Chopping the Trunk of a Trident Maple

For a number of years I have been growing trident maples with a view to creating my own shohin trees. Most of my stock started life as pencil thin saplings and have been growing in boxes to thicken them up and create nice spreading root bases. A few are now at the stage where the next step in the process, chopping back the trunk, can begin.

Today I completed the work on the first of these. It’s the one you can see in the foreground of the next picture, taken last Spring.


The following pictures show a closer view of the base of the tree before the chop was carried out.



I decided to err on the side of caution and chop the tree in 2 stages. The first chop was made last Spring and this is how it looked at that time.


I am glad that I decided to complete this task in 2 stages because the tree pushed out a lot of new shoots below the first cut, which allowed me to position my second cut more accurately in relation to the new branch which will form the apex of the tree. This was how it looked at the end of last season. That tall branch in the centre wasn’t there at the start of the season.


The second chop which was carried out this week was positioned just above that tall branch in the centre. The next picture shows how it looks at the moment. You can see that the nodes on the thick branch are too far apart for a shohin  tree but fortuitously there is a short thin branch right next to it with short internodes and 5 nodes. This is the branch that will form the top of the tree and the thicker one will be removed in due course.