I picked up what I thought was 20 whips, trident maples, bare-rooted and wrapped in moist sphagnum. It turned out to be 18 bc 2 were twin trunked.. At $40, as they were all in there 3rd year, I considered it a fair price.
Here's what I ended up doing:
I put a dozen in the ground after threading them through old DVDs. This is the only time I've ever used an Adobe disc in my life.
One was planted into a PVC pipe filled with soil. I read about this somewhere over the recent years. The goal is to grow roots that are long and conducive to placing over a stone late on. Probably next year.
Finally, at the suggestion of Mach5 and the visual tutorial by smoke from bonsainut, I put these 5 through a board to form a clump style.
Why the planting through the CDs and board? Good question. The goal is to have the trident trunk swell from a good year of growing or maybe 2. At this time the base will begin to swell and effectively groundlayer itself. Leaving behind radial nebari and a swollen base. That's the plan anyways. I've seen it done online, now we attempt to recreate.
And now the waiting game.