Tree Shaping

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Tree Shaping is done by changing the shape of the living tree. These shaped trees can be artistic, useful or both. There are various methods to achieving a shaped tree. Some of the techniques used are the same as the ones used in other horticultural fields, such as topiary, pleaching, bonsai and espalier.

History

The idea of growing trees for useful items is not new. This art-form has very few practitioners through out history. Partly this is due to the length of time it takes to master this art-form and also to industrial production that gives people speedy and predictable results. Which has meant the techniques in tree shaping for practical or artistic uses has largely been unexplored. [1]

1570-1305 BC the Ancient Egyptians' stools had parts believed to have been shaped into curves by training the trees. The British Museum has one on display. [1] By 500 BC the Greek Klismos had chairs with curved shapes that are believed to have been achieved by training trees to correct curvature. [2] [1] 15-1600 there were living trees used to create garden houses. This started in the Middle East and later appeared in Europe. Apparently there had been a three-storey tree house at Cobham, Kent which could hold up to 50 people.

Grown walking sticks and pitchforks were common until the 1940s. Surrey produced walking sticks by planting saplings at an angle to the ground. By using the trunk and root of the young tree the right angle of the handle was formed. Southern France were the traditional growers of pitchforks. The forks were pruned so that they had three or four branches creating the tines. [1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Davies, David (Saturday, 1 June 1996) The Independent (UK). "Plant your own furniture. Watch it grow"
  2. The Garden, Volume 122 Royal Horticultural Society (Great Britain) Article Title: "Grown to measure"