I have a trident maple bonsai that I won in a raffle at a East Bay Bonsai Society event that has a bunch of long straight shoots that are coming out. Should I prune them back? Should I wire them? What’s the proper thing to be doing with this tree at this time of year?
It would be most helpful if you posted a picture of the tree and the shoots you are concerned about. This would enable the viewer to understand wether the shoots may be of benefit in development or if they may present a problem to development.
here are a few shots of it. It’s very vigorous right now. here’s what it looked like 2 month ago:
I’ll let others reply who may have more knowledge but I did just have a video consultation of my bonsai collection with Jonas last weekend and this question came up around some of my maples.
Jonas asked what were my goals? To thicken the trunk or create more ramification (development and repeated division) of certain branches?
If the former let the branches grow for now to produce more leaves to gather more sun, and bring energy and development to thicken the trunk, to then be cut back later and repeated, as the trunk develops to where you want it.
If the latter then you pinch the new growing tips, and try to do as the third pair of leaves just emerge from the tip of the branch, to encourage back budding and more branching, and thus more branch development.
the trunk is pretty thick on this one and was just made into a bonsai in October, so I think creating ramification is the goal at this point. Thanks, Richard!
Yes and no! If the branch is thick enough in the initial section than cut back may be in order. But each of the primary branches will develop at different speeds so some may need to still extend and others may be ready for cutback! Ramification of the fine outer branching normally only begins after all primary and secondary branches are established for the basic design. Otherwise the ramified outer branches are cut off in working on the interior development. The branch formation is established from the trunk outwards first.
I note that one of your newer branches appears to be wired in a downward position. Typically deciduous branching begins in an upward direction at the trunk before any downward movement. What did you have in mind for that part of the design?
Just a few comments to help your thought process. I hope you don’t mind.
no worries at all, Frank… I asked because I’m looking for some food for thought!
I didn’t do the original design (the club had Sergio Cuan in as a guest speaker and he did a demonstration), but I did pull down one of the lower branches a bit to try and create some layering.
here’s a close-up of the runners I’m trying to decide if I should cut back…
Adam, that’s not a trident maple. It is an Acer Palmatum, possibly ‘Tsuma-gaki’. But there are dozens of varieties of A. Palmatum, so it’s tough to tell from Dallas what it is. Trident Maple (Acer Buergerianium has a three-lobed leaf and uniformly grayish bark. As noted elsewhere, once your trunk and main branches are established, you will need to get that coarse growth with long internodes under control. That is accomplished by carefully nipping the buds of new growth and eliminating new branches with long internodes.
Your tree is a Japanese maple. Let the runners grow. It’s time to work on a tree when the new leaves have hardened off, it’s bushy (very full & healthy), and has runners. Be patient. :-))
“If the latter then you pinch the new growing tips, and try to do as the third pair of leaves just emerge from the tip of the branch, to encourage back budding and more branching, and thus more branch development.”
Pinch/cut the new growing tips… but to which node?
Back to the aforesaid third pair/node and anything beyond/after that?
Or, to let’s say, back to the 1st pair/node, before that aforesaid third pair/node?