Trident Maple 085


This small tree was one of five. Two were sold, three were grown on and were part of a collection affectionately known as the three little pigs. In 2017 I had a sprinkler incident that took two of them and have this one left. The stories of these trees has circulated all over the internet and I still get email asking me for updates. Here we go.

These five tridents were in five gallon cans and grown thru the cans and into the ground. I cut them free with a shovel and put them into my truck. They sat in the backyard for a few days until I had the time to deal with them.

Upon inspection it was noted that each can was a giant knot of roots. solid five gallon can of wood. I used my chain saw and went thru five chains to free them of the burdon. each tree was literally a cutting. I had absolutely no experience at this sort of thing and all of this was seat of the pants stuff.

Each tree was given it’s own new can to grow in, new five gallon cans.

This is what the leftover wood looked like after being sawed from the tree. Just a big ball of roots.


For the most part these tree just got moved around the backyard and even though I have pictures from back then I don’t have that many and the trees were not really photographed on a regular basis. Mostly because they did not change that much.

The base is pretty fat. About three inches across at this point. In 2003 when I started they were about 1.5 inches so they have doubled in six years in a nursery can.


It is at this time I feel I need to carve out the scar. It is healing but at a snail’s pace since I don’t let the tree go. I don’t have much on top and letting it go would ruin what I do have. I wished a shohin size tree so I was reluctant to let it go too much.

The tree gets repotted into a ceramic container for the first time. It’s a little large for the tree, but I will need to pare down the root system to get it into the appropriate pot.


To get the tree into the right size container I decided to ground layer the tree. The trunk was ring barked and bark removed. Sphagnum moss the trunk and put it into a basket to grow roots.


In it’s April Grigsby pot.

Work for the future is to get the shape of the canopy back into shape. The tree is now just beginning to be strong enough to work on. Right now it just received a light hedging to bring on new leaves and I will hedge the rest next month. that will be it for the year.


Posted May 1, 2019 by California Bonsai Art

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