Ficus benjamina backbud?

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Jesse on Sun Feb 13, 2011 6:10 am

bonsaisr wrote:F. benjamina doesn't mind root pruning. Of all my Ficus, I think the best nebari is on this stupid benjamina. It is probably because when it was a houseplant, I rarely watered it. tongue
What is even worse, the one with the most compact, neat growth habit is my granddaughter's F. elastica 'Rubra.' It would make a perfect bonsai for the Jolly Green Giant. alien
Iris

Made me laugh Iris Smile

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:08 pm

bucknbonsai wrote:What is there that is worth air layering, I think the first 12" of trunk is the only usable stuff there. Mid summer cut bottom 1/2 of rootball off

Just noticed this, but there are some rather large branches that I could layer off and eventually use, it would be better than simply throwing them away, IMO.

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  bucknbonsai on Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:29 am

If you wait till those branches are starting to grow strong then you can cut all of them off, root them, then place them down next to the bottom of the trunk to start a fusing project, just make sure to leave some of the branches up high to keep the main trunk alive, then once they fuse you can shorten the main trunk.

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:21 am

bucknbonsai wrote:If you wait till those branches are starting to grow strong then you can cut all of them off, root them, then place them down next to the bottom of the trunk to start a fusing project, just make sure to leave some of the branches up high to keep the main trunk alive, then once they fuse you can shorten the main trunk.

Hmm thank you. I've never had good luck with larger sized ficus cuttings, so that's why I wanted to air layer instead. I would really only be looking to layer the large branches, which would leave plenty smaller branches to support the main trunk. Thanks again.

Ryan
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Mohan on Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:09 am

Hi Ryan,
I strongly recommend that you follow Jose Rivera’s excellent method of reducing the height of a plant/bonsai, as explained in http://josorl.webs.com/apps/blog/entries/show/3290715-ficus-green-emerald. The procedure involves air layering the top third of the plant and grafting it to the base third eliminating the mid portion that is not back budding and causing the awkward height. By this procedure you can retain the crown and nebari with considerable reduction in the height of the plant. Back budding not a worry now. You need to produce long roots by layering, as these roots will be the main stay in sustaining the crown till the graft is successful. I also recommend that you follow Jose Faura’s method of air layering as explained by Craig Coussins (page 106) in his book The Bonsai School to produce the desired results quickly.

Spring is the best season and ficus is an ideal candidate to try out the procedure. You also have a humidity apparatus to speed up the proceedings. Give the subject a serious thought and give it a try. If you succeed, you would have mastered air layering and grafting, very important horticultural procedures for a bonsaist.

With very wishes and GOOD LUCK, cheers
Mohan.

Mohan
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ficus ben. backbud

Post  moyogijohn on Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:22 am

Three years ago i got one that was 4 ft. tall ..i chopped it down to 1 ft. it did bud and grew branches...i will try and post it so you can see it will work...take care john

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:31 am

Mohan wrote:Hi Ryan,
I strongly recommend that you follow Jose Rivera’s excellent method of reducing the height of a plant/bonsai, as explained in http://josorl.webs.com/apps/blog/entries/show/3290715-ficus-green-emerald. The procedure involves air layering the top third of the plant and grafting it to the base third eliminating the mid portion that is not back budding and causing the awkward height. By this procedure you can retain the crown and nebari with considerable reduction in the height of the plant. Back budding not a worry now. You need to produce long roots by layering, as these roots will be the main stay in sustaining the crown till the graft is successful. I also recommend that you follow Jose Faura’s method of air layering as explained by Craig Coussins (page 106) in his book The Bonsai School to produce the desired results quickly.

Spring is the best season and ficus is an ideal candidate to try out the procedure. You also have a humidity apparatus to speed up the proceedings. Give the subject a serious thought and give it a try. If you succeed, you would have mastered air layering and grafting, very important horticultural procedures for a bonsaist.

With very wishes and GOOD LUCK, cheers
Mohan.

Interesting Mohan, thank you! However, I have no experience with grafting and I am unsure as I would like to try it on trees such as these. Your link did not work for me, unfortunately....

Ryan
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:32 am

moyogijohn wrote:Three years ago i got one that was 4 ft. tall ..i chopped it down to 1 ft. it did bud and grew branches...i will try and post it so you can see it will work...take care john

Thank you John, that would be great!

Ryan
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  GerhardGerber on Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:53 pm

Hi Ryan

I found little broccolis back-budding on my newest elm yesterday, it hasn't been chopped since I want to layer it, but (what I did) made me think.....

If you want to do the truck chop with a get-out-of-jail card, just remove 99% of the canopy, leave one branch with a few leaves, wait for the back budding which might still be too high, but then chop right above that first bud and wait, more will follow.

If it was mine, that's how I would do it.

Cheers
Gerhard

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Guest on Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:03 pm

I have also had problems with back-budding the benjamina. I even have cuttings from the same tree with some of them back-budding freely and others not at all!

Anyway, I usually succeed back-budding ficuses by hard prunning and then subjecting them to humid condition such as an aquarium (with a lid) or beneath an upturned jar or any suitable, glass container. This also induces aerial roots.

Guest
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:02 am

I am getting great backbudding so far on the branches. There are also tons of new aerial roots forming on the trees. For example, the branch on this tree is budding back very well, so what if I air layered in the area in red, and left that branch and another one below it to support the rest of the trunk?


Ryan
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:38 am

Ryan,

have you thought about a graft low down ?
I was looking through Jerry Meislik's book yesterday and noted how easy it seemed to be to graft onto a ficus.
Until,
Khaimraj

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Tue Feb 22, 2011 2:55 pm

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Ryan,

have you thought about a graft low down ?
I was looking through Jerry Meislik's book yesterday and noted how easy it seemed to be to graft onto a ficus.
Until,
Khaimraj

I have thought of that Khaimraj, but with my limited grafting experience, and I mean limited, I did not want to try it just to end up messing something up.

Ryan
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:39 am

Also, what if I fused benjamina cuttings onto the trunk? Would that work the same as grafting?

Ryan
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  GerhardGerber on Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:07 am

Also, what if I fused benjamina cuttings onto the trunk

Hi Ryan

That is relatively simple to do, I did it with a Ficus B. "vivian" simply because a pot full of little plants cost next to nothing.
Only problem I had was developing reverse taper right above where the trunks are wrapped together. I gave the plant away as it was purely a trunk fusing/ramification experiment on ficus material that is unsuitable for bonsai (large leaves).
Simple sollution to the reverse taper issue is leaving trunks out of the wrap as you move up so they form branches - similar to the guys building huge trunks from maple seedlings.....

That lowest branch wasn't obvious in your first photos, right above that is where you want to chop as that branch will keep the rest going.

I have no experience with grafting, and my attempts failed - I need to see somebody do it propperly first.

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:24 pm

GerhardGerber wrote:
Also, what if I fused benjamina cuttings onto the trunk

Hi Ryan

That is relatively simple to do, I did it with a Ficus B. "vivian" simply because a pot full of little plants cost next to nothing.
Only problem I had was developing reverse taper right above where the trunks are wrapped together. I gave the plant away as it was purely a trunk fusing/ramification experiment on ficus material that is unsuitable for bonsai (large leaves).
Simple sollution to the reverse taper issue is leaving trunks out of the wrap as you move up so they form branches - similar to the guys building huge trunks from maple seedlings.....

That lowest branch wasn't obvious in your first photos, right above that is where you want to chop as that branch will keep the rest going.

I have no experience with grafting, and my attempts failed - I need to see somebody do it propperly first.

Thanks so much!

I am really considering fusing smaller benjaminas onto the trunks of these 2 trees. That should hopefully work.

Ryan
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:17 am

I was looking over these tonight and noticed there are snails sliding up and down the trunk. These are a bad sign right?

Ryan
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Ficus benjamina backbud

Post  bonsaisr on Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:20 am

Yes, bad sign. Get it away from your other trees. I don't know what is available in Virginia. Check your garden center for a molluscicide. Mesurol is best, but off the market here.

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Fri Feb 25, 2011 3:27 am

bonsaisr wrote:Yes, bad sign. Get it away from your other trees. I don't know what is available in Virginia. Check your garden center for a molluscicide. Mesurol is best, but off the market here.

Thank you Iris! What exactly do they do? Eat the leaves?

Ryan
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Gentleman G. on Fri Feb 25, 2011 7:16 am

I had one that was blown over by the wind Dec 29th of last year, I chopped it just below where it snapped (from 4 ft to 8 inches)... Just this week, we've had some warm weather and sure enough, buds are swelling!!! I was worried because I read these trees are reluctant to bud back. If you do decide to chop, just be careful with the watering and keep a close eye on it. If mine lived and budded out after being chopped in the dead of winter, I'd say it's possible. However, I wouldn't reccomend it... Pretty sure I just got lucky Confused

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Guest on Sun Feb 27, 2011 10:19 am

Ryan wrote:Also, what if I fused benjamina cuttings onto the trunk? Would that work the same as grafting?

Thread grafting is the "fail-safe" way to do it. I have a "standard" benjamina that was getting leggy and boring so I place a few potted "natascha" around it and got busy with a drill. So far, so good! Very Happy

Guest
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:04 pm

There are buds all over the bottom trunks of both trees. I feel I could safely chop both trees and they would both live. The air layer I had taken has roots growing in it, so it will soon be time to chop it.

Ryan
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  GerhardGerber on Mon Apr 04, 2011 4:29 pm

Great Ryan!

My 2nd air layer became my 1st successful air layer, checked the Elm on Saturday and there was at least one fat root!s


Cheers
Gerhard

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Thu Apr 07, 2011 12:38 am

I bought anoter benjamina yesterday, only this one isn't as tall and has a smaller trunk. I bought it for fun really. It is a Ficus benjamina 'Wintergreen' which apparently is a breed of benjamina which does not drop leaves due to a change in light or temperature and has darker leaves (I can't tell the difference). Read here:

http://www.plant-care.com/ficus-benjamina-tree.html

I plan on repotting this new tree tomorrow into some decent soil. How much can I take off the roots without killing the tree?

Ryan
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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  GerhardGerber on Thu Apr 07, 2011 9:31 am

I'm not sure, I would balance the roots removed by thinning out the top a bit, only other problem I've had with ficus root work was rot due to full-on organic potting soils I used.

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

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