Big Ficus natalensis

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Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:04 am

Hi everyone,



Thought I'd share my most recent purchase, a huge Ficus natalensis. I bought it from a nursery in Maryland (Meehan's Miniatures). It stands 3 feet tall and has an 8 inch base. I'm slowly working toward a path for this tree. I think what I want to focus on is clearing out the branches from the bottom of the trunk, which would leave the branches up top. I just brought this tree indoors for the winter since it's getting cold out at night, so once it recovers and starts growing again I'll defoliate it and let you all see the branch work. Just thought I'd gather some comments from you all, whether they be styling or otherwise. I'm pretty stoked to have found this guy.








I personally was thinking something along this basic sketch, where I would focus mostly on the big, powerful trunk:

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Russell Coker on Thu Sep 13, 2012 12:53 pm




Wonderful find! You're going to have a lot of fun with this one.

Keep us posted.

Russell Coker
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:02 pm

This is a "strangler fig." I defoliate at least every year and keep it tip pruned to keep leaf size down. If you let it go the leaves will get large.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:54 pm

Thank you both, I'm pretty excited to work on it. I've got a couple other natalensis, but none this size. I haven't had much success defoliating the others, they always seem to only get new leaves at the ends of the branches.

In your experience, have you found that they grow best when rootbound, or should I go ahead and repot this guy? It's very, very rootbound.

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:36 pm

I am way south of you and I might repot this time of year, but I am not sure you should. If I repot mine is pot bound in less than six months.

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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:05 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:I am way south of you and I might repot this time of year, but I am not sure you should. If I repot mine is pot bound in less than six months.

Nah I repot year round with no worries. My trees don't stop growing when I bring them indoors. I do still wonder whether or not these grow best when rootbound or not.

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:58 pm

I slip potted this one today. The tree was extremely rootbound. So much so, that I couldn't lift the tree from the pot, I had to cut the pot away.




Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:33 am

Here's maybe a better look into the upper branch work:


Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  gope on Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:28 am

Nice material, Ryan!

Personally, I wouldnt change too much in upper part of the tree, just defoliating, cutting back etc, for finer ramification. I'd focus on the lower part, try to encourage backbudding or thread graft lower branches and let them grow to thicken enough. There is actually some branch on the bottom of the trunk i'd use for this purpose.

This is gonna be a stunner!


gope
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Russell Coker on Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:36 pm




Ryan, I'm curious as to what you think you've accomplished by putting it in the pot you chose. Is that just to hold it over through the winter? Certainly that tall, narrow pot is nothing close to what you're working towards regarding the future bonsai pot.

Had it been mine, I would have laid it on its side and removed the bottom 2/3 of that rootball, loosened the sides and planted it in a broad, shallow pot. Don't you need width, and not depth? I would have planted it in one of those rectangular gray plastic dish tubs.

Just thinking out loud.

R

Russell Coker
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Fri Sep 14, 2012 1:54 pm

Great virt Gope, thanks for that! Definitely giving me something to think about.


Russell, yes I put it in this pot just for the winter. Come spring time I'll aggressively work the rootball, but since it is still adjusting to the indoor growing I didn't want to send it into too much shock.

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Sat Sep 15, 2012 12:26 am

Should I maybe try to cover the apex a bit more like this?

Ryan
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big ficus natalensis

Post  moyogijohn on Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:01 am

Ryan,, That is a really nice looking tree !! you find so many good ficus trees.. do you go to the nursery and pick them?? I think maybe you should share this one with me!!! post againbut i guess you are finished till spring.. take care john

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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:28 am

moyogijohn wrote:Ryan,, That is a really nice looking tree !! you find so many good ficus trees.. do you go to the nursery and pick them?? I think maybe you should share this one with me!!! post againbut i guess you are finished till spring.. take care john

Thank you John. Yes I do go to the nursery and pick the trees. This one came from a nursery in Maryland called Meehans Miniatures. They've got an online site that you can order from and see some of their bigger stock, but there's tons more to see in person.

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Sat Sep 15, 2012 8:48 pm

So if I were to go with Gopes virt, I assume the very bottom branches like the one circled in red wouldn't be needed?

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:33 pm

I did go ahead and remove a few more bottom branches:

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:48 am

Here's the other side of the trunk, just because:

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:46 pm

Would it be safe to say this way down bottom branch isn't needed?

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:51 pm

It is OK to remove the branch, I would also clean up some of the aerial roots, remember that when a aerial root feeds an area the area below (towards the roots) stops growing. If you can keep aerial roots close to the trunk they can help make it look thicker, but if they feed branches you will get reverse taper along the branch.

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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Sat Sep 22, 2012 5:16 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:It is OK to remove the branch, I would also clean up some of the aerial roots, remember that when a aerial root feeds an area the area below (towards the roots) stops growing. If you can keep aerial roots close to the trunk they can help make it look thicker, but if they feed branches you will get reverse taper along the branch.

Thanks Billy, I removed it. I do need to clean up some of the aerial roots, there are lots of dead ones all over.

I've not had much success when I've defoliated other natalensis, they only seem to grow new leaves at the ends of the branches, and I have no idea why. Has this been the case with you?

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Sep 22, 2012 8:49 pm

Ryan wrote:I've not had much success when I've defoliated other natalensis, they only seem to grow new leaves at the ends of the branches, and I have no idea why. Has this been the case with you?

When you defoliate make sure you cut the growing tip of the branch also.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Sat Sep 22, 2012 9:08 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:
When you defoliate make sure you cut the growing tip of the branch also.

Hmm I've never done that, so that's new to me. Thanks.

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  gope on Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:05 pm

If you won't do it you force the growth at the tip.

gope
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Sat Sep 22, 2012 10:13 pm

gope wrote:If you won't do it you force the growth at the tip.

Thanks. I've never actually cut the tips to restrict growth on any of my Ficus, so that's something I've got to look into.

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

Post  Ryan on Fri Sep 28, 2012 3:55 am

This ones been dropping leaves, even green ones, for a few days. After spying some gnats, I think it's due to over watering. I'm having trouble getting the soil to dry out, since the light is so far above it. Maybe I'll have to add more lights? It's still pushing growth, thankfully:

Ryan
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Re: Big Ficus natalensis

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