In my free time i search out sticks that make good hiking aids or
ornamental hearth decorations. I was hoping to find a plant that i
could train to grow into particular bends and even wrap a vine around
a stick so that the 2 would grow together, as this is the rarest type
of stick i can find. I recently purchased a small ficus tree that had
been trained to grow into a corkscrew....so i can assume this tree is
trainable, but the wood must be strong and somewhat fast growing.
Apologies if this is not the appropriate group....thank you in advance
for any helpful links/books/etc.
Let it grow!!!
I'm an amateur bonsai grower, so I've done many of the things you're
asking about, but on a small scale.
This is all horticulturally possible, but the longer your growing
season, the easier it'll be. Florida is better than Minnesota.
Look for bonsai books or books on grafting for techniques.
It will take several growing seasons to get the effects you want.
Maybe a couple of years for bends to "take", or for two plants to
fully fuse together.
For the vine wrapped around a larger stick, they need to be grown
for a while in tight contact.
Start with two plants of the same species, one large diameter, one
thin and whippy. Maples would be great for this, they grow fairly
fast, you'd have great stick wood.
The cambium tissues will eventually fuse together if the species
are identical (or similar enough). This is the basic idea behind
an "approach graft", see standard gardening references.
I'd spiral the small seedling around the larger plant, and wrap
both with floral tape to hold them tight together. As the top of
the small one grows, keep wrapping and tying the new growth to the
main trunk. Leave some small branches and leaves to grow on the
lower parts of the plants. Floral tape will tear bvefore you do
damage to either plant.
Fertilize like crazy, leave alone for two years at least. The
wrapping will have mostly decayed by the start of year 3, the whip
will have grown in place. Look carefully for signs that they're
fusing together. I'd guess you'll want to wait all of year three
before you harvest.
Bends can be done by wrapping smaller twigs or branches with wire
and then bending the wire. Look at a good bonsai book to see this
done. It's easy to bend a 1/4" branch, very hard to bend a 1"
branch. It's too difficult to describe how to apply the wire here,
try a library for bonsai books.
You can also do similar things with tourniquets and guy wires,
but bonsai techniques aim at getting very controllable results.
The growing seedling / small plant was probably wrapped around a
wood stake and then held in place with ties of some kind. The
stake is removed at the end (or it rots). This might take 3 or 4
years in Florida for a 3 foot plant.
On 26 Jan 2004 09:20:37 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org (Yelram) wrote:
Try the "walking stick cabbage" (I think it's a cabbage)
This is an inedible plant that grows like a naked brussels sprout
stalk and has no useful purpose whatsoever. Except that you can dry
the stalks and use them as a walking stick. They already grow to be
fairly knobbly, and I think they're trainable.
I've found a couple corkscrew tree in the woods that I watched grow for
years. I think they were maples based on the make up of those woods and
there were vines wrapped around them. Unfortunately they died and I didn't
harvest them quick enough... dry rot.
I brought one home that was about 3" at the butt but my kids broke it. I'll
post some pictures of the remains in ABPW.
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