
Kathy is detail-oriented, tidy, and very precise. We used the trowel end of a pair of tweezers to smooth out rough spots, and to rough up calluses to keep them rolling. She taught us this a couple years ago, but somehow I forget to remember to do it…maybe not anymore. Here is an example on a trident maple, before and after:
The upper left branch is really a second trunk and a second apex. I have been negotiating with this tree over this branch for nearly a decade. It is very strong, and I’ve been considering removing it for a while. It has a pretty large pruning scar, which is distracting.
Over the years, other branches have grown that could be wired into position to eventually replace the whole thing, all the way down to where it meets the first branch on the left…at the red line:
It bothers me more than it bothered Kathy. She wanted to start by removing the heavy shoot highlighted in yellow, then we identified branches we could use to eventually occupy the space. I was pleased that she grabbed the same two branches to use that I had decided on last year, traced in green:
Instead of removing it completely, we reduced it a bit. I wired a couple branches to start moving them into the space. The larger one was wrapped with 5 mm aluminum, to which I attached a copper guy-wire that I can tighten it a little at a time, by pulling and twisting the pigtail on the left side. this will bring it into position over a few months’ time.
Lastly, part of the trunk is barking up. Other parts are still green, and newer shoots are burgundy in color. It’s distracting, and does not convey the illusion of quiet age. To address this, Kathy said to paint every shoot, branch, and the trunk with a 1:1 lime sulfur and water solution. While it will require several annual applications, the first application really did “quiet” the composition. Hence the yellow color in the photo above. However, in the sunshine, that yellow becomes nice, white, and more uniform in color. Really sets off those red buds, doesn’t it?
Fast-forward a couple weeks….
When the buds open, and each year for the past 6 years, I pluck out the center, leaving only one pair of leaves (and 2 buds for next year) at each node. This is done to keep the internodes short, and to keep the ramification fine and balanced: