Inosculation

Conjoined Beech Trees

Conjoined Beech Trees (Photo credit: Gabludlow)

Inosculation is when the branches of two trees (usually of the same species) fuse together to form a living unit. Where the branches touch, the bark is abraded away, exposing the cambium of the trees which then self-graft and join. Gardeners take advantage of this natural occurence in a process called pleaching, where branches are tied or braided to encourage them to grow together. This technique can be used to train certain trees into living screens, walkways and stilted narrow hedges.

Inosculation is common among trees with thin bark:

Chestnut – Aesculus

Ash – Fraxinus

Lime – Tilia

Beech – Fagus

Hornbeam – Carpinus

Apple – Malus

Pear – Pyrus

Fig – Ficus

Laburnum

Wisteria

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