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  Re: [aroid-l] Artificial Trees
From: Adam Black epiphyte1 at earthlink.net> on 2003.01.07 at 05:06:12(9765)
Hi Harry,

I made mine based on how Fairchild has theirs constructed- with pieces
of corkbark affixed to an armature. Theirs is shaped like a tree
(branches coming out of a trunk), but mine are just more or less hanging
horizontal branches that are forked and bent into natural shapes. I make
them long enough so they span the width of my greenhouse, all going in
different directions so they criss-cross, weave over and under, etc. I
don't have an artificial "trunk" holding these branches up. They are
constructed out of thick heavy PVC pipe with joints and "T"s used to
give a natural shape, which cork bark rounds and curved slabs covering
the pipe. The whole branch is therefore hollow, and I run a length of
cable through it and hang it from the greenhouse frame. I make sure to
leave some gaps between the cork panels, as these are good sites to fit
plants in, while other epiphytes can be wrapped on with fishing line,
glued on (Tillandsias), or even nailed on (larger stoloniferous
bromeliads). Use some sphagnum moss around plant root that you wrap with
line and keep it damp to give them a good start. After adding in the
specimen plants, I always like to cover the remaining bare areas with
other creeping or spreading "filler plants", such as small Peperomias,
Dischidias, mosses, ferns, small orchids, etc. for a more natural look.
After a while, you will not even see the joints between the cork panels,
and various other plants will grow up and cover the cables, and vining
types can be encouraged to spread from branch to branch. Together with
long pendant epiphytes hanging down through several levels of branches,
upright epiphytes reaching up through the "canopy", and tall
terrestrials growing up through the tangle, this helps tie everything
together, and is a much better way to get the full enjoyment of growing
tropical plants in a more natural manner than in a pot. It also saves a
lot of space in the greenhouse, utilizing the overhead space to its
fullest. I also use cypress branches (resistant to rot for quite a
while) here and there to get a some variation in branch size, since it
is difficult to "create" smaller branches approaching twig proportions.
These smaller branches are the best places to put smaller Tillandsias
and orchids, as well as drape with spanish "moss" Tillandsia usneoides.
Good luck and use your imagination.

Adam Black

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