Tag Archives: fusion

Creating something from nothing

Ficus ‘Mystery’ developed from root cutting, having little interest

Wrap the trunk with plastic ribbon

Apply heavy wire over the ribbon

Take two small branches and fuse them with cable ties

More cable ties placed along the branches to help fusion and develop a heavier branch more quickly

Final result is a more interesting plant that one day could become a pretty bonsai

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.

Ficus virens/infectoria

Seed grown and kept close together these trees are now fused at the base. I think this might be called a clump style.

Ficus virens is the species but in some areas it is called infectoria.

Leaves removed to show the nice branch structure that is developing.

2009, Several seedlings have fused together by being kept in a small container

2009, Several seedlings have fused together by being kept in a small container

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2016, defoliated to show the nice branching that is developing

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.



The evolution of a large Ficus microcarpa – Part Two

The first 5 years of progress with a Ficus microcarpa, Chinese Banyan, was outlined in a previous blog see http://www.bonsaihunk.us/public_html/?s=part+l

This  is an update on how this fig has progresse as of April, 2015. It still has some years of refinement to undergo before it can claim its position as a mature bonsai.

Two procedures were accomplished today that are helping bring this bonsai in training a step closer to its end point. One, is to reveal the thickening produced by the second set of fusion grafts of rooted branches that were started 5-6 months ago.

Apex dated as a single sprout of very thin dimension

Apex  as a single sprout of very thin dimension, allowed to grow wildly to thicken it up, 2013

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First set of fusion grafts are successful but not yet thick enough, 2014

Fusions at apex current appearance, 2015

Second set of fusions at apex current appearance, 2015

Roots from fusion in moss conduit leading to plastic container to the bonsai pot

Roots from fusion in moss conduit leading to plastic container to the bonsai pot

Plastic pot of soil leading roots down

Plastic pot of soil leading roots down to the soil in bonsai pot

Roots can be seen already growing into the bonsai pot

Roots can be seen  growing into the bonsai pot

Red arrow shows the path of the roots from the apex fusions to the bonsai pot

Red arrow shows the path of the roots from the apex fusions to the bonsai pot

The second procedure was the approach graft  on the right . Previously 3 approach grafts were tried and all failed for various reasons. A fourth approach graft  was done today to once again try to get a branch established in this position. Since it it is the first branch and lowest branch on the right side of the tree it is crucial to have this set in proper position of good size and of the right shape as it will be key to setting the design of the rest of the bonsai tree.

Bonsai with first branch on right grafted and first set of apex fusions underway at the top of the tree, 2014

Close up of the graft showing already severed from the origin and soon to be knocked of and grown on its own to become the 4th approach graft

Close up of the lowest right graft already established on its own but soon to be accindentally knocked off – planted and grown on its own to become the 4th approach graft

Rooted cutting flipped vertically and graft held to stock with wire

Above cutting, rooted, flipped vertically and graft held to stock with wire

Fusions at apex current appearance, 2015

Approach graft’s root are led into the pot of soil, 2015

As of 2015 the process is now 5 years along since started by Jack Pollock and the tree is moving along amazingly well. I am guessing that another 3-5 years will pass by before the tree is an attractive bonsai. In the meanwhile the tree has provided me a lot of reason to continue to learn and grow in  the wonders of the bonsai world.


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.
 Click here for more information

Reverse taper

Trees ideally should have a wide root base that tapers up into the trunk. A bulge or lack of proper taper often ruins the visual flow from the rootline to the apex of the tree and is called reverse taper.

In this case several root cuttings of Willow Leaf fig, Ficus salicaria, were bound togeter in about 2006 and fused together to form a larger trunk accomplishing  in a shorter time than it woud take to grow the same diameter trunk in my plant room. Fusion was helped greatly by using a large container and allowing free growth of the tree.

The first shot is taken in 2009 when the fusion was successful but the fusion was not totally complete.

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2009, with trunks partially fused

A picture of the tree in 2014 shows good fusion and a reverse taper with the roots and base of the tree appearing narrower at the left side of the base than a bit farther up the trunk.

2014 showing the left side of the base of the tree with weak footage

2014 showing the left side of the base of the tree with weak rootage

Three roots were moved around from the left front and left back of the tree. Two of the three roots were fused to other roots at the base and a chisel was needed to separate them from the base, allowing the roots to be moved. One root at the back was just up-rooted and moved around to the left side.

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The lowest root on the back was simply dug out and easily moved around to the front

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Side root is fused to the base – it is separated with a chisel

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2015, the moved roots now enhance the base of the tree and eliminate the reverse taper

 

 

 

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.

 

Fusing figs

One way to get larger bonsai material is to fuse smaller figs together. Basically tieing together several figs that are genetically identical can produce larger trunks. Growing a tree in a larger container or in the ground will produce faster trunk growth but is often not suitable for indoor growers.

Fusion is a useful technique for rare or unusual materials and for adding in branches, roots etc. to a fig that needs these parts.

Bind the trees together with anything that will distribute the compression forces over a wider area to lessen scarring and use a binding material that does not stretch. Allow rampant growth of the materials to speed the fusion.

Marks left from the electrical ties can be reduced by allowing a year or two of un-restrained growth after the ties are removed.

For another article on this topic see http://www.bonsaihunk.us/FusedFig.html

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Ficus natalensis only one year since the start of fusing

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Lower trunk with fusion remaining to be accomplished with more growth

Ficus virens 'Thai' with multiple rooted cuttings pulled together with electrical ties

Ficus virens ‘Thai’ with multiple rooted cuttings pulled together with electrical ties

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Close up view of the ties and some marks left from earlier ties that were removed


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Ficus natalensis (type two) allowed wild growth to speed the fusion process

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Close up of the lower trunk showing nicely fusing trees


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.
 Click here for more information