I recently sold a Swamp maple I’ve been working on for three years. Among the very nice features of that tree was the fact that it didn’t start rotting from the chop down in year three, which had been my experience over the course of many years and many trees. I collected this specimen in January of 2019, and have done nothing to it except for fertilizing and watering. Benign neglect, along with maintaining an interior root mass that includes native soil, has been my approach. When I saw the amazing fluting of this tree’s trunk, I had to bring it home. It’s an uncommon feature of the species. If this specimen survives and thrives, I should really have something.
I’m going on the assumption that, with the tree now in dormancy, pruning won’t have any significant negative impact. That’s all I’ll do until next spring. You can see the stub I left when removing that weird branch shooting off to the right. The purpose of cutting the way I did is to ensure that I don’t expose the tree unnecessarily to pathogens that might enter at the site of a flush cut. The cut I made was outside the branch collar.
The rest of the pruning has been done. The tree still looks like barely more than a trunk, but there are trunks buds in strategic spots you can’t see as well as a couple of branches I should be able to use.
A couple more notes for today. After a lot of studying over the course of the growing season, I’ve finally spotted a suitable leader. And I know just where to re-chop the trunk when the time comes. The only question to answer is when? If not next year, then surely 2021.
Here’s a little bonus shot. I’ve been growing this Swamp/red maple from seed for the past few years. It’s been cut back a couple of times now to build trunk taper. I went ahead and potted it because I’m satisfied with the trunk base, which is right at 1″ at the soil, and it’s destined to remain a shohin size bonsai. I know it doesn’t look like much at this stage, but I’ve got all the buds I need to create an entire branch structure. So by next summer I should have a neat little Red maple bonsai.