Category Archives: fusion

Fusing a fig tree

Using fusion to improve a fig tree is a valuable technique. However, it is necessary to use genetically identical material or the fusion my show differences in bark, leaf, etc. that can detract from the uniformity and believability of the design.

In this case seedlings of Ficus virens while very young were fused to create a sprout style tree. On careful examination of the trunks it is clear that they are not identical in bark character.

Ficus virens in a clump style created by fusion of seedling trees

Note that these three trunks do not look identical because genetically they are not the same

Fusing Ficus

One of my favorite techniques to obtain larger material is to fuse young rooted cutting together. I use cuttings all taken from the same mother plant so that the bark, leaves and general character of the fused plant will be completely the same. In this way I can develop larager plants since my growing space is limited to one indoor growing room and I do not have space for really large pots or the ability to grow plants in the ground. Growing in the ground or in large growing containers would be faster and easier ways to get larger material.

Some images of fusing materials follows. Most are just early on and not totally fused. It takes anywhere from 1-7 years to achieve good fusions depending upon the age of the material, growth and the genetics of the plant.

Ficus virens

Ficus virens

Ficus virens

Ficus natalensis

Ficus virens of a special deep red leaf color

 

Some steps in creating a bonsai from raw material

This is a young plant grown from a root cutting of a Ficus natalensis. The root cutting sprouted three branches.

To develop a new apex and create a better transition to the new apex, two of the sprouts were pulled together with electrical ties. A month or two passed and the ties were removed. The lower part of the fusion appears to be nicely grown together but the upper portion is not fused. So several new electrical ties were placed in areas adjacent to the old ties.

 

Root cutting of Ficus natalensis

Root cutting of Ficus natalensis

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Side view shows three sprouts have grown from the root cutting

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To develop a thicker transition to the trunk two of the sprouts were tied together with electrical ties

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After a month or two the ties appear to have worked

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The ties were removed and the upper part of the fusion was not together. Some mild scars from the ties will be present for about 6 months. With growth they will disappear.

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Two new ties were placed adjacent to the old ones and growth will be allowed to speed the fusion more completely

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Some basic wiring was done to give the young bonsai a bit of shape


The definitive reference work on Ficus
for bonsai. The book is a softcover, 8 by 10 inch volume, with 144 color pages, containing detailed information for the beginner as well as the advanced hobbyist.

The early steps in bonsai creation

In creating a bonsai from rought stock there are some typical steps in the process.

 

Two young rooted cuttings of Ficus craterostoma

Two young rooted cuttings of Ficus craterostoma

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Cuttings are allowed to grow vigorously without cutting them back or other training

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Using plastic ties the two trunks were brought tightly together to let them fuse and thicken up the trunk

 

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Again vigorous growth to help with fusion of the small trunks

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Trees shortened and all branches cut to a roughly triangular silhouette for the tree. Lower branches are temporary and kept to thicken the trunk

Low branches have been kep to help thicken the lower trunk.

Once again the tree will be allowed to grow wildly until it is time to select branches to keep and branches to remove and some preliminary wiring to shape.



Ficus infectoria or is it Ficus virens

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Multiple trunks fused together from separate seedlings


Ficus infectoria is an invalid name, according to the botanists, and should technically be called Ficus virens. This material shows a coarser grower than some of my other virens. It seems to be quite happy in container culture with no special needs.

This bonsai is actually 3 or 4 root fused trees that were grown from seed. The seedlings were never separated to their own containers so that over time the root and bases fused to form one tree.

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Defoliated once or twice yearly to improve branching, produce smaller leaves and to allow visualization of the branches

As the trees grew they naturally fused to each other so that now this is one root connected tree.