Feral tridents

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Feral tridents

Postby shibui » July 27th, 2017, 9:21 pm

Occasionally a self sown trident seedling grows where the head gardener does not see it for a couple of years. Here's one she noticed this winter and immediately ordered it be removed. Probably 2-3 years old now.
garden trident prune 02.JPG

You can see it is about 2m tall.

These are similar to field grown trees because they have plenty of room and grow really fast. The difference is that these have had no root work so how and where the roots have grown is hit and miss. Fortunately tridents have strong lateral roots so they usually end up with plenty of roots right at ground level.
They have also never been pruned so trunks tend to have less taper than those which have been managed properly. This one happens to have a fork near the base so pruning can give us some taper.
garden trident prune 03.JPG


Those roots are still too long. I need roots that divide and ramify close to the trunk to give a wide, flowing nebari so I've cut them all back even shorter.
Pruning one of the leaders gives the stump the beginnings of taper. When new shoots grow the top will probably be pruned back again.
garden trident prune 05.JPG


The view underneath gives a better idea of how many roots have been removed. Vertical roots will only get in the way when it comes time to pot up your bonsai so always remove down growing roots.
garden trident prune 04.JPG


garden trident prune 08.JPG

Will this survive? Almost certainly.
Will it be a great bonsai? Certainly not in the short term but given a bit of time and work it might develop into a passable tree.
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Re: Feral tridents

Postby FruitFly » July 27th, 2017, 10:39 pm

Looks a pretty radical treatment.

Looking forward to following its progression.

Just a quick question. Could I do the same treatment to a Chinese Pistachio? We have one that is growing (self seeded) right beside our garage foundations. I tried to dig it out over the weekend, but there is too much old rock/concrete around the base to dig down. i can access a small portion of the root, but it would mean removing most of the root base. Do you think it would survive a radical root chop? It need to be removed or poisoned as it is/will cause structural damage to the garage.

Cheers
Gail
Last edited by FruitFly on July 27th, 2017, 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Feral tridents

Postby shibui » July 28th, 2017, 9:36 pm

Here's another feral trident. It has been growing in a garden where I help with the maintenance. I pruned it last winter with the possibility of using it for bonsai so it has better trunk shape than the last one.
feral trident 2017 01.JPG


Roots are not as well developed, probably because it grew in a garden with no added water.
feral trident 2017 02.JPG


If I want good nebari from this one it needs special treatment.
feral trident 2017 03.JPG

feral trident 2017 04.JPG

feral trident 2017 05.JPG


Style decisions can wait until it has recovered but there's already the start of a broom style here.
feral trident 2017 06.JPG

Otherwise cut it lower at some stage and grow a new top. All that will depend which branches sprout and where the new roots grow.
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Re: Feral tridents

Postby shibui » August 4th, 2017, 5:31 pm

Could I do the same treatment to a Chinese Pistachio?

Apologies FF. I missed your question earlier.
I have not tried root pruning Chinese pistachio so can't give you a definitive answer but... If it is going to die anyway why not have a go and see what happens. Cut it off, cut the trunk back reasonably hard then pot it up and let us know what happens. :fc:
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Re: Feral tridents

Postby shibui » August 4th, 2017, 5:49 pm

Whenever I show this sort of radical root reduction people are concerned that the tree may not live.
Here's one from a few years ago.
When it was dug the roots were so bad that I cut off nearly everything. I did not take a photo at the time but root reduction was so severe that I wrote on the pot.
almost no roots 2017 1.JPG


It has obviously grown for the past 2 years but I wanted to check and see what has happened below soil level.
almost no roots 2017 2.JPG

almost no roots 2017 4.JPG

There are now lots of fine roots growing from all around where I cut the trunk off (lower roots) Because it had so few roots I planted it a little deeper than normal to support the trunk. Tridents have a very strong tendency to develop new roots just under the surface and those upper roots are typical of deep planted tridents.
You can also see that those upper roots have started to thicken the trunk at that level. I considered sawing off just below the upper roots but there's a much better nebari below and the reverse taper is only very marginal. I think the reverse taper will grow out so the lower mass of radial roots is a better bet. Try to remove any high roots early to avoid problems with reverse taper near the roots.
almost no roots 2017 6.JPG
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Re: Feral tridents

Postby FruitFly » August 4th, 2017, 9:05 pm

shibui wrote:
Could I do the same treatment to a Chinese Pistachio?

Apologies FF. I missed your question earlier.
I have not tried root pruning Chinese pistachio so can't give you a definitive answer but... If it is going to die anyway why not have a go and see what happens. Cut it off, cut the trunk back reasonably hard then pot it up and let us know what happens. :fc:


No worries Neil, thanks for replying. I'll give it a go. As you said, it's going to die anyway so nothing to lose.

Cheers
Gail


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