Ficus Burtt-davyi - transforming the ugly duckling.

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Ficus Burtt-davyi - transforming the ugly duckling.

Post  lennard on Sun Jan 12, 2014 11:07 am

Starting serious bonsai growing in 2009 I got this ugly Ficus from a young up-and-coming bonsai artist selling his father's stock without his permission!

At that stage I was hunting for the species and did not care if it had potential or not. The main reason I bought it was to obtain some cuttings from it. Soon afterward I got some better material from another guy and decided to give the tree a go.

The tree October 2009 after growing freely from the time I bought it:





This is the tree the same month after chopping the leader and cutting back a few twigs:





That sure looks ugly!

The trunk had a nice line and taper - the biggest problem was the big ugly bulge that was left after the tree was chopped by the first owner.  As soon as the tree recovered from the cut back I have cut away the ugly bulge leaving an even uglier wound. To help the wound grow over I only cut back twigs once a year. I also realized that I would have to hide the wound for a few years until it has grown over - deadwood is not an option when it comes to Ficus.... no hollow trunk for this ugly duckling! The tree was also planted into a shallow but wider pot and I feed it on a regular basis with organics.

The tree recovered well and in 2012 it has changed into something!

An ugly duckling changing into a swan:





The wound is growing over nicely - another two years and the chop mark will be gone. From 2012 I cut back growth regularly to get some twiggy growth going. In January 2014
I repotted the tree into a bonsai pot:



I had to cut two long coiling roots - to help the tree recover I also cut back the twigs. The tree will be left in a shaded area to recover. The tree is about 10cm high.

Any comments or advice will be welcomed.

(Some info on the species here: http://lennardsbonsaibeginnings.blogspot.com/2009_10_22_archive.html . What most people do not know that this species is a rambler growing on rocky cliffs.)

Lennard

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Re: Ficus Burtt-davyi - transforming the ugly duckling.

Post  Jerry Meislik on Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:27 pm

Lennard,
Great transformation.
Jerry

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Re: Ficus Burtt-davyi - transforming the ugly duckling.

Post  KennedyMarx on Tue Jan 14, 2014 1:13 am

Love the progression.This is my favorite ficus. I just have trouble finding any that are very thick. The ones I have right now are much skinnier than yours.

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Re: Ficus Burtt-davyi - transforming the ugly duckling.

Post  Hank Miller on Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:15 pm

Very nice.  One small comment - when you remove large branches  it is a good idea to leave a stub which eventually will die back into the trunk.  After the die back has occurred  the stub can be removed. After hollowing out the dead portion in the trunk   a callus over the wound  will form without an unsightly bulge.   Hank

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Thanks.

Post  lennard on Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:05 pm

Jerry Meislik wrote:Lennard,
Great transformation.
Jerry

Thanks Jerry.

Lennard

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Thicker material.

Post  lennard on Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:10 pm

KennedyMarx wrote:Love the progression.This is my favorite ficus. I just have trouble finding any that are very thick. The ones I have right now are much skinnier than yours.

Thanks for the positive reply.

To get the trunks to become thick one must make use of this species being a rambler. Leaving one growth to grow freely the trunks below that growth do get thick very quickly.

Lennard

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Wounds.

Post  lennard on Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:14 pm

Hank Miller wrote:Very nice.  One small comment - when you remove large branches  it is a good idea to leave a stub which eventually will die back into the trunk.  After the die back has occurred  the stub can be removed. After hollowing out the dead portion in the trunk   a callus over the wound  will form without an unsightly bulge.   Hank

Thanks Hank.

Never thought of doing chops this way - very logical! The stub will die back leaving a minimum amount of scarring.

Thanks for the tip - will definitely use it!

A pic to show the height better:



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Re: Ficus Burtt-davyi - transforming the ugly duckling.

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