Fall work on a Shohin trident maple

The fall color was really nice, due to mild weather and no early freezes like we had last year.

And with the leaves now gone, we can work on the structure a bit.

Remove strong secondaries, upward- and downward-growing shoots, and crossing branches.

The results:

I’m still sorting out the apex, and will allow the lower branches to widen just a bit more over time. For now, I’m happy with the progress.

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!

Lazy Trident Maple, or Don’t ever give up!

This one took a snap frost last November which zapped all the leaves,

And I didn’t think much of it at the time. But by mid-March, all the other trees were growing except this trident.

By April, everything was ready for a haircut (including me…after a month of Corona quarantine)

A cambium check suggested the tree was still alive, so I kept it in shade, and treated it like it was still alive, watering and feeding it. Until finally, on April 25, fully 6 weeks later than the torch tridents, I noticed suddenly the buds had broken:

April 30:

Strange to see Kurume azaleas finishing blooming, Satsukis starting, and a bare trident a month them.

May 15…breathing a sigh of relief now…