Monday, January 1, 2007

New Year's Eve 2006 - the trident with problems

1) April 2002 after harvesting for the first  time
2) one hour later, see size comparison!
3) April 2003, after second harvest
4) one hour later, quite promising, but a bit cookie-cutter
5) after the catastrophy in March 2005, just about ready for discarding
6) December 2006 very good new growth
7)  New Year's Eve 2006 right in between styling, it looks like it will be OK
8 and 9) the big hole was carved even bigger

On New Year's eve of 2006 I took this old trident maple off the work shelve. Normally it is not possible to work in my greenhouse at this time of the year. But we have the warmest December ever and it was nice and cozy.

This tree has some history.

I traded it in from Danny Use against a collected mugo pine in around 1997. It was just a stump without any branches. But the stump was much better than most of these modern sumo tridents. It was thick and had a wonderful nebari, but also a lot of movement and elegance in the trunk.
To develop branches I planted it into the ground. In April 2002 I harvested it for the first time.

See the pictures as of April 2001.

After sorting out the branches and wiring the ones that I wanted to leave I planted the tree back into the ground.
In April of 2003 I harvested it again. This time I planted it into a big growing pot

See pictures as of April 2003.

Then terrible things happened. The tree showed bright red spots on the bark of the trunk in the top. The foliage up there looked quite sick. One of the most dangerous fungi has taken a hold of my trident. The top died and so did many branches. The tree became very sick overall. I treated it with fungicides which I painted directly onto the trunk and also some systemic fungicides. The dying stopped. But half of the tree was dead. It looked like it would never become a good bonsai again. I contemplated to throw it away. After all, I don't need a highly contagious fungi in my garden.

Then the tree recovered and I let it grwo freely. On New Years Eve of 2006 I took it off the shelve and worked on it. First I cut out a lot of deadwood on teh top and also on that big hole to the left (see pictures). Then I edited the branches and wired them.
It looks like it might beeven better than it could have been before. The tree is much smaller and thus the trunk looks much bigger. The trident looks like a naturally growing deciduous tree rather than a cookie-cutter bonsai.
We will see.