Defoliating Ficus

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Defoliating Ficus

Post  Wesleybeks on Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:00 pm

Hi everyone

Ive just signed up to this forum after lurking for some time.

I stay in South Africa and have a growing collection of Ficus bonsai. My question is. Is it a good idea to defoliate Ficus trees and when is a good time to do it.

Looking forward to your response.

Regards
Wes

Wesleybeks
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Re: Defoliating Ficus

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:13 pm

I am not sure of the general climate in SA or where you live, but most Ficus species can be defoliated anytime the weather is warm and they will not experience below 50 degrees F for a few weeks.
The traditional exception is the F. benjaminia family, such as Too Little, or Exotica, etc. In this case the conventional wisdom is to leave some foliage on the branch or it will die back. (However, a fellow club member in St. Cloud, Florida, claims that if you remove every single leaf from benajminia it will come back. I have not tested this.)
There are some very active clubs in SA, why not join one and gain experience from the locals?
Check out the Bonsai Clubs International web site.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Defoliating Ficus

Post  Wesleybeks on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:19 pm

Hi Billy

Thanks for the reply. The majority of my plants are Ficus burtt davyi. I live in Cape town where the weather is generally always warm with very mild winters.

I will give the defoliation a go on one of my trees and see how it goes.

Regards
Wes

Wesleybeks
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Re: Defoliating Ficus

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:31 pm

When you defoliate be sure to also prune the tips of twigs and branches, this will promote ramification (more branching) If you continue to tip prune when the twig has two leaves you will get smaller leaves and more ramification.
Bert Davi comes in a couple of leaf sizes, I think I have seen at least three.
Bert Davi is also the most drought tolerant of the Ficus, be careful not to over water or you will get rot.
There are a couple of clubs in the Cape Town area. SA had eight members on the recent BCI tour of China.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Defoliating Ficus

Post  Guest on Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:46 pm

Hi Wesley Beks

Read all of the topic " ficus Benjamina, an old friend"

Kind regards Yvonne

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