This trident maple was purchased from Ian Price of Lone Pine Gardens in 2010 for $400.00. I had not spent this much money for a trident before and frankly had bought much better for much less. This tree seemed to have something I found very interesting in the trunk line which I thought I could highlight and improve so I bought it. The trunk is about 3 inches across at the base and it has lots of flare under the soil to improve and expose in the future. At this point the tree is only about 15 inches tall.
After reaching home from the convention I set out to achieve my future plan. Some preliminary chops were set out and options for the line were studied.
In January of 2011 I noticed while uncovering the base of the tree that part of the roots were missing on one side of the trunk. The bark was removed and hormone applied and covered with cut paste.
Chops were made and now I was committed to the plan. The chops were sealed and left to bud.
This poor Charlie Brown tree ( as my wife calls them ) is taken back to bare bones. It was pretty tough to cut off all that ramification which was probably 10 or more years old.
Approach grafts were added after the grow out year. I wasn’t satisfied with how the tree was budding and decided that grafting would speed things up by a few years.
By the winter of the following year a good branch structure was developing. A long growing season and lots of fertilizer and water helps things grow faster. Pruning along the way is a must and keeping up is a weekly chore.
The tree in leaf is looking nice now. The tree is developing some character and the wounds are healing and better bark is developing. The trunk is now a full 1/4 inch larger across than when I started and that is pretty good in a sawed down 5 gallon nursery can.
The wound I made for some ground layer roots just bridged over and no roots. The scar can be seen albeit faintly.
The Fall of 2013 is showing a much improved canopy of branches and ramification. Still need lots of work on the apex area.
The Spring view is shaping up. The tree has now gone thru two seasons of hedging for shape.
March of 2015 and the structure of the tree is really well defined now. Cleaning and detailing scars is ongoing and a slow process in a small pot with continual pruning.
By June of 2015 the tree is really nice now and the canopy is well defined and tight.
The 2016 season of repotting will put the tree into its first bonsai pot. It has been 6 years of growing and refining to get to this point. This inexpensive white training pot will suffice until 2018 when it will go into its final show pot. Some of the flare can now be seen and there is more to come. The nebari is better lower and that too will show better later. The scar from the layer attempt is on the very lower right edge of the tree and the bark shows much more red. It is completely healed over and is of no cause for concern.
I selected this tree for an entry into the newly formed reemergence of the local Kazari Competition from the now gone Clark Center for Japanese Art.
This accent composition would accompany the entry.
This Japanese scroll would also accompany the display.
Some pictures from the Kazari. This tree has already experienced a lot in its short life under my hand. It will be interesting to see what 6 more years might bring.
This trident maple started life as a bare root tree in a shopping bag at a Fresno Bonsai Society swap meet. The Grower is Ed Clark.Very tough to see any trunk line in this bagged tree, but I saw a decent line and thought I could improve it.
The tree was pruned back very hard and planted in a cut down pond basket. Some wire was used to preserve what branches I did keep.
The tree went on to be used for a demo in what I called livin in “realville”. The shorter story can be read elsewhere on this blog. The contention was that sooner or later every person working with bonsai has to make decisions on which pieces of material to keep and which to find a suitable home for. Hopefully make a few bucks to cover your trouble. The premise was which of the two was the better one to waste ones time on. I kept the one on the right and sold off the other.
I decided to make a virtual of the future of the tree. This was all going on with the 2010 purchase and repotting in 2011.
During that repotting combing of the roots and checking out the deep undercut that was in the lower trunk.
It grew well, but the hot summers of the Central valley drought took its toll on the leaves and strength of the tree.
Here is a good shot of the undercut portion of the trunk. For the tree to look like anything this would have to be addressed and soon!
During the growing phase I kept it pruned back hard on the top and tried to keep the growth in the lower portion of the tree. Very hard to do on a trident.
During the winter of 2012 I decided it was time to address the undercutting.
I used some cutting that had rooted from the previous year, and wood thread graft them thru the trunk.
I also approach grafted four branches on the upper trunk.
All the grafts took. There is one in the center of the trunk which looks like a curving branch.
The tree grew well and the treatment was the same, cutting back the top to allow the bottom to grow and strengthen.
The lower right branch is one of the grafts.
Two years ago I decided the tree was too tall for shohin. Using the stick I made for size limits, we can see the tree is about 1.5 inches too tall.
All along the process this has been my front view of the tree. It received some massive squirrel damage in 2012 and I did not like the look of the trunk after the damage.
A close up view of my stick.
A layer was the only option left to fix the trunk. This would not only get the tree down to the correct size, but would also improve the undercut side of the trunk which had failed with the thread grafts.
The black line was drawn on the trunk and the incisions were made. At the top of the cut I added a large piece of wire around the cut to insure the roots growing outward from the trunk.
After a few weeks, sprouts were coming from the trunk. The wire can just be seen in the photo.
After about 75 days the entire root process stopped. I uncovered the trunk and found that the tissue had bridged and was growing just fine stopping the rootage from growing. I took a sharp knife and cut away all the live wood and allowed it to sit for a couple days open to the air. Then re-buried it.
I allowed free reign now since the roots were growing well. It grew all summer of 2015.
Pruning continued during the appropriate times to not lose the size of branches within the canopy.
Winter of 2016 and time to cut it off the stump and pot it into a new bonsai pot.
I layered in winter of 2014 and allowed it to grow all of 2015. In spring of 2016 this is the root ball I had growing in the colander for one year.
The tree had been growing on an inverted terra cotta water dish to keep the root pad shallow.
Here is what I kept after pruning back the root pad and spreading it out. Good radial root spread with roots all the way around.
Potted in a light blue Yamaki lotus shaped Shohin pot.
Tonight the first pruning was done. All the branches were cut back to a pair.
This small trident maple is from Muranaka Bonsai Nursery. It is in a rather weird “C” shape. Part of that is no doubt due to canting in the pot when dug from the field. The roots shows the previous soil line and though the root is exposed it offeres a nice counter balance to the C shape trunk. A small rounded canopy will be worked on this summer thru selective pruning.
Elms were allowed to grow out and then they received the first wire this week. All I have done so far is prune out the leaders for taper and chosen which branches will be retained and grown on. A group for an upright part of the crown and then the cascadeing part which will be kept rather short.
Mean Town Blues
John Dawson Winter III (February 23, 1944 – July 16, 2014), known as Johnny Winter, was an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Best known for his high-energy blues-rock albums and live performances in the late 1960s and 1970s, Winter also produced three Grammy Award-winning albums for blues singer and guitarist Muddy Waters. After his time with Waters, Winter recorded several Grammy-nominated blues albums. In 1988, he was inducted into the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame and in 2003, he was ranked 63rd in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
Johnny Winter was born in Beaumont, Texas, on February 23, 1944. Winter, with younger brother Edgar (born 1946), was nurtured at an early age by their parents in musical pursuits. Johnny and his brother, both of whom were born with albinism, began performing at an early age. When he was ten years old, the brothers appeared on a local children’s show, singing Everly Brothers songs, with Johnny playing ukelele.
His recording career began at the age of fifteen, when his band Johnny and the Jammers released “School Day Blues” on a Houston record label. During this same period, he was able to see performances by classic blues artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Bobby Bland. In the early days, Winter would sometimes sit in with Roy Head and the Traits when they performed in the Beaumont area, and in 1967, Winter recorded a single with the Traits: “Tramp” backed with “Parchman Farm” (Universal Records 30496). In 1968, he released his first album The Progressive Blues Experiment, on Austin’s Sonobeat Records.
Editors note: One of the finest guitar players of the last century. Johnnies guitar work on this song alone is a masterpiece of single guitar execution. The sound from his one guitar is not possible from multi guitars in many multi guitar bands.
Last year this time I made cutting from a elm tree that I repotted. The cuttings were mostly set up to be cascade and semi cascade neagari style trees. Neagari style means stilted roots.
This is the elms after a season in a basket. Good growth about three feet.
The cuttings were originally selected to be in the neagari style from the get go. Root sections were chosen for the shape and not so much for the size of the trunk. These will all be shohin size trees so size was not much of an issue.
Once it is out of the basket I set to work looking each cutting over to make sure it has good strong roots in which to support the tree in the future. They also must come from the end of the root in such a way as to be compact to form the long claw that will make the base of the tree.
This cutting will require a piece of wire around the roots pulling them down into a longer thinnish shape. This cutting has not had any of the roots trimmed yet and is full of feeder roots. All of the feeders from nearly half of the root system will be cut away leaving only the thick strong “stilt” root
This cutting has a nice bend right at the intersection of roots versus stem. This shape will make a nice semi cascade neagari style tree.
I use my hand to pull all the roots into a long cylinder and affix a wire to hold the shape.
The wired roots look like this. I need the roots to keep this shape while they grow next year. The following year I can seperate them and make them look more artistic if needed, but right now I am just building foundations.
Each tree was planted into a cut down water bottle to keep the feeder roots into some soil as they continue growing down. Each tree was cut back to a apex leader and a cascading leader. Branch building will start now while I work on the bases.
These are the only two non-cascading trees and these will be trained as broom style trees at the same time.