Winter has been canceled this year. Well, maybe not, but we have sure had more than our share of 60+ degree days in Jan. and Feb. Last Thursday it was 62 degrees and I needed to get out in the sun for a while so I decided to work on my Dawn Redwood fusion project. After I originally assembled this tree last year it became quite obvious that the upper trunk was much too thick and had lost it’s taper. Since trunk fusion had only been modest I decided to correct this problem while I still had an opportunity. First I removed 5 dead seedlings and one near dead seedling, and then I separated the fusions, which at this stage had not fully hardened off and were relatively easy to separate. Finally I detached the seedlings from the frame and cut the frame down to 6 inches above the base. This allowed me to collapse the trunk.
The only problem I encountered with reassembly was that the seedlings were no longer seedlings but actually 3-year-old trees. Several were now approaching ¾ of an inch in diameter and the twist ties I was using would not bind the trees securely. My solution was to use small brass flathead screws. Most of the screws are hidden from view because I attached the trees from the side and the adjacent tree covered the screw. A few trees needed to be attached from the top and are visible. I counter sank these and they should heal over quickly leaving no visible presence. The smaller trees were bound by doubling up the twist ties. Finally I added 11 more trees/seedlings of various sizes to fill the gaps. The root ball (not yet root bound) was very solid and I planted it in the ground with very little disturbance.
It is hard to see the trunk in this photo because the trees exiting from the trunk are parallel to the trunk, however, the apex of the trunk is much improved and the taper is much more dramatic. The plan at this stage is to maximize growth this year and next spring begin removing the excess trees to be flush with the trunk.
You might be able to see that we had our first big snow storm this year. Not enough to cover the ground, but the cold has returned with a high today of 32 degrees. Cabin fever is agonizing.