About four years ago I acquired this trident maple, Acer buergerianum, from a bonsai friend. He had been growing it in his field bed for several years prior and wanted to get rid of it. I gladly agreed to saw it out of the ground – which, way too much time later proved just about impossible. We lashed it to the back of his Jeep and finished the job that way.

Well, this was the last tree I potted up that day and I was pretty tired. So it went into a really big tub, after which it pretty much sat untouched until today. Just food and water.

Trident4-9-16-1It took about an hour, a lot of water and a lot of muscle to get the tree to this point. Isn’t the root base amazing? I had buried it, as I always do, when it was first collected in order to protect it from drying out. This technique works on everything I collect; rarely will I lose a large lateral root on a tree. This trident was no different.










Here’s a shot from the back. You can see where the trunk was chopped several years ago after the tree had been allowed to grow unchecked to thicken the base. The callus is rolling over. Tridents heal well, so in time this wound should close mostly or completely.

Isn’t that a great mat of fibrous roots! You should see the amount I cut away.

It’s a little hard to see from this angle, but there are large buttressing roots all the way around this specimen. Once this tree finds its way into a bonsai pot, the nebari is going to be stunning.




Here’s the tree in its smaller tub. I cut away a lot of stiff larger branches, which could not be bent. When the tree re-buds, I’ll be able to wire the tender new shoots and get a good branch set started. This should happen over the next several weeks.

This tree is available at our Miscellaneous Bonsai sales page, for anyone who’s wanted to tackle a really big trident maple. I believe it can ship in late May or early June.