Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tree Manipulation

It's always amazing how malleable plant materials can be, particularly as we manipulate them and bend them to our varieties of will. Not content to just allow plants to grow into their natural form, we do all sorts of madness to them - chopping, topping, pleaching, espalier, trimming, bosques, poodling, topiary, arborsculture - in addition to just merely subjecting them to urban pollutants, compacted soils, high pollutant loading and a litany of other tests.

:: image via Dezeen

:: image via Wikipedia
Yet the plants still show a remarkable resilience. Following up on July's 'Stupid Plant Tricks' and September's 'Neo-Vertical Greening' - my colleague Lisa Town sent some great pictures of some examples from Europe - showing some severe pleaching... and due to the season you can see the underlying structure involved. It's pretty intricate - specifically the concept of inosculation - where the different trees knit together into one organism - related to the more directed grafting.

:: images via Lisa Town

And a Bavarian Garden Show example from Lisa as well... kinda cool.

:: image via Lisa Town
This has inspired me to do a more evolved post on the different types of 'training' and manipulation we do to plants - so look forward to that soon. And any other cool ideas or examples out there of this tree manipulation... feel free to post a comment or shoot an email with links...


  1. Wow that is pretty cool. I can see how that could lead to all sorts of possibilities. if you started manipulating the plane you could make a shaded / sheltered space or make nice openings in the wall

  2. Any ideas on what kind of trees I can "manipulate" in Seattle? I want a tall (~ 15 ft.) screen that is fairly thin. Thanks in advance.

  3. Absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing.


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