In the last post we looked at one way to start working with raw seedlings. This time the trees are a year more advanced. Again, the following is just one possible way to move these small trees toward better bonsai.
Here are 3 typical 2 year old trident maples that were root pruned and cut down last winter.
The tree on the left has some really good trunk movement. Most of those bends would probably disappear if this one was grown on to thicken the trunk. I think it will make a better small bonsai. The others could grow as either small or larger trees.
My initial aim with young tridents is to get good nebari – we’ll look at that later – then to get good trunk taper and some bends. Wiring is not the only way to put bends into trees. Pruning seems to make much more natural looking bends so look for places to prune that leaves the best bends in the tree.
Pruning is also the best way to introduce taper into young trees that have little. Look for places where the trunks fork into a thick and a thin leader or branch. Cut off the thicker one and you’re left with a better tapered tree.
Here are the same trees after pruning for movement and taper. Note that I have not tried to keep branches at this stage. For the first few years everything is about developing a good trunk and better roots.
These trees could now be root pruned again and potted on into larger containers or into the garden to grow even faster. Growth in containers may be a little slower but I find that I have much better control over the development, especially in smaller sized bonsai.
Next time we’ll skip ahead another year to see how these trees might develop.