I had a small trident maple that was starting to be a reasonable looking bonsai, but unfortunately I “overworked” it and it passed away. What I was left with was a nice base so I started to think what I might do with it. I had seen a few different ways of creating bonsai with a large flared base (nabari) and still being quite short, and these were done with various figs. Would a different method incorporating these techniques work with trident maples? There was only one way to find out, and following is the beginning of that journey.
Last year I collected a large number of trident maple seeds and planted them in the vegetable garden, and as they grew I watered and fertilized them very well. In the year they grew to a height from 300 mm to about 900 mm depending on how much fertilizer they were able to obtain. These seedlings together with the base from the old and now dead maple were the basis for what I hope will be a reasonable looking bonsai in just a few years.
The process to date in pictures is as follows. First I selected a pot.
Next I put the old maple stump into the pot to test for size.
Then I cut a piece of MDF to sit the stump on so that all the roots will spread out.
Now the real work begins, I take a number of the maple seedlings and place them around the stump, stapling them into place as I go. The idea is to try and fill as much space on the stump as is possible.
I then wrapped some raffia around the seedlings to make sure they were attached very tightly.
The next step was to put some potting mix in the pot, put the board on the potting mix and then attach the new work onto the board.
After the initial potting the new work was well watered until the water running through was clear. Then I trimmed the work and placed another raffia wrap around the work, wired some possible future branches into place and put some moss over the mix to retain the moisture.
The new work was then set aside to recover, and hopefully grow. The ideas surrounding this project are that the stump should degrade over the coming years but the trident seedlings should fuse together and thus create a single unit, a tree. The staples should rust and rot away, and the board should also rot away leaving only a single trident maple in a few years time.
I hope that it will be successful and I will provide regular up-dates as the progress continues.