Field grown trident maples

At Shibui Bonsai I have finished digging the new root over rock trees so it is time to get on with the rest of the trident maples.

here’s one of the tridents I dug up this week.

It seems that I use a few different techniques when growing trees in the ground for bonsai

Let’s focus on the roots for a start. I dig most deciduous trees every winter and prune the roots. I know that many other growers claim this slows down development and maybe it does but the little I lose, if any, in size is more than made up for in nebari.

Just so it is easier to see, I’ve washed the roots in water and done a rough trim.

Last year the roots were cut very short – about 2cm from the trunk. You can now see the result. Lots of new, white roots have grown from the cut ends. These new roots will thicken and gradually merge together to form the characteristic plate like nebari in coming years. Those new roots will now be cut short again, probably 1/2 cm this time and, of course, each one will grow a number of new roots again. Just as branch ramification is valued above ground, Root ramification below ground should be the aim of good bonsai growers.

Now both roots and branches have been shortened ready to go back into the ground or into a pot for further development.

Here’s another trident maple after trimming both roots and branches.

You may note that I’ve left a few extra leaders on both these trees. I remove any that I think are growing in the wrong direction or in poor positions but I generally leave several possible new possible leaders as insurance. When the tree is growing well next summer I can make final decisions about which trunk line to follow and the others will be pruned then.

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