Species Specific > Trident Maple Bonsai Discussion

Trident progression

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akeppler:
I opened that dialog at the other site with my simple reply: "Nice looking pine".

Without knowing the person or the context of the tree or the desireabilities of the picture one can only make assesments on first impressions. My impression of that image is a trident maple being done in the pine tree style.

Maples do not grow like this. They are deciduous tree with many trunks emerging low on a base. That is the natural growth habit of the species. Many time tree species, or shrubs for that matter are styled to represent other species found in nature. Many juniper shrubs are styled to represent a battered bristlecone pine found at tree line with huge amounts of deadwood. I have seen elms prepared to represent acacia trees seen on the African scrub.

This particular tree falls into a very touchy catagory. Short sightedness of the grower. It is very easy to cut down a 2 inch trident and grow out a second section in a couple years. Cut it back again and grow out a third section and call it good. Great taper, movement, chunky base and good rootage. It is also very easy to grow out some branches in a "stairway to heaven" pattern and have a very presentable bonsai in a few years.

This tree is a very nice bonsai. It is not a very convincing maple bonsai. I go to some of the best shows in California on a yearly basis. Two shows in particular always have many trident maple bonsai. I have yet to see a trident maple grown in a convincing maple style yet.

How does a maple tree grow? ....looky here.....

akeppler:
Again lets compare the maple with some other pine tree bonsai and look at the simularities.

akeppler:
Pine tree

Maple tree.

akeppler:
So, what are we left with? There are two ways to style a maple tree. Classical Japanese pine style, or modified broom, naturalistic, spreading oak style. One looks like a maple and one looks like a pine. I would get bored with all of the same in my collection so variety seems to rule the day. I have both in my collection and I love both styles.

Hopefully I have posted something for those of you to tell the professional blowhard when he tells you your maple looks like a pine. You can tell him "thank you very much, that is what I was going for. I have benches of maples at home but wanted to represent a pine with a maple for variety."

Cheers, Al

John Kirby:
Al, do you have one that looks like a maple? I thought you were still stuck in the Sumo mud with the rest of us.

This tree would be relatively easy to convert to a more mapley look. Looking at the change in flow and direction of movement on trees in the woods or down along the river would give one a good sense of how to adjust branches, and which to remove. I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

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