Ficus benjamina opinions needed

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Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  JWT on Sat Oct 25, 2014 6:22 pm



My biggest indoor tree. Forgive the skirt, I try to make better base for it.



After pruning. I left lots of growth to the lowest branch in hope to make it thicker than the second branch.



Hopefully will get some credibility to the base.

I would really, really love to hear your opinions of this one. No need to be too polite! Basic structure I have in mind is hopefully visible. It should be strongly growing to the left. Lowest branch on the right will also grow slightly to the left.

JWT
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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  ogie on Sat Oct 25, 2014 6:54 pm

Hi JWT
Ficus are the most dimensional and versatile specie to work with.. Your overall design is quite good but IMHO your first branch on the left is equal level to your right branch,you will eventually have reverse tapering in a few years and it won't look nice..decide now or forever be trap and waste a lot of time and later cut it up ☺️ I try not to grow branches "if i can avoid it " in same level...

Regards
Alex

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  JWT on Sat Oct 25, 2014 8:06 pm

Thank you Alex. Will have to check for that, perhaps i could even correct that starting point somewhat. Not a usual possibility, but this branch comes from behind the tree and between the trunks. Could carve some wood away from the trunk and branch, and lift it a little.

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  Precarious on Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:05 pm

More views would help, but you could consider the lowest branch on the left a sacrifice, helping now to thicken the trunk. The next branch above it on the left could be brought down to replace the lowest branch. Am I guessing right that you are fusing the two trunks?

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  JWT on Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:42 pm

Eventually, yes, trunks should fuse. Sacrificing lowest branch has never occurred to me, not with this one. It would be very different tree. I will look into that.

That skirt thing works so well I have thought of doing it again right below lowest branch. Perhaps some visual taper could be achieved that way.

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  ogie on Sat Oct 25, 2014 10:35 pm

Yeap lowering a bit your right would do wonders.. I wasn't thinking wether your trunk has fuse already?? If not split it up again and bend it down a bit more before fusing back again.rather than carving it,as your plan for the second option. The roots...as early as now try placing it nicely not to cross each other so that when they thicken you'll have a nice spread all around...i know it will come out a nice tree..enjoy

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  JWT on Sat Jul 04, 2015 9:26 pm

Update - I did as Ogie suggested, arranged the roots, and it was immediately better. Here we are today. Nice development in the root zone.



Before defoliation:



Next thing would be to wire it again, and to repot. Its literally coming out of the pot. And need to arrange those roots again. I think given a few years this will have much wider base.

Opinions?

JWT
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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  Norma on Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:26 am

Hi JWT, In my twenty plus years of working with bonsai the results I received from my ficus are memorable but only with the advice of an expert in ficus from Puerto Rico, Jose Luis Rodriguez. My willow leaf ficus was small and needed attention...the base roots crossed and some were far too large. Jose recommended work on the base roots first. The roots on your ficus are aerial roots with little hope of impact on the trunk. The next time you repot check out the surface roots and work on these!! He also suggested a potting mix of pure lava rock because of the soil in which most of the ficus grow and thrive on his Caribbean Island. I recently repotted my willow leaf which in five years in lava rock has grown a rootbase from filling a six inch oval pot to a 10 inch and today I repotted into a 13 inch oval.
It may be difficult to purchase lava rock but well worth the $$ and time spent finding it. I had to resort to an orchid dealer online....!!

Best regards,
Norma

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  JWT on Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:32 am

Thank you Norma, for your input. What I am trying to do is to make of a trunk of these aerial roots. Given time they will fuse. Before this approach I managed to get a decent small nebari there, but the trunk didn't have much taper. That nebari is now inside those roots.

My main substrate ingredient is moler clay, porous stuff. A little like lava rock but with much smaller pores. I have tested lava rock, but didn't find it any better at the time. Could test it again - at least it looks better than moler.

JWT
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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  Precarious on Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:54 pm

Looks like your doing great work! I agree with the repot, a little larger yes? Are you still keeping the roots covered? They still look tender for being exposed, I would worry about some drying up.

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  JWT on Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:11 pm

Yes I should find a decent pot. Oval, little wider, and shallower perhaps? Glazed, muted grayish / light browish perhaps?

I will keep roots covered for several years, I suppose. New roots are constanty emerging.

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  beer city snake on Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:28 pm

i have several ficus and i gotta say that i dig the direction you have taken and are following...

solid work

_________________

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By the way, the name is Kevin
link to ARBOR ARTS COLLECTIVE BLOG

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  JWT on Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:56 pm

Thank you Kevin.

JWT
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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  Precarious on Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:37 pm

Since you ask, I like the current depth with this tree.

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  Norma on Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:33 pm

Just a quick question, I have always thought of Finland as a country with weather similar to that of Minnesota with it's long cold winters, is this true of Finland?   My study group experimented with aerial roots but found they needed a warmer climate to succeed.
It will be interesting to follow your fusion experience.  Please keep us posted on it 's status.

I wonder if the roots/trunk would grow and fuse if covered with soil in a deep pot? There would still be the issue of short growth cycles but if you used heated seedling pads with winter light set-up, there might be a chance.

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  JWT on Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:29 pm

I grow tropicals strictly indoors. I first noticed, that whenever I am on vacation, and trees are bagged, ficus always have several aerial roots when I come back. When trees are taken out of bag, aerials soon die.

Now I don't much care for aerial roots. Trees just don't grow like that up here Very Happy. But I did want to have wider base and good taper. I first tried keeping trees in the bags for longer time, but that prodused aerials all over the tree and only by coincidence where I wanted them.

I want here roots to the base of the this ficus, lets say halfway up the tree. First pictures in the thread show how I did it. Under the plastic humidity is 100%, because of moisture evaporating from the soil. Rootbounding helps a lot, tree tries to grow new roots where it can, and if there is no space in soil, ficus will grow them in the trunk - if there is humidity.

Hope this makes sense.

JWT
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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  Ryan on Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:40 pm

Beautiful! What exactly did you do with the base? Did you cover it in sphagnum moss? If so, how did you manage to remove all the moss and not break the roots? I love that idea.

Ryan
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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  JWT on Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:11 pm

No, nothing under the plastic, just moist air. So simple it hurts. Later I made a more air tight tent for the base, but thats all.

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  JWT on Mon Nov 02, 2015 2:14 pm

Update for the roots:


JWT
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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

Post  Ryan on Tue Nov 03, 2015 3:03 am

Absolutely gorgeous thumbs up thumbs up

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Re: Ficus benjamina opinions needed

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