Fusing mugo trunks-best approach

sfhellwig

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Some of the nice twin trunk trees you see were once double planted nursery plants that happened to work out looking good. The older they get the less noticeable the union is. But that takes a very long time and I am wondering if I can help the process along. I have a small Mugo that was an early on nursey plant. The best I could manage for where I was looking. It is of course two plants in one pot and I would like to not separate them. One is somewhat upright and one leans out like it wants to cascade. I think it could eventually look real nice to have a fused trunk. Of course being bound would be a start but do I just cinch them up with grafter's tape and style branches back outward, and wait for a long time? Would it be better to bind them in copper wire and let it bite in, restricting their outward movement? Should any of the cambium be removed where they will touch or is this not appropriate for pines? I searched out a post about restructuring an old spindly Mugo and I'm pretty sure someone mentioned bending the branches back to approach graft them to the trunk. Any suggestions appreciated.
 

Vance Wood

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Greg is right a picture would be helpful. Question: Are you certain that you have two separate trees in one pot? Have you examined below the surface of the soil to see if in fact they do not emerge from one base now covered with a lot of nursery soil? This is a very common encounter with nursery grown Mugo Pines.
 

sfhellwig

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I can post a picture soon, weather just put us under for a few days so I am kept up in the house. After mentioning a picture though, I glanced at the tree in passing and notice that it might just be too far separated to do any binding. I believe I have grasped and moved them separately. If only the were joined, that would give me something interesting to expose. Their angle may actually inspires separation as the leaning one could have a nice trunk for cascade development and the upright one has no good direction. Like I said, it was an early pick and the best I could get out of that lot. I currently did not want to separate them as I would not be comfortable nearly bare-rooting them to get them apart.

Once we look at my picture we can decide if there is anything to be done in this case. For general information, if the trunks lended themselves to this styling, would cambium removal and tape binding be suitable such as the approach grafts I have seen mentioned? Or for this pine species would it be hard binding and many seasons of natural fusing?
 

Vance Wood

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I can post a picture soon, weather just put us under for a few days so I am kept up in the house. After mentioning a picture though, I glanced at the tree in passing and notice that it might just be too far separated to do any binding. I believe I have grasped and moved them separately. If only the were joined, that would give me something interesting to expose. Their angle may actually inspires separation as the leaning one could have a nice trunk for cascade development and the upright one has no good direction. Like I said, it was an early pick and the best I could get out of that lot. I currently did not want to separate them as I would not be comfortable nearly bare-rooting them to get them apart.

Once we look at my picture we can decide if there is anything to be done in this case. For general information, if the trunks lended themselves to this styling, would cambium removal and tape binding be suitable such as the approach grafts I have seen mentioned? Or for this pine species would it be hard binding and many seasons of natural fusing?

In my experience with Mugos I would be surprised if they are not joined at the hip. It is a common practice in the nursery trade to pot up a Mugo and throw a pile of fresh dirt or potting mix in the top of the container; often burying the actual base of the tree. You will probably have to wait till the soil thaws and you can dig your fingers down into the soil mass but I would almost bet that to be the case.

If they are two separate trees I would think of dividing them. Doing this bare root should not be the out come, you should be able to do this without that drastic a measure.
 

sfhellwig

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Well I finally got around to pictures of the trunks. They nestle so well together but I guess just aren't at the right angle for what I had thought. I did grab one in each handle and wiggling them feel no solid connection betwixt the two. So since these won't work for the idea, let's at least answer these questions:
1. If I were to have two trunks prime for fusing, do mugos do this or do they resist? If they would naturally fuse, would cambium removal at the junction be beneficial?
2. If I wanted to separate a pair of trees this close how would I accomplish that without a bare rooting? Perhaps we are using different definitions. I wouldn't take the hose to it and wash them off but when I separated a pair of cotoneasters situated like that last year, there was basically no dirt left by time I got their fine root masses apart.

I may run a round or two of wire at the base so they don't push away from each other but it will just take many years to do what I want them to do.
 

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Vance Wood

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Well I finally got around to pictures of the trunks. They nestle so well together but I guess just aren't at the right angle for what I had thought. I did grab one in each handle and wiggling them feel no solid connection betwixt the two. So since these won't work for the idea, let's at least answer these questions:
1. If I were to have two trunks prime for fusing, do mugos do this or do they resist? If they would naturally fuse, would cambium removal at the junction be beneficial?
2. If I wanted to separate a pair of trees this close how would I accomplish that without a bare rooting? Perhaps we are using different definitions. I wouldn't take the hose to it and wash them off but when I separated a pair of cotoneasters situated like that last year, there was basically no dirt left by time I got their fine root masses apart.

I may run a round or two of wire at the base so they don't push away from each other but it will just take many years to do what I want them to do.

I still think they are growing from the same base deeper down in the soil, but I'll accept your opinion for now until you have a chance to dig into the soil mass. As they are now they will fuse by themselves. If you wanted to separate them you could simply take a very sharp and large knife and cut the entire soil mass in the middle between the two trees, I have done this to much larger Mugos than this one.
 

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