In the 2009 Bonsai Focus magazine, Issue #122, there is an article by Peter Thali on how the Indonesia’s Bali bonsai master, Gede Merta, used fusion technique to create large impressive ficus with spreading nebari from young seedlings. He did it in two stages: (1) using nails and tapes, 25 1½-year old seedlings were fused together to form the main trunk; and (2) after the main trunk has formed, 50 more 6-month old 24- to 32-inch long seedlings were added to the lower section to create taper; several of these seedlings were bundled together, wrapped with tapes and bent to form future side branches. Using this fusion technique and with Bali’s year-round tropical growing climate, the fused ficus quickly developed into a beautiful large bonsai with impressive nebari and thick branches. Please see the article for detail descriptions and photos.
Last October (2014) I visited Master Gede at his nursery, please see my earlier post: Gede Merta – A Multi-Talented Bali Bonsai Master. Besides having a wonderful time with this friendly and cheerful great artist and his family, I asked about the status of the fused ficus trees featured in the Bonsai Focus article; and here they are five years later:
Master Gede also grows ficus bonsai on the ground. He said fusion is a faster method to obtain a large ficus bonsai than growing them in the ground.
After my visit, another bonsaist, Neli Stoyanova, also visited Master Gede. He showed her the fusion technique, a series of photos can be found in her facebook: Gede Merta’s Bonsai School. The site also has more photos of the fused ficus.