Having germinated several ‘conkers’ I’m now going to have a go at pleaching horse chestnut. Pleaching is training the trunks into pleasing shapes to create a unique garden feature that will delight for generations.
I’ve raised these not-so-little saplings in self watering pots and have trimed the long tap roots so they can be grown as a patio feature plant in a large pot. I may have to plant them out if they get too big!
How to start:
The stems are quit pliable and forgiving of fairly harsh bending. Non the less gentle curves will look more pleasing than sharp corners. Here I roll the stems over an empty hot chocolate tub.
Fusing horse chestnut trunks.
Using a sharp knife make a very shallow graze where the two stems will meet, this will encourage the stems to fuse solidly together making the combined four trunks act as one.
It’s going to look a little scruffy until the first stage has fused, indeed as we work upwards each new stage will be held together with anything that works. I’m using bubble wrap and sellotape. The fixings can be removed in a few months time – I’ll check how it’s doing when I move onto the second stage. A lot will depend on how much extra growth the trees put out this season, obviously it’s taken a knock.
The next stage, probably later this year, will be placing another hot chocolate tub the other way and folding the stems to create almost a plaited or chain link effect. Take a look at these examples of pleaching for some inspiration, maybe try some yourself. The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago… the second best time is now!
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