I’m brand new to learning the art of Bonsai and I’ve got some questions about planning for the future. I have a trident maple that I bought about a year and a half ago that I’m trying to make into a thick trunk with some nice movement and tapper. Currently it is in a 1 gallon pot and the trunk is about as thick as my pinky. I’ve done lots of research and everything so far is pointing to planting it into the ground to help thicken the trunk quickly (I realize “quickly” is a relative term and this is probably a 6-10 year process) and to plant the tree on a tile to help the roots grow horizontally and create nice nebari. This is definitely my plan for this spring but I have some questions on how to best go about it.
When do I consider chopping the trunk? I’ve read that you wait until the trunk is almost to the “final” size you’d like it and then cut it at that point. If this is the case then hypothetically what if I’m looking for a trunk that is over 12" in diameter? Does that mean I let the tree grow until it is almost 12" in diameter and then chop the trunk and grow a new leader? I feel like that would have a huge scar on the end of it and then it would never really develop nice taper.
Or are you suppose to chop it around 6"-8", develop a new leader, and then when that new leader gets close to the size of the trunk you chop again higher up, keeping the process going until you get what your looking for?
What’s the best way to go about growing the tree? Should I put it into the ground on a tile, pulling it up every 2-3 years to work on nebari until it gets to where I’m wanting it? Or should I grow it in an Anderson flat? Or a grow bag? Or keep it in containers and just upsize the pot every year?
While it’s growing and thickening the trunk what should I do about the shoots/branches? Should I make sure there isn’t any nodes of 3 or more growing out of the trunk that may cause inverse taper? Should I trim the shoots/branches back yearly or just let it grow naturally for 3-5 years or until the trunk chop?
What kind of soil should I be using?
I would greatly appreciate any advice you have for a newbie. I figure if I can get this tree (and hopefully many others in the future) started off on the right foot I’ll have plenty of years to continue to learn bonsai so when the trunk is actually ready I’ll somewhat know how to fumble my way through it and not make it look like a kindergarten walked up to it with pruning sheers.