June Club Meeting: Trident Maples

Deciduous Trees: The Padbury way

Guest Speaker: Neil Padbury

Shibui Bonsai Nursery

  • You can grow tiny, small, large trident maples

  • They develop really well compared to other trees used for bonsai

  • Most styling is upright.

  • Deciduous trees do have broken branches and cracked wood in real life

  • Root over tock. Trident maple roots grow pretty quickly.

  • Multiple trunks can be very successful.

  • Grafting can be completed successfully.

  • Group style forests can be grown very successfully with trident maples.

  • Bonsai can be grown from maple seed. Does take some time however.

  • Can start from seedlings

  • Trident maples are a tough tree and very fecund.

  • Nebari is really important. Desirable to have the roots going out, not down.

  • Trees need very few roots to stay alive. Can be trimmed right back and they will grow.

  • Best time to trim is early Winter when trees have lost their leaves. Also root work.

  • Starting with trident maple cut off roots. Side roots will develop.

  • Cut the top off plant and side branches will develop.

  • Annually trim roots and also top of tree. When roots are severely trimmed, tree will send out new roots. Cut off roots growing downwards.

  • Can plant seedlings in ground, then dig up and prune. Stimulates growth!! Leads to root ramification and great nebari.

  • Ongoing root trimming leads to great nebari development.

  • Major pruning of tree trunk and branches.

  • Prune for taper.

  • Neil uses small circular metal plate (ex road sign) through which to grow maple seedling in order to increase root development as tree is “strangled”. Eventually, remove metal plate once roots have established. Creates lots of horizontal roots and a flared, bulging trunk base.

  • Keep very young plated seedlings in nursery situation to ensure regular watering and growth in Summer.

  • Plant seedling on an angle to start development of curve. We don’t need telegraph poles! Bend is needed.

  • Twin trunks can be developed using a plate with 2+ holes. Trunks will eventually grow together. Same with clump style// more holes in plate. eg. 7 holes/7 seedlings.

  • Clump style needs harmonious trunks.

  • Avoid wire on growing trees. Neil prefers to prune in order to shape in the early stage. Because trees grow quickly, the wire can quickly become embedded in tree and scar tree.

  • Neil plants all seedlings in one general potting mix. No different mixes for different species! Custom mix of 70% pine bark + 20% propagated sand + 10% ... made at Yarra Glen.

  • Trident maples are very hardy.

  • Plant well developed trimmed trees in grow beds during Winter. They will be dormant in Winter. In Spring, dig up and reassess tree in terms of showing promise or not.

  • Set the initial branches with wire and let them grow for the year. Then cut back.

  • Neil feeds plants but reduces size of grow pots in order to support reduction of nutrient uptake in order to create shorter internodes.

  • Retain the growing branches that have shorter internodes.

  • Keep air away from tree cut wound with either putty, cut paste, acrylic paint or foil.

  • Japanese maples respond to similar approach but their development is more problematic. Twice as difficult to grow. Trident maple is more user friendly to grow as bonsai.