Trident Repotting

Posted by on Jan 28, 2015 | No Comments
Trident Repotting

The trident maple from my previous post is one of a few from the batch that I still have and possibly my favorite at the moment.

When I was in SoCal I had a lot of problems with root heat (or so I thought) so I started potting everything out of ceramic containers into wooden boxes. The theory was that wood is a much better insulator from the hot sun than a ceramic pot. I’m not sure that the box made any difference in this case, but it did provide plenty of room for the roots to run.

Middle of November in the box.   The tree responded well to pruning and sent out lots of good shoots.   I wired them and then unwired them pretty quickly.

Middle of November, 2014 in the box. The tree responded well to pruning and sent out lots of good shoots. I wired them and then unwired them pretty quickly.

Early January, I had trimmed it and the rest of the leaves finally fell off in late December.   As usual, the fall foliage wasn't anything special.

Early January, I had trimmed it and the rest of the leaves finally fell off in late December. As usual, the fall foliage wasn’t anything special.

For repotting at least, one of the advantages of a box is that you can just take it apart.   This reveals the intact root structure.   In this case the tree could have gone at least another year without repotting, but I was wanting to get it back into a bonsai container.

For repotting at least, one of the advantages of a box is that you can just take it apart. This reveals the intact root structure. In this case the tree could have gone at least another year without repotting, but I was wanting to get it back into a bonsai container.

The root trimming went fairly quickly; I removed a couple of larger roots that had formed along the surface going to the right of the tree and then trimmed back close to the base. Tridents can take a lot of cutting to the roots, but too much cutting will slow them down the following year. Last year, one of the tridents I repotted was on a board that I had forgotten about. When I found it, I realized that almost the entire root ball would have to be removed to get it out. I did so and there were only a few roots left. In the spring the tree budded out slowly and it didn’t grow much for most of the year.

After trimming the roots I had a decision to make about what pot to use:

Three possible container: Top a yellow Japanese pot, middle is an interesting pot that looks relatively inexpensive but has a good patina to it, and bottom is a slightly larger container that is probably an import from the 60's.

Three possible containers: Top a yellow Japanese pot, middle is an interesting pot that looks relatively inexpensive but has a good patina to it, and bottom is a slightly larger container that is probably an import from the 60’s.

With the rootball trimmed I tested out what it would look like in the middle pot.

With the rootball trimmed I tested out what it would look like in the middle pot.

And in the yellow Japanese pot....looks good shape wise, but I'm not sure that this is the right pot for the tree.

And in the yellow Japanese pot. Looks good shape wise, but I’m not sure that this is the right pot for the tree.

Ultimately, I decided to go with the largest of the containers to allow more room for root growth as I continue to develop the fine branching.

Ultimately, I decided to go with the largest of the containers to allow more room for root growth as I continue to develop the fine branching.

When show time rolls around, hopefully in about two or three years, or ten if things don’t go as well, I’ll have a couple pots to choose from.