Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

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Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Cockroach on Mon Oct 01, 2012 6:55 am

Hi all,

Im new to bonsai, been researching and getting some stock for the past 10 months. I have had my oldest bonsai for 3 years and finally decided at the beginning of the year to give bonsai a go.

I bought this root over rock Ficus microcarpa (assumption from research) that I had my eye on for a year in June. [img][/img]

After I got, I defoliated about a week later to see what I had under it.
I then let it grow a brand new, full canopy and repotted it to see what it had below. The roots were mainly long with no feeder roots. I trimmed back and repotted in a bonsai soil that works very well for all my ficus here.

I would love to hear ideas from you guys out there with more experience. I am open to any ideas. I have thought of leaving it and only removing the inner branch growing perpendicular to the ground and trimming it to look like a full canopied mature tree. On the flip side, I have given thought to chopping it right down and starting a much flatter, wider spreading canopy. The last idea that I am quite keen on is, using the right branch that I already have wired downwards and doing a semi cascade off the rock.

Your thoughts?!!!Thanks in advance.
Another angle.


Cockroach
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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  my nellie on Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:14 am

Beautiful root over rock! Your waiting for one year was worth while.
This asparagus planted at the base maybe is not the best choice in my opinion, because the roots are expanding like crazy they will take over all the space.
As for styling I would say that you can also examine the possibility of keeping the two branches to the right (last photo) and get rid of the main trunk branch (to the left) and develop the ficus slanting to the right. ...But I am new to bonsai, too.

my nellie
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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:01 pm

I would minimize foliage to place emphasis on the roots over the rock.

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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Cockroach on Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:30 am

Hi Billy, thanks for the reply. When you say minimize foliage, do you mean chop the truck right down as in my mentioned idea of a flatter, wider crown or make bigger gaps between foliage pads?

If anyone can do a virt I would appreciate it more than iced water in the desert.

Cockroach
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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Cockroach on Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:33 am

My Nellie, Thanks for the reply. I actually already removed the extra plant when I did the repot. It was growing in there from the nursery. The roots were nuts for the size of the little plant. I can semi see the slanted ficus you are talking about.

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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  my nellie on Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:49 am

Cockroach wrote:... ...I can semi see the slanted ficus you are talking about.
Sorry, I cannot contribute with a virtual. My abilities in this section are ridiculous Smile

my nellie
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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:37 am

I would eliminate some of the branches/trunks and cut way back closer to the stone. You might even attempt to get foliage to come down one side of the stone. It would not a cascade by bonsai definition but where the foliage would be close to the stone on the right or left side.

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Some amatuer virtuals

Post  Cockroach on Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:25 am

Hi,

I was bored today and am getting itchy to start getting this ficus into shape. After a warmer than usual winter and rain for a solid 2 weeks this ficus is growing nicely and I think it is time for the restyle to start taking shape on paper.

Here are 4 possibilities I have come up with but would love to see some virts from you all as I love the ideas given by members here.

Not my favorite but was looking at a double sided semi cascade.


Lower canopy right sided cascade.


Taller apex semi cascade.


And a 'wilder idea'. The trunk drops dramatically and wraps around the front half of the rocks and roots.


If any one sees another idea for a style no matter how radical, please have a go and let me know. I want this tree to be as awesome as it can be.

Cockroach
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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  dorothy7774 on Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:55 pm

Hello CR,

you have chosen a "project" bonsai:

The idea of a cascading tree is almost mandatory due to the position of the tree on a tall rock. To have the tree cascading however, you need to regrow the top. Yes, you can wire down branches etc., but they will never look right. I also see one or the other fat root that needs to be removed. Otherwise it will give you real problems in the future, no matter how you decide to grow the top of the tree.
Even if you cut off most of the top to regrow the tree, the rock will always be shorter than the apex of the tree. It will look like now : A tree planted on top of a mountain and growing taller than the mountain.. So you may have to consider to extend the rock in the future ( June can probably give you good advise on how to do that).

So, you have a good start. With some additional work and patience you can have a nice believable ficus over rock.

Here is Ernie's Salicaria he grew from a little rootcutting (1985 I believe). He did extend the rock over time.



Best,
Dorothy

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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Cockroach on Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:39 am

Hi Dorothy, thank for the reply. And because there were so many details, as always it leads to more questions lol.

A "project" bonsai is indeed what I was wanting.

I like the idea of a cascading and yes it almost goes without saying in this case. You mention the the apex never being lower than the top of the rock. Is this seen as a problem? I ask this because I really liked the fact that that the tree looked like it grew on the top of a rocky outcrop as if a bird left a seed there (with some organic fertilizer).

I realize some roots are thick, but could you pointy out which you see presenting a problem and why. If you don't mind thank you.

I do see adding rocks to heighten the rock as a possibility if has to be done. I have had back budding as far down as where the root is thickest and the trunks merge. it could be with some work and TIME! directed as a new apex.

Thanks again for your time.

Cockroach
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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Dec 14, 2012 9:48 am

I would not presume to speak for anyone else, but as to the roots on your tree, a lot of them are crossing over and under each other, I would remove some of those crossing roots.

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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Cockroach on Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:30 am

Spring is in full swing her and I have removed many of the "offending" crossing roots. I will post a picture of this soon for your scrutiny.

I have reduced the canopy a little and removed 3 branches I felt were of no aesthetic use to the tree.

I have had a new Idea for this tree over rock. I have thought about leaving the top tree as a broom style and then adding ficus along the rock to act as "branches" to give the composition a more balanced look.

Please excuse my very rudimentary virt done on MS Paint. This is an old pic so roots look different, it is just to illustrate the canopy idea.

Cockroach
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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Isitangus on Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:16 am

Hi cockroach I like the idea of keeping it upright not cascading it down back on itself. However there is one of the roots to the left of the main trunk that appears to be growing up, that is it look like a root branch growing up not a second trunk (hope that makes sense) and for me I would like to see where this lead-a) might need to lose it, or b) can it be trained down as that "second tree" you mention. My eye just keeps focusing on that spot.
Other than that I think the rock and tree are a great combo and look forward to seeing where it ends up.

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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Cockroach on Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:52 am

Hi Isitangus,

It looks like it may have started as a root branch as you say while still at the nursery before I got it last year. It has grown to the point now where it has fused with the main trunk and a large portion of back right foliage actually grows from it.

I was hoping with heavy feeding lots of water this year that the trunk might thicken and eventually after a few years it will look like one large trunk.

Here is the tree at the moment.

Still some work to do. Need to work on the foliage for something a bit more interesting and also some more root work.

Anyone have suggestions about root work to be done?

Cockroach
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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:18 am

Cut the top way back and remove that crossing root situation in the front, it really is distracting.


Last edited by Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:20 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Brett Simon on Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:55 am

Just my two cents worth but why is everyone so concerned with the crossing root. I have seen many ficus on rocks in nature and i don't think i have seen one which does not have crossing roots.
IMHO i think it adds to the struggle the tree had to get its roots down to the soil. They are following crevices in the rock so to me it makes sense..???

If there is a reason besides being distracting, let me know.

Brett

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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:11 pm


If there is a reason besides being distracting, let me know.


Nope, distracting is enough.

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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Cockroach on Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:47 pm

I had a look at it this evening and think I could separate it from the main trunk with some care. I never use cut paste on cuts on ficus here and have none. Is there anything else I can use instead after I preform this surgery?

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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  EpicusMaximus on Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:27 pm

I was told to use, and have used, plain white glue to heal wounds.

*please note that I am a total newb to bonsai. It seems to have worked on my ficus. It creates a thin invisible barrier...

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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

Post  Cockroach on Wed May 29, 2013 8:55 am

Sorry about the lack of updates. I lurk on here almost daily for a few mins between classes but don't post too much.

Here are some updates on this tree (taking for granted there are actually those interested):
This is a photo of the tree thinned out. I was doing branch selection to see which to keep for shortening. As I am new I remove a branch when I am 100% sure I don't want\need it. It can take a while to get all the unneeded branches out.


I was still um-ing and ah-ing at this stage on whether or not to follow sound advice and do a drastic truck chop. In fact, it was more about mustering up the courage to take that step. There was already new back budding below the apex of the rock. Then this happened........


During a very stormy week, a pot plant on my balcony above got blown over by the wind and as luck would have it, landed on the bonsai. I decided it was a sign that the tree needed chopping. I got out the saw and shortened it to this point now.


I will do some more work on it and better place the final cuts and hollow out stumps a bit to prevent bulges in the future. Root work has slowly been done and I will slowly continue with it.

Virts would be great if any one sees a certain way to grow this tree that will showcase it best.

Cockroach
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Re: Restyling Root Over Rock Ficus Microcarpa.

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