Ficus Branch Development

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Ficus Branch Development

Post  klaus3 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 1:45 am

Hi,
new member here. Wanted to share one of my projects and ask for advice on development of the crown. Posted on another forum, but was not very helpful. Tree is a Ficus heteropoda bought from Erik Wigert online. The species was unknown to me, but I liked the potential of the trunks and am a ficus fan, so decided to buy. Infos are almost impossible to find about this species, except that it is Indonesian rainforest tree and produces many large figs. It thrives under same conditions as most tropical Ficus.

My vision is umbrella-style twin-trunk (this species probably not form aerial roots, but not 100% certain). Leaves appear to reduce, as older leaves are smaller than on vigourous new growth, but have not tried leave reduction at moment, as I concentrate on branch development.

Before - When tree arrived, it was large stump with many shoots...


After -  ...so I cut must out and wired several, also used wire to pull down lower branches. Front changed, as I find the nebari better on this side.


1 month later (late July 2013) - most wire removed. Tree fill out nicely and about 50cm/20in tall. Thinned out canopy to let more light and reduce competition among branches. I let main leader grow to heal large wound.


My question is, how to develop a canopy from mess of twigs, thick branch bases and ugly stumps. I think, that lower branches should be wired to give more natural look. Also often 2 or more shoots come from same point (should remove or wire in different directions?). Also not sure if such large wound will ever heal completely or look right, so hollow it out is possibility, but not sure if I should?


klaus3
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Re: Ficus Branch Development

Post  JimLewis on Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:09 pm

I'd suggest first using some kind of a branch bender and putting a little movement into that small trunk before you do too much on the canopy. Hard pruning and selective or total leaf removal should help promote branching in this fig like in others.

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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: Ficus Branch Development

Post  klaus3 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:32 pm

Thanks for the reply! I thought, that the small trunk is a little unnatural, but need to buy a branch clamp (have at least one other tree that need it also). I prune the shoots when they develop 2-4 leaves. One possibility to let tree grow taller and wider.

Here is closeups of some of the problematic branch structure and stumps, that I must work with. The photo in first post was somewhat unclear, but hopefully these better. I am not sure what to do with the large branch stump with shoots on all sides?


Closeup of crown. Often 2 shoots emerge very close. I think to wire them in different directions.

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Re: Ficus Branch Development

Post  JimLewis on Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:48 pm

Well, with most/many/all? Ficus you CAN start over. If you have bad branch placement or bad crotch angles, etc. you might consider removing everything.

I only have 2 figs because I don't like to have to bring plants inside for the winter, but the first picture is after a workshop. The second is the fig today.




_________________
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: Ficus Branch Development

Post  klaus3 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 4:59 pm

Nice tree! That is sort of image that I strive for with mine, but with "daughter" trunk.

Would you recommend to remove the large stump in top photo? I have thought about this, but afraid, that it leave large scar and space and will be visible on front of tree. Might remove the branch stump near the top also (to the right of the large scar in second photo). What would you recommend for the scar from the trunk chop? Leave it, or hollow it out?

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Re: Ficus Branch Development

Post  JimLewis on Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:18 pm

I'm not sure about what you mean by "stump."  I see a tall trunk with not a lot of taper. I'd at least shorten it more than you have.

HOWEVER, with only 2 figs, I cannot consider myself an expert in Genus Ficus.  Yours may behave entirely different.  Here is the expert:

http://www.bonsaihunk.us/ficusforum/FicusTechniques.html

But as far as hollowing goes, you should be able to do that, too.  Here's my other fig:


_________________
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: Ficus Branch Development

Post  klaus3 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:16 pm

Shorten to what? I can hollow the top somewhat and carve it away a little, but to cut back to another branch will have same problem with sudden decrease of thickness. The "stumps" are the thick branch bases in the photos - sorry not know if there is term for this. These were large branches that were cut back, but not all the way to trunk.

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Re: Ficus Branch Development

Post  JimLewis on Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:59 pm

IF this Ficus can take it (and I do not know whether the species will survive having the foliage cut away like that) I would make the chops where indicated. The /\ marks are to indicate that the cut would be made on a steep slant to the rear of the trunk, where it will be hidden from the viewer.

On the willow leaf fig, which is what I have, it would get lots of sprouts, one of which you would use as the new leader to start creating a bit of taper in the trunk. I do not know if your species will do the same. F. benjamina will not, for instance.

It would be nice if someone who knows more about figs -- specifically this fig -- than I do would chime in here, but if I owned it I think I'd chop anyway because that's the only way you're going to get some taper and movement in that thick trunk and some good branches.

_________________
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: Ficus Branch Development

Post  klaus3 on Tue Jul 30, 2013 11:35 pm

Is there supposed to be photo with your post? You mention the /\ markings, but not see no visual of where (unless you mean where I mentioned earlier). I doubt that we find someone else who know about this species (except Erik Wigert?), because it not common, but from my experience is very tough and will backbud on trunk. It was obviously cut back to a stump, before I had it. All the branches are young growth.

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Re: Ficus Branch Development

Post  steve-thailand on Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:22 am

JimLewis wrote:I'm not sure about what you mean by "stump."  I see a tall trunk with not a lot of taper. I'd at least shorten it more than you have.

HOWEVER, with only 2 figs, I cannot consider myself an expert in Genus Ficus.  Yours may behave entirely different.  Here is the expert:

http://www.bonsaihunk.us/ficusforum/FicusTechniques.html

But as far as hollowing goes, you should be able to do that, too.  Here's my other fig:


interesting about the hollowing out. about how much did you hollow out here? what was the point? just for visual effect or so you could bend it or taper it easier?


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