Trident fusion - plaited trunks

Shibui

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Today I dug the last of the tridents from the grow beds, including these experimental plaited trunks.
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The trunks have certainly fused in just one year of ground growing. They also have 'character with lots of bulges and veins as part of the trunks. The bigger questions are whether the results are attractive and whether it is a viable technique to create trident maple trunks for bonsai.
note that most of these were created with more than 3 trunks. I was wary of creating a long trunk with little taper so started with up to 16 thin seedlings. As they were plaited together I left a few trunks out at each turn so the top was thinner than the base however there's still not as much taper as I'd hoped.

One thing I did not foresee was this
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I tied the tops together with jute twine last winter to stop the stems unravelling, thinking the twine would rot away well before causing any problems. seems these tridents grew faster than the twine rotted because most have some bulging at the top where they were tied.

I intend to plant most of these back in the grow beds for another year of growth to see if extra time will improve them.

Does anyone have better results to report?
 

BobbyLane

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yes i think extra time in the beds will improve them, at the least 3 years, cool project.
 

Maiden69

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Grow bed, inside this. you can even add a flat plate under the tree to make most of the roots flare out. That last one can be a very nice shohin start... cut the twine, air layer, you already have the flare at the bottom.

I started doing that to trees that I plan on thickening, best thing is that if you need to, unless your bed is muck, you can slightly rotate the tree so that it can get sun all the way around. I plan on doing that with the pine and the bald cypress... the other ones are getting chopped. I added another set of blacks and 2"x6" so that mulch is even with the edge of the bags.

Bed.JPG
 

BobbyLane

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This is a hawthorn that began as two root cuttings that had entangled, they fused over 3-4 years and became more of a stump
 

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Shibui

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Grow bed, inside this. you can even add a flat plate under the tree to make most of the roots flare out.
you may have missed that I grow several hundred trees every year in grow beds and have done so for over 20 years now. I have tried grow bags. I have tried flat plate. Neither have given any consistently better results that good root pruning. quite happy if you want to follow those fads but I'll stick with what works well here.
the flare at the bottom of some of those is deceptive. Plaits are essentially flat so most of these have 2D trunks. I tried some techniques for round plaits but could not get the trees to bend well enough to make a rounded mass trunk.

This is a hawthorn that began as two root cuttings that had entangled, they fused over 3-4 years and became more of a stump
I know trees will fuse. The question is whether the results are attractive for bonsai.
I have tried trident fusion in the past but have not kept any because they all looked terrible. I currently have 10 or so growing on. 2 have some potential. Most of the others look like scrap. Fusion is a technique that seems to have great potential but I'm finding that it takes far longer than I thought and the results are way below my expectations. I can actually grow a single trunk to the same size as a fusion project in less time with much more predictable results.
 

Maiden69

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quite happy if you want to follow those fads but I'll stick with what works well here.
I knew you had quite a few trees in grow beds but not that many... as far as a fad, well, that's all I can use here. I don't see myself chopping heavy roots around a tree every year in a regular neighborhood with an HOA. I have seen trees grown in those bags and the results, while not as fast as in-ground, are very good.
 

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