Keep the branches or remove them?

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Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Ryan on Mon Dec 10, 2012 1:58 am

Hi all,


Here is a small Willow Leaf Ficus of mine. I am trying to decide whether or not I should remove the two branches circled below.

Here's the tree:


Circled are the branches in question:


Here's what the tree would look like:

Ryan
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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  noodledude on Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:34 am

I think i would definitely remove the one on the left. its crossing over to hide behind the growth there anyway. that would also keep the right one from having a branch growing directly opposite from it, if you happen to keep it. I cant think of anything to do with that one though. it seems like there are plenty of other branches that could be trained down to fill that area if you decided you needed something there.

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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Ryan on Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:00 pm

noodledude wrote:I think i would definitely remove the one on the left. its crossing over to hide behind the growth there anyway. that would also keep the right one from having a branch growing directly opposite from it, if you happen to keep it. I cant think of anything to do with that one though. it seems like there are plenty of other branches that could be trained down to fill that area if you decided you needed something there.


Thanks, that's kind of what I was thinking too. Tough decision Rolling Eyes

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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Ryan on Sun Dec 23, 2012 9:31 pm

Repotted this tree today. Still not 100% sure about those branches Mad


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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  coh on Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:08 pm

Why don't you just leave them alone for now if you can't decide? There's no rush. Besides, it looks like the tree could use a period of healthy growth, as it looks kind of weak.

If I had to choose, though, it looks to me like the left branch is superfluous and could be removed, as you'll presumably be building a canopy in that general area from that large branch below it. Unless it comes off the trunk more toward the back rather than the side (I can't tell for sure from the photo), in which case it could potentially be used as a back branch. I would leave the branch on the right, as it looks like it could be in a useful spot depending on how you eventually develop the crown. Have you ever posted a virt for this tree? If you're pretty certain the branch above will be your first right side branch, you could remove the one you're asking about, though even then leaving it for a while could help build/maintain taper in that section of trunk.

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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Ryan on Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:35 pm

coh wrote:Why don't you just leave them alone for now if you can't decide? There's no rush. Besides, it looks like the tree could use a period of healthy growth, as it looks kind of weak.

If I had to choose, though, it looks to me like the left branch is superfluous and could be removed, as you'll presumably be building a canopy in that general area from that large branch below it. Unless it comes off the trunk more toward the back rather than the side (I can't tell for sure from the photo), in which case it could potentially be used as a back branch. I would leave the branch on the right, as it looks like it could be in a useful spot depending on how you eventually develop the crown. Have you ever posted a virt for this tree? If you're pretty certain the branch above will be your first right side branch, you could remove the one you're asking about, though even then leaving it for a while could help build/maintain taper in that section of trunk.

I'm not rushing it as I'm not trying to remove them ASAP. Just thinking for the future. The tree was weak at one point but is now pushing out tons of leaves.

Thanks for the thoughts about that branch. I actually did consider making it a back branch and attempted wiring it toward the back, but it didn't work out. The bend was too visible and didn't look right. I think I'm probably more keen on keeping the right branch. I haven't posted a virt for this tree, as my virt skills are pretty weak Embarassed

Ryan
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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  JimLewis on Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:57 pm

Shorten and plant deeper.

_________________
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: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Ryan on Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:59 pm

JimLewis wrote:Shorten and plant deeper.

Don't think I'm going to plant it any deeper, as I like the way it sits, but I have been thinking of shortening it for the longest time.

Ryan
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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  coh on Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:09 pm

I hadn't thought about it initially, but I do agree with Jim that it might look better planted deeper. But that is a personal choice and I cannot see the tree in person:



Not sure if this is about the depth Jim would suggest...to me, this gives more of the appearance of the tree gripping the earth as compared to the exposed vertically oriented roots which make it look a little unstable (again, to me).

As for the height, I actually think the current height would work well for a final design (it's roughly 8:1 based on the current height to trunk thickness), but you may need to do some significant chopping to build the proper structure at the top.

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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Dec 23, 2012 11:52 pm

One, the tree needs more foliage.

Two, the lowest branch is MUCH bigger than the rest and will continue to suck energy. It needs to be trimmed back to one leader and kept well pruned to force growth up.

Three, that said you need to leave everything above to draw energy upward to the other branches, let them all grow to thicken and get in relation to the first branch, then start trimming.

OR, remove all branches and work to develop the new growth as it comes.

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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Ryan on Mon Dec 24, 2012 11:57 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:One, the tree needs more foliage.

Two, the lowest branch is MUCH bigger than the rest and will continue to suck energy. It needs to be trimmed back to one leader and kept well pruned to force growth up.

Three, that said you need to leave everything above to draw energy upward to the other branches, let them all grow to thicken and get in relation to the first branch, then start trimming.

OR, remove all branches and work to develop the new growth as it comes.

Thanks Billy!

One, it really does need more foliage, which is why I'm letting it grow for now. Don't want to be pruning it back just yet.

Two, that is a great point, I never thought about that branch sucking energy. It should be trimmed back, but it's got wire marks and I was hoping that by letting it grow the wire marks would heal faster.

Not sure I want to be so radical as to remove all the branches though Wink

Ryan
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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  tmmason10 on Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:45 am

I do like the planting depth suggested by coh. I would leave it for now and try and get it real bushy. Nice piece of material to work with though.

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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  KennedyMarx on Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:19 pm

I like coh's planting depth mockup, but I think the way the roots sit exposed now looks more interesting.

I would definitely remove the the left branch. I think I'd leave and wire the right one to develop a new foliage pad then reduce the branching at the top and wire a new apex slightly above the bottom left branch. Of course, like it's been already noted, the plant needs to grow out and get much healthier before doing anything too drastic. Here's a bad mockup I made.



I'm still new to bonsai, so take my $.02 with a grain of salt. Smile

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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Twisted Trees on Mon Dec 31, 2012 5:39 pm

Hard to tell from a photo but those branches look like good potential for the traditional left-right-back branch arrangement. Let them grow freely for thickening.

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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Ryan on Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:45 am

For anyone curious, here's this tree as of tonight:


Ryan
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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Auballagh on Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:02 am

Great job horticulturally, in keeping this tree.  It looks 'Leaps-And-Bounds' healthier than your first photos of it. Smile 
Nits.....
- I agree with you, those wiring scars are BAD.  Having your lowest branch develop into a fatter, stronger part of the tree isn't necessarily a Bad Thing.  To get good taper and shape, that lowest branch should be the strongest and fattest branch on the tree, right?  My advice?  Let er' run......  I believe your first instincts serve you well in this case, and you need to correct some pretty bad mistakes made early on in this tree's development.  So, letting some shoots get a little crazy, and getting some 'juice' run through this branch to thicken it up even further will go a long ways toward softening those really bad wiring scars.
- The aerial root is quite cool and all, and it's neat that you have one in a very advantageous spot. But.....  I would put just a LITTLE movement in that line.  It is very straight, and instead of adding to the tree, it seems to be acting as an unwanted 'eye magnet'?  Maybe pull it in to the trunk, with a slight bend or something?
- I definitely DO agree with Mr. Billy Rhodes in that the tree is planted too high above the soil line.  Ficus nerifolia has these 'gigantour' sized, tuberous roots anyway.  Limiting them just a bit to an acceptable part of the tree's base, will help to promote a more powerful, stable appearance.
-
This is a nice tree, that shows a lot of potential to become a quite powerful bonsai in the future.  Good luck with it, and please keep posting up pictures of it's development in the future. Smile

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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Ryan on Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:45 am

Auballagh wrote:Great job horticulturally, in keeping this tree.  It looks 'Leaps-And-Bounds' healthier than your first photos of it. Smile 
Nits.....
- I agree with you, those wiring scars are BAD.  Having your lowest branch develop into a fatter, stronger part of the tree isn't necessarily a Bad Thing.  To get good taper and shape, that lowest branch should be the strongest and fattest branch on the tree, right?  My advice?  Let er' run......  I believe your first instincts serve you well in this case, and you need to correct some pretty bad mistakes made early on in this tree's development.  So, letting some shoots get a little crazy, and getting some 'juice' run through this branch to thicken it up even further will go a long ways toward softening those really bad wiring scars.
- The aerial root is quite cool and all, and it's neat that you have one in a very advantageous spot. But.....  I would put just a LITTLE movement in that line.  It is very straight, and instead of adding to the tree, it seems to be acting as an unwanted 'eye magnet'?  Maybe pull it in to the trunk, with a slight bend or something?
- I definitely DO agree with Mr. Billy Rhodes in that the tree is planted too high above the soil line.  Ficus nerifolia has these 'gigantour' sized, tuberous roots anyway.  Limiting them just a bit to an acceptable part of the tree's base, will help to promote a more powerful, stable appearance.
-
This is a nice tree, that shows a lot of potential to become a quite powerful bonsai in the future.  Good luck with it, and please keep posting up pictures of it's development in the future. Smile

Thank you!


I'm really just focused on getting rid of those wire scars, so the more growth the better. I definitely plan on letting some shoots go a little crazy to thicken.

I didn't even think about putting movement into that aerial root, but it's certainly on my mind now, thanks!

I still don't agree with it being planted deeper. I like how it's planted now, and the roots aren't as thick as the photo apparently shows.

Ryan
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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:14 am


I see what I think is an aerial root going to the first branch on the left.
On aerial roots:
1. They look cool.
2. When they begin feeding a branch the main trunk slows growth. A tree trunk gets thicker because it is feeding more branches and foliage, if aerial roots begin doing the job, the main trunk doesn't have to work as hard and therefore slows growth.
3. SO, there is a trade off with aerial roots.
4. That first branch is already out of proportion to the rest of the tree, the aerial root will only make the problem worse.
5. Conclusion: I would remove it.

Billy

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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

Post  JimLewis on Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:37 pm

It's probably a bit late this year, but you might consider defoliating most (or even all) of the left side. That lowest right hand branch will never thicken if the energy goes to all the leaves on the left.

Gonna be a nice tree. I think the planting depth is OK now, but I wouldn't expose any more root base than that. Fig roots are UGLY.

_________________
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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planting angle

Post  greendragonbonsai on Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:55 pm

My first instinct when seeing this tree was that the two branches are indeed superfluous but have you considered changing the planting angle to lean more to the left thus lowering the thick branch visually and improving the negative space below it and the relationship with the base of the trunk. This would also remove the slightly straight vertical appearance of the upper part of the trunk.
Also in the bare image the top of the trunk looks like it is growing away from the viewer. Is this the best front and could the apex problem if it exists be resolved simply by changing the front?

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Re: Keep the branches or remove them?

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