Root over rock trident maple project

I started this project in ’10, with a 2-year old cutting and a rock I picked up a long time ago. It’s one of 3 similar stones I found in the same area…just can’t remember where! They’re all smooth, hard and dark. This one is about 10″ tall.

’10, the cutting:


Sloppily attached to the stone:


It was then planted deep into the orange can in the background, and left to grow unchecked all year.

In ’11, here is the progress after one year:


Roots trimmed and redirected to follow the grain of the stone, then wrapped in raffia:



Tightly covered in Parafilm:



In ’12, worked again, and to experiment, wrapped it in Saran Wrap and taped down (Parafilm is better). The root isn’t attaching very well at the top. Ideally, no daylight is visible between the root and the rock. I cleaned up the roots a little more, and put it back in the ground.

My vision for this tree is to have interesting, well-attached roots, then a nice spreading nebari at the soil level.




It was allowed to grow until July, then it was cut back.

In ’13, it was time to address the gap and to work a little on cut at the back.

How did it look?


Then, clean up the dead wood, expose the cambium to keep it rolling, and fill it with cut paste (shown later):


Expose cambium and pack the area with spaghnum moss. Lets hope for either more roots, or for the callus to swell to consume the space between the rock and roots.




Clean up the roots and direct them a little, then wrap in Parafilm and cover with raffia:


Then, trim the roots that will eventually form the nebari at the soil surface, once it is in a pot:

It went back in the ground for another year, and each year it’s planted a little higher…this year, just about at the level it will be planted into a bonsai pot. Here it is just a few weeks later.

Most likely, it will go into a pot next year to develop branches!


7 thoughts on “Root over rock trident maple project

  1. Nice Progression indeed BVF. I’ve got a whole bunch of ROR tridents in varying stages, using both the tightly wrapped roots method presented here and the “multiple seedlings as roots grafted together at top of stone” method. The latter method is for thickening of the wrapping roots, but they’re slower to flatten. Good and bad in both methods. What I will recomend to anyone else is Seiryu stone, easily had though relatively high(at maybe 5$ a pound). It’s normally used for aquascaping, but it has all the interesting qualities we look for in great ROR stones.

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