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Author Topic: Construction of a "Tillandsia Tree"  (Read 1036 times)
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chefofthebush
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« on: March 13, 2015, 18:23:39 »

Hi All,
This is the creation of my next “Tillandsia Tree”.
I start by planting 3 treated wooden support logs. They are inserted into the ground and 2/3 of the hole filled with concrete and topped up with soil.

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Once that has set, bracing logs are added. They are bolted in using threaded bar and washers to prevent the nuts from digging into the wood. I use cable ties to keep the logs in place whilst drilling and bolting. Then they are removed.

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Then the fun starts!  Sculptural logs and interesting branches are again cable tied in place until the drilling and bolting is completed.  Where logs overlap, they are bolted too – this adds rigidity and strengthens the “tree”.

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I will post the next batch of photos as soon as they are taken! I need to add some smaller branches and have a few interesting hollow logs that need a spot.

Conrad
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splinter1804
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« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2015, 21:15:40 »

Hi everyone.

Conrad - That's a very well explained and illustrated project and I'm sure if anyone wants to build one they would have no problems following your design, and I'm sure it will be a very interesting piece of art when its completed. I especially like the sculptural effect of the log in picture 5,8 and 9; isn't Mother Nature clever? It's up to you now to do this piece of natural art justice by placing suitable plants on it, which I'm sure you will, and I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished product.

I know this is to be a "Tillandsia Tree", but have you thought about making a "Mini Neo Tree" as well ? I'm sure it would add to the attractiveness of the other mounts by being a bit different.

All the best, Nev.
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Gnarly dude!


« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2015, 00:32:09 »

Conrad, what's the wood treated WITH?
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chefofthebush
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2015, 05:52:01 »

Thanks Nev & Gonz!

I have made several mixed logs before, but never took photos of construction. They just "grew" out of the lack of  floor space.

Gonz. the timber poles are treated with whatever the norm is in this country, but all other wood is untreated. I am hoping that the drier requirements of the Tillies help preserve the wood a little longer. My previous mixed Broms and orchids logs only lasted about 3 years before fungi and insects weakened them to the point of collapse. Should this happen again, I will just have to make more.....

Does any one know of a good non-copper inexpensive wood treatment? Here in Durban our high humidity, lots of rain, dry - and damp - rot and wood borer are the main culprits. Any suggestions?

I do not mind the replacing of logs as it also gives some time for plant division and a change of the  look of the "tree". A little continuity!

Conrad
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2015, 21:21:06 »

Paint has worked well for me. I paint all my treated wood and have had no issue. If you want to treat those branches you might want to consider a clear sealer once they have dried out.
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splinter1804
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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2015, 01:42:32 »

Hi everyone.

Conrad – Many of the different new timber treatments today contain copper, and the ones that don’t, contain other nasties that you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near. See the link below:
http://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/good_wood/pres_not.htm

As 378 says, painting CCA treated timber will contain the copper if done well with a good quality paint, however where most people make the mistake is they forget to paint any cut ends or drilled holes where the copper can still leach out. I find the best paint here is to apply a good oil based primer and then an oil-based under coat and finish off with a coat or two of good quality oil enamel or external acrylic. This is all very well as long as the integrity of the timber is maintained, but if any cracks appear, or nails or screws are put into it these sites then have to be filled and re-painted.

I remember when I was a carpenter (about fifty years ago) Creosote was used to treat any part of fence posts that went underground and likewise it was painted on the floor joists of all wooden framed homes we built. This helped prevent rot but mainly, was a deterrent to Termites. The only problems we found was that any that splashed on your skin would create a burn when exposed to the sun and I think that’s one of the main reasons it went out of favour in the building industry and everyone changed to CCA treated timber as soon as it became available. For many years even the large wooden power and telephone poles were treated with Creosote where they went in the ground until now they too are treated with CCA.

Going back even further (I’m talking seventy years now) all the farms around where I lived as a boy had a narrow galvanised trough which contained a mixture of old sump oil (which they got free of charge from the local garage) mixed with either kerosene or dieseline. This oil bath was what all fence posts were treated with; they were put in the bath for a couple of days to soak and then put on a wire rack and allowed to drain and dry for a couple of months. This preserved the timber and deterred the Termites for many years and I dare say I could still find the occasional old fence post today (still standing) after all these years that was treated in this way. Of course with all of these types of things there are drawbacks and with this method it was terribly messy. Even after being allowed to sit on a rack for several months, the oil still got all over your hands and clothes; but you said you wanted a non-expensive wood treatment and I think using hardwood posts and treating just the bit that goes in the ground would suit your needs.

All the best, Nev.
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2015, 08:16:53 »

Conrad if there was a answer to question 'other than copper based' for in ground use they would be very wealthy!, the CCA pressure treatment Nev mentions is the only solution to give a reasonable life span. Our house is on 12m poles with CCA treatment to last 80 years. My solution in your case is to stick with the treated timber in ground with the area above ground sealed and then painted. There are alternative products around to seal in the treatment, we have used Dulux Silversheen which I tested by putting some broms under and there has been no issue, I believe there is also some Acrylics that do the job. I remember Jack konning mentioning a system he uses on one of his 'posts' when he built his shade houses. As a alternative to all this may be look into using a untreated hardwood timber for the base as I note Nev has also suggested. Some native New Zealand timbers have lasted 50 years as foundation posts. Some farms here have totara timber posts still standing 100 years latter.

Cheers Jaga
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chefofthebush
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2015, 16:45:12 »

I recall a memory from WAY BACK in my studies that one of our entomology doctors mentioned the use of ox blood and fat on wooden beams in  churches during the middle ages. This was (to my recollection) to treat the wood against borers and wood eating insects. They could digest the cellulose, but not the proteins. WARNING - Before you go slaughtering a cow - be warned that my memory is highly untrustworthy!

Thanks for the information so far...I am waiting for Monday here so I can get to see some of out local chemical agents.

Back to the "Tree"...

Smaller branches, all of untreated natural wood, of interesting shapes and with varying thickness -are cable tied into place. I do them all to first see the overall effect.

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Then they are attached by first drilling a thing pilot hole and then fastening them with brass screws. Then the ties are removed.

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From more than a few feet they are barely noticeable. I also insert screws where-ever the logs may touch each other for extra strength and rigidity.

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And then the plants…. I attach the plants using cable ties – my favorite method. I do not cut the tie off flush with the brace, but leave an inch of stubble. This will allow me to keep tightening the tie as the wood dries or shrinks. I also attach a name tag.

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After just a few I already see that I will need a lot more thinner branches to attach the collection of Tillandsias to still go onto the “tree”.

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A few thousand RRs in those creates! A few plants of each species and some cultivars.

Still a lot of work to do…..

Conrad

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splinter1804
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2015, 21:51:48 »

Hi everyone.

Looking good Conrad; soon you'll have a wall of brom's.

Please keeps us informed about what you find out from your local chemical agents; who knows, you might just come up with an answer that will solve all of our problems.

Just another observation; where do you get your name tags printed? They look so neat and legible as well.

All the best, Nev.
 
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chefofthebush
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« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2015, 21:49:11 »

Nev, I will keep you posted on chemicals.

As for the labels, I use the standard hard plastic plant label, print the name on paper from my PC ( my handwriting is totally illegible when I print) and then paste that onto the label. Then I seal the label with sticky tape on both sides and trim off the excess sticky tape. I punch a hole on one end and use a label tie to fasten it to the plant at the base, face down - protection from the sun. This works for up to 8 months and longer, giving me enough time to memorize the species or cultivar.

Laminating would be the answer, but the machines cost a little too much for me now. Maybe one day!

We brom grower always have to come up with the odd solutions to problems.

That could be a start of a new thread "Your Ingenious solutions to Growing Bromeliads!"

Conrad

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« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2015, 06:08:44 »

Conrad/Nev we brought a 'Brother label maker' as it prints labels on tape for exterior use. When we brought it it came with some sample printing tape which we used up and then went to buy some only to find the tape is more expensive than the printer so that has put a end to that but did make good exterior stick on labels which have been tested for about 4 years out side now and still seem fine.

-Jaga
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chefofthebush
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« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2015, 14:26:48 »

So To Continue...

Finished the smaller branches for now and started attaching the plants. I took these photos at night for some contrast.

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And to show why I like the cable ties....

I attached this Tillandsia "Silver Bullet" onto this log 7 months ago. The roots have now developed well and I can remove the tie. Easy-Peasy and no damage to the roots or the plant! The roots do not cling to the plastic of the tie.

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Conrad
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