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Trident development from a seedling

September 20, 2014

This is a tiny trident from SA…bought 2013…April. The method I describe here I would call : The lazy faster way…Truth be told I prefer the way Al develops his maples: Grow and cut back hard, in order to create a short sumo trunk. Tridents callus very well so large cuts are not a big problem for them if handled properly.

This is what I started with in April 2013…it was a tiny seedling barely 10 cm high.


It was planted in a small pot in a mix of loam, pine bark and sand over a plastic packet, after removing the tap root, in order to restrain the roots from growing down.

I pinched the top of the tree in order to get some side shoots and after they emerged I wired the tree.

Notice the curves on it. They are not tight enough. As this tree grows, the curves will straighten and will be barely noticeable. A good lesson to learn.

This is the same tree Feb 2014, less than a year later.

Notice the scars left by the wire, they will be gone very soon. In this picture the right fat trunk is a sacrifice branch. It is left to fatten the lower part of the trunk. The left smaller trunk is the future leader. Later it will be cut back hard and a new section started from it.

This is a faster way to develop a trunk, but fattening it and developing the next trunk section at the same time. The idea I got from this drawing which I found on Face book:

As you can see it is a similar method. The advantage of bending the branches is that in highly apical trees, the tallest branch will slow the growth of the lower ones. But if they are wired lower, you can have distributing of energy and selectively fatten some branches but leaving them higher.

In this case I dont see a problem…the main trunk which is supposed to fatten the first section of the trunk is not really suppressing the second section too much….and it is good that they are not the same thickness, for taper needs to be created.

Here is a post on baby bending:

Another angle of the same tree.

Decided to check the roots today…But it is in full leaf now so it will not be good to do a full repot…so decided to wash just on top and see how the nebari is progressing…Discovered I had planted it over a plastic, which acts like a tile…so no roots going down…I am so happy I did that…

I just did a minimal arranging of the roots radially….

Can you see how shallow the root system is….ones the roots thicken, I will just uncover the nebari on top a bit and cut one root short…and then do the same every 2-3 month untill all the roots are cut and start forking near the trunk…for a dinner plate nebari…he he he

I decided to plant it now in a very large pot in a mix on soil manure pine bark and sand…stones are put at the bottom over the holes to assist with drainage.

The next picture needs to be opened so all comments are seen

The wedge method will be used to heal the trunk chop faster….the blue part will be cut off.

This method can be used to develop almost any kind of tree.

This tree will be updated later in this same thread.






  1. Thanks for sharing Neli. What size of tree are you aiming for? Your maple has flourished under your care – how long do you think it’ll take to achieve your desired trunk?

    • I was thinking medium size around 60-0 cm…but I want nice fat trunk…Not very sure but if it grows at the same rate maybe 2 years…maybe more????…and then I can start branch development…
      It was in a very small pot up to now…I have now planted it in a very large pot, so it might grow much faster…Here our trees grow 9-10 month a year so it is much faster.

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