Pleaching

For the appreciation of the glorious beauty of nature and in unexpected places.
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BrianIsSmilingAtYou
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Pleaching

Post by BrianIsSmilingAtYou »

I'm not sure if this is the right place for it.

Pleaching is the art of weaving trees into living architecture, by weaving the branches to create structure. Historically, this has been most commonly used to create impenetrable hedges, overhead arches etc, but not actual fullscale buildings. But research is being done in this area.

I could imagine the Elves of Lórien doing something like this on some scale in harmony with the trees that they love.

http://dsc.discovery.com/news/briefs/20 ... e_tec.html

Pictures from the article.

Image

Pleached huts.

Image

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Impenitent
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Post by Impenitent »

The pleached huts look very beautiful - rustic and very alive.

But does this not damage the trees? The first pic, which is digital art, makes me feel uncomfortable - a little too much like torturing the trees so they submit.
Jnyusa
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Post by Jnyusa »

Brian, that's astounding. I've never seen anything like that before.

I've got to read your link and learn more about this - particularly about the length of time involved. Just a wee bit short on time right now and getting sucked into more topics than I intended. The downside of having too many intelligent and interesting people to talk to!!

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vison
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Post by vison »

How is "pleaching" pronounced? Is it "plashing"?

Coppicing is another cool thing to do with wood.............
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truehobbit
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Post by truehobbit »

Like Imp, the computer image makes me uncomfortable. Actually, the second one, too.
I guess not everything that's done with natural material also produces a natural result.

As to using trees for hedges and arches, it can be impressive, of course.
But even though I'm a hobby gardener myself, and know that the art of gardening is, as Goethe put it, in having sharp scissors and a hard heart, and that ruthless cutting is at times necessary, I'm never happy with it, and avoid it wherever I can.

Why is it called "pleaching"? What kind of word is it? (I first thought the thread title was "bleaching" misspelled! :P ;) )
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Padme
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Post by Padme »

It would seem to be the same thing that bonsai have done.... :scratch:
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truehobbit
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Post by truehobbit »

Only on a larger scale! :P

But, yes, and bonsai is something I couldn't bring myself to do, either! :)
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Primula Baggins
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Post by Primula Baggins »

"Pleach" is from the same root as "pleat," "plait," and "braid" (L. verb plectere, to braid). It's an old word, 14th century, and Webster's 11th Collegiate defines it as synonymous with "interlace" and "plait." No special horticultural sense is mentioned.
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
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Maria
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Post by Maria »

Native Americans used to bend young living trees over to make them into trail markers.

http://www.trailtrees.frogprinceandprin ... trees.html
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vison
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Post by vison »

Kewl, Maria!
Dig deeper.
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Post by Frelga »

I'm not sure it's quite the same thing, but Bonfante Gardens Park in California has some highly unusual "circus trees".
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PrinceAlarming
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Post by PrinceAlarming »

I'm pretty sure the 'uncomfortable' digital image is from MIT...

I think some people at that institute found a way to genetically engineer trees to grow in a certain way, creating a structure over time, not just weaving preexisting limbs into a domicile.

Scary and cool.

I'm guessing it would take decades for the trees to grow large enough to live in... Unless, of course, you were a halfling.

EDIT: I don't think pleaching would hurt the trees if it was done correctly. A tree just grows, it's in the blueprint. Trees will naturally grow in strange directions and patterns if the proper forces of nature act upon it. Wind, rocks, other trees, water... They all can bend trees into fantastic works of natural art.

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Griffon64
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Post by Griffon64 »

I agree with PrinceAlarming that gentle pleaching won't hurt the trees. They grow around each other and natural obstacles all the time, of course.

The trick is to choose the right kind of tree for this and to make sure the end result is not disturbing - for example, we're used to seeing pine trees grow straight up, so pleached pine ( assuming that a pine tree would be healthy if growing that way ) will probably be uncomfortable to look at.
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