I’ve been working to develop the ramification on my trident maple for several years now but the progress has been slow. This year I’m trying something different to see if I can speed up the process.
I usually let new shoots run a bit before trimming them and I defoliate the tree 2-4 times a year depending on its vigor. This year I’m going to keep new growth in check by maintaining the tree’s silhouette throughout the growing season. To do this, I will trim all vigorous shoots as they emerge, even if this means working on the tree every few days.
That’s the plan anyway – it’s early April now and I’m already behind! You can see in the photo below that the apex has rounded out some and a few shoots are breaking away from the silhouette.
Trident maple – healthy apex
I cut back all shoots that were leaving the general silhouette and left the interior branches alone. When the new leaves harden off, it will be time to defoliate – another opportunity to cut elongating shoots.
After removing the new shoots
I’m hoping that keeping the vigorous shoots in check will improve the tree’s balance. If, however, I don’t see much progress by the end of the year, I’ll look to try yet another approach next spring.
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