Bonsai Study Group Forum

Species Specific => Trident Maple Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: joe cervantes on September 27, 2009, 11:47 PM

Title: branch prunning
Post by: joe cervantes on September 27, 2009, 11:47 PM
Hi Y'all. I was reading the guide for Tridents at Bonsai 4 Me. It said " Prune all branches back hard after leaf-fall or late winter". This will be my first winter in Bonsai, so I am a little nervous, however I really dont think we get too much of a winter down here. Can someone explain the branch prunning . Just how much do I need to prune back? Thanks, Joe
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: M.B. on September 28, 2009, 10:08 AM
It depends on how thick the trunk is on your tree. If it's a stick in a pot, then little to no pruning except to maybe remove an unsightly "Y" or maybe a branch that's way too thick, causing reverse taper, and won't be part of the finished tree. You want it to grow wild for a few years to thicken and by pruning everything, that's not going to happen. If the trunk is close to finished size, then pruning all the branches can be done to start the shaping, rebuilding and ramification process.
Mary B.
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: joe cervantes on September 28, 2009, 11:54 PM
Hi Mary. Here is a pic of my tree, taken 3 weeks after a complete defoiliation and taking of some of the top to start a new apex.
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: M.B. on September 29, 2009, 02:47 PM
If this was my tree, the only branch I would take off at this moment would be the long skinny one above the first main branch on the right. It's on the inside curve of your trunk. I think every bonsai person I've ever worked with has said that branches on the inside curve are usually a design "no no".
So now the hard questions. Why would you want to prune and regrow all your branches? Are they in the wrong spots? I don't think they are. Are they too thick for the design? Not at this point. Are you going to completely change the style of this tree? Doubtful, so why would you cut all the branches off?
If you are happy with your tree as is (not going into the ground or grow pot for more development) then you just need to work on the ramification. Maybe some of the members that have been doing bonsai longer than I have can chime in with some hints on how to do that.
Mary B.
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: joe cervantes on September 30, 2009, 01:14 AM
Right On Mary!! I have been thinking of what you said before I ran into the article concerning branch pruning. I really couldnt see pruning any branches at this point, and felt that I should just try to get more ramification.I think the tree is coming along fine so far.
As for that long skinny branch above the first main branch, I think I will take that one off as you suggest. Should I take it off now?I will try to get a new pic up as soon as I can with all the new growth so far. Thanks for your reply,   Joe


The pic is after I defoiliated.
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: noissee on September 30, 2009, 09:58 AM
Don't take that skinny branch off. That is in a perfect position to grow foliage towards the back of the tree, giving it depth. The inside curve branch, or pocket branch rules are generally more of a pine thing. I think you could probably "clip and grow" this branch toward the back of the tree. If I were going to take anything off, it would be the top few inches of the tree. right above where you have the bar branches. Wire the one on the left up just a little bit, and you can shape your apex in that area.
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: M.B. on September 30, 2009, 03:23 PM
I disagree about the inside curve  branch. There looks like a bud with some leaves on the opposite side that you could let grow and move into the back for depth. The branch directly above the number one branch will always look wrong, even if you tweak it around to the back. Just my humble opinion. You also could cut the branch, leave a stub and hope it pops buds on each side, on the trunk, which being a trident is highly likely. Keep the bud that pops growing towards the back side and rub off the one that will pop opposite towards the front. Once it starts growing next spring wire it in the direction you need and let her grow. I think this would give a better angle than trying to bend a branch around and would probably be the easiest way to get a branch growing in a different direction. Another option is to approach graft or thread graft a seedling to get a back branch growing at that level. Tridents graft and fuse very easily, but that's an advanced technique that you may need some help. I know I would.
One thing that might help you to decide wether to take the branch off or bend it around is to cover it with a cloth or towel. Take a picture and imagine what it would look like with the branch gone. I've started doing this when I have an area on a tree that "bothers" me.
When to cut? In my area (zone 9) it's usually Feb. or March, before bud break.
Mary B.
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: M.B. on September 30, 2009, 04:01 PM
Oh, I forgot to add I would take off above the bar branches also. There's little taper to your trunk in that area and your trunk isn't really thick enough to carry much highth. As long as the branch on the left has some decent flexibility, I agree it should be the new apex. Would make a shorter but better tree in my humble opinion.
Mary B.
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: noissee on September 30, 2009, 04:11 PM
I agree that bending that branch toward the back would look awkward, but in the picture it looks to me like it is not directly above the first branch. It actually looks like it is more towards the back than it is above the first branch...if that makes sense. Maybe a picture from above the tree would help.
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: M.B. on October 01, 2009, 02:35 AM
Hmmm, you could be right. The branch looks directly over the number one branch in the picture with leaves but the picture of it leafless does look to be a little more towards the back. Hey Joe, if you got the time can you take a picture from above and show that branch position?
Mary B.
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: bonsaikc on October 01, 2009, 09:28 PM
I'd most like to see at least three more shots from other directions before I gave advice on what to cut. I like that little branch if it emerges behind a line directly over the bottom branch.  The bar branches don't offend me until I can see the tree in the round. I would, however remove the over-long green growth at the tips.

Typical branch development for tridents in the classical style is to remove everything and grow from fresh buds. As these elongate, wire them, put in exaggerated movement, and let the wires cut in about halfway. Then remove the wires, prune back hard and let them rebud, wiring the new growth again and repeating over time.

In this case you have a lovely graceful shape and could start secondary ramification using the same type of process next spring. However, I wouldn't let the wire bite in so much since the growth gets finer as it ramifies.

Chris
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: joe cervantes on October 03, 2009, 03:03 PM
Wow!! Thanks to everyone that replied. Great suggestions. The lil branch is a little to the back. Hopefully these pics I took this morning will show a little more of the branches. The top one does seem to show too much except lots of leaves. I can try to take some more pics as soon as I can. Thanks, Joe
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: M.B. on October 04, 2009, 12:39 AM
Joe, wait until your tree goes dormant to take your other photos. That way we can tell branch placement better, without the leaves covering so much. I know waiting is hard but it's better than chopping something off and then going "whoops, maybe I should have left that branch".
Mary B.
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: joe cervantes on October 05, 2009, 11:07 PM
Thanks Mary!! Will do. I have learned to be patient since I started Bonsai. I will keep yas posted.
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: Jerry Norbury on January 13, 2011, 04:49 PM
What happened with this one?
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: joe cervantes on January 13, 2011, 06:46 PM
Hi Jerry. Sad to say that it died. Happened over the summer. I lost it and a Holly. I feel  that the hot winds may have had something to do with it. Defineately a learning experience. I will guard against those winds this coming summer for sure.Along with making sure I water when needed. In the meantime I am looking for another Trident to replace that one. That was my best tree. I am a beginner, just over a year, and its true when they say, " you will kill a few along the way"!
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: Jerry Norbury on January 14, 2011, 02:11 AM
What a shame. Ah well, not that this is any consolation, but I had more die on me in 2010 than in any other year in the 34 years I've been doing bonsai. I also acquired more last year than any other year (probably 50 or more)!
Title: Re: branch prunning
Post by: joe cervantes on June 28, 2011, 07:27 PM
Sad to say it died. I feel it was the heat here. After I repotted ,it just didnt take off like I thought it would.