Summer work on a trident maple

This tree was wired after the leaves fell, late November 2020

By the second pruning in late spring 2021, it was time to remove wires.

Using a photo of the leafless tree to make sure I don’t miss any wires!
Wires removed, and lightly pruned, late April 2021.

And in mid-summer, it was time to get a look at what was going on under all that foliage.

During explosive growth, whorls and strong shoots can develop, which aren’t useful to the design of the tree. I left the long shoots in case one was necessary as a sacrifice branch, but most of the leaves were removed so I could prune back the growth to evenly-sized transitions and pairs of shoots at each terminal.

First right branch, pruned back to pairs of shoots, with good transitions and short internodes.
Repeating this moving upward into the tree. Adding a few wires where necessary.
Work complete, mid-July 2021.
Night shot

Exactly 3 weeks later, here is how the tree has responded. The leaves are slightly larger, and the internodes on some shoots are longer.

So the tree was lightly pruned, removing long shoots back to the first internode, and some of the larger leaves were removed.

And then it was returned to the bench to continue growing out.

Trident maple spring pruning

Things are slowing down a bit now, except for the tridents and black pines. It’s a bit too early to candle-cut the pines (I do this 100 days before our average first frost).

This trident was wired over the winter, secondary branches mostly, and allowed to grow in March. I want good movement, good taper, and no bulges at the cuts. Here is a shot before leafing out this spring.

First round of pruning in April.

Second round in May, as wires were biting in, they were located with the help of a leafless photo, and removed. I also went branch by branch, eliminating strong shoots, clusters, and those growing from the bottom sides of branches. This will help keep those secondary to tertiary branch transitions smoother.

Third cut back in June was another rounding out, which really just slows down the strong shoots and gives weaker ones a chance.

In July, I’ll go back and prune hard again, reducing shoots down to evenly-sized pairs, wire out some new growth, and let it grow again.

Fall work on yet another trident maple

Great fall color this year.

Then came the rain and the show was over.

Leaves removed

Pruned back.

A few shots all around the tree.




Reviewing photos, here are a few areas that need some work, pruning or wiring, and the expected 2021 profile, balancing it a bit more toward the left. Because I am developing a couple right side branches, the profile looked a bit lopsided to the right this year. Over time, the triangular shape will become more rounded and wider at the top.

First right branch:

First left branch:


After a little more tidying up:

I am working to build the primary branch structure “right” from the trunk. It often means taking a step back in the apparent development, but over time this approach should pay off.