This Trident maple has been the subject of many articles here but this time it will get a new pot. Re potting here startes early, like in January. This tree wtill has Christmas ornaments on it from the previous month.
The tree is lifted from the pot and a thick matt of roots are starting to move already. This tree is so vigorous it must be re potted each year as the roots lift the tree from the thin pot.
I remove a full two inch ring from the tree and comb out the roots.
The new pot is from Robert Pressler and Kimura Bonsai in Southern California. It is a sky blue Chinese bag pot. Trying the pot for size. I like it!
Soil layer with 30 percent coarse fir bark.
Watering it in…
The beauty shot.
At the recent Fresno Home and Garden Show March 2017.
This is the follow up to my post about Ed Clark. While I have several trees from the man he lives a good hour and a half away so I have never taken the time to go see what he has. That was my first mistake.
The nursery is tucked right up next to the foot hills and the canopy of trees and shade structures and hoop houses, of which I seen about five or more with several acres under shade cloth. I was amazed when I started to look around. I could hear a radio blasting country music so I followed the sound. I found Ed there in the midst of several benches of pines busy pulling needles, cutting candles and cleaning weeds out of pots. He was also potting up some material into larger containers. I had mentioned that Ed did not have a lot left from the old days, but I did see quite a few older maples in large containers and he had these cool tridents over some really black limestone type rock. Very cool to see these.
Second mistake, I did not have my camera. I took all these pictures with my Iphone, and while some are really good, some are so so, and some are kinda blurry. I think we can get an idea of the scope and breadth of the place from these photo’s. Keep in mind that back in his commercial nursery days he had no benches. Older now and he said he did not want to bend over if he could help it. he built all the benches you see in the photo’s. Ed told me he spent $5,000.00 just on bench material.
On to the photo’s.
I have tried to break this up into logical blocks of the same kinds of trees, although I walked thro so many hoop houses with benches full of hundreds of pots of trees in age groups. I try to start with the young ones first and move to the larger of the species. Don’t worry too much, it’s all tree porn. Ed Clark showing me around on a drizzly day.
These are some of those tridents on the black rock that are over 30 years old.
These are just some odd tridents hanging out on benches.
These are twisted pomegranate. Ed has hundreds of these all started from cuttings. Many of them have had the wire thing done to them also to try to introduce some movement.
All the previous photos have been the pomegranates. This bench with those on the right are full of movement also.
This is some of the material from many years ago. There are large maples in here and many of them are very difficult to find cultivars.
I wanna go back for this one. I told Ed to save this for me and I will dig it out when down next. Kashima Maple
Here’s a big block of procumbens with wire.
I will let the Itoigawa speak for itself. Ed says he has just reached the point where he has enough material to keep the wire going on the trees and adding movement. wire on the pines is easy peasy, Ed says the junipers are more tricky because they break so easy.
By far Ed has mostly pines that have received the wire. He has house after house full of pines. I would easily estimate there well over a thousand or more trees here.
In this next photo one can see the small trees on the right that do not have many needles. These are banshosho dwarf pines that have been grafted onto mikawa understock.
Lets just look at some of these trunks. I was mesmerized and my arms were shaking like a dog shitting peach pits. Blurry yes, but still worth it.
Here are a couple of shots of young pines with the wire embedded at the beginning of the process. It seems that there are not that many twists and turns, but as it grows and swells it must find new paths to grow which adds all the character.
Larger pines in baskets. These have been taken from round containers and placed in pond baskets. Here they will bulk up and gain girth for larger shohin type pines.
My hand for comparison. These trunks are fully 1 1/2+ inches across and about 6 inches tall.
Pines in long cups for stones. The roots on these are growing length in an effort to merge them to stones in the future.
Large pines growing out. These pines are in baskets and then buried in these 25 gallon large nursery containers. This provides a controlled setting but gets as much growth as being in the ground.
My hope is that I can convince Ed for me to style this tree.
Let me introduce myself, my name is Justin….Justin Case. I have been retained by the bunker to find the tips, bonsai tips that may help in the pursuit of bonsai.
This first tip is from Fresno Ca. A crafty fellow out there doing bonsai…”His Way” has this to say about new material.
Safety Cuts, use um or lose um.
What is a safety cut. Well to his way of thinking, safety cuts should and can be used throughout the year on any material for a number of reasons. When purchasing new stock, safety cuts should be made straight away on the material for two reasons.
1. it will give one an idea on how well it responds to pruning
2. it will give one idea how well it buds on old wood.
Why is this important? Knowing how stock responds to pruning is how we go about styling a tree. Styling a tree with a species that responds well by stimulating new growth after pruning allows one to be more aggressive with styling ideas. Knowing how a species responds to pruning and the stimulation of buds on old wood means more aggressive styling can be done by removing unwanted growth at the tips with the assurance that it will back bud appropriately. I know from experience and many safety cuts on Pyracantha that I can prune all the way to the soil and it will bud aggressively. The same can be said with Cotoneaster and pomegranate. On the other hand, trident maples will only bud back on old wood if the cut is made back to a live bud. Beheading a trident will probably kill the tree, while beheading an elm can start the process over again and a whole new tree can be built.
Even conifers can benefit from safety cuts since many times an awkward branch that is too large can be pruned back to the trunk area leaving a stub an inch long, and even with no green on it, will sprout new growth adjacent to the stub from the collar. Cut the branch off flush and no bud growth. The stub keeps the area viable long enough for the buds to stimulate and new growth to start. This technique can also be used over a period of a few years to push growth back closer to the trunk by making safety cuts each year. After the first cut is made one will have an idea how deep the next years cut can be made and how the tree will respond by adding new foliage in deeper where we want rather than out on the tips where we don’t.
Safety cuts on stock being grown out for bonsai material can also benefit from this method. In my technique for growing tridents with larger trunks, I grow during the season and defoliate in fall. after leaf removal the tree is allowed to keep all its long growth, in spring the tree is spur pruned.
What is a spur prune? A spur prune is a term used in the growth of grapes. To spur prune is to leave a small portion of last years growth for the cane to grow from. many grapes grow from the trunk and do not require a spur. In fact the canes are better grown from the trunk each year since the cane becomes exhausted. Some grapes do not push forth growth from the trunk and require a spur for next years growth. Grape bonsai should be made with a variety that requires spur pruning so as to not have the bonsai styles branches cut from the stump each year. Muskat grapes work well for this.
Back to the tridents, so in spring the canes of the tree are cut back to the trunk area leaving a spur, maybe an inch long. This spur will sprout and add tremendous girth and scar tissue to the base of the tree.
What happens if we cut back a cane in spring and it does not shoot?
This means that the spur was too short and the tree had no bud wood on the spur to shoot. The way we correct this is to make a safety cut back in the fall after we removed the leaves. Cut the cane down to about 6 inches of the base of the tree. This will allow the tree to generate the bud areas for next years growth. In spring when the buds begin to swell this small six-inch long cane will have a multitude of buds on it. It will have a bud at every bud ring on whats left of the trunk. Then after the leaves come out and develop into two pairs, the six-inch long stubs can be reduced to the short spurs by cutting down to the first bud on the shoot you left and it will continue on and grow from there creating girth and swell to the point that in mid summer there will no longer be a spur there. It will become just a shoot on the new larger trunk mass and melt into the new base you are building.
If one studies these two photos one can see that the second picture shows the long spur that was left the year before has now become part of the flare of the base of this trunk. The shoot that grew from it can be seen in the pic also. This will be pruned out again this year and the whole process started over again in spring.
Make those safety cuts early so the tree will respond as you like……Justin Case
Around here, it has been warm. Around 96 to 97 by late afternoon. Been that way for about a week or two. Today the temps dropped down to about 81 and that was ocean weather around here. Cleaned up alot of trees today. Pruning is something that is fun when you work on one tree. Pruning a hundred or so gets to be work. I try to keep up with a few trees each day, but today I was able to work on about twenty. I still have all the tridents in cans in front of my benches, and these need some work right away. Just so much to do and no time to get it done.
I am very ford of trident maples. I have finally found a plant that grows well in my climate and handles nearly anything I throw at it. I have found that the trunks of these trees can be manipulated to feature any form in bonsai. They seem though, to only be seen in two forms.
1. Informal Upright with highly exagerated trunk taper and pine tree look
2. Broom Form with little trunk taper and lightly tapered branches to the top.
While I love both these forms it seems that most of the tridents I see look of the informal upright with exagerated taper in the trunk. Many times the trunks I purchase have no branches but the trunk is so well developed it seems ashame to start over with the expendature of money made on what has been taken home.
A nice example of an informal upright with massive taper and pine tree look.
A nice example of a finely tapered broom form tree.
It is this style, the broom form, in which I intend to focus some effort this year. I have many informal uprights from which to play with but this form is lacking on my benches and I wish to try my hand at growing out some of this form. I have a detailed progression to start soon and it will all take place here at the bonsai bunker.
I owned it I might take the top down a bit and flatten it out. I do not think it takes anything away from the drama of the tree and somehow make it seem more convicing as a maple bonsai.