Arborsculpture, braiding, espalier

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)June 6, 2012

I've finally managed to dig up a sprouted pecan that isn't going to die. (They only sprout where ya don't want them it seems!) I want to use wire to hold it in an interesting shape, maybe a corkscrew. If I could ever get 4 at the same time, I would grow a tree chair. The instructions are for 10 trees, but I can see it in my mind's eye with 4. Pecan trees can self-graft where they touch, and certainly strong enough to do with 4. Anyone doing anything like this?

There was a little maple tree in my Mom's yard that I kept braiding and securing with a bread bag twist and she insists it was the wind that kept undoing it, too big to try again now.

A ramblin red rose here when I moved in is finally espaliered well (top to bottom, and not sticking out anywhere, no pieces going anywhere else) to the CL fence next to it. Took several years of coaxing, propping, tying, accidentally breaking some branches in the wrong direction, monthly guidance of growth tips. Like I say every year, next year's gonna b awesome! That bed has been in the process of expanding this year and it's hard to keep the dog from digging holes in the beds, hence the tomato cages and disarray. There's a KO rose for more constant flowers planted in front of the rambler, which unfortunately only blooms once.

The Wiki article on arborsculpture is one of their better ones. Arborsculpture.

Any similar pics/tales welcome! What plants are you manipulating? What are you doing to them?

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brandon7 TN_zone(7)

You might want to post this type of thread in the Topiary Forum, the Garden Experiments Forum, or maybe even the Gardening Tips & Techniques Forum. It doesn't really seem to be related to propagation.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 10:09PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Yeah, it's a catch-22. Those forums, Bonsai, Topiary are snooze fests, kinda wanted a more lively discussion. And as these techniques are some of the oldest in the plant world, they're not experiments except that they are being practiced by an amateur. One has to propagate something to manipulate it... Tips & techniques would have been my 2nd choice, sorry to cause any dischord. Just seemed like this was a better place for "this is the thing I grew and this is what I'm doing with it." Maybe If I had mentioned that we started the little tried-to-braid maple from seed?

Brandon, from what little I know about you, I would suspect you might be doing some manipulative propagation. If you can forgive me for this transgression, I would love to hear about it! Thanks for the input.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 9:39AM
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brandon7 TN_zone(7)


I wasn't worried about your post being inappropriate; I just saw that there were no responses yet and figured that few people would come to this forum thinking about the subject. I figured you'd get a much better response in some other forum, and I was trying to think of forums that might share the interest.

I have never done any tree braiding and have only messed with espaliers in rare occasions when I was working with existing landscapes with espaliers already there (basically I've trimmed them up a little). That kind of thing is just generally not my style, although I do find some of the tree sculptures amazing.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 6:50PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Brandon, nothing like being totally right, huh? This is such an arcane niche, it's not surprising the comments haven't come flooding in. Thank goodness for yours so far!

I'm still interested, in an apparently very passive way. The only experiment I've managed to carry out so far was to break the trunk of a little Dracaena tree, trying much too aggressively to bend it into a spiral with a wire coat hanger. Guiding a ramblin' rose all around a CL fence would be the next closest thing. What a let-down, all talk, no action.

Hoping that posting here that I'm going to try a few things again this summer will motive and shame me into actual action.

Would love to see any experiments out there!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2013 at 11:03AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Purple, the whole thing fascinates me! I've pursued such sites and read about it. The problem for me, is that the location has to be permanent - plants in the ground - unless you are doing something with plants in a single pot. My yard is small enough that a chair tree or some of those other wild and fun sculptures are not really what I want in either my front or back yard forever. If I had a huge piece of property, I would play with these ideas in the back 9. If you try anything, PLEASE post photos!


    Bookmark   August 6, 2013 at 11:10PM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

Purple, check this one out. :)


Here is a link that might be useful: Crape Myrtle Belgian Fence

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:40PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

That's really cool, I had no idea crape myrtle could inosculate. Thanks for sharing that! Being such a smaller tree, it might be a lot easier to work with.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 8:50AM
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love_the_yard(z9A Jax FL)

That's exactly what I was thinking, but I didn't know if you had your heart set on pecans. Crape myrtle are cheap, it's easy to root cuttings and they grow fast. You could have a chair in what - 3-4 years?!


    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:33AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Yeah, my Mom has 7 or 8 of those in her yard that could easily part with a few pieces. CM wood is STRONG, if difficulty of trimming is an indication of that? I think it would make a fine chair, and, of course, we know it can handle pollarding as well. I'm having trouble reconciling where it would be "allowed" to grow the lollipops of foliage and flowers each summer though. Probably just coming from the top of the back rest would be best. What I'm picturing in my mind would take a LOT longer than 4 years to mature, of course, but I agree, within that time, the structure could/should be formed, just small.

The chair actually looks like the hardest thing to do of all the pics I've seen. I can see myself making a braided thing, maybe a cool curl in a trunk, one of those criss-cross fences, but the chair really intimidates me.

I just mentioned pecans because there are so many sprouts from the giant tree (and a few smaller ones) already here. There were no pecans last year, so have seen no sprouts this year. Plenty of oaks though, but don't really want more oak trees in this yard, already more acorns than the critters can eat.

Thanks for jumping in here. Even if nobody gets anything done, it's a really cool thing to think about. The more we think about it, the more likely something cool will happen.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:59AM
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