A fig on the way up!

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A fig on the way up!

Post  Thomo on Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:40 am

Hi All,

This is what I believe is a Port Jackson Fig (Ficus rubiginosa). It is starting to get close to the shape I am after.

My question is whether they are suitable to defoliate to reduce leaf size? What time of year is best? Any tips to remember when doing it(requirements of water, light, fertilizer etc)?

I'm in Melbourne, Oz. Summer has just started and it looks like being a wetter than usual summer.


Thomo
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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Guest on Mon Dec 13, 2010 1:45 pm

Heeey

It looks really nice indeed:)
how long do u have this in training? and how old is it

ps. i dont have knowledge about the ficus, only things i read
but i'm sure there will be more people to respont:)

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Gandalph on Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:16 pm

Nice looking ficus indeed Smile

What are you using for growing medium?

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Thomo on Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:05 am

Thanks for comments.

The tree is about 8 years old. I bought it as a seedling, I have had it for about 7 years. The trunk is about 7 cm diameter

It is growing in a premium potting mix with 20% gravel mixed in to give good drainage. Nothing special. I have put some sugar cane mulch on top for the first time this year.

PS. I didn't know gandalph was into bonsai. I must have missed that with all the hobbits, orcs and rings and whatnot. Smile

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Storm on Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:08 pm

Off topic, but he was clearly against the orcs which were chopping down trees. Doesnt that say enough?

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fig on the way up

Post  moyogijohn on Tue Dec 14, 2010 5:52 pm

THOMO,,, that is a nice tree you have started...have you thought about pruning the two lower branches on the right to show more trunk??? take care john

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Markus on Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:49 pm

I have a Port Jackson that could almost pass for the twin of yours Thommo, looking good.
My experience with these ficus is that they respond very well to defoliation. I've just finished doing mine, now that the first flush of growth has hardened off a little.
Good luck with yours.

Mark

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Thomo on Fri Dec 17, 2010 11:24 am

I have considered chopping the lower branch obscuring the trunk, just haven't made up my mind yet.

I seems that defoliating is an option. The next question is how to do it?

Do I...

  1. Cut all the leaves off
  2. Cut most the leaves off
  3. Cut all the leaves in half?


Then let it recover in a partially shaded position and feed after a couple of weeks?


Last edited by Thomo on Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:31 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : posted in wrong thread)

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  kenduncan on Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:22 pm

Hi Thomo, I would make sure that the tree has been fertilized well for a month or so and kept in full sun. In the hottest time of the Summer remove all of the leaves. They should bud out in about two weeks. I keep all of my ficus in full sun, this helps to keep the leaves small.

Ken

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Gandalph on Fri Dec 17, 2010 10:10 pm

Thomo wrote:Thanks for comments.

The tree is about 8 years old. I bought it as a seedling, I have had it for about 7 years. The trunk is about 7 cm diameter

It is growing in a premium potting mix with 20% gravel mixed in to give good drainage. Nothing special. I have put some sugar cane mulch on top for the first time this year.

PS. I didn't know gandalph was into bonsai. I must have missed that with all the hobbits, orcs and rings and whatnot. Smile

Bonsai are baby Ents Cool

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Thomo on Mon Dec 20, 2010 11:28 am

Righto, thanks all.

It seems defoliating in summer is fine. I"ll make sure it is fed up and then cross my fingers and chop it! What could possibly go wrong?!! Smile

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Thomo on Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:49 am

I finally decided to do the defoliation.

Below is a pic post trimming. Hopefully it regenerates fine.


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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  kenduncan on Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:06 pm

Now is a good time to prune the tree way back to make it more compact.
Ken

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Thomo on Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:11 pm

Do you think it is a bit leggy?

After i took this pic I did take off one small branch close to the V on the lower left. I also trimmed off any long straight green branches.

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Ravi Kiran on Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:45 am

Hi,

I am stepping in a little late as I can see, now that you are done with the defoliation. Well for ficus you can defoliate them twice a year which is what I do and no it is not an option (IMHO). Unless regularly defoliated, ficus will not develop to its full potential. Once the tree has achieved the desired shape, you can then defoliate it once a year or even once in two years.

For leaf size reduction it is important to cut the terminal buds as well otherwise the leaves that come after defoliation tend to be the same size as they were before at worst or a little smaller at best. Cutting the terminal buds reduces the leaf size considerably. So the next time you defoliate..... keep this in mind.

Your tree is good looking and I am sure you are on your way of creating a very good bonsai. All the best with this tree..

Ravi

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Re: A fig on the way up!

Post  Thomo on Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:41 am

Hi Ravi,

Thanks for the comments, never too late.

I took off most of the terminal buds. I only left the odd leaf if it was already small enough. If there are any terminals left I will chop them too.

I will play it by ear to see if two defoliations are possible here in Melbourne. I imagine in Bangalore that they just grow all year round. In Melbourne they slow down or stop in winter. The shorter growing season might mean that defoliating twice in a year is too much.

I have had problems with them losing branches after pruning and I suspect this is because I did it too early in spring, before the tree was really growing strongly. I was treating it a little like a deciduous tree. This year I have waited until it was growing strongly and well fed before any pruning. I have tip pruned it once in early summer and now defoliated it.

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