Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  Guest on Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:14 pm

leatherback wrote:Just a little comment.. I hear everybody suggesting to remove the wires. Although I admit I am probalby one of the least experienced in bonsai in this thread, I disagree with the advice. The damage to the branches is done. When you wire & bend the branches, you damage the bark ever s slightly. The tree needs active growth to quickly repair the damage. THat is why it is much better to wire in spring / summer. However, the wires are on. So the tree will need to fix the damage. In my view, removing the wires is only going to hurt the tree more, with more handling of the branches, more bending. I would leave the wire on. Move the tree to the brightest spont in the house, and give it lots of TLC. Make sure it is in a warm spot, and keep the tree slightly moist;

Just my 2P


Actually No damage was done yet to the branches due to wiring...It is the future damage that is being prevented here due to over use and unnecessary use of wire.


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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  leatherback on Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:28 pm

jun wrote:
Actually No damage was done yet to the branches due to wiring...It is the future damage that is being prevented here due to over use and unnecessary use of wire.

Wiring & bending of branches always damages the bark, however slightly. The more the branch is handled, and the more extreme te bending, the more damage is done.

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  rps on Sun Sep 23, 2012 3:36 pm

madonnaswimmer. while i personally agree with the 'remove the wire' suggestion/s, this is [at the end of your day] your tree and [ultimately] your decision.
use it to learn about and understand both the species and this craft/hobby/art.
take some books out of the library. look at images on the internet. search through this site. attend local club meetings [i can not emphasise this one enough].
many tress have come and gone since my first, but i still have it [a ficus incidentally]. it is far from a masterpiece, with lingering evidence of a large cut [similar to yours] and poor design decisions --- but i continue to work on, and slowly improve, it. despite its shortcomings, i will never give it away --- for me at least, it is rich with happy memories and [as imosrtantly] lessons learnt.

in case you decide to remove some [or all] of that controversial wire [for what it's worth: i would strongly encourage you to do so], please use cutters to snip it off in small pieces [rather than try to unwrap it]. i've done more damage to foliage and branches trying to unwrap wire than i ever did putting it on in the first place. just trying to save you and your ficus that stress.

above everything else: enjoy your tree.

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  madonnaswimmer on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:26 am

jun wrote:...Ficus microcarpa grows relatively faster than most species of trees used for bonsai. your wire will strangle your young ficus.
I am planning to watch the wire closely, and remove it as soon as I see it biting into the bark.

jun wrote:
...The size of wire you used (in most part) is not the appropriate size.
...Use different size of wire- from thick wire on the thicker girth of branch, and as you goes to the end of the branch apply thinner wire.
I understand criticizing how I wired, but I think the wire is the appropriate width. Perhaps you cannot see this in the photo. I purchased four Bonsai books, from different authors, and most recommended wire that is half the width of the branch... I stuck by this rule as much as I could. I used wires from 3mm to 1mm, with heavier wires on the main branches.

jun wrote:...This tree should not be wired to the max like a "mummy", minor bending in the branch portion nearer to the trunk is more than enough, a guy wire is easier for this purpose.
Wiring was necessary further away from the trunk to make the minor branches sit in a horizontal plane, as mostly all of them were vertical when I started.

jun wrote:
...The purpose of wiring is to bend branches and not to make feel you are wiring a tree for the sake of wiring it.
I should also point out that during the workshop, I started working branch by branch, figuring out which ones needed wiring and meticulously deciding where to bend them. But when I got the warning that we had 15 minutes left in the workshop, I panicked. I had only wired about 3 branches, and had done nothing with the rest of the tree. I just started putting wire on every branch that didn't have any, because I don't have access to wire at home (I was planning on asking for a kit for Christmas). So some branches have wire that don't need it. Other branches have wire, and I personally think they need shaping, but I haven't bent any of those branches yet because I was unsure where to go in my design. I figured I would post on here looking for advice before bending anything.

jun wrote:
...The cut that they allow you to do will create a very ugly mark on your tree.
I feel that this is easy to say because you don't see the horrible branch that WAS there. Sure, it looks bad. But it doesn't look as bad as the branch that was there, taking away any taper and shape that the trunk had.
I also have no choice at this point. It I rotate the tree so that the wound is in the back, the trunk has no taper or flow to it. So, it will stay at the front of the tree.
I also don't understand why this is so horrible and awful, but a sharimiki is something to admire. Both are wounds to the tree... perhaps I am missing something.
The bottom line is that this is my tree. Yes, I personally want to follow the styling of bonsai as closely as I can (otherwise I wouldn't be posting on a site looking for help from people who know a lot about bonsai). And I am still learning, of course... this is my very first tree. Every mistake is a lesson learned. But I am never going to enter it in a show. The only people who are probably going to see it in person are my houseguests, most of which know nothing about Bonsai. I like the wound, I think it adds character. I personally can't wait to see what my tree does to heal it, even if it grows a big and ugly scar.

jun wrote:
...You dont wire the trunk of a tree....NEVER!
I am confused about what you are saying here, and maybe my photo is confusing. Any wire that is on the trunk is only as an anchor for the wire around a branch... I should have anchored one branch to another, but again, another lesson learned!

jun wrote:
The artistic aspect doesn't comes with practice, It is in your "genes" if you have it you have it-- From Hans van Meer Theory of relativity which is quite controversial but I quite sadly agree.
I really don't mean to argue, but I personally feel this is a really rude thing to say to a beginner. Surely your first trees weren't as good as the ones you work on now.
Let me tell you a story. I used to be a great artist, when I was younger. I did wonderful sketchings, beautiful watercolors. I dabbled in acrylic painting. I did a few scultpures. I even considered going to college for art. I went to college, but pursued science instead. 4 years in college, and 4 years in vet school... and with all of that time studying, my art got neglected. What's worse, I spend all day exercising the left side of my brain, so my creativity has decreased as well. Now that I am out of school, I try to do artwork, and it is awful. I get very discouraged... what happened to all of my talent? But you know what? It takes practice. The more you exercise your artistic side, the more the neuronal pathways in those areas of the brain are strengthened. My drawings and paintings may be awful now. Just like my first bonsai is not stellar. But the more time I exerise these areas of my brain, the more naturally it will come, the more artistic I will be again, like I used to be. I am not giving up. And I wholeheartedly disagree with your statement.

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:33 am

leatherback wrote:
jun wrote:
Actually No damage was done yet to the branches due to wiring...It is the future damage that is being prevented here due to over use and unnecessary use of wire.

Wiring & bending of branches always damages the bark, however slightly. The more the branch is handled, and the more extreme te bending, the more damage is done.


Not with ficus! I worked on hundreds of them. and probably wired and unwired them almost everyday. and they are all still OK.

I will not insists on things that I don't or have little knowledge of. ( As we regularly see here now).

How many ficus microcarpa have you handled? I might get some more pointers from you that I haven't encountered yet.

regards,
jun

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  madonnaswimmer on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:37 am

rps wrote:You may want to supplement its winter light with an artificial bulb. One upside to the preponderance of CFL bulbs on the market is that they provide a reasonable and inexpensive means to that end. If you can find COOL WHITE, they are preferable to SOFT WHITE. This is entirely optional, mind you, as ficus will be survive without the boost.

I went to my local gardening center about a week ago and picked up some plant lights. It looks like a regular, old-fashioned light bulb, but is blue. The package says "60W PLANT. Provides light necessary to grow and nourish house plants and flowers. Provides the blue, green, and red natural light required by plants. Special light blue tint provides natural light. For optimum results, place 5 to 6 feet above plants."

Do you think this type of bulb will be ok? I am in an apartment right now, so lighting options are limited. I was planning on placing my bonsai on a table near a southern-exposure window, and shine this light on it for 12 hours per day. I was planning on using one of my multi-fixture floor lamps (like what they sell for dorm rooms), with two of these bulbs pointed at the tree(s). I am planning to test the soil dampness with a chopstick, and mist daily.

Last year I had a rosemary that needed extra light over the winter, and placed one of those twisty compact fluorescent bulbs about 5 inches away from the top of the plant. The rosemary survived, but dropped all of its inner/lower leaves, which was why I was thinking about trying the actual plant light instead.

Which would you recommend?

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  madonnaswimmer on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:40 am

moyogijohn wrote:I forgot to ask,,how tall is the tree ?? Also i would like to say,,at the top,,apex,,there are too many branches,,i would chose one for a apex and remove the rest unless they are low enough to be used for short brahches....hope this helps a little !!! john

From soil to apex, the tree is 27" (68cm) tall. Thanks for the advice!

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 24, 2012 12:56 am

madonnaswimmer wrote:
jun wrote:...Ficus microcarpa grows relatively faster than most species of trees used for bonsai. your wire will strangle your young ficus.
I am planning to watch the wire closely, and remove it as soon as I see it biting into the bark.

jun wrote:
...The size of wire you used (in most part) is not the appropriate size.
...Use different size of wire- from thick wire on the thicker girth of branch, and as you goes to the end of the branch apply thinner wire.
I understand criticizing how I wired, but I think the wire is the appropriate width. Perhaps you cannot see this in the photo. I purchased four Bonsai books, from different authors, and most recommended wire that is half the width of the branch... I stuck by this rule as much as I could. I used wires from 3mm to 1mm, with heavier wires on the main branches.

jun wrote:...This tree should not be wired to the max like a "mummy", minor bending in the branch portion nearer to the trunk is more than enough, a guy wire is easier for this purpose.
Wiring was necessary further away from the trunk to make the minor branches sit in a horizontal plane, as mostly all of them were vertical when I started.

jun wrote:
...The purpose of wiring is to bend branches and not to make feel you are wiring a tree for the sake of wiring it.
I should also point out that during the workshop, I started working branch by branch, figuring out which ones needed wiring and meticulously deciding where to bend them. But when I got the warning that we had 15 minutes left in the workshop, I panicked. I had only wired about 3 branches, and had done nothing with the rest of the tree. I just started putting wire on every branch that didn't have any, because I don't have access to wire at home (I was planning on asking for a kit for Christmas). So some branches have wire that don't need it. Other branches have wire, and I personally think they need shaping, but I haven't bent any of those branches yet because I was unsure where to go in my design. I figured I would post on here looking for advice before bending anything.

jun wrote:
...The cut that they allow you to do will create a very ugly mark on your tree.
I feel that this is easy to say because you don't see the horrible branch that WAS there. Sure, it looks bad. But it doesn't look as bad as the branch that was there, taking away any taper and shape that the trunk had.
I also have no choice at this point. It I rotate the tree so that the wound is in the back, the trunk has no taper or flow to it. So, it will stay at the front of the tree.
I also don't understand why this is so horrible and awful, but a sharimiki is something to admire. Both are wounds to the tree... perhaps I am missing something.
The bottom line is that this is my tree. Yes, I personally want to follow the styling of bonsai as closely as I can (otherwise I wouldn't be posting on a site looking for help from people who know a lot about bonsai). And I am still learning, of course... this is my very first tree. Every mistake is a lesson learned. But I am never going to enter it in a show. The only people who are probably going to see it in person are my houseguests, most of which know nothing about Bonsai. I like the wound, I think it adds character. I personally can't wait to see what my tree does to heal it, even if it grows a big and ugly scar.

jun wrote:
...You dont wire the trunk of a tree....NEVER!
I am confused about what you are saying here, and maybe my photo is confusing. Any wire that is on the trunk is only as an anchor for the wire around a branch... I should have anchored one branch to another, but again, another lesson learned!

jun wrote:
The artistic aspect doesn't comes with practice, It is in your "genes" if you have it you have it-- From Hans van Meer Theory of relativity which is quite controversial but I quite sadly agree.
I really don't mean to argue, but I personally feel this is a really rude thing to say to a beginner. Surely your first trees weren't as good as the ones you work on now.
Let me tell you a story. I used to be a great artist, when I was younger. I did wonderful sketchings, beautiful watercolors. I dabbled in acrylic painting. I did a few scultpures. I even considered going to college for art. I went to college, but pursued science instead. 4 years in college, and 4 years in vet school... and with all of that time studying, my art got neglected. What's worse, I spend all day exercising the left side of my brain, so my creativity has decreased as well. Now that I am out of school, I try to do artwork, and it is awful. I get very discouraged... what happened to all of my talent? But you know what? It takes practice. The more you exercise your artistic side, the more the neuronal pathways in those areas of the brain are strengthened. My drawings and paintings may be awful now. Just like my first bonsai is not stellar. But the more time I exerise these areas of my brain, the more naturally it will come, the more artistic I will be again, like I used to be. I am not giving up. And I wholeheartedly disagree with your statement.


It's all up to you! I am just trying to help you, for crying out loud!!! scratch

You asked for a comment, I gave it to you. Then you asked for specific, I gave it to you with all honesty.

...Now if you want want me to be a hypocrite, and say you did a wonderful job, forget it! I am a nice person...but an honest person too. And when you progress more into bonsai, you contact me in the future and tell me I am wrong.



with the statement of me being rude...That statement did not came from me,,,but it is true, and the truth hurts. I am not saying I am good but, I strive to do my best and won't argue to those people who has more advanced experienced than mine who tries to help me. Because they are not getting anything from me when they tried to help me.

This is your thread and your tree, if you want a help like you said. please be specific and tell us just post ----"only good comment please".

It is all up to you!





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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  rps on Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:19 am

i've had pretty good luck wintering rosemary by a bright cool window without the use of supplemental light --- but that really doesn't answer you question.

supplemental light is a complicated and [to some] fascinating subject. i have to admit my grasp only scratches the surface; but, that said, i find a recommended distance of 5 to 6 feet on a 60W bulb difficult to understand. unless the bulb generates an enormous amount of heat [such that it could scorch leaves], you want to get it as close to the plant/s as possible.

green foliage growth uses mainly the cooler [blue] end of the light spectrum. the warmer [red] end is only needed for flowering and fruit. it will not do your plant any harm, but it is wasted light/energy/money. most bulbs will have their kelvin spectrum printed on the package and/or the base of the bulb. at the risk of over simplifying things: 2700K is the warm end [red], 4700K is cool [blue] and +6400K is sold as 'daylight' or 'grow-light'. personally i've had happy indoor results with T5 fluorescents [sold as 'grow-lights'] and simple cool white [4700K] CFLs. they're fairly cheap to buy & decidedly cheap to operate - oh, and because they burn comparatively cool, i can all but press them up against the tree.

ficus are survivors --- and yours will make it through the winter with a sunny south facing window; however, with some additional light, it will go from "survive" to "thrive".

in case you're interested, i've attached a link to an essay on this subject by William Heston [published on Jerry Meislik's ficus website]. it explains the science far more thoroughly than i ever could. incidentally, do look through the rest of Jerry's site --- it is a valuable resource for ficus growers. and, if you get really serious about the species, i strongly recommend Jerry's book.
http://www.bonsaihunk.us/info/IndoorLight.html
http://www.bonsaihunk.us/ficusforum/FicusForum.html
http://www.bonsaihunk.us/ficusforum/FicusTechniques.html


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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  madonnaswimmer on Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:36 am

Whoah, whoah. I really didn't set out to make any enemies on my first topic! Yikes! pale

jun wrote:It's all up to you! I am just trying to help you, for crying out loud!!! scratch
We must be having a miscommunication here. I do appreciate your help. I am sorry if I sound ungrateful, it was not meant that way.

jun wrote: You asked for a comment, I gave it to you. Then you asked for specific, I gave it to you with all honesty.
I asked for help with which side should be my front, what to do with the branches on the left side, and help with the wound in the front. Then the comments (from everyone, not just you) gravitated towards the awful wiring job, and why I was wiring in September, and not much else. So I went with the flow of conversation, and discussed the wiring.
I am grateful for your comments about my wiring. I do appreciate the advice from someone more experienced. Again, I feel it was a miscommunication that I was coming off as ungrateful. In my last post, I was merely explaining why I did the things I did, and my train of thought (I wired to the end of the branches to place the minor branches on a horizontal plane, and that I followed guidelines from my books for wire thickness). This was not meant to be argumentative. I was anticipating you to respond to these (like, telling me that you use a different rule of thumb for thickness than my books suggest, or giving me advice for how to position the minor branches on a horizontal plane without wiring all the way out to the tips).

jun wrote:...Now if you want want me to be a hypocrite, and say you did a wonderful job, forget it! I am a nice person...but an honest person too. And when you progress more into bonsai, you contact me in the future and tell me I am wrong.
I am not looking for you to tell me my tree is gorgeous and that I did a great job. I never said this, and I am unsure where you came up with this. I actually would like to know where you got this impression. It's my first tree, I know it's gangly looking. But I think I should keep working at it, not give up. In my opinion, your comment at the end, about how "you either have it or you don't", implied that since my first tree was awful looking, I should just quit right now because I won't ever be any good at it. I will admit I didn't appreciate that. And I merely pointed out that I used to be creative, and lost it. It is my belief that I can gain it back once again, through practice. And I think this applies to any art form: drawing, painting, or Bonsai.

jun wrote:with the statement of me being rude...That statement did not came from me
No, you did not say it. But you are the one who chose to use that specific quote in the in the context of the conversation (a beginner asking for help, and then being told she did a poor job). When you tell a beginner who is being told by multiple members why her tree sucks that "you either have it or you don't", that is hurtful. My heart sank when I read it. Your statement basically told me that I should give up because I obviously "don't have it" and therefore never will. In my humble opinion, this is a very unfriendly thing to say to a beginner who is looking for help, advice, and encouragement from senior members.

jun wrote:I am not saying I am good but, I strive to do my best and won't argue to those people who has more advanced experienced than mine who tries to help me. Because they are not getting anything from me when they tried to help me.
I feel like this is contradictory... the statement you were making was that you either have it or you don't. Now you say this... which would imply that you do get better over time and with guidance. I, too, am hoping to get better over time, with guidance from people like you.

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  madonnaswimmer on Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:51 am

rps wrote:i've had pretty good luck wintering rosemary by a bright cool window without the use of supplemental light --- but that really doesn't answer you question.

supplemental light is a complicated and [to some] fascinating subject. i have to admit my grasp only scratches the surface; but, that said, i find a recommended distance of 5 to 6 feet on a 60W bulb difficult to understand. unless the bulb generates an enormous amount of heat [such that it could scorch leaves], you want to get it as close to the plant/s as possible.

green foliage growth uses mainly the cooler [blue] end of the light spectrum. the warmer [red] end is only needed for flowering and fruit. it will not do your plant any harm, but it is wasted light/energy/money. most bulbs will have their kelvin spectrum printed on the package and/or the base of the bulb. at the risk of over simplifying things: 2700K is the warm end [red], 4700K is cool [blue] and +6400K is sold as 'daylight' or 'grow-light'. personally i've had happy indoor results with T5 fluorescents [sold as 'grow-lights'] and simple cool white [4700K] CFLs. they're fairly cheap to buy & decidedly cheap to operate - oh, and because they burn comparatively cool, i can all but press them up against the tree.

ficus are survivors --- and yours will make it through the winter with a sunny south facing window; however, with some additional light, it will go from "survive" to "thrive".

in case you're interested, i've attached a link to an essay on this subject by William Heston [published on Jerry Meislik's ficus website]. it explains the science far more thoroughly than i ever could. incidentally, do look through the rest of Jerry's site --- it is a valuable resource for ficus growers. and, if you get really serious about the species, i strongly recommend Jerry's book.
http://www.bonsaihunk.us/info/IndoorLight.html
http://www.bonsaihunk.us/ficusforum/FicusForum.html
http://www.bonsaihunk.us/ficusforum/FicusTechniques.html


Wow, thanks for all of that explanation! My CFL bulbs are 2700... I will go to the store and see what else I can find... or maybe I should buy them online? Maybe I will take back the 60W when I find something more appropriate.

The 60W does produce a lot of heat, but that is compared to the CFL bulb. Actually, when I first plugged it in, I thought, "geez, is this how hot these old bulbs used to get?" Then I remembered that apparently they produce enough heat to cook things, as they use them in the "easy-bake oven"!

We have 4 windows in this apartment: one that the cats frequent (and the cat grass hogs all the light), one that sits over our beds (so unless we want to cuddle our ficus, that's not an option!), the screen door (where the cat tree is), and the last one is a smaller and taller window. So... we are stuck using the last window for the ficus. We have them on a table to be closer to the light, but they still don't get as much light as I would like.

We are currently house-hunting. Gotta get out of this apartment... tired of gardening in containers, amongst other things. Hopefully we will move into a house with more windows than just four! Smile

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:09 am

[quote=" I have a feeling the artistic aspect comes with practice, and cannot be learned in a 3-hour workshop. I guess I don't see what exactly was wrong with my wiring technique... could you be more specific? [/quote]


The artistic issue came from this you said it first and I commented on it based on the idea of older threads here.

...You can asked this question to yourself? with millions of people doing bonsai why are there only very few people who are on top of the game? Just like any other art form- Only few" VanGogh, Picasso or Rembrandt"...Or few "Mozart". Artistic talent is an inborn ability, Some people are born good at Science, Some people are born good at Singing, and some people are born good at art. It is a fact. but should not discourage people from enjoying Science, Singing or Art.


This will be my LAST post on your thread.

Please read my latest post on the lounge section. I have stated there an issue of old and new IBC. It is not aimed at any person, but to the norms happening here right now.

Welcome to the forum and enjoy the hobby,, remember I am just trying to help and not argue with you...but I am sure lots of people here would love you for this kind of attitude.

regards,
jun

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  rps on Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:41 am

you should be able to find the lighting you need locally. i'm a little shaky on US hardware stores, but remember seeing Lowes (?) referenced on this site. I checked their web site, and while I didn't see any COOL WHITE (4700K) that would fit into a standard screw fixture, they offer DAYLIGHT-EQUIVALENT (6700K) which will be more than fine. Grab a 200W or 150W if you can find them --- or 2 x 100W [remember a so-called 100W CFL burns at around 25W, so can be operated for pennies], pointing at least one from the side [vs. both overhead].
I'm sure other retailers carry this product as well, so take your business where you find what you need.

I've also had success with T5 fluorescents. The product linked mounts nicely in a bookshelf or under kitchen cupboards.
http://sunblasterlighting.com/lamp-and-fixture.php
While i stop short of endorsing any brand, I can report good results using a pair of these tubes.

i've read varying recommended reports on how much light to give the trees [ranging from 12 to 18 hours a day]. I've simply split the difference and set the timer for 14 hours on.
of course, we will never match the sun --- but we can do our trees a few favours, while the spend time in our homes.

at the risk of sticking my nose where it doesn't belong: I haven't been on this forum long, but I already recognise Jun (indirectly through his helpful, no nonsense, interesting posts) as someone worthy of deep respect. In my opinion, he honours us with his presence on this site. Do yourself a favour and visit the gallery of his trees --- it is both humbling and inspiring. He is a genuine artist.
http://ibonsaiclub.forumotion.com/t11365-jun-s-photo-library

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Beginner with Ficus

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Sep 24, 2012 3:01 am

Let's not argue about artistic talent. I completely agree with Billy Rhodes. This was not the best time to style a Ficus in Milwaukee. You can leave the wire on over the winter, but it won't do much. Don't fret about the scar. Just keep it in the back. It will heal eventually.
What you have is a tiger bark fig, Ficus microcarpa 'Kinmen.' It is a cultivar of the Chinese banyan. Look for pictures of mature tiger bark bonsai on the Internet.
You can accomplish a lot over the winter with the right artificial light. That 60W "plant bulb" is a piece of dreck. It is nothing but a painted incandescent bulb. Go to a good garden center or lighting store. There are specialty indoor light gardening companies online. Get a two-tube 40W shop-light with legs. If you don't have a 4-foot table, you can get a two foot fixture with 20W tubes. If you can't find one that is made for a table, you can get a standard shop-light & rig something up. Try to get the high number daylight bulbs, but you can make do with cool white. Stick your baby under there 18 hours a day. If you can't find or rig a fixture at all, the tree will survive in a south facing window, but it won't grow & it may drop some leaves. Some of the members have had success with other kinds of lighting. See what you can afford & what works for you.
In the spring or when the tree is growing actively, start chasing back those long gangly branches. Cut each branch back to the oldest leaf. You may have to do this two or three times to get ramification, and foliage near the trunk. Don't do it in the winter except under fluorescent lights. Don't do it too drastically at a time. You're not in Florida.
Now you know why the wiring was a waste of time, except as a lesson in wiring. After that, you keep pinching the growing tips to keep the plant bushy & the leaves small.
Don't listen to anyone who says you can't wire a trunk. I've been wiring trunks for 20 years. It depends on the species & the thickness of the trunk. However, if you are stuck with a trunk as straight as a beanpole and you don't want a formal upright, as long as there is some give in the trunk, it's worth trying. You need very heavy wire and an experienced bonsai artist to do it right.
Don't be discouraged.
Iris

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  madonnaswimmer on Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:01 am

bonsaisr wrote: I completely agree with Billy Rhodes. This was not the best time to style a Ficus in Milwaukee.
I agree too. I have a rosemary plant that I was planning to train into a bonsai, and was planning on waiting until May. It is too bad that the workshop was so late in the season. Sad


bonsaisr wrote: Get a two-tube 40W shop-light with legs. If you don't have a 4-foot table, you can get a two foot fixture with 20W tubes.
Ok, I am thoroughly confused. When I think "shop light," I picture a flood light on a long tripod-type pole. I can't seem to get my mind around what you are describing... is this a fixture with long fluorescent tubes, on 4 legs, that would stand on the corners of the table and "hover over" my plants?

bonsaisr wrote:Don't be discouraged.
Thank you, Iris. The advice I have received on the forum is extremely valuable and helpful.

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  madonnaswimmer on Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:38 am

Oh! Something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Hydrofarm-4-Foot-Start-Light-System/dp/B0001XLSGQ/ref=sr_1_42?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1348457793&sr=1-42&keywords=shop+light+fluorescent

I see now. Hmm... can I wait until Christmas to ask for this one...

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  leatherback on Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:40 am

jun wrote:Not with ficus! I worked on hundreds of them. and probably wired and unwired them almost everyday. and they are all still OK.

I will not insists on things that I don't or have little knowledge of. ( As we regularly see here now).

How many ficus microcarpa have you handled? I might get some more pointers from you that I haven't encountered yet.

It is basic fysiology, and has nothing to do with how many trees you have grown (I have not grown ficus for bonsai, as I do not particularly like them, and am not willing to invest in equipment to make them thrive this far north).

Damage to the bark internal structure is a.f.a.i.k. not species dependent. Every time you bend a branch, you do very light damage to the barks internal structure. The heavier bending may lead to bigger damage (think of the so-called sliding of bark). And a healthy tree will easily survive this, if handling is not too heavy. However, if you just start off with bonsai the wiring is less efficient, so during wiring there will be a lot of handling, and bending, of the branches. This is also why complete branches may just die off after wiring: The bark was damages too much to recover.

Considering you are in the Philipinnes I'd say there is a clear difference in growing ficus where you are, and where the poster of this thread is working on the tree.

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 24, 2012 8:50 am

leatherback wrote:
jun wrote:Not with ficus! I worked on hundreds of them. and probably wired and unwired them almost everyday. and they are all still OK.

I will not insists on things that I don't or have little knowledge of. ( As we regularly see here now).

How many ficus microcarpa have you handled? I might get some more pointers from you that I haven't encountered yet.

It is basic fysiology, and has nothing to do with how many trees you have grown (I have NOT grown ficus for bonsai)






scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch Perfect example nowadays!

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:35 am

Sorry can't help to post again as I am still LMAO!






FORMAL LETTER TO RECANT

Sept 24, 2012

To whom it may concern,

I jun, of legal age and old resident of IBC declared that I take back Everything I said in this particular thread. Please forgive my mistake for answering on this thread in the first place. I declare my opinions worthless, null and void in this particular thread and swear that what others said here is right.

I advice you not to follow any opinions I previously declared.



Lessening to your advice,
jun study Razz




Note to any mods: can you possible have this legally notarized...hehehe.

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  leatherback on Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:41 am

jun wrote: scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch Perfect example nowadays!

Odd. I always thought a forum was here to share experience and discuss pro's and cons. Respecting one another, yet leaving open the option that the other person might have a point.

Instead of arrogantly shouting how many trees you have wired, and saying that other people insist on things they know nothing about, maybe you can share why you think the physiology of ficus is different than that of all other plants families? I hope you realize thaere are people in the world who have only a few years of bonsai experience, but are otherwise occupied with plants. These people may have a different view on things than your experience may dictate. This does not make your or their views wrong.

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  Guest on Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:50 am

leatherback wrote:
jun wrote: scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch Perfect example nowadays!

Odd. I always thought a forum was here to share experience and discuss pro's and cons. Respecting one another, yet leaving open the option that the other person might have a point.

Instead of arrogantly shouting how many trees you have wired, and saying that other people insist on things they know nothing about, maybe you can share why you think the physiology of ficus is different than that of all other plants families? I hope you realize thaere are people in the world who have only a few years of bonsai experience, but are otherwise occupied with plants. These people may have a different view on things than your experience may dictate. This does not make your or their views wrong.

Like I said I recant. And I believe on what you are saying...You are RIGHT and they should believe you, Like I said my opinion is now declared NULL and VOID Shocked I am wrong so I won't explain. I'll just get back on dewiring my ficus and apologize to them for hurting their bark internal structure.



....MY god! really!


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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  JimLewis on Mon Sep 24, 2012 1:05 pm

I'm sorry you got dumped on in your first message to the IBC. Listen to Billy and Iris, and go slow with this tree. Bonsai can be (IS!) fun, but it, like other sports you occasionally run into misunderstandings.

On the shop light, I think Iris mentioned that because they often come with a stand and setup is easy and obvious. If for some reason you can't find one, simply purchase a Home Depot 2-foot fluorescent setup and hang it about 6 inches over your tree. Keep it on for at least 12-13 hours a day.

In addition to reading Jerry's website, you might look for his book -- Ficus: The Exotic Bonsai.

Good luck, don't give up, and have fun.

_________________
Jim Lewis - lewisjk@windstream.net - Western NC - People, when Columbus discovered this country, it was plumb full of nuts and berries. And I'm right here to tell you the berries are just about all gone. Uncle Dave Macon, old-time country musician

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  Poink88 on Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:06 pm

As mentioned, ficus is best grown by clip and grow so if you wire, you can wire only the first couple of inches. Guy wire is easier to you and your tree if it can be used. If the tree is healthy and in good environment, don't worry about pruning and defoliating...it will spring back fast.

I too believe the tree will be better off w/o the current wires. It is a learning experience so removing it is not a total loss. As you get more experience, you will know how to bent the branches properly...best advise I can give you is to look at mature trees and observe their branches...especially looking up from near the base (take pictures). Next look at pictures online and concentrate on the details of the things that attract you.

For light, I use 48" T8 (though T5 is better) fluorescent 6500K for my tropical trees that stay in my garage during winter. I am about to revamp my setup shortly to increase capacity and will add 2 more fixtures (4 total) or probably more.

Good luck!!!

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  MikeG on Mon Sep 24, 2012 5:46 pm

On the topic of lighting. I too live in an apartment and have had to set aside precious space for my tropicals, and it keeps growing every year. I have 3, 48 inch ballasts (6 bulbs) and a 400w metal halide. I know most people dont like the power consumption of HID's, but with this in my little apartment I dont have to turn the heat on at all during the winter. That and utilities are included. The last couple years my tropicals have thrived, putting on as much growth in winter as in summer. Ugh! I hate thinking that I'm going to have to set it all up again soon. But having a little corner of summer in my living room helps me get through the long, cold winters here.

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:49 pm

madonnaswimmer wrote:Oh! Something like this:

http://www.amazon.com/Hydrofarm-4-Foot-Start-Light-System/dp/B0001XLSGQ/ref=sr_1_42?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1348457793&sr=1-42&keywords=shop+light+fluorescent

I see now. Hmm... can I wait until Christmas to ask for this one...

Yes, that is more the style of light that Iris was referring to. She had in mind the kind of fluorescent fixture that is used over a work bench, most often hung from chains over the work bench, using 2 or 4 lamps 48 inches long 40 watts each, T12 size diameter (larger than the T5) and it is cheap. The 2 lamp fixture is often on sale at Lowes or Menards for less than $20 and the Cool White lamps can be as cheap as $1.49 each. It is a low tech, old fashioned solution, I have grown orchids this way for 30 years or more.



If you want to check out many different lighting fixtures and solutions, check out 'Hydro your Own', Unit C at 8501 75th Street (Hwy 50) Kenosha, WI, 53142 if you are south of Milwaukee they are pretty close. They are within 20 miles of where the society meets at Boerner Botanic Garden.

http://www.hydroyourown.com

There is a similar Brew and Grow type outlet store in the northwest suburbs of Milwaukee, there may be others too. The physical stores are educational, I find I learn more browsing in the store than surfing the net. I often can't get the 'feel' of how certain fixtures would work until I see a set up in a store display.
Hope this helps

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Re: Beginner with ficus-- guidance needed (lots of pics!)

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