Best way to make nebari in clump

Njyamadori

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I feel like everyone has different opinions on how to make a clump. Some people put wire in tube then wrap around the base. Then others use metal or wood to plant on or in . What’s your/best way of making a clump ?

(I’m using acer palmatum)
 

MrWunderful

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Yes. All of those work. There is also the method of drilling multiple holes in a tile/wood/metal and putting them through each hole, or putting all the whips through a single hole. But skip the tubing, you want the choke to cut in the force new roots.
 

0soyoung

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"Best" is always a problem. Best in what way? Define the end result that = 'best'.

Further, I think your question is really how to make a clump as opposed to making nebari in clump. Once one has a clump, nebari creation/maintenance of a clump is not different from creation/maintenance of nebari on a single tree.


There several things one can do and which one would choose would/could depend upon the state of the individual members of the clump.
  • With younger saplings --> Thread the clump trees through a 'rigid hole' - the trees will fuse as well as 'spontaneously' ground layer.
    • a 'rigid hole' could be a steel washer, an old CD, the drain hole of a broken pot, a ceramic tile with a suitable sized drilled hole, etc.
  • Just plant the individuals close together and let grow for a few years --> roots will interlace, then it is just a matter of (a long) time for the trunks to thicken and merge.
A variation of these two can be attempted with air-layers, where one has branch stubs below the roots. The stubs can be firmly attached to one another (with screws/wire, say). This is an attractive option when the layers produced roots only on one side (so to speak) instead of all around the stem. Placing one tree against the no-root side of another allows them to be placed as closely as possible and reduces the time for fusion into a clump.

Trying to do similarly by cutting roots from the abutments tends to cause the cambium above the amputated roots to die. Recovery or regrowth of the bark from the interior sides of the trunks is s.l.o.w. Obviously, it is impossible to produce a clump with a central stem by this methodology. On the other hand, one could achieve a central trunk composition by
  • manually interlace the roots OR
  • thread smaller seedlings through the roots of (and close to) the main trunk from below (the sapling roots are beneath those of the main/central trunk
Then, there is grafting.
  • Make low thread grafts on a trunk.
  • Make thread grafts through a rafted trunk (i.e., a trunk rooted laying horizontally on the ground)
  • Peg graft trunks (as made famous by Ebihara) to a root plate/pancake (which just leaves one with the fascinating problem of how to make pancake nebari)
The last way(s) I can list is to
  • Pollard a tree, then air-layer the multi-trunk knob OR
  • Bend a young seedling tightly back and forth or round and round. After a few years, the wiggles/turns fuse into a knob with lots of closely spaced nodes, from which several branches could be produced to form a clump.
 

sorce

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There is a "best" way for every material scenario.

7 trees with one sided roots is an easy one to figure out.

Sorce
 

Trenthany

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Most common I’ve seen in my research is through a hole 🕳 lol.

But what about using grafting tape to tie whips together, then over a tile etc perhaps? Does anyone do something like that? Does that work or is it that using the hole or other techniques produce far better nebari after the clumps fusion?

I guess I’m asking is there a superior technique for ease, speed, quality, or balance? Lol. Basically the same question as OP just asked differently but I’m hoping mine will help clarify the responses.

I’m asking too because I want to do something similar with some very small leafed A. rubrums I’ve found.
 

Njyamadori

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Most common I’ve seen in my research is through a hole 🕳 lol.

But what about using grafting tape to tie whips together, then over a tile etc perhaps? Does anyone do something like that? Does that work or is it that using the hole or other techniques produce far better nebari after the clumps fusion?

I guess I’m asking is there a superior technique for ease, speed, quality, or balance? Lol. Basically the same question as OP just asked differently but I’m hoping mine will help clarify the responses.

I’m asking too because I want to do something similar with some very small leafed A. rubrums I’ve found.
I’m a beginner so don’t trust me word for word but people do wrap tubing with wire in it around the seedlings which is probably what I’m gonna do. Bjorn and Bill Valvanis both do it and it looks amazing 17 years later . But let’s see what the other Bnut members say.
 

Trenthany

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I’m a beginner so don’t trust me word for word but people do wrap tubing with wire in it around the seedlings which is probably what I’m gonna do. Bjorn and Bill Valvanis both do it and it looks amazing 17 years later . But let’s see what the other Bnut members say.
Definitely waiting on the more experienced members. I can’t find an example of people using tourniquets to create clumps readily available. They always mention it in passing as a way to do it with bigger material but no one seems to recommend it. Not saying no one does just that I haven’t found it yet in the first 10 or so articles I’ve read lol.
 

SeanS

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This is the 2nd thread where we’ve given you input and you’ve gone back to saying Bjorn uses the tube wrapped wire tourniquet method and that’s what you’re going to do.
Why not try a number of methods? Use the wire tourniquet method (because like you’ve mentioned before you’ve already bought the wire and tubing), try some seedlings through a washer/tile, try air layer a group of branches. Try them all if you have enough material.

I’ve got 2 groups of 3 seedlings through washers (1 in a grow bed and 1 in a pot), 1 group of 5 seedlings planted really close together when they were only a few months old, and a group of 5 branches from the same node that I layered earlier this season. I’m trying them all. Not to see which is “better”, but because that’s just what I tried in each scenario. With enough material you don’t always have to be searching for the “best” way to do something, but can simply experiment and try different methods. They will all produce pleasing trees if executed properly and developed accordingly with proper technique along the way.
Like others have said, there’s no best way that will instantly give you a perfect clump within a few years. They are all just techniques to start the process. From there’s it’s just up to proper technique and basic fundamentals to continue the development towards your end goal.

I appreciate it may be difficult if you’re young and have limited material, but try not get fixated on finding the single technique that will best utilise your current limited resources. Try one technique with what you have now and then try something else the next time. Cresting bonsai should be fun and somewhat free form, it’s not an exact science.
 

leatherback

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This is the 2nd thread where we’ve given you input and you’ve gone back to saying Bjorn uses the tube wrapped wire tourniquet method and that’s what you’re going to do.
Why not try a number of methods?
I think this is a prime example of someone relatively new has a hard time to look 10 years into the fyuture. As such, well documented examples by well known artists with great results are a good straw to hold on to.

Keep in mind: Most often these guys have the skills and experience to make something great out of a dying twig. It is not the method in itself, but the timing and choices made in the process that will make it great. All methods mentioned work. I have 2 clumps in buildup phase. One by tying a bunch of maple seedlings together. Taproots radiation out, wiride the individual trunk and let grow. The other by layering a whirl of branches from a zelkova. I have looked at some beech stumps in a nearby forest. They were 4-6 inches thick and cut to 4inches tall a few years back and now all have multiple branches from the cut-site. Perfect clump material.

Take a method and go with it. Meanwhile spend time on understanding what makes a clump great and figure out how the best were developed. In 15 years it will not matter much what the original material was. You just need roots with multiple similar branches
 

Trenthany

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This is the 2nd thread where we’ve given you input and you’ve gone back to saying Bjorn uses the tube wrapped wire tourniquet method and that’s what you’re going to do.
Why not try a number of methods? Use the wire tourniquet method (because like you’ve mentioned before you’ve already bought the wire and tubing), try some seedlings through a washer/tile, try air layer a group of branches. Try them all if you have enough material.

I’ve got 2 groups of 3 seedlings through washers (1 in a grow bed and 1 in a pot), 1 group of 5 seedlings planted really close together when they were only a few months old, and a group of 5 branches from the same node that I layered earlier this season. I’m trying them all. Not to see which is “better”, but because that’s just what I tried in each scenario. With enough material you don’t always have to be searching for the “best” way to do something, but can simply experiment and try different methods. They will all produce pleasing trees if executed properly and developed accordingly with proper technique along the way.
Like others have said, there’s no best way that will instantly give you a perfect clump within a few years. They are all just techniques to start the process. From there’s it’s just up to proper technique and basic fundamentals to continue the development towards your end goal.

I appreciate it may be difficult if you’re young and have limited material, but try not get fixated on finding the single technique that will best utilise your current limited resources. Try one technique with what you have now and then try something else the next time. Cresting bonsai should be fun and somewhat free form, it’s not an exact science.
A good perspective, I apologize I just found this thread and tagged on.
 

SeanS

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A good perspective, I apologize I just found this thread and tagged on.
My response was more aimed at the OP hoping to free him of his dogmatic “tell me what’s best but make sure it’s Bjorn’s technique from his creating clump bonsai episode 1 YouTube video” 😉
 

Njyamadori

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My response was more aimed at the OP hoping to free him of his dogmatic “tell me what’s best but make sure it’s Bjorn’s technique from his creating clump bonsai episode 1 YouTube video” 😉
Honestly that’s what I want to hear lol. But you also said to try different methods . So next time I’m at Lowe’s or Home Depot I will get the stuff I need but also that means I need more seedlings which I don’t have .
 

Trenthany

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Honestly that’s what I want to hear lol. But you also said to try different methods . So next time I’m at Lowe’s or Home Depot I will get the stuff I need but also that means I need more seedlings which I don’t have .
After much googling and I do know who Bjorn is I can’t find anyone using tourniquet type methods.

Now I haven’t googled these things before so my search doesn’t have much bias. I always Googled generic terms like creating clump bonsai then clicked on multiple sources to see what they recommended. Bjorn’s technique may be superior for some reason I don’t understand but the tile/board etc method seems to be far more prevalent and has solid reasoning behind it.

I will look up Bjorn’s info specifically and read it to see what his reasoning is and if it makes more or less sense than the other methods.

Good luck!
 

BonsaiMatt

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In Andrea Meriggioli's Bonsai Maples, he discusses using cement to create the nebari while growing in the field. I had not seen this method discussed elsewhere before reading his book, but it looks really promising.

Basically the same as the 'hole in the tile' method, but with a few advantages: you can add the cement after the tree is in place, the initial hole is the correct size right away (instead of waiting for the seedlings to fill in), and no power tools are needed lol.

I highly recommend this book for anyone growing maple bonsai.

One of the images from the book:
IMG_20210223_102225.jpg
Sorry if this is plagiarism, but I'm citing the source.
 

MrWunderful

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After much googling and I do know who Bjorn is I can’t find anyone using tourniquet type methods.

Now I haven’t googled these things before so my search doesn’t have much bias. I always Googled generic terms like creating clump bonsai then clicked on multiple sources to see what they recommended. Bjorn’s technique may be superior for some reason I don’t understand but the tile/board etc method seems to be far more prevalent and has solid reasoning behind it.

I will look up Bjorn’s info specifically and read it to see what his reasoning is and if it makes more or less sense than the other methods.

Good luck!

 

hinmo24t

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search (this forum has tons of info on these subjects already) or earn a reputation for crying wolf; wont be taken serious
 

SeanS

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After much googling and I do know who Bjorn is I can’t find anyone using tourniquet type methods.

Now I haven’t googled these things before so my search doesn’t have much bias. I always Googled generic terms like creating clump bonsai then clicked on multiple sources to see what they recommended. Bjorn’s technique may be superior for some reason I don’t understand but the tile/board etc method seems to be far more prevalent and has solid reasoning behind it.

I will look up Bjorn’s info specifically and read it to see what his reasoning is and if it makes more or less sense than the other methods.

Good luck!
 

Trenthany

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Not a bad technique at all. Don’t know why I couldn’t find it without search bjorn by name. I actually like his videos so searching bonsai
clump should’ve pulled it up! Lol
 

Njyamadori

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search (this forum has tons of info on these subjects already) or earn a reputation for crying wolf; wont be taken serious
I couldn’t really find any people talking about the way they prefer. I only found people talking about what works
 

faker

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here's my current method, but it'll be about 5-6 years before I can report back with results:
 

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