Trident Maple 021

This tree was put together for a project I have wanted to do for a long time. The idea started in 2011 out of a need for maple stock in a spreading oak tree style. After searching in vain for that style of tree grown specifically for bonsai , I decided to grow my own. Most maple stock for bonsai tends to be in this movement oriented tapering to a point trunk. It is easy to make and can be kept under control during field growing pretty easy, needing only removal of large branches on the trunk to keep shape under control. Upon ownership of one of these trunks it is only possible to build a one, two, three branch type structure upon this tapering single trunk. What I wanted was a large trunk that came out of the ground and began spreading into multiple trunks with outward spreading branches and with a more natural look.

So with that image in mind I set out to build my own spreading oak maple. I had some trident maples from George Muranaka that had some turned bases that would be perfect for this project. I felt that the curved surfaces could be grafted together to make a single trunk and the tops of each tree could contribute towards building the canopy.

Most of the trees had already been prepared for growing out by reducing the roots on each and were perfect for this project.

I began by looking for the best mating pair for each and finding the best solution for mating the three.

Once the best position for the three was found I began by taping them together. They were pushed hard together and taped as tight as I could get them. Cutting away roots as needed.

Once I had the group taped in two places I began to run my saw down each union to expose green cambium on each graft.

The saw cuts were sealed well with green jin seal.

After all the cuts were sealed I wrapped the entire mated portion of the trunk with tape. In places at the base I already had a trunk nearly two inches across and I only started with three saplings.

At this point the entire tree was only about 12 inches tall.

I used a big ten inch clay bulb pan to grow it out in. It was planted well with traditional bonsai soil rather coarse.

In this picture you can just make out the wire I put around the trunk. I was so worried this thing would explode open like the turkey Clark cuts on Christmas Vacation!

Tied in well.

Back filled with soil.

After planting a few branches were wired and positioned to fill voids in the canopy due to the configuration of the trees.

By 2013 the tree was growing very well. Now I had two restraints on the trunk and had them wrapped in vinyl hose. It’s first defoliation, and the leaves have been very nice on this tree. very small.

Two years later and cutting the tape is showing that grafting along the unions is taking place. I am very pleased with the progress.

Here shows about an inch long section fully grafted along it’s length.

Now I decide to start paying attention to all the pruning scars over the years. This stock was always destined to be grafting material I purchased from George for approach grafting shoots from these trees to better trees in my collection. None of these were really intended to be stand alone bonsai due mostly to the poor character of the bases. Now they have new purpose and they need to be repaired.

These transitions need refining and smoothing. They are dry and brittle and have not closed due to rough cuts.

I use a die grinder and smooth out the transitions and blend them all into the trunk. Each is covered with cut paste to facilitate healing.

I don’t have any pictures of this last treatment, but around 2015 I added three small whips in between places at the soil line where there were gaps in the trunk. These were seedlings that I grew from seeds planted in 2013. The picture below shows a seedling planted in.

Here is a seedling planted in a whole in the bottom of two trees.

I had built a collar and filled it with soil in an effort to get the base of the trunk to root up more. My intention was to get the soil line in the same place all around the tree.

In 2014 I added two more restraints to the trunk because of the whips I added.

I now have grafting up in the top of the tree and the trunk is unifying quite well.

In 2018 it was put into its’ first glazed ceramic container. All of the restraints are now gone and the tree in leaf is starting to look much like the picture I showed.

The trunk shows a good amount of gnarliness and makes a nice image against the tree in leaf. It has the patina of age and makes a convincing old look tree though young.

One of the small saplings I added is shown and all that remains of it is the one small branch that I left on it.

One can see the stub of one of the added saplings and it being cut off flush with the trunk. It grafted fully in place and did its job filling a void in the trunk. In a few years it will be gone as new wood covers it over. The tree has filled out to a three inch trunk at the base, a1 inch larger than when I started. The tree now stands 14 inches tall, two inches taller than when I started. I built this stand and tried using a colored stain and finish on the wood work. I had built the stand with this tree in mind in it’s winter imagery. The tree is shown from what I feel is the best front and will be reflected in this next years repot in January. I don’t feel this is a final pot since this one seems clunky for the tree. It needs something more refined and with a lighter feel.

Repotted for 2020

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Posted December 8, 2019 by California Bonsai Art

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