Saturday, 24 February 2018

The Fusion Project

In August 2015 I decided to fuse some of my long, straight Ficus Natalensis cuttings together to create one larger tree.

In order to plant them close together a lot of root pruning was required. Some had fairly substantial roots, so I was able to keep a few of the thickest ones to grow as root cuttings. The two resulting trees are doing well, but I'll discuss those another time.

Once potted I bound the bases together with self-adhesive tape. I'm not sure why I didn't bind them higher up as well, but once done I had this as my starting point:

August 2015

The base looked like this:

August 2015 - detail

As the nights were still cold (August is the end of winter here) I put them back in my greenhouse and due to space constraints they remained there for the next couple of years.

By November 2016 they were growing strongly, but when I removed the tape they were showing no signs of fusing:

November 2016 - detail

I replaced the tape, adding more higher up on the trunk, but didn't think to add movement. Here they are in December 2016:

December 2016

Finally in May 2017 I realised my mistake and tried to wire some movement into them, but after wrapping thick wire around them I found I was unable to bend the wire as much as I wanted to, so I took them to a workshop where my mentor did the muscle work for me.

Wired - May 2017

And in spring 2017 I finally moved them out of the greenhouse into a sunnier spot.

When the wire started biting I removed it and got help in rewiring them to ensure the curves didn't bounce back to their original position. After the wire started biting a second time I decided it was no longer required. This photo was taken a few days ago, several weeks after the wire was removed.

February 2018

Close-up photos show good fusion in some places:

February 2018 - detail of lower trunk

However, in other parts there are still big gaps:

February 2018 - detail of upper trunk with gaps

I added extra tape to this area, so hopefully the gap will soon close.

February 2018 - gap taped

There are a couple of additional photos here. More photos will be added to that page as the tree develops.

Hopefully by next summer the trunk will have developed well enough for me to start thinking about branch selection.


  1. Replies
    1. I was really happy to see them developing, though some may be too high to be useful.