Or any other species for that matter. I bought this trunk from a grower who had plaited a number of trident whips together. His words of wisdom- you have to let some grow out of the body, otherwise you end up with a trunk with no taper. Gradually reducing the number of whips gives the trunk a good taper and the enthusiast, a good basis to develop a pleasing tree.

Fused trunk

The trident maple as I purchased it. Some whips have been allowed to leave the parent bunch and left to grow and help the trunk thicken before being lopped. If I had been growing this, I would have worked the tree harder and wired some of the free whips to form branches. However, the potential is there, though the top is clunky and needs refinement.

First styling

I have removed all the stubs and a lot of the branches as the trunk has the development that I want. The apical area has been lightened considerably to get taper and now the tree can recover and start to develop the necessary branching. The trunk is about 20cm high.

I’m hoping a shoot grows to the left of the apical trunk so I can get the apex back over the trunk, but if it doesn’t, future foliage will minimise the side effect. Larger branches were removed since their thickness was out of keeping with the size of the trunk. Now the tree is in balance and the major element needed is time for it to develop into a nice shohin.

The bark still bears traces of the many whips used to start this bonsai, but they should graft together in time and even if they don’t, they give the trunk some character.