Rules for Fusion Bonsai
“ RULES!! WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING RULES!! ”
There are no rules to fusion bonsai. What works for me might not work for you and vice versa. There is a lot of experimentation going on here. Sometimes you succeed and sometimes you fail and sometimes failure is the best teacher.
I do have a few observations for those inclined to try this technique.
When we assemble a trunk fusion we are not growing one tree. We are growing 50 to 100 individual trees. Great care must be taken to reduce shock to the seedlings so they stay healthy and alive. Losing several seedlings the first year is common even when the assembly is executed properly. Have several seedlings available to replace the dead seedlings and fill in the bare spots that will undoubtedly occur. We are not growing one tree until the seedlings have completely fused.
Choose your seedlings carefully. I prefer to grow my own seedlings because I want to know the health and strength of my stock. When you purchase seedlings you don’t have this confidence. I believe that many species of tree are capable of fusing but I have not tried evergreens yet. It is a good idea to experiment by tying a few seedlings together to see if and how fast they fuse.
The frame is a very important step in this technique. A poorly designed and shoddily constructed frame will result in a poor bonsai. While a frame can be made from a variety of materials I found that one half inch galvanized mesh screen (aka hardware cloth) works best for me. It is easy to work with and can be molded with your hands. Gloves are recommended because the jagged edges scratch and tear skin. Make a couple frames and choose the best one. Remember that the finished bonsai will be larger than the frame and that all shaping needs to be exaggerated because the seedlings tend to straighten and smooth out the curves.
Have all materials on hand before you begin assembly. It will take many hours to assemble the tree and it should be completed in one or two days at the most. The longer it takes to assemble your tree the greater the shock to the individual seedlings. Always keep the roots moist.
Trying something new can be difficult and mistakes can be made, but it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience.