Ficus microcarpa questions...

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  DreadyKGB on Sun Sep 26, 2010 11:41 pm

Hey all,
So I bought an inexpensive and rather ugly ficus retusa this spring as a tree for experimentation. Its about 16 inches tall with a 1-1.5 inch trunk. In looking at it throughout the summer I can see that it has no real potential for a front. The upper section looks best from an angle where the lower section looks terrible and vice versa. I have decided to turn it into two shohin sized trees which has lead to my questions.

1. Would it be better to airlayer or just cut and root the upper section? I know that both are feasible just looking for opinions on which would be the preferable way to go with this species, for best results. The thickness where it will be cut is 1 inch.

2. Can ficus retusa be cut back to a short stump with no branches? Will it regenerate new branches? Or should I first graft at least one or two branches on to the lower section before I cut it?

I know a few people on here have plenty of experience with the ficus species so I thought I would get some experienced advice as I choose my plan of attack for next spring. Again this is an experimentation tree so any other fun techniques I could test out on this tree are welcome. Thanks.

Todd
p.s. Sorry no pics, but its just too ugly right now.


Last edited by DreadyKGB on Fri Oct 01, 2010 5:25 am; edited 1 time in total

DreadyKGB
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Mon Sep 27, 2010 12:21 am

DreadyKGB wrote:

1. Would it be better to airlayer or just cut and root the upper section? I know that both are feasible just looking for opinions on which would be the preferable way to go with this species, for best results. The thickness where it will be cut is 1 inch.

Here on the Space Coast I would cut, and make a big cutting, but I would probably wait until early spring now.

2. Can ficus retusa be cut back to a short stump with no branches? Will it regenerate new branches? Or should I first graft at least one or two branches on to the lower section before I cut it?

Here on the Space Coast, yes. UP NORTH ????


Billy M. Rhodes
Member


Back to top Go down

Ficus retusa Questions

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:23 am

The correct name is Ficus microcarpa, Chinese banyan.
And do not plan your styling the way they do it in Taiwan or Florida. As I wrote elsewhere, most of the indoor Ficus grow much more slowly in the North, especially during the winter. It will be safer to air-layer your ugly specimen, but unless you have a very sophisticated indoor setup, wait until spring.
In my experience in Central NY, most Ficus do not regenerate or back-bud reliably. You can pray, but don't bet on it. Proceed with caution.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  DreadyKGB on Mon Sep 27, 2010 3:35 am

Thanks,
I surely plan to wait until next spring before undertaking the layering/chopping. I may attempt a branch grafting now before the tree completely slows down for the winter. This way come spring I might have a lower branch. In my experimentation with the tree I have promoted some good air roots by wrapping the trunk with sphagnum moss through the summer. Grafting will be a first for me so let the experimentation proceed...

Todd

DreadyKGB
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:03 pm

DreadyKGB wrote:I may attempt a branch grafting now before the tree completely slows down for the winter. This way come spring I might have a lower branch.
Todd
Where do you keep your Ficus during the winter? If it is on a windowsill, don't expect to make much progress. Even under fluorescent lights, growth is very slow. If you want to grow Ficus like they do in Florida, you will need an HID setup like Jerry Meislik.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Ficus retusa Questions

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Sep 29, 2010 5:06 pm

PS
It will be in the low 40s or high 30s this weekend (4 to 6 C). Time for the Ficus to come indoors.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  DreadyKGB on Thu Sep 30, 2010 1:36 am

Iris,
I do keep this ficus in a south facing window where it gets a good deal of light, although it does seriously slow down in the winter. I do have an indoor grow setup that is quite extensive but it is currently boxed up until I have a space to set it up. I may set it up this winter at my in-law's house but not sure yet. This tree has surprised me in its continued strong growth at this time of the year, so we'll see how the graft takes. Thanks for the heads up about the weekend, I have many house plants that need to come in. Anyway I just want something to play with through the winter, so this tree fits the bill.

Todd

DreadyKGB
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  bonsaikc on Wed Nov 24, 2010 1:16 am

Todd, Please don't worry too much about your climate. Your tree can certainly show great growth and development in the winter, even if you don't have a greenhouse and metal halide lamps for it. I live in Kansas where it gets very hot and very cold, and in fact I did not use any supplemental light at all.

Here's where I started with my ficus in 2007:


And here it was in July of 2008:


I have posted the entire story so far on my site:

Ficus Microcarpa

I hope you will check it out!

bonsaikc
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  DreadyKGB on Wed Nov 24, 2010 4:42 am

BonsaiKC,
Thanks for the link and encouragement. I am currently rooting a cutting into the same pot which I plan to thread graft through the the lower section of trunk. The idea of using the dry cleaning bag as a humidity tent is a good one. I was thinking about constructing a humidity tent out of wire coat hangers and plastic wrap. Your ficus seems to be developing well. Thanks for the helpful info and tips.

Todd

DreadyKGB
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  Ravi Kiran on Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:36 am

Hi Todd,

Not one from your climactic zone but still here is my take on your tree.

1. Play it safe and go in for air layering and not for a cutting. Even the air layering IMHO it would be better to start the air layer in early spring when the tree is actively growing and not now.

2. I would also recommend that you use a reasonably sized growth pot(incase you are not doing so already) for the tree to put out all the foliage. Even for a 1 inch thick ficus I'd still recommend that you leave it in a growth pot for about 2-3 years and then start styling it. Again IMHO since you say that you are in possession of this tree for less than a year, it is always better to wait it out than to try and rush it though.

3. Another important aspect of ficus is that you need to completely defoliate the tree leaving only the buds. This needs to be done in early spring.

4. Yes Ficus does bud back if you cut it down to a stump.

5. On second thoughts you may want to share a pic of the tree with this forum. I have seen some glorious virtuals which never crossed my mind. And if it does not work out anyway then you always have your original plan.

Hope this helps....

Ravi

Ravi Kiran
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  ogie on Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:33 pm

Hi Todd,
I agree totally with the rest of the guys,pls show us your tree,iregardless of how it looks,Ravi is right,somebody will come out with design much more than your expectation,as for me i would not graft the benji to the tiger bark microcarpa,it's a much more superior than the too little.Will await for your posting

Smile Alex

ogie
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  Ryan on Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:18 pm

DreadyKGB wrote:BonsaiKC,
Thanks for the link and encouragement. I am currently rooting a cutting into the same pot which I plan to thread graft through the the lower section of trunk. The idea of using the dry cleaning bag as a humidity tent is a good one. I was thinking about constructing a humidity tent out of wire coat hangers and plastic wrap. Your ficus seems to be developing well. Thanks for the helpful info and tips.

Todd

The plastic bag is a great idea, but if you've got an aquarium lying around, I say use that instead. I've been using one and so far my ficus LOVE it. The high humidity has already forced one of them to throw aerial roots, and it has been just a week since I started using it. I can add pictures if desired.

Ryan
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  bonsaikc on Thu Nov 25, 2010 5:13 am

An aquarium is another great idea. The point is to build as much humidity as possible, keep as much moisture and warmth as the tree wants, and add some light, although I do get a tremendous amount of growth with just the ambient light from the window. I would imagine I might even do better with both the aquarium and a dry cleaning bag....but the key is to provide the tree similar conditions to what it might have in a greenhouse. Good luck!

bonsaikc
Member


Back to top Go down

Ficus microcarpa Questions

Post  bonsaisr on Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:28 pm

A reminder: Don't put a plant in a sealed aquarium or plastic bag in front of a window with the sun shining. You will get a cooked plant.
Iris

bonsaisr
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  Ryan on Thu Nov 25, 2010 3:42 pm

bonsaisr wrote:A reminder: Don't put a plant in a sealed aquarium or plastic bag in front of a window with the sun shining. You will get a cooked plant.
Iris

I have my aquarium in a bright windowsill. I cover the top with plastic wrap, then uncover it by night to allow the flow of fresh air. I also have an ultrasonic humidifier in the tank for added humidity. So far, I have seen some aerial roots form on my schefflera and on one of my ficus. Sorry for the hijack! I'll take my method to a new thread.

Ryan
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  DreadyKGB on Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:16 pm

Ok, Ok,
Here are some photos of the tree. Please make no serious judgments as it is an experimental tree and I'm still deciding on where to go with it. Also I believe the question about grafting ficus benjamina onto a microcarpa was asked by the other Todd. I have no plans to do that as I don't like ficus benjamina that much, although I do have one. I also don't plan on doing any of the major work until spring, maybe just some pruning now.

This is the whole tree.


This is the base with the cutting that I plan to thread graft onto it. The cutting is just beginning to root.


This is about what I imagine to be the front of the airlayered upper section.The pot is just holding an aerial root.


Better view of the ugly S curve. It does extend further but there is sphagnum moss around the base.


The whole tree looking at what I see as the new front for the airlayer.


As stated this is a cheap experimental tree. I will definitely reduce the branches in the upper section, I may even cut it back to a new leader. I see the top becoming a decent tree in a few years or so, and really only keeping the base for further experimentation. Comments always welcome(and criticism also but be nice).

Todd

P.S. There are multiple cuttings in this pot but they serve no purpose just stuck into the soil as I pruned.

DreadyKGB
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  Ryan on Sat Nov 27, 2010 6:22 pm

Not a bad tree. I had one just like it a year or so ago. I then decided to air layer it and got two trees. One is a mame, the other is jsut ugly as of right now. Here is my progression of it:

http://www.bonsaisite.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=18940

Ryan
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  bonsaikc on Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:55 pm

bonsaisr wrote:A reminder: Don't put a plant in a sealed aquarium or plastic bag in front of a window with the sun shining. You will get a cooked plant.
Iris

I'll post a current photo of my ficus in the bag soon. The only opening is a small one to insert the tip of the watering can. The inside of the bag is completely obscured by water condensation, and it has been fine all winter in the same condition for the last couple of years, with only a little cleanup in spring needed. The diminution of the UV through the window, storm window, and bag leave little danger to the tree of cooking, IMO.

bonsaikc
Member


Back to top Go down

Update

Post  bonsaikc on Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:32 pm

Here's the promised photo of the ficus in its winter habitat. You can see some of the branch development, although the new leader is thickening nicely but hidden behind the bed rail. This summer I will begin developing ramification in earnest.


bonsaikc
Member


Back to top Go down

an update....

Post  DreadyKGB on Sun May 22, 2011 4:21 am

So I airlayered the top section but as the new roots began to form I removed the layer and treated it more as a large cutting. I kept it in a "humidity chamber" and it grew very well. I have now defoliated for the springtime. I decided not to graft onto the bottom part of the tree and just take my chances with back budding. Originally I thought it would just be unusable junk, but it is showing some character and looks a bit less "mallsai" now. The top I think will make a nice small tree in time and the base might even be nice one day too. Comments and suggestions always welcome.

Top section


Base


Todd

DreadyKGB
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  MrFancyPlants on Mon Dec 17, 2012 8:25 pm

Do you have any update on these ficus? I am almost done updating my new tropical aquarium setup and will post a progression some day soon when I have some definitive results*.

Thanks,
David D.


Last edited by MrFancyPlants on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:52 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : * I posted LED experiment thread today, but they are not definative yet)

MrFancyPlants
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  DreadyKGB on Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:48 pm

Hey David,
Here are some updated photos of the lower section. The upper section died back severely because my mother inlaw decided that the bonsai didn't need water while I was out of town and shut off the automatic sprinkler system. It survived but is in the process of growing back from almost nothing. I also added a picture of my indoor grow setup in which I use clear storage tubs, inverted.




DreadyKGB
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Dec 19, 2012 12:31 am

Those are not clear and give even less light to the trees. Just because light goes through a material doesn't mean it transmits the frequencies needed for plant growth. I have never needed to grow Bonsai under lights, but when I grew tomato seeds under florescent lights the plants would begin to turn purple in a few weeks.

Billy M. Rhodes
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  MrFancyPlants on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:51 am

Wow that looks like a humid setup and looks like real healthy growth.
Pardon all of the questions, but would you feel comfortable leaving them covered like that for a week straight? How often do you water?

Thanks for the update!
David

MrFancyPlants
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  DreadyKGB on Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:09 pm

Hey,
Well they are not clear per se but they do allow for balance light frequencies, or at least enough for the trees to grow well through the winter. I open them up once or twice a week to let the trees breath and leave them open for a couple hours. I water very sparingly and try to keep the soil only slightly damp. I also put my tropicals outside as soon as possible in the spring and they stay out until the temps drop below 40F at night. Even then they are still only brought in over night. They do quite well with this setup and don't lose any leaves when they come in. Its an easy cheap setup but it works for my needs. At this point in my bonsai life I am not longer acquiring any tropicals.

Todd

DreadyKGB
Member


Back to top Go down

Re: Ficus microcarpa questions...

Post  Sponsored content Today at 6:07 am


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum