Phoenix graft with Ficus

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Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Rob Kempinski on Tue Jul 21, 2009 7:44 pm

This is a restart of a phoenix graft on a old piece of juniper. At first I tried a juniper scion, but after it didn't work out switched earlier this year to a Indian Laurel Ficus cutting (actually two cuttings). I think I placed the cuttings in the grooves around January but I don't recall exactly.

I did some work on it recently by defoliating it and wiring. Needs a few more months to grow some pads and for the new leader to reach a little higher and fill in with a apex.

I'm debating the front.

Any suggestions?

Number 1


Number 2


Number 3


Number 4


BTW, I bought the pot in Europe but forgot the potter's a,e/ Can anyone ID these marks?


Last edited by Rob Kempinski on Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:27 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Rick Moquin on Tue Jul 21, 2009 8:01 pm

Pic #1 works for me Rob. I think once she fills in you are going to have an amazing little tree.

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Ted Clausen on Tue Jul 21, 2009 9:30 pm

Hi Rob. I am wondering what made you choose a ficus as the live material? My (limited) understanding was that deadwood on this type of tree was generally frowned upon since this would not occur naturally; deadwood would merely rot away.
Please understand this is not a criticism, but an attempt to understand by a beginner.

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  xuan le on Tue Jul 21, 2009 11:27 pm

Beautiful graft, how can you find such a long whip with the Ficus Rob? BTW how can I a one of you recent book?
Regards.
Xuan

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:58 am

Ted Clausen wrote:Hi Rob. I am wondering what made you choose a ficus as the live material? My (limited) understanding was that deadwood on this type of tree was generally frowned upon since this would not occur naturally; deadwood would merely rot away.
Please understand this is not a criticism, but an attempt to understand by a beginner.

Ted, good question. I am not of the school that says a bonsai tree has to resemble nature. If we had an incredible shrinking machine that could shrink a full size tree then I might change my mind. Since we don't, we have to do things to compress a real tree to make a bonsai. Anything is fair game if it looks good as art. So ficus grafted to a dead branch might not be how it happens in nature but it might show something new. Might look cool too. I will work to style this so it doesn't look like a natural full size ficus. BTW, Ficus trees, especially the strangler fig do graft themselves to other trees and eventually kill them, making real size phoenix grafts. However that wasn't in my idea here.


Last edited by Rob Kempinski on Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:05 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:02 am

xuan le wrote:Beautiful graft, how can you find such a long whip with the Ficus Rob? BTW how can I a one of you recent book?
Regards.
Xuan

You don't need a long whip with a fast growing tropical tree. You let the whip grow in place into the groove. Take a look at my blog and the premma phoenix graft I am working on. In less than 3 months that whip has grown 10 inches. In a couple of years the whip will have extended to the end of a really sinuous piece of deadwood. Something to think about for you phoenix grafters out there.

As for the book, Haskill Creek Press, along with several on-line vendors sell it. Or send me a PM and we can figure out how to get you one. Thanks for asking.

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:39 am

Rick Moquin wrote:Pic #1 works for me Rob. I think once she fills in you are going to have an amazing little tree.
Thanks Rick, I hope so. Will be different at least.

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Jaco Kriek on Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:10 am

BTW, Ficus trees, especially the strangler fig do graft themselves to other trees and eventually kill them, making real size phoenix grafts.

Rob. Here is a picture of a Fig that started in the fork of another tree, sending its roots down into the soil. After years the Fig has totally strangled the original tree (which has died) and only the Fig is growing.


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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:12 pm

Jaco Kriek wrote:
BTW, Ficus trees, especially the strangler fig do graft themselves to other trees and eventually kill them, making real size phoenix grafts.

Rob. Here is a picture of a Fig that started in the fork of another tree, sending its roots down into the soil. After years the Fig has totally strangled the original tree (which has died) and only the Fig is growing.

Jaco,

That's a great photo of an interesting tree. The intertwined roots make an intense design statement. It looks old yet muscular at the same time but when you think about what happened it's pretty creepy. Imagine how the original tree felt. Some of our northern brethren don't understand the strength and propensity of a Ficus aerial roots. If one were to anthropomorphize that to humans, yikes. I guess its what a Boa constrictor does or what my friend's ex-wife was trying to do to him.

For my tree, keeping the ficus scions from dominating the driftwood will be a problem. I suppose in the future I could wrap the trunk with sphagnum moss and let it actually strangle the driftwood. Keeping it in this small pot and root bound may help. Trimming and carving may be necessary too.

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  fiona on Wed Jul 22, 2009 12:56 pm

Out of pure curiosity, since us poor UK northerners don't get to experience this phenomenon either, how long would it have taken the Ficus to "strangle" the original tree and get to its current size? We have plenty example of Ivy growing on to trees and strangling them, but it's not nearly as awesome as this.

As you say, pretty creepy when you consider what it's actually doing.

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Jul 22, 2009 1:12 pm

fionnghal wrote:Out of pure curiosity, since us poor UK northerners don't get to experience this phenomenon either, how long would it have taken the Ficus to "strangle" the original tree and get to its current size?

I'll guess twenty to 30 years.

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Storm on Thu Jul 23, 2009 1:54 pm

I like your project, please post pictures of the outcome =)
I saw that at was told that deadwood on ficus' just rots away? I have a ficus tree that I bought a while back, and suddenly branches started to die, I placed it outside, allthough its a bit cold here and new leaves at the top started to come. But my tree is growing very slowly.. So I just for fun, and for the experience started to jin the dead branches, and made a small shari a bit low on the tree. I havent treated it with any bleeching, since I dont know where to get it here in Norway. Do you think my tree will just rot away now?

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  EdMerc on Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:36 pm

Rob Kempinski wrote:
fionnghal wrote:Out of pure curiosity, since us poor UK northerners don't get to experience this phenomenon either, how long would it have taken the Ficus to "strangle" the original tree and get to its current size?

I'll guess twenty to 30 years.

That would be my guess. Ficus grow very fast and, on top of that, because of the lack of a serious winter here, they never stop growing throughout the year.

Rob, I was thrown by your choice of ficus at first, but it didn't take long to see that it will make a very interesting design indeed. I think you are right that eventually you will have to give in to the natural tendency of the ficus to engulf it's "host". The process should be fascinating.

Ed

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Rob Kempinski on Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:12 pm

Storm wrote:I like your project, please post pictures of the outcome =)
I saw that at was told that deadwood on ficus' just rots away? I have a ficus tree that I bought a while back, and suddenly branches started to die, I placed it outside, allthough its a bit cold here and new leaves at the top started to come. But my tree is growing very slowly.. So I just for fun, and for the experience started to jin the dead branches, and made a small shari a bit low on the tree. I havent treated it with any bleeching, since I dont know where to get it here in Norway. Do you think my tree will just rot away now?

I will keep you posted.

As for ficus deadwood, jins are not that durable but holes seem to last surprisingly long.
For the this phoenix graft, the deadwood is very durable juniper.

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Rob Kempinski on Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:16 pm

EdMerc wrote:
Rob, I was thrown by your choice of ficus at first, but it didn't take long to see that it will make a very interesting design indeed. I think you are right that eventually you will have to give in to the natural tendency of the ficus to engulf it's "host". The process should be fascinating.

Ed

The key will be to keep it in a small pot, keep it pot bound and to trim ruthlessly both branches, trunk and roots.
We'll see.

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

Post  Joe Hatfield on Mon Apr 19, 2010 4:14 am

What ever happened to this tree? I'd like to see it Smile

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Re: Phoenix graft with Ficus

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