One of the challenges of working with field grown material is replacing large, straight branches with slender shoots that have better movement. I’ve been doing this work incrementally with the trident maple below.
Even though it’s November, fall has been mild where I live so the leaves are still healthy. Here’s what the tree might look like if it were colder outside.
After removing the leaves
I’ll often wait until most leaves start to look bad before stripping off the foliage, but it’s late enough that I can afford to remove the leaves now so the tree can enjoy something resembling a brief dormancy.
As for the cutback, I shortened or removed straight branches that aren’t needed and wired the rest. I plan to let several branches run for another year or two to help wounds from larger cuts heal. I also need the new apex and the lowest branches to thicken so they’ll be in better proportion with the trunk.
After cutback and wiring
I may need to graft down the line, but we’ll see what new shoots emerge next year. It also appears that the roots have grown a lot so I might repot this winter to ensure good percolation for the next growing season.
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