The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

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The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  clint1982 on Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:17 am

I have some ficus that have been hit by frost lately. Will this kill them? Should I cut the burnt leaves off?
Thanks Clint

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:50 am

It depends upon the severity and length of the low temperatures. I would leave the damaged foliage on, don't overwater. Once the dead foliage dries out cut it off, unless more frost is expected and the tree must stay outside, then leave it on as it will afford some protection from the next frost.
In 1989 a cold snap hit a Bonsai nursery in Vero Beach, Florida and damaged a lot of Ficus nerifolia (salisifolia, salisicaria) resulting in the '89 variety. The trees came back with slightly larger foliage and more vigor.
Maybe the cold on your Ficus will result in a new variety/

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  clint1982 on Sun Jul 11, 2010 8:43 am

Thanks Billy hopefully Ill have the same luck as that nursery.

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  DreadyKGB on Sun Jul 11, 2010 4:08 pm

Billy,
I have recently read about this '89 variety of ficus and am having trouble wrapping my brain around it. I makes sense that the trees which suffered the frost grew back with seemingly disformed leaves, i comprehend the idea of using environmental factors in order to change the appearance of a plant. Temperature and the amount of light can influence the colors and growth patterns of many plants. The part that I am missing is how a new variety was created from this. Are all of the offspring of this variety grafted, or cloned, like the Haas variety of avocado? Wouldn't the ficus trees return to thier normal growth patterns when the environment they were growing in returned to its normal pattern? I'm just not getting how stress on the tree could amount to genetic changes in the species. I can see how it could create short term changes, but not anthing lasting, and definitely not into successive offspring. Sorry, I am just trying to learn and understand, and realize these may not be questions that you can answer but they have been floating around my brain for about two weeks since I first read about this variety on another site. Thanks

Todd

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:08 pm

"I'm just not getting how stress on the tree could amount to genetic changes in the species."

I am not sure how much scientific research has been done and documented on the subject, I do do know it happens.

One idea presented for this happening in this case is that the smaller leafed form of "Willow Leaf Fig" was the mutation and that the "89" was a return to the typical species.

I do know that there are reports of Cycads changing sex based upon stress.

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sun Jul 11, 2010 7:13 pm

Also since all of these are propagated by cutting rather than seeds, the mutations are preserved as clones.

The Ficus family is almost always started from cuttings. I suppose it would be possible to produce seeds, but it would require a lot of work. Ficus have flowers inside the fruit and in the native setting are pollinated by a specific insect, usually a single species of wasp for each species of Ficus.

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  EdMerc on Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:52 pm

All of the Ficus 89 trees are produced from cuttings. The larger '89 growth is what's known as a "sport" which I believe means it's was derived from spontaneous mutation. The cold snap apparently activated a dormant gene giving us the "new" variety.

I have one of these '89 ficus. The interesting thing about these and most sport varieties is that sometimes new growth reverts to it's base characteristics.

Example, I have a ficus benjaminia "too little" which I've been growing out. Many of the newer branches have normal sized leaves as opposed to the tiny "too little" variety.

I also have a variegated Chinese privet (landscape) that regularly puts out normal green leaved branches instead of the yellow and green variegated leaves.

Ed

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:18 pm

I have seen F. ben revert and varigated varieities revert, but I have never seen an F. n. revert.

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  Dustin Mann on Tue Jul 13, 2010 12:13 am

I bought a huge trunk Ficus Exotica from Durastone about 1994. The tag said it was re-potted in 1990. The new fig leaf cover(stipules) do not emerge like a benjamina variety. New leaves never have red color(other Salicar. I have do) I remember seeing this tree in Mary Miller(and spouse Barry Levinthal's collection in mid80's. Jim Smith also had photo of Ficus Exotica in Brooknn Botanic Garden book back in 80's.So I take it that this tree is not Ficus 89 but leaves look like large willowleaf. My trunk has sort of reddish quality. Is this tree a microcarpa sport?? Dustin Mann

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  DreadyKGB on Tue Jul 13, 2010 2:07 am

Thanks for clarifying guys. The idea of a dormant gene or reverting to a premutation state makes sense to me. Also the fact that these are all grown from cuttings solidifies it more for me. I have also seen plants change sex or even hermaphrodite under serious stress, and I have also seen variegated species put out non-variegated growth under certain conditions. I guess on this topic as well I have seen grafted japanese maple produce leaf growth that related to the root stock well above the graft. I haven't worked with ficus long enough to really understand the intricacies of the different variations. This has been very informative, thanks again guys.

Todd

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Jul 13, 2010 3:12 am

Dustin Mann wrote:I bought a huge trunk Ficus Exotica from Durastone about 1994. The tag said it was re-potted in 1990. The new fig leaf cover(stipules) do not emerge like a benjamina variety. New leaves never have red color(other Salicar. I have do) I remember seeing this tree in Mary Miller(and spouse Barry Levinthal's collection in mid80's. Jim Smith also had photo of Ficus Exotica in Brooknn Botanic Garden book back in 80's.So I take it that this tree is not Ficus 89 but leaves look like large willowleaf. My trunk has sort of reddish quality. Is this tree a microcarpa sport?? Dustin Mann

I am confused by your post/question. In my experience Ficus benjamina 'Exotica" has leaves only sight smaller than the species. Ficus salisicaria (salisifolia, nerifolia) has very different leaves. The F. salisicaria will have a reddish trunk as it matures, Exotica does not. Can you post a picture?

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  Dustin Mann on Tue Jul 13, 2010 4:30 pm

Hi Billy. I have 2 photos in Gulfstrem Bonsai Journal Autumn 2008 if go to www.gulfstreambonsai.org. Jim Smith's tree gallery has photo as well as Tom/Belinda Kehoe 2006 treasurecoastbonsociety.org. Currently at 150 trees in greenhouse, I won't be able to shoot photos till end of month. I have always been curious about name given as Ficus Exotica and any further information much appreciated. My leaves do look exactly like ones both J.Smith and T.Kehoe have. The Ficus '89' leaves just look like big willowleaf. I really don't know or claim to be expert. Get asked a lt about trunk bark.Feel free to email me. Mine is figmann@comcast.net Dustin

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Tue Jul 13, 2010 7:35 pm

I know Jim Smith and Tom Kehoe. I have seen most of Jim's trees and a few of Tom's.

Ficus salisicaria (nerifolia, salisifolia) has narrow leaves that can measure 1/4 to 3/8 inch wide by 1 to 2 inches long. Older trees will display a reddish bark, especially if brushed.

Ficus salisicaria (nerifolia, salisifolia) '89' has the same shape leaf only about twice as large. I have not seen the reddish bark. '89' is also a faster, stronger growing tree.

Ficus benjaminia 'Exotica' is very much like Ficus benjaminia but with slightly smaller leaves and I believe more vigor.

Leaves on all of the above can be reduced with proper pruning and culture. Since 'Exotica' is in the Ficus benjaminia family which also includes such patented varieties as 'Too Little' it is considered prudent avoid total defoliation of a branch or die back will probably occur. Ficus salisicaria responds very well to total defoliation.

"Is this tree a microcarpa sport??" Leaves on Ficus microcarpa tend to be ovate but more rounded than Ficus benjaminia family varieties. Ficus microcarpa leaves are also fleshier than Ficus benjaminia or Ficus Salisicara.

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  roycerayenz on Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:45 pm

ficus frost or freezing holiday lights or electric heater with the heat from the warm temperatures keep the trees. Ideally, large light bulbs use and careful tree ficus, decorating for the holiday lighting strands wrap around. When they burn they will provide warmth for the ficus trees are. You also portable heaters, electric or gas can use. Keep them near the ficus trees, but not too close as they will burn. Keep them at least several feet away for safety's sake.

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Aug 11, 2010 7:44 pm

I do put Christmas lights around a potted Bougainvilla (I leave them on the plant all winter, but only plugged in on cold nights.) I also cover the plant with a sheet on cold nights to hold in the heat of the lights. You have to be careful pruning at this time, don't want to cut the strands of lights.

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  alexdestin on Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:54 am

Ficus trees are a great addition to garden, landscape or interior of your home or office. Although Ficus trees are not ultra-high-maintenance, it is important to protect them from cold and frost so that thrive..

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Re: The Effect OF Frost on Ficus

Post  Guest on Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:42 am

One idea presented for this happening in this case is that the smaller leafed form of "Willow Leaf Fig" was the mutation and that the "89" was a return to the typical species.

This is definitely the case. You see this happen on other plants too, sometimes with no visible reason. Plants that are mutated or crossed with other flower colors i.e. may jump back to the old color/shape/size of leaves i.e., because the original growth proves to be stronger. Sometimes triggered by outside actions, or just taking over because of the strength of the old growth.

Regards
Morten

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