Shoehorning a Trident Maple into a Shohin pot

I have had this tree for close to 20 years now, and this is probably the smallest it’s ever been. Deciding to make it into a “sumo” Shohin later meant challenges to finding a suitable pot because the base had gotten wide. It’s been in this 12″ wide Ino pot for the last few years, which is visually too big. Most Shohin pots are around 6″, which are too small. Fortunately, I found this Ikkou at 7 3/8″, that I thought would work.

The current planting:

Unpotted:

I only had to remove a little from the heavy roots to make it work, and I tried to leave some live feeder roots on each cut to prevent dieback.

I also potted it a little deeper this time to encourage fine roots. Over time I can raise the planting depth and expose more flare. For now, here is the result.

Watered in:

Shohin Japanese Maple winter pruning and wiring

I have had this little clump for about 3 years. The mature bark is starting to form, and it has a good base starting to show that “turtle back” look. During the growing season, it has been pinched, and during the winter it has been pruned, but I have not wired it yet. As it started the winter:

Close- up of the base and bark forming:

Some heavy areas to address, largest trunk:

Pruning at the red line:

Back left trunk:

Pruning at the red line:

Pruned back:

Wired:

Placed and evaluated:

Adjustments needed:

Finished for now:

Transitions are softer now, and the tree has some balance from side to side. It will be repotted again in spring, and the work for 2020 will include building some ramification, and addressing the apex of the tallest trunk. Pot, Koyo.

Sumo-Shohin trident maple winter pruning

I’ve been working on this one for about 15 years, in and out of the ground, several heavy chops, plenty of rot and putty, and even a few grafts. Finally, it’s starting to look like a grotesque fat little trident. No good fall color this year, thanks to a quick drop down to 22f just as fall color was coming on. So the leaves were stripped, and here it is:

It was defoliated this summer for a chance to prune it, but still quite a few shoots grew out and away and imbalanced. The goal is to trim back to even-strength branches, bifrucating pairs, and shorter internodes. Starting with this:

Pruned like this:

To finish up like this:

Next spring, the challenge will be to shoehorn it into a proper Shohin pot.

Taking it from the 10″ wide Ino down to about a 6.5″ wide Koyo. I think it can get there, and then it will be suitable for a Shohin display.

A night shot:

…and the likely future planting angle, turned just a bit to the left:

The Ino pot is one of my favorites, so I’ll be eager to find a new pairing…maybe the Chinese Quince…

Happy Thanksgiving to the bonsai folks on this side of the pond, and happy birthday brother!