I am actually completely new with regards to bonsai. I bought this jade plant recently, it is about 1 and half feet wide and tall. I like the look of a forest jade bonsai where they have multiple small bonsai trunks line up in a row. I was wondering if is possible to basically cut open the root to the middle of this plant and unwrap the trunks where it lines up in a row. Will the plant survive this torture? What's the best way to go about performing such a surgery? Thanks!
I don't know if jade would be amenable to doing that. You can propagate them through cuttings, but I don't think you can make a multi stem jade into distinct trunks unless each one has its own root system. It will always be connected. and the jade will want to fill in where you split it.
To elaborate, right now the plant has about 7 or 8 trunks roughly the same length in a cluster. What I want to do is cut the root system and unwrap the trunks so that they are in a straight line but still connected to each other via the root system (hopefully). Is it possible to achieve that without killing it?
I don't know, if you cut it you will need to be careful or the base might rot. Most of the time when I have cut jade, it has a fibrous root system and to keep it from rotting, I have to callous off the end a bit first. It doesn't take long, sometimes only a few hours or a day. I usually do not try to cut the main trunk, I only take off the branches.
I think that you will have some difficulty trying to create a straight line as you wish, I expect the flesh will be too brittle. You might be better off to seperate the trunks, establish them individually, then later re-pot as desired. Make sure, as imafan26 mentioned, to allow the cut portions to dry well before you re-pot the pieces. It won't hurt to leave them unpotted for several days.