pruning, ramifying new trident shoots

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Shills
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pruning, ramifying new trident shoots

Post by Shills »

Hello,

I have had a trident for quite a while now but for all these years been mostly focused on just trunk growth. This is the first season where I want to start being more careful about finer branch and leaf crafting.

With spring has come a lot of new straight shoots. My question is: can I cut back the green shoots to the second or even first internode now, whilst they are so green, or do I wait for the shoot and leaves to grow a bit more so that they are more robust in taking the cut?

I have circled in the pic where I might cut to in the hopes of getting further forked growth.

Thanks for the help.

(P.S. I have just noticed the aphids at the top of that shoot--Unfortunately my balcony in Western Sydney is full of relentless pests!)
bonsai cut.jpg
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treeman
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Re: pruning, ramifying new trident shoots

Post by treeman »

If your branch diameters do not match the trunk thickness - which your tree seems to have, you can do two things at once.
One leader is let to grow freely all season and the rest of the branch structure is pinched, pruned and defoliated as normal.
Pinching for fine growth also depends on the strength of the branch tip in question. If it is strong, pinch the soft growth as soon as it opens into two leaves. If it is a little weaker, wait longer before you pinch. If the tip is quite weak and does not extend into a new growth but just opens 2 leaves, the don't touch it. I usually pinch all the stronger new growth in spring then feed. The next growth I will allow to extend until it has 4 or 5 pars of leaves then strip them all off with the fingers by grabbing and running the fingers up. and prune back to one or two nodes again depending on the vigor of the particular shoot. Rinse and repeat all season. Then in winter you go back and clean everything up. Good ramification on tridents takes many years.
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Re: pruning, ramifying new trident shoots

Post by shibui »

You have the right idea. Cut back to either first or second buds as often as the tree will allow.
I usually allow shoots to grow out to 4-6 pairs of leaves then cut. Yours look just right but there's no magic time or size. The sooner you cut the quicker it will grow again and the more times you can repeat during a single season.
Some shoots will have long internodes. It is a mistake to keep any section with internodes that are too long (too long is relative to the size of the tree so cannot be quantified in exact size) If you feel that the node is too far out and therefore the first sub branch will be too far then cut the shoot just above the base. New shoots will still grow from the base and will usually have shorter internodes when the first rush of spring growth has been and gone.

Good luck with the process. Sometimes it seems like 2 steps forward and one step back but getting it right will make a far better tree.
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