Bonsai Styles: Multi-trunked Styles

There are many variations on the multi-trunk theme. The illustration shows a twin trunk tree, this is perhaps the most common type.

Try to arrange the two trunks, of a two trunk bonsai, so that the smaller is positioned further back in the pot than the larger. this adds an extra 'depth' to the planting.

This is particularly important to remember if the two trunks are similar in size.

The ideal time to correct this, if you have such a problem is at repotting time.

trunksplit.gif (21925 bytes) The trunks of a multitrunk bonsai should diverge as close to the roots as possible.

If you have a tree that splits high up, consider planting it in a deep pot, or the ground and inducing new roots closer to the split using the techniques outlined in layering

Ideally the angle between the two trunks should not be to great, as this tends to look unnatural. If you have such a tree think about turning it into a raft style by lowering the smaller branch to the soil level.


The 'Clump' style occurs where the original main trunk has dissapeared and a number of suckers have matured.


Another variation is the 'Raft' style where either a low branch has touched the ground and rooted, or a large tree has fallen over and roots have developed where the trunk is in contact with the ground. The branches pointing upward have grown into larger trees, all connected by the original trunk.

Raft style trees are often developed from stock that has all of it's branches on one side. These trees would never make an acceptable sungle trunked bonsai, however with a little imagination and patience you can end up with a really nice tree. To develop a raft style tree you will need a long and fairly deep container. remove the tree from whatever container it's in. Strips of bark should be removed along the bottom of the new tree. these cuts should be dusted with hormone rooting powder to promote the growth of new roots.

Having half filled the container with compost the tree is placed into it and secured with ties. The box is then filled with compost and then watered.

If you have a tree with very few branches on one side, an option would be to lay it in it's side and create a raft style tree.

Allen. C. Roffey 08:57 28/01/2001