richm2778
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Trident Maple Leafing Out!

Hey Everyone! I am psyched because my trident maple is leafing out finally! Does anyone have any idea on how much I can expect the tree to grow by the end of summer as far as height and girth of the trunk? I am hoping to get a nice growth season with a nice bit of trunk growth. I am not planning on doing much in the way of styling or anything because I want to just let it grow wild and then I am going to probably cut it back to make it shorter. I think that I would like to have a 5 to 7 inch trunk before I even begin to style it as bonsai.

Rich

[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/IMG_0187.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/IMG_0186.jpg[/img]

[/img]

thebean
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I am not sure anybody can truely answer this acurately as maples are not normally grown as far south as you are. They typically have an average to slow growth rate. How did you over winter this ? Maples don't normally leaf out until April on average here in the north.


I must say though it looks to be doing well.

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uzeyr
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cool tree
i cant wait for mine to bud burst :D

richm2778
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Wintering the Maple

Believe it or not, I wintered the tree in a refrigerator. The truth is, I loved the way it looked on line, and I ordered it without doing my due diligence. I learned when it arrived that it was not meant to be this far south. It wintered nicely in the fridge though, and I think it looks to be alright at this point. I plan on wintering it each year from Thanksgiving until the end of January. I know this seems like a short period of dormancy, but I have heard mixed things from people.

Some people say that it will grow faster down here and that it does not even need to be refrigerated. They say it will shed its leaves and it will winter on it's own. Others say if I do not winter it in a fridge that it will die. I am just learning bonsai, and I want the tree to live long and well, but I also have to learn. I am going to see if it loses it's leaves on it's own in fall. If it does, then I will take that as a sign that the tree knows it is time to rest. If the leaves stay on, I will defoliate and once buds begin to form, I will refrigerate for a while.

I love the tree, and I promise to do my absolute best to take care of it. My wife and I plan on moving farther North in a few years, so if I am able to get the tree to make it until that point, then things will improve and maintenance will be easier.

I am thinking that because it has leafed so early, perhaps I can defoliate in the end of May in time to get some more growth over the summer. Thoughts, anyone????

Rich

Kenshin14435
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To me, this seems like a short time to be dormant. :?
If it doesnt go dormant for a certain amount of time then it will eventually use up all of its energy and die. But now that its already sprouted new leaves then I don't see how going back to the fridge would make any sense. Keep a close eye on it as it could take a U-turn and "head south" so to say. Next year I would consider having it dormant for another month, month and half, maybe even until the end of March.

Other than that, It looks really good. I'm almost jealous. 8) My little tiny Japanese Maples arent out of dormancy yet. But I'm going to let them come out when nature calls. I'm in no rush and I can't do anything with them for a few more years. In the meantime though, I have a lot of reading to do on that species.

Good Luck
~ Ken ~

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I would just let it grow. defoliation is used more for leaf (size) reduction then for growth. What is it planted in ???

Continue growing freely and use a low nitrogen fertlizer to induce branching and trunk thickness. Refridgerator dormancy sounds dangerous, but you seem to be doing ok with it. good luck keep us posted

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richm2778

I agree with thebean about it being too early in the life of this particular tree to begin defoliation. Without a style and approximate size in mind you are really just growing it out right now. As such, any pruning is counterproductive.

Give some though to the ultimate size and shape you wish this tree to take before you do anything other than maintain it. Tridents can handle severe pruning and are sometimes grown in the sumo style.
[img]https://www.royalbonsaigarden.com/pictures/AfterPhoto1069015819.gif[/img]
Here is an article that gives some insight to this process.
https://www.bonsaikc.com/Trident2.htm

Norm

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uzeyr
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wow that is athick trunk
but unfortunatley i really wouldnt like to have a tree like that wierd i dunno why its doesnt seem to make me happy when i see it

but everyone has the right to choose eh ?
wat do u guys think

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uzeyr,
i really wouldnt like to have a tree like that wierd i dunno why its doesnt seem to make me happy when i see it
I agree, it was posted as an extreme example just to show what is possible. What do you think of Chris' tree? The one in the link.

Norm

richm2778
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I am pretty psyched about I I.

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That looks kinda like something I want to do with a Japanese Maple I might buy later in the year. I am going to get that book first.(The one you recommended Norm)

It looks like it should be a VERY well-off tree in a few years.

Take CAre
~ Ken ~

richm2778
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I am not sure yet which type of styling I am most focused on. At this point, I know that I would like the tree to develop a much thicker trunk and that I would like to develop a nice looking nebari. As for anything further than that, I guess that only time will tell. I am very young in the bonsai hobby, and I am hopeful that I am able to keep this tree alive and healthy.

Rich

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I have a nebari issue. One very thick root has curled up above the surface of the soil. It was this way when I got it. I have tried to lower the level of the tree in the pot, but the root is unsightly. It is fully barked, and it is the thickest root the tree has. Is this an issue I should worry about at this point, or should I simply be patient and see how the tree develops?

Rich

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Rich,
I am not sure yet which type of styling I am most focused on. At this point, I know that I would like the tree to develop a much thicker trunk
Then the most important thing to realize now is that pruning/defoliation is counterproductive to your goals. The only way to gain girth is to allow unrestricted growth and it will take several years with no interference to achieve this. The trunk should be allowed to grow until it reaches 2/3 to 3/4 of the desired diameter. This (target) diameter, in turn dictates the ultimate height of the 'finished' tree. More on this later if you wish.
I would like to develop a nice looking nebari...I have a nebari issue. One very thick root has curled up above the surface of the soil. It was this way when I got it. I have tried to lower the level of the tree in the pot, but the root is unsightly. It is fully barked, and it is the thickest root the tree has. Is this an issue I should worry about at this point, or should I simply be patient and see how the tree develops?
I think it would be best to do nothing with it this year. Each time you re-pot is an opportunity to improve the arrangement of the roots. Until you bare root it the next time it is difficult to assess your options.

This brings me to another issue that I don't think we have discussed yet, the soil the tree is in. I am not pleased with the dense, peaty 'potting soil' type medium it is in. I looked back over your earlier posts and it seems that it was potted before you began posting here.

[url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3422]Bonsai soil[/url] is very different than garden soil and even different than conventional potting soils. You are going to have to be very careful in watering this tree until you have the chance to change the soil at the next re-potting.

Norm

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I am aware of the issue with the soil already, although I appreciate your input. I am not thrilled with it either because it seems to be only typical potting soil with a bit of coarser conifer soil added to it. I have made an effort to add gravel since I posted the pics, and my hope is that as I water it, the gravel with sink into the soil a bit and provide a more free draining soil mixture. I am not planing on repotting it until at least the end of next winter, so I am in a bit of a bind with it at this point. I think it may prove to be advantageous though, as during summer here it can be upwards of 90 degrees for months at a time. I think that a more peat type soil mixture may be better to provide a more consistent source of water for the tree. I am planning on monitoring it closely and watering as needed. I will simply sit back and let the growth begin. Thanks so much for the insight.

Rich

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I don't try to use just one soil. I should be ordering many different components to mix my own. For Tropical/Subtropical, I use a medium already mixed by bonsai boy but then I add some grit, some akadama, and then some lava granules. In small amounts though. For decdious trees I take the professional medium also mixed by bonsai boy and add the same ingredients but in various amounts. I've don't it before but only with a little bit of sample soil.(They ship a little bit to you for free if you buy accessories there, just to give you an idea of what their soil is like)
It was actually pretty good. Pretty airy, not too dense. All that good stuff.

Take Care
~ Ken ~

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Updated Pics

Just a quick update. The tree has grown a bit in the past few weeks, and I am now seeing branch growth as well as more leaves. I think I see a bit of growth of the trunk as well, but I think I may just be seeing things. Anyway, here are some pics. Tell me what you guys think.
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/IMG_0189.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/IMG_0188.jpg[/img]

Thanks everyone!

Rich

Kenshin14435
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Wow,
Your tree has alot of new foliage!!!
I like it alot!

Take Care
~ Ken ~

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More Growth!!!

[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/IMG_0205.jpg[/img]


Sorry to bug all of you, but I am really excited about how my tree is progressing. It has been really hot down here (80's and 90's during the day), and I think that the more peat type soil has been good for it because it holds a lot more moisture. As it is, I have to water this guy almost every day. I check religiously, but there have been only a couple of times that the soil was still moist enough.

I guess tat when it rains over the summer I will not have as much of an issue, but by then I will try to somehow get a better soil mixture in there if it becomes a problem with too much water.

As for my thoughts about styling eventually, I will have to wait and see...

Rich

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Right now, the only style potential I see for this tree is broom.

thebean
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with there being more growth to the left side of the picture you might be able to pull a wind swept, but would require a lot of wireing and potentially dangerous wireing at that. I'd be more inclined to go with the broom. I think you have another season before truely decideing to train. all looks to be going well. nice job

richm2778
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Updated Pics!

Hey everyone,

I am ecstatic about how well my tree seems to be doing now. I think that I was overwatering it before, and I am really happy that it seems to have recovered. Also, it has become much hotter and more humid down here, and the tree seems to be doing well in the new climate. Please let me know what you guys think. Also, I am seeing the leader growing very well and very tall. I am wondering if I am best off letting it continue to grow, or if I am better off chopping it at some point. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Also, I am starting to see roots coming out of the holes in the bottom of the pot. Do I need to repot it or do I just let it stay as is until next winter? Can you even repot midseason!?!?!?!

Rich

[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/IMG_0223.jpg[/img]

[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/IMG_0224.jpg[/img]

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This is a classic trident, shooting all over the place...

It's definitely time to start thinking about where you are going with this. You can use these new shoots a sacrifical branches, fattening the trunk for a while and then cutting them off, or you could start training for a larger tree...but you need to decide something soon, as trident maples grow FAST...

HG
Scott Reil

richm2778
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Well, I know for sure that I want to get a fatter trunk going. I am not interested in having a very tall tree. I am more interested in the tree having a more classic style and a full canopy. I have done virtually no styling at all, with the exception of removing leaves that were deformed or damaged by insects. I am hoping to end up with a tree that is about 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall with an informal upright style. I want to have a very full canopy and a trunk that is about 5 or 6 inches around. All in all, I want a nice, healthy, aged looking tree with a lot of ramification.

What do you mean by sacrificial branches? Does that mean that when the trunk is fat enough I simply cut them off and seal the wound? Also, the tree is already more than the desired height. At what point do I cut it in order to begin training?

Rich

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Yes Rich, that's exactly the idea in sacrificial branches; you use the added growth to add caliper and then lose it later. A very common development technique in informal uprights... a sacrificial branch can be grown to almost any size; Chinese growers often grow a full tree in the ground and then cut the trunk off and grow the suckers out to get a full trunk. How's that for sacrificial? Anyway tridents are a good candidate for that type of growing; managing vigor is your biggest challenge with this species...

The branching is a challenge; kdodds take on a broom might be a good idea as that tight cluster of branching needs cleaning up other wise, and you are really starting from scratch then, in which case in ground growing makes more sense (a British fella named Peter Adams has pretty much proven in ground growing to be much faster for caliper development, and does some nice work overwintering in poly tunnels over prepared soils). I have had luck growing over a piece of slate in the ground, a technique I learned from my old teacher; it allows for preparing for a specific pot depth. In ground also allows for stakes to be driven into the ground next to the tree to facilitate shaping trunk and branches; a prime consideration for this tree now...

I'd go with the broom, grow the apical leader for a year or two to fatten the trunk, and then lose all the others. John Naka suggests lopping the head off, tying the trunk with twine to prevent knobs forming, and training the new shoots the following year. Was this what you were thinking kdodds? Solves the branching issue...In ground would be best for this style as well...Check it out in John Naka's Bonsai Technique I. Peeks inside a masters mind. If anyone wants to know what to get me for Christmas, John Naka's Sketchbook is out (shameless plug and shameless pandering in one shot; I am conserving energy...)

If you can't put it in the ground keep it in the soil you have it in now while you are fattening it, but easy on fertilizer as this is a grower already. Quarter rate at most, and preferably organic (Buy the Naka book; he explains why). Water as needed (likely often) and topdress with a little good compost in spring. I would repot in a few years into something closer to what I was aiming for sizewise and with Gnomes fine recommendations for a less nutritive, more porous soil, and nebari correction at that time. If you have your heart set on informal upright you should train that straight trunk to a more pleasing shape (in ground would help here with the staking). Fatten the trunk with sacrificial branches (or secondary trunks) And if you are going to put it in the ground, you should correct the root when you do...

Lots to think about...

HG
Scott Reil

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Rich,
Well, I know for sure that I want to get a fatter trunk going. I am hoping to end up with a tree that is about 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall with an informal upright style. I want to have a very full canopy and a trunk that is about 5 or 6 inches around. All in all, I want a nice, healthy, aged looking tree with a lot of ramification.
Lets consider an 18" tree for the sake of this example. The classic proportion is 1/6 ratio between trunk diameter and overall height, which gives a diameter of 3". Pretty big Huh? To achieve a trunk this big will require several years of unrestricted growth, any talk of pruning or chopping now is way premature.
Also, the tree is already more than the desired height. At what point do I cut it in order to begin training?
Don't prune the top until the trunk has reached half to two thirds of the desired diameter, consider it a sacrificial leader. The tree could be 8' tall and all you will use is the first 6" or so. At this time the trunk is cut down to around the height of the first branch, in this case about 6" (in reality it might be best to allow for some die back). A new leader is then encouraged to grow out at an angle. This process creates both movement and taper. The new leader is again allowed to grow out unrestricted until a pleasing transition is reached. Repeat this process several times and you will have a trunk to work with. All branches will likely be removed or cut back severely and regrown so that they will be in scale.

Since you have decided on a larger trunk putting it in the ground on a tile, as Scott recommended, is an excellent idea.

Here is some reading:
https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/trunks.htm
https://www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATdevelopingtrunksforbonsai.htm
https://torontobonsai.org/Archives/techniques/trunk.chop.htm

Norm

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Gnome, what do you think of Naka's idea for the classic broom; pollarding and growing out the suckers? I think it would eliminate those branching issues, but understand it is a drastic reworking and not very aesthetic until year five earliest, and I suspect thet kind of timeline might be a little long for some folks. Rich, what do you think about working it that long?

How's your patience?

HG
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Scott,

Unfortunately I have never acquired Naka's works. I have nearly two dozen bonsai books but Naka's are not among them. I have, however, seen his process described in various place across the web and have performed it myself. I once read Brent Walston wonder aloud if this actually works or if Naka had just dreamed it up. I can say with certainty that it does work. I would appreciate your thoughts on this tree when you get the time.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4176

I'm not sure that it is an appropriate technique here though. Rich wants to create a classic informal upright which means inducing taper and movement, two things that brooms usually lack.

I'm not sure what you mean by 'branching issues'. If you mean that Tridents are so vigorous that the branches will get out of scale, they probably will. The point I'm trying to make is that it is possible to grow the trunk in one phase and only later even think about the branches. Any old branches that were used as sacrifices would be removed at this time.

I think now would be a good time to mention that I don't own a Trident. I am growing trunks of other deciduous species though.

Norm

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Thanks for the link Norm; with the exception of the binding to reduce swelling at the cut that is EXACTLY what Naka proposes, and the success is obvious. The one other noticable difference is you reduced to just five branches where Naka simply gathers them up, gives them a haircut and grows them all in the fourth and fifth years (I am assuming some selection past that point, but he does not say) But your tree is coming famously... you can get the movement in an informal upright with the same technique and a different cut, following the curve of the branch you cut diagonally away from the outside of the curve and the shoots appear on the high side of the cut. Still a long term five year project...

As for branching issues I was referring to existing structure, which is not great, and the fact that there are no branches (or pronounced curves for that matter) on the lower trunk. I think we are both on the same page as to what should happen to this tree and I like your idea of trunk now and branches later no matter where Rich lands on the style; now we just have to convince him this won't go in a pot for four or five years...

HG
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Scott,
with the exception of the binding to reduce swelling at the cut that is EXACTLY what Naka proposes, and the success is obvious.
I did try the binding but botched it the first year and was reluctant to try it the second time around. I know what I did wrong and it wont happen again. No need to clutter this thread with my old mistakes. I would be happy to elaborate in my thread though.
you can get the movement in an informal upright with the same technique and a different cut, following the curve of the branch you cut diagonally away from the outside of the curve and the shoots appear on the high side of the cut. Still a long term five year project...
I think we are essentially saying the same thing, just differently. When you boil it all down my main point is not to chop it too early.

Norm

richm2778
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Wow

Wow guys-

Thanks for the information. I also appreciate the ideas. I have never grown a deciduous tree before, and it is very new to me. Bonsai in general is pretty new as well. I have spoken to people at several nurseries, and they have told me that although I will see the leaves change color in the fall, I should not expect a hibernation to occur because of the temperature down here. I asked if the tree would die and I was told that fertilizing on a regular basis will help to avoid that because a hibernation is a period of dormancy when the tree replenished its energy stores. The fertilizer will counteract the loss of energy. I will not be touching the tree for quite some time, and around here, in ground growing is simply not an option. The soil has high salinity and it is not fertile at all.

Big question:

What about repotting? I have roots coming through the bottom of the pot. Do I leave them be, or do I repot it soon?

Rich

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No pot rich; we would like to see this in the ground. Waddaya say?

HG
Scott Reil

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Hmm....

I would love to say yes, but the ground here is very poor quality. I live in South Florida, and we have very coral rich ground soil and the salinity is quite high. I cannot even get regular grass to grow in my yard. I only have weeds that I try to groom and keep in control.

I am curious though, what do you guys think about a tremendous pot? Something like a huge Rubbermaid container? I can fill it with good quality soil and then I can replant the tree in it. Perhaps then it will have a lot more room to grow and become more stout? I am thinking something like a huge storage bin. Do you guys think that it is more important to be a deep pot, or that it has a lot of surface area, i.e. a wide and relatively shallow pot? I am thinking about something about 8 inches deep, 24 inches wide, and about 40 inches long. Waddaya think?

Rich

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Rich,
I am curious though, what do you guys think about a tremendous pot?
An oversized container is definitely a good compromise. The thing is that there is such a thing as too big. I know this sounds contradictory at first blush, how can the Earth, which is tremendously huge, be appropriate but a three foot square container be too big? Once again I will refer you to Brent's website.

https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/earthpot.htm

The short version is that the Earth has a huge amount of capacity to 'draw water' from a plant. That capacity is lacking in a pot. There is such a thing as too big. Grow boxes are indeed used for this purpose just don't overdo it. Here is a picture of one that I have used for several years now. I have it in mind for a Pine I intend to collect a little later this year.
[url=https://img508.imageshack.us/my.php?image=growboxsv9.jpg][img]https://img508.imageshack.us/img508/8238/growboxsv9.th.jpg[/img][/url]
Do you guys think that it is more important to be a deep pot, or that it has a lot of surface area, i.e. a wide and relatively shallow pot? I am thinking about something about 8 inches deep, 24 inches wide, and about 40 inches long. Waddaya think?
I think you are on the correct path but need to downsize. Definitely more shallow than wide but not so large that you end up with a large mass of soil that is not colonized with roots. This leads to a situation where the soil stays wet for extended periods of time which is not ideal.

Norm

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OK. I will make it a compromise then. I will leave it for this coming week because I am going to be out of town, but upon returning I will get it into a more suitable container. If I am not able to locate one, I will make one. Thank you for the advice and the explanations. Any chance you could tell me some good dimensions for the grow pot?

Rich

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or a twenty five gallon tree pot; I used to grow inch and a half caliper in 15 gallons, so you should be able to do three inch caliper in a bigger container... the rubbermaid idea lacks the depth for this fast growing tree and you'll restrict growth in the first year, methinks...

But do us all a favor; plant on top of the piece of slate or bluestone like we talked about, and paint the inside of the container with cupric carbonate (mixed in latex paint), to restrict roots from circling the container. The slight loss in growth (not a big deal with a fast tree like this) will be more than compensated by the resulting root mass (far more fibrous; a very desirable trait when we finally go to a suitable finishing container... it's a old trick from container growing trees, which is basically what you are talking about...

[url]https://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/MNR_E001821.pdf[/url]

THEN I think you might pull this off

but expect a pretty big plant; 8 feet tall or better with a pretty good head on it while you are growing out. But don't worry; you will lose most of it in a few years...

Not what you were thinking initially, right? But it's the right thing to do...

HG
Scott Reil

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Ah the over-researched post took too long, but wanted to dig up the old growers trick; I think you could get to caliper in two seasons in a full container rather than restricting root mass. Norm this redirects rooting with little of the shock we see in pruning, roots just direct elsewhere in the container when they reach the side. Never seen dead spots in a container with this technique; the roots just grow everywhere and the chemical restriction (still organic though) causes the same sort of ramification you see in tip pruning, without the shock. If you are trying to put on caliper, more root mass is key...

Not to say Norm's thought was wrong; he was coming at it from a more traditional method for bonsai; I was just going at it from the perspective of a container grower (another past life....). Yet more proof that this is art and not science; there is usually only one answer to scientific questions...

Sorry about posting on top of you Norm... :oops:

HG
Scott Reil

richm2778
Cool Member
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

I have neverbworked with that chemical before. I am wondering if it is safe for pets because I have a very curious pooch. Also, I would still love some dimensions so I can make full use of your experience and expertise. I have to build up enough courage to do the repot. Thanks guys!!!

The Helpful Gardener
Mod
Posts: 7493
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2004 2:17 am
Location: Colchester, CT

It would be on the inside of the pot under the soil, so no pet exposure, and the beauty of cupric carbonate is that the copper stays bonded to the carbon, so it doesn't get into soil or plant (that's in the white paper I attached).

They make a paper grow barrier impregnated with cupric carbonate that is just onto the market, and copper is still in the NOFA standards as organic... I suggest the cupric carbonate rather than copper sulphate, which doesn't have that carbon buffering, to minimize exposure to elemental copper (plus it is locked in the latex paint). We have been getting water from copper pipes for a long time; it's pretty safe...

HG
Scott Reil

richm2778
Cool Member
Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

It has been a while!!

Hey Everyone,

It has been a long time since my last post. Marriage, life, and Graduate School have taken up most of my time. Since my last pst, I repotted the Trident Maple in a larger pot. It is now about 2 feet tall above the soil, and I see a ton of buds getting ready to burst this season. I am very happy to report that repotting it last season was a success, and I repotted for this season last weekend. It is now in a larger tree pot (about 15 gallons I think) I planted it in a lot of soil, and I am not overly concerned at this point with the root growth (Downward) in the pot. I am still hopeful that I can get this puppy to about 5 inches of circumference on the trunk. At this point, there are many more branches than in my last picture. The leader is very tall, but the other branches seem to be all towards the bottom and the leader looks very lonely. I am hopeful that I will get some better growth this season, as I would really like it if the tree was ready to begin training next season. I will post updated pictures as soon as I am able to. As always, any advice that you guys can give me is greatly appreciated.

As far as the soil, I am using regular tree potting soil, and it is a very loosely packed mixture. I have about 2 inches of gravel at the bottom of the pot to facilitate better draining. I also have gravel on the top of the soil to hold a bit more moisture. It may be unrealistic, but I would like the trunk to triple in size and the height to at least double this season. Although I would love to see better ramification, I plan on doing an extreme trunk chop in the future, so I am not yet concerned about the look of the tree. I think that I would like to go with a broom style. I would eventually like to have a large canopy that finishes about 8 to 10 inches above the soil line. Ideally, the total height of the tree will be about 24 inches or so. I would like the canopy to be as wide and as full as possible. I will post pics soon.

Rich

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