A few miles from our house sagebrush grows abundantly. Most of the trees on the layout are made with sagebrush, even the pine trees. Even though there is plenty of sagebrush nereby I prefer the sagebrush that grows on the Taos Plateau along thr Rio Grande George. It doesn't grow as tall as the more local sage and they tend to have more branches.
One tree on the layout is nearly five feet tall, representing a 100-foot-tall Ponderosa Pine. The pine tree trunks are made with laminated balsa wood. Sagebrush limbs are added. In some cases, wood putty is used to simulate bark. Depending on the tree and the look I'm trying to achieve, I will use one of the following methods to foliate trees:
Apply clumps of foam directly to tree branches
Apply ground foam to stretched poly fiber and apply to branches
Apply ground foam to stretched filter material and apply to branches.
Apply foliage material from Scenic Express and other companies directly to branches.
Below you will see several photos of trees on the layout.including the ponderosa pine that is about 100 scale feet tall. As you can see, I like making trees. Unfortunately in this scale it would not be practical to make a forest of trees. At the bottom of this page I go into detail on how I make tree foiliage.
Have you ever made a tree and thought that you had no idea what type of tree it was suppose to represent? The bottom tree in the photo below is one of those trees. When asked what kind of tree it's suppose to be, I ask,"what kind of tree do you think it is? Whatever they say, I say, "yup, you're right". Actually, I'll do that for all my trees.
Because I need tree foliage in large quantities I’ve found it to be far more economical to make my own. For deciduous trees I start with poly fiber material that’s available from woodland Scenics and Bachmann. For evergreen trees I start with heavy fiber packing material or furnace filter fiber material. I use a spice/coffee grinder to grind Woodland Scenics clump foam to the size that I desire. I try to achieve a semi-course foam foliage. I use various colors depending on the type of tree that I’m making.
The process for "Pine"trees is as follows:
As stated above I use either furnace filter or heavy-duty fiber packing material for the “finer” tree branches (upper left photo). I rip off small sections of the fiber material and stretch them out until I achieve a thin, twiggy/airy piece (center photo above). I apply a spray adhesive and add the medium course ground foam (Next three images). I apply the foliage to sage brush branches (final image). Easy Peazy. The process for making foliage for desidious trees follows.
By looking at the pictures and after reading how I made the foliage for the pine trees it is obvious how I made the folliage for the deciduous trees. The temporarily "planted" tree on the left has over 150 pieces of foliage clusters applied to the sagebrush trunk and branches. I call this tree the 8 hour tree. That's how much time it took from start to finish. Total material costs was about $4. After I decide where I want the tree to grow I will add root mounds at the base. I will also add weeds and grass.