Root over Rock tridents

Winter is a great time of year at Shibui Bonsai. I get to dig up the trees in the grow beds and see what has been achieved over the past year or 2.

The root over rock tridents are the most exciting because I can’t even get a glimpse of the rock/root arrangement until I dig them and unwrap the rock. It is almost like opening Christmas presents. You never know what you’ll find.

Here’s the row of ROR. Rock and roots wrapped in alfoil and buried.
Here’s one still wrapped up

Tear off the foil to find out how well those roots have grown and grabbed the rock.

The best ROR have roots that wrap right round and hold the rock tight. Roots should be growing in close contact with the rock. Like they grew there naturally.

In this case, both sides look really attractive. that will give more options for styling the tree later.

At this stage the top is just cut back and only obviously unusable branches are removed completely. I’ve left several possible new leaders to see which looks better when they grow next summer.

Here are a couple more that I dug and pruned today.

one side
and the other

Actually, the tree above got a bit carried away. I was aiming for a nice small tree on a small rock – obviously the tree had other ideas and now I’ll have to develop a larger trident on a small rock..

And here’s another one. Plenty of well placed roots holding tight to the rock. A great start to another new Root over Rock trident maple.

Something I don’t look forward to seeing is roots growing through the foil.

Trident maples seem to love growing lateral surface roots. Much more than most other species and if one grows too strong it is likely that the roots closer to the rock will not grow as well. Removing large wayward roots also leaves unsightly scars on the visible roots. one reason for the foil wrap is to keep those roots growing close to the rock.

Fortunately, this escapee has not affected the roots inside the foil yet so when it is cut off the tree is still usable.

A few hours work and I have a small treasure trove of new pre bonsai Root over Rock tridents. They will be left buried here until I’m ready to pot them into individual grow pots to recover and begin the next stage of development.

If you have not seen the beginning of this process to develop root over rock bonsai using aluminium foil here’s a link to a previous post showing the earlier steps.

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