Time to tackle this beastie:


This post will mostly be pics with some brief discussions and justifications as there is just gobs (and gobs) of info out there about tridents and I’d just be duplicating it all.
What I’ll focus on is the different approach I’ll be using with this tree.
What’s odd about the tree is the double trunk aspect of it.
It quite obviously gives it an unusual look to it, with very much some bit of obverse taper as well.
I think that the age of the tree gives it the right to have somewhat of a thickening in the middle, though.
If you actually (really and truly) observe some really old trees in nature you will notice a distinct lack of taper in them.
Especially a deciduous tree.
But I have a feeling that no matter what justifications and examples I use when styling this tree, there will be those who say that it’s not very bonsai-ish.
Oh well.
I’m the artist now, aren’t I?


Don’t ask me what the wire’s for.
My first cuts will be in the root area.


I know it seems counter to what we are taught about a wide nebari but I’m actually going to cut the roots back.

The roots should be wide but they should also descend into hell (sorry, the soil) evenly and gradually.
Now, the chopping on top.




The idea is pretty straightforward:
I’m cutting for ramification and taper.
“But didn’t you just say that taper didn’t happen on old trees, Adam?”
On the trunk, not usually (I know that some of you out there have googled “old trees” and you’re ready to email me with examples of old tapering trees, go ahead) but the branches will taper. (Go ahead, look at Google images again).
And since I don’t have a tapering trunk to force the perspective visually, I must use the branches.
It will make the tree seem taller this way and it’ll shift the viewer’s angle to a “far view” tree instead of the current fad of “near view” trees.
Now, even after all that, I think I’ll do some really controversial styling.
Carving deadwood.
There are some spots that I think can be enhanced with the addition of hollows and Shari.




The idea is that the tree will rollover the hollow areas I carved and there will be spooky dark holes for all kinds of scary creatures to live in.
Which is a characteristic of many old, deciduous trees.
Now a little root pruning (it is February in Florida. You might do the root pruning at a different time than I do. Check your local listings for show times).
I don’t have a pot large enough for this tree so it’ll have to go back into this mixing tub.
This is how it is currently situated:
This is how I’d like it to sit:
A wee bit of root chopping:

Some new soil.
And viola (or “Bob’s yer uncle” or “stick a fork in it, it’s done):
To prove that I’m not slipping, I left one branch that I could wire, so I did:
The after-
And the inevitable sketch-
I fertilized the tree to push some growth.
If you’re trying for ramification though, it’s not a good idea to fertilize in the spring. You want slower growth so the internodes are shorter.
In this case I want excessive growth to speed up the healing on those branch chops and to give me options to start on some good branch selection.
And to give me something to wire too.
My hands are shaking, I’m going through wiring withdrawal.

2 thoughts

  1. Wow! Amazing step by step explanation of how to tackle a trident Maple. I have one pre-bonsai. It has a great trunk with hollows that ask for a good shari. Your picture tour helps me in my own choices.
    Here in Amsterdam region its a bit colder and the tree is still in it’s buds. About to make new leaves.
    Did some pruning when the tree was stil in winter rest. Now I wait for the tree to fully grow its first leaves. When this is done, I can work on the shari.

    Thanks again for your great explanation on your tree.
    Edwin Jansen, Amsterdam


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