A couple of thread grafting questions

peterbone

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1. I performed a thread graft on a Chinese Elm last year (attached). I let the branch grow out to about a meter to ensure that it fuses well and it seems to have worked. The branch is thicker than it is at the entry point. I haven't separated it yet though. What concerns me is the swelling at the exit point. Will that ever blend with the trunk smoothly and look natural? Is there anything I can do to help it along?

2. My other question relates to what happens when the trunk thickens after a thread graft has been completed. You have a branch going through the heartwood of the trunk and is fused to the cambium layer at opposite sides. As the trunk thickens a new cambium layer forms and the branches normally move out with it. But wouldn't this put tension on the graft points since opposite sides are connected. Would the trunk then start swallowing up the new branch? I hope you understand what I mean. Perhaps this is not an issue but I'd like to understand in more detail what happens as the trunk thickens.
 

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0soyoung

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RE 1. Yes, as that branch thickens further.
RE 2. It is just like any branch now. Growth occurs from the continuous line of cambium on the trunk and the branch (it is like trees just put on another layer of clothes to grow). The tension effect you have in mind occurred only for a relatively brief period about the time the graft initially took.
 
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never thought of this until now @0soyoung

does the first internode of a branch ever "shorten" or get "absorbed" into the trunk as it thicken (whether thread grafted or not)?

i've been keeping my internodes short... maybe too short? if my trunk is 2" diameter now, and I am expecting a 4" diameter for the 'finished' design, should i take that 2" of trunk growth into consideration when determining how long that first internode of each branch will be?

I'm trying to imagine what happens to my armpit as I keep putting t-shirts on! It's not long before there is a slope going from my elbow directly to my belt line

For example:

IMG_1165.jpg
 
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0soyoung

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Yes, @derek7745, eventually that node will get 'consumed' by the trunk, just as you have illustrated (nicely done, btw).

Stems and roots extend only from the tips. The thicken by cambium growth, but that node never moves. Branches don't move up/down - impressions that they do arise solely because they thicken.
 
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wow! Thanks @0soyoung !!

...one more thing to keep in mind :oops:
 

0soyoung

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An AHA-moment, huh?
  • Roots and stems only extend at/from their tips
Or is a 'blinding flash of the obvious'?
I'm into BFOTOs (bee photo) or just 'blinding flashes', myself. Not so much on 'aha'. :D
 

Paulpash

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@peterbone Another clue as to the success of your graft is the 'pancake' effect at the exit junction. This is normal. Over time it becomes less noticeable but to the casual observer it's not as obvious as you think - you are sorta directing your focus at it.
 

Brian Van Fleet

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An AHA-moment, huh?
  • Roots and stems only extend at/from their tips
Or is a 'blinding flash of the obvious'?
I'm into BFOTOs (bee photo) or just 'blinding flashes', myself. Not so much on 'aha'. :D
I think it’s both...an “ah-ha” moment, followed immediately by a “duh”.
You don’t chain a bike to a tree and it’s 12’ off the ground in 20 years.
 
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the soil line of this tree though, for example, at some point would have been approximately where i drew the blue arrow and dotted line?

Whether soil was removed or the tree was raised (however you prefer to look at it), that first branch did move 'up' in relation to the ground (but not in relation to the trunk). is this correct?

@Brian Van Fleet i know you recently exposed more nebari on your chishio - did you find that this had a big impact on the space between the soil and your lowest branch, and on the overall design?

i've been getting really nerdy about this stuff lately sorry for all the questions
 

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Brian Van Fleet

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@Brian Van Fleet i know you recently exposed more nebari on your chishio - did you find that this had a big impact on the space between the soil and your lowest branch, and on the overall design?
Not at all. Imperceptible really. I raised it by less than 1/4” on a 30” tall and wide tree. I seriously doubt the tree in your photo was ever planted as deep as that blue line; at least not with Bonsai in mind. Deeper than it is now, yes. But apply the sweater analogy, adding more layers doesn’t make you taller, but wider.
 

Shibui

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Expanding trunks not only 'consume' branches. They also get rid of spaces.
This fig was once a well proportioned twin trunk tree. Both trunks expanding in all directions has filled the space between. The trunks now divide around 1/3 of the way up the tree so the second trunk (right side) is more of a first branch.
P1210710.JPG
P1210711.JPG

Even back in 2007 most of the space between the trunks was gone
Large Ficus twin 2007sm .JPG

I don't have any really early photos of this tree as photos then were on old fashioned film so I didn't take many in those good old days but this probably gives a reasonable idea of how it started.

P1210710_LI.jpg

From this I have assumed it is important to allow plenty of space between the trunks of multi trunk trees, especially when it is a species that thickens well or where you intend to thicken the trunks quite a bit.

Another related factor is bends that grow out. Trees tend to thicken more on the inside of bends so, over time, subtle bends tend to disappear as the trunks thicken. I assume this is because the quickest way between 2 points - roots and leaves is a straight line so sap flow tends to take the straightest path and that's where the tree builds more wood. In the end, it means we need to emphasise initial bends in order to still have some movement after our bonsai have grown thicker.
 

peterbone

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Thanks everyone. I've never thought about the trunk swallowing branches. I was unsure if the branches move outwards or just get swallowed. If that's the case then there's of course no issue with thread grafts. It's kind of obvious when you see this sculpture of a tree carved to expose the younger tree.

 

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