Bonsai tree: Refining trident maple

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bonsai tree: Refining trident maple

Source: Bonsai Tonight

I’ve been working to develop the ramification on my trident maple for several years now but the progress has been slow. This year I’m trying something different to see if I can speed up the process.

I usually let new shoots run a bit before trimming them and I defoliate the tree 2-4 times a year depending on its vigor. This year I’m going to keep new growth in check by maintaining the tree’s silhouette throughout the growing season. To do this, I will trim all vigorous shoots as they emerge, even if this means working on the tree every few days.

That’s the plan anyway – it’s early April now and I’m already behind! You can see in the photo below that the apex has rounded out some and a few shoots are breaking away from the silhouette.

Before cutback

Trident maple – healthy apex

I cut back all shoots that were leaving the general silhouette and left the interior branches alone. When the new leaves harden off, it will be time to defoliate – another opportunity to cut elongating shoots.

After cutback

After removing the new shoots

I’m hoping that keeping the vigorous shoots in check will improve the tree’s balance. If, however, I don’t see much progress by the end of the year, I’ll look to try yet another approach next spring.


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