The Trident Maple is a vibrant colourfull tree that is loved by gardeners around the world for its fresh spring colours and vibrant autumn colours. It leaves are tri-lobed, orange-coppery in spring, bright green in summer and orange-red in autumn give this little tree something to enchant with all year round. Even in the depths of winter, its densely ramified branches and pale silver branches are a sight to behold.
Styles and Sizes: With their ability shine all through the year they are indeed a very sought after species for bonsai. It makes excellent small to largely sized bonsai in most upright forms and is very popular with a root and rock-composition because of its quick growing and thickening roots.
Position: As a bonsai, the Trident prefers a shaded spot especially over the hottest of months. However, if you are seeking to put on a colourful show of autumn colour then it is best to move it back into the sunny spots on the benches as the height of summer starts waning. It is a very hardy species but is best protected when temperatures are likely to fall below -10C for prolonged periods. Keep in a cool greenhouse for these periods.
Watering: Water thoroughly in the early this will ensure that the plant does not stay waterlogged overnight.
Feeding: Feed with a balanced organic fertiliser during the start of the year. Using a high nitrogen fertiliser will increase growth but make leaves larger and branches more coarse, only apply if you are looking to bulk up your bonsai at perhaps a pre-bonsai stage.
Repotting: Repot younger trees every 2 to 3 year, trees older than 10 years only when pot bound. Repot in spring, reducing the root ball by no more than a third in volume. Use an equal mix of loam, peat and coarse sand. Alternative you can use 2 parts Akadama and 1 part Pumice.
Pruning: Summer pruning is carried out when the current year's growth is fully extended. Prune to leave 3 lateral shoots or active nodes. Spring pinching of terminal shoots once 4 tender leaves have developed will ensure longer internodes do not form. Use the pinching operation only with caution as it interferes with the hormonal cycle of the tree and may lead to more problems then it solves.
Wiring: Maples are best styled with the ‘clip and grow’ method. If bonsai-wiring is required, wire sparingly and with care, in autumn and remove before spring, if left on after spring watch carefully to ensure wire scaring does not occur.