Japanese Maple Fusion (Seiryu seed) Update
Wo! I did not expect to have a germination rate this high. I planted 4 other varieties of Japanese Maple last fall and none of them germinated like this flat of Seiryu seeds. There are a few problems here. First, very few of the seedlings actually border the frame even though the photo suggests otherwise. Second, as a reader suggested, few seedlings will be true to the parents characteristics. In fact only 1 of 200 seedlings in the tray actually looks identical to the parent tree. The remaining seedlings leaves are deep cut but not true dissectum (lace leaf). The other maple seeds I planted have also proven that most Japanese Maple varieties do not inherit all of their parents characteristics. Third, I decided to change to a smaller frame and will need to bare root the seedlings to tie to the new frame.
Here are close ups of the leaves. The seedlings are on top and the parent is below (autumn color). Deep cut seedlings, but not completely true to the parent, and all of the seedlings are slightly different. However, their trunks should be the same and this project is all about fusing trunks. For now this tree(s) should simply be considered a green Japanese Maple. I can always clone and graft true Seiryu branches later if I am dissatisfied with the leaves.
The new frame. Pathetic looking thing, isn’t it? Slanted and about 3 1/2 inches at the base that should grow to 4 inches plus after fusion is complete. I am planning an informal upright style.
I chose to skip the 1 year of growing in a pot and tie the bare rooted seedlings directly to the frame similar the the Chinese Quince I completed a week ago. I used 100 plus seedlings and tied 3 at a time to the frame. As with the Quince I will plant this tree(s) in the ground and continue the assembly of the trunk next spring.
Here is the tree(s) in the ground. I will water and feed heavily and just let the tree(s) grow until next spring. I had 60 seedlings left over that I potted up and will probably use them as grafting rootstock in the next year or two.
Last year instead of potting up Chinese Quince seedlings to grow for a year I attached them directly to a frame. Since they were only a few inches tall I could only attach them at the bottom of the frame. After one year of growth they are ready to be fully attached to the frame. As you can see I planted this project in the ground and dug it up so I could work standing up. A lot easier than crawling on the ground. Also notice that I planted on a red plastic tile to force the roots to grow laterally instead of straight down. The tile also made it easier to dig up.
Here is they tree after I tied it to the frame. There are lots of gaps here so it will take a few years to fill in and close the gaps. The apex is about 6 inches tall. This method of assembly is probably not as good as using 1 year old whips that have established root systems. I potted about 40 seedlings and they have grown much quicker, some as tall as 3 feet. I will assemble those in the next week or two.
I don’t think I will use this assembly method again. It seems to offer no advantage over waiting a year for seedlings to grow. Attaching individual seedlings is easier and they can be pulled together tighter with smaller gaps between the seedlings.
I will keep trying to tweek the assembly process on all my projects to learn and share with you.