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Trunk Chop

This is a discussion on Trunk Chop within the General Bonsai Discussion/Questions forums, part of the Bonsai category; A trident maple that was field grown for many years was damaged. The damage was so severe that I trunk ...

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Old 11-17-2009, 02:44 PM   1 links from elsewhere to this Post. Click to view. #1 (permalink)
 
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Trunk Chop

A trident maple that was field grown for many years was damaged. The damage was so severe that I trunk chopped it down below the affected area. I have some branching at the top were I chopped. Should I place it back in the ground in the spring and just let it grow? I was wondering if I should remove a few of the branches or cut them back. I will take alone time to develop a new leader.

Thanks, Tom
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Last edited by tlynchjr; 11-18-2009 at 01:19 PM..
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
 
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I would put it back in the ground: it will develop a lot more quickly.

I would also remove any branches I don't plan to eventually use, except for one at/near the apex to keep pulling water and nutrients thru easily. Give them their basic wiring, too: I understand from Matt Ouwinga that trident branches are best wired while still twiggy and easily shaped.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:00 PM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I agree with Treebeard. Any tree in ground will grow faster.

If you leave all those branches growing from the same level, that would make the stump enlarge faster than the root area and can become even larger, and that is not good.

Choose what you need and remove the rest. Arrange early and you will enjoy later how well your tree will look.
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:45 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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I agree that you need to pick the one branch that you want to grow into your new apex and cut the others off. If you let all those branches go, you'll end up with a bulge at that point. Let your new leader grow - whether in the ground or just in a bigger pot, either way. I'm almost for keeping it in a bonsai put but just feeding it heavily - verses having it grow deep roots again that you'd have to start over with the root pruning process. If you keep it in a pot you can work on the nebari at the same time that you're growing the top. If you put it in the ground you'll end up having to come back to work on the nebari later, adding time to the overall process.

-Centaura
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I suppose you could keep it in a pot; but if you put it in the ground you don't have to leave the roots entirely alone. You can still prune roots by sticking a shovel in the groun at the desired distance from the tree, increasing the density of the root ball closer to the tree rather than letting it develope long roots.
Just a thought.

Travis
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Old 12-07-2009, 08:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
 
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The benefit of keeping it in a pot is that the roots are forced to grow sideways, verses growing downwards, and that pushes them up to the soil level at the base of the tree, expanding the nebari. Having the tree in the ground and cutting around it with a shovel discourages those radial roots by encouraging down-ward growing roots.

Now, everyone who is suggesting putting the tree into the ground again for more ground is right on the fact that it will get you more growth faster, but I was just pointing out that it will delay the start of nebari development. Its going to take about equal amount of time to refine both the top and the nebari. Yes, keeping it in a pot will not give you as much top growth, but I feel that the chance to work the whole tree at the same time outweighs the benefit of getting rampant top growth and then coming back for root work. One of the people I respect most in the bonsai world is adamantly against putting things into the ground, because the growth you get is so wild and course. I don't think that I lean that far, but I am of the school that once its out of the ground I tend to leave it out of the ground. Personal preference.

Other than that, I think its a great find - to start with a trunk of that girth is already two steps in the right direction.

-Centaura

Last edited by centaura; 12-07-2009 at 10:13 AM.. Reason: clarifying reasoning better
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:19 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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If I understand correctly, I should just pick one branch for the new leader, root prune in the early spring and let the tree develop in the pot. I was also told that if put back in the ground it could develop course growth that may compromise development? Thanks.

Last edited by tlynchjr; 12-07-2009 at 12:23 PM..
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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Course growth is what I've been warned about for growing trees in the ground. On one hand, it will push more growth faster, and heal over the trunk chop wound faster, but it also pushes your internodes farther apart and reduces the chances of getting back budding in really desirable areas later. But whichever you choose - in ground or in pot - definitely pick only one leader and let that one grow for a while. You don't want all of the current leaders to grow out, since it will lead to major scarring in that area later that you'll need to deal with, and it could cause a bulge in the area.

-Centaura
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Thanks for the advice. I will pick on branch for a leader and leave it in the pot and monitor its progress during the next growing season. I know that it will take time and patience to be successful with this tree.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Centaura,
I see your point. I suppose there are pros and cons to each method, and I've never actually tried growing bonsai material in the ground (the soil and climate in the Texas Hill Country are quite harsh). I actually had just learned the technique I described in my horticulture class recently, and its primary purpose is to prepare an established plant to be transplanted. Actually, root pruning does not necessarily encourage downward root growth, just ramification at each point you cut, and I think this whould contribute to the nebari at least a little? But you do have all that soil beneath the tree, and the tree would likely grow deeper roots than would fit in a bonsai pot, so you would inevitably have to do some root work. Then there's the coarse growth; that is quite true, but then I suppose that's implied when you want a tree to thicken up quickly. You would then have to do a lot of work on the canopy, which would take a lot of time to heal. Really, I guess environmental conditions could yield different results, but it seems like either method might take just as long. Hmm. I think I'm confusing myself with lack of experience here.

Travis
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