Assembly Time

The below work was completed on January 1, 2011.

Popular consensus and common sense indicates that the quickest way to get the young trees to fuse is to first arrange them as close as possible on the tree frame you have created.  I chose twist-tie wire with the sheathing removed for this project.  I used a needle nose pliers to reach the inside of the frame in order to leave the twisted wire on the inside of the “tree” wherever possible.  This would seem to minimize the amount of time needed for the tree to heal over the scars left by the wire.  Here are some photos that illustrate the result of this method:
In retrospect, I probably should have ordered more seedlings for this project to close the gaps.

If you would like to see a real tight example with absolutely no gaps, check out the Fusion Bonsai blog to see what Greg has done with his Trident Maple.  I really like how he left no gaps all the way up the frame, requiring him to overlap at the top.  If you think about it, this method would require an even wider base-to-top ratio since the top would thicken (and fuse) at a greater rate than the bottom, especially at first.  Besides the benefit of quick fusing, his method would seem to minimize scarring at the points where the seedlings exit the trunk which would seem preferable.  I’ll probably replicate his method on a future tree.

A few pointers, hints, and observations:
  • Don’t twist too tight–though I didn’t lose many seedlings, I know I twisted the wire too much on some of the smaller ones.
  • Be careful not to knock the buds off.
  • Thinner seedlings are easier to bend (obviously), so on a smaller frame like this you might try to obtain/use them.
  • Keep a spray bottle nearby and spray often.
  • Budget a big chunk of time to complete this part.

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