Fused tridents

Many of us want thick trunks as quick as possible. Fusing tridents together is one way to achieve trunk girth.

Trees that are held tightly together while they grow will eventually fuse and merge together as the cambium layers unite. Eventually they will be grafted so well it can be hard to tell the trunk was once separate trees.

There are a number of different variations on fused trunks. Here I will look at just a couple that I have played with.

Tie a clump of seedlings together as a bunch: Simply take as many seedlings as you like and strap them tightly together. The binding needs to be able to expand with the growth of the trees so don’t use wire. The ever popular duct tape seems to have the right properties. It is strong enough to last for a year or so in the weather but stretches as the trees grow so it won’t mark the trunks.

My first trials of fused tridents resulted in well fused, thick trunks that had the taper of a telephone pole and as everyone knows telephone poles are not valued very highly in bonsai.

Recent attempts involved only fusing all the seedlings low for a thick trunk base. Further up some of the seedlings were brought out of the bunch as side branches leaving the bundle making up the trunk a little thinner to give taper. Winding the tape around the upper sections turned out to be quite difficult. I’m not convinced that this technique is really worth while for bonsai and I am yet to see a great fused trident at a bonsai show.

If you want a really thick trunk try this out. If you want a really good trunk try another technique.

Here are a few shots of some of the fused trunks I have been developing.

thick fused trunk trident
twin trunk from fused trident seedlings
duct tape still holding this bunch of seedlings together.

I will be interested to see how all these experimental trees have developed and fused over summer. The trunks of fused tridents do have a lot of character with lumps and hollows showing where the former trunks were but I’m pretty sure I could grow a trunk just as thick as any f these in less time from a single seedling.

Bulk trident maple seedlings are available through winter at Shibui Bonsai.

Next up – plaited trunks

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