Saturday, 28 January 2017

A Year Spent Watching a Trident Maple Grow

At some stages in a tree's development it's best to do nothing other than leave it to grow. Such was the situation with the Trident Maple I first discussed in my post Building a Trunk in late 2015.

It was unfortunate that I was forced to repot that tree at the time that I cut the trunk back because I'm sure that the heavy root pruning I did back then has slowed its development somewhat. Still it's grown a lot since I picked my new leader - the lower of the two options I discussed in that post. The thin flimsy leader  has thickened substantially and now extends about three feet above the chop site. I also have a branch where there was little more than a bud when that post was written. This is what it looked like after a year of unrestrained growth.

January 2017- before trim and wiring

I won't even think about shortening that leader for at least another year as it's not thick enough yet. Besides I'd like to fatten up the trunk a bit more too.

When I brought it inside today, the photo above was all I had planned but on closer inspection I decided it was time to position the side branch properly while it's still young and flexible. At the same time I shortened the branch because, for now, my main focus is on thickening the leader. I don't want that branch to fatten up too much until I start developing other branches either because I'd hate it to grow out of proportion to the rest of the tree.

Branch pruned and wired. The leader was left intact.

Just when I thought that I was done I realised that I needed to clean away the moss growing up the base of the trunk. In so doing I discovered that the base is actually somewhat thicker than I realised. Rotating the tree I also found that the base looks better from what I thought was the back of the tree, while the rest of the tree doesn't really suffer from a change of front.

New front. The section below the wire was hidden by the moss.

I'll need to change the slant when I repot it because it's now leaning slightly backwards, but that's only a minor issue. I'll also have to remove the root marked with an arrow in the photo below.

View of base from old and new fronts.

As it's already late in the growing season I'm planning to leave dealing with both of those issues until spring when I'll probably move the tree into a bigger pot.

I've been battling with this tree for years now, but at last I feel like it's starting to show some promise. It still has a long way to go though.

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