Ficus benjamina backbud?

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Mon Apr 11, 2011 7:19 pm

Well the tree was chopped yesterday. I took pics but my laptop isn't working, so I'll have those up once I can get it working again.

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:04 am

I'm repotting these trees tomorrow. If anyone objects, speak now.

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Guest on Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:25 am

I have a Benjamina that has thrived as a 7 foot high wild tree in a large pot in my living room for the past 6 years. Like you I have thought about reducing it but have always thought better of it, the tree has sentimental value for me so I don't want to risk its death. BUT last year in the middle of the summer out of no -where the tree popped out a little branch about 8 inches from the soil line. I could have cut back to that and hopefully it would have kept the sap flowing up the tree. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I keep it as a giagantic ornamental and a clone mother for other Benjamina Bonsai that I can sculpt from earlier on in the game as it were.

Iris is right cut back in stages and wait for a back bud then cut back further to that and so on...

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:58 am

man on the mountain wrote:I have a Benjamina that has thrived as a 7 foot high wild tree in a large pot in my living room for the past 6 years. Like you I have thought about reducing it but have always thought better of it, the tree has sentimental value for me so I don't want to risk its death. BUT last year in the middle of the summer out of no -where the tree popped out a little branch about 8 inches from the soil line. I could have cut back to that and hopefully it would have kept the sap flowing up the tree. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I keep it as a giagantic ornamental and a clone mother for other Benjamina Bonsai that I can sculpt from earlier on in the game as it were.

Iris is right cut back in stages and wait for a back bud then cut back further to that and so on...

Thank you! These trees are shooting buds all over the lower trunks. I could cut them back even more, but as everyone is saying, I'll cut it back in stages.

Also, it appears I will have to bare root these trees. They have spiders, and bugs of all sorts crawling out of the soil....

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:39 pm

After the work I had to do for 1 tree I think I will wait until another day to do the second. The tree must have been in that same pot and same soil for years! The soil was just a solid mass. Let me know if I removed too many roots, not enough, etc. Here are some pictures:

Before:



Unfortunately a few of the buds here were destroyed while I was trying to saw through the rootball:


After:








Ryan

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Sat May 07, 2011 10:43 pm

The tree I repotted is doing fine. The other I haven't repotted is doing great as well. It has begun throwing so many buds. I think I could chop it, but I might as well just air layer it and get at least 3 trees from one. Agreed?







Ryan

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:36 pm

Did an air layer on the other tree a few weeks ago, I just seperated it today. So far, so good. I am really liking the base on this first one. I think it really has some potential. I just desperately need to repot it. But for now, it needs rest. I think I may have seperated the top too early though, as I thought it had more roots than it did. It had only 2 major roots. So hopefully those will spread and the tree will keep on growing. Anyway, I also did the second air layer on the other ficus today. Things are looking good:






Sorry for the busy background on them!


Thoughts?


Ryan

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Wed Aug 17, 2011 12:03 am

Time for an update. They are both growing very, very well. I have a thought on this guy though:


I'm now wondering if I should air layer in the red area and make the branch in yellow the new leader. Your thoughts?

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Ficus benjamina backbud

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:48 am

Ryan, I'm glad your trees are growing well, but before you can consider them bonsai, you will need to do some extensive work on the base and nebari.
Here is my F. b. backbud story. I have come to the conclusion that in general, the standard form of F. b. and the older cultivars are not likely to backbud below a couple of leaves. The newer cultivars seem to be more amenable.
I have had this variegated F. benjamina for close to 20 years. Since I determined it was not a good bonsai candidate, I was growing it in the living room as a house tree. A few years ago it was neglected more than usual and the lowest branches died. I didn't like the long naked trunk, so I tried to prune it back to encourage budding lower down on the trunk. This is what it looked like in 2009.



I was about ready to pitch it, but I was impressed with the nebari.



I coaxed it along, & this is how it looked last year, but still the long naked trunk.



I was still ready to pitch it, but I had a beautiful pot that needed a good sized tree. Finally this past summer, I chopped the trunk down to where I wanted it. I figured if the tree died, it was no great loss. As I hoped, the tree sprouted at one spot below the cut.



After this step, I cut off all the sprouts except two, a horizontal one for the first branch, and a vertical one for the trunk. If I live long enough (or it does), it may turn into a tree.
Iris

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  drgonzo on Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:26 am

you know Iris, I've had a few "I was ready to pitch it" trees that wound up as a couple of my more interesting projects. Funny how they figure out a way to stay with us isn't it?

I think Benjamina is more workable than its reputation would hold, I really do. Its just a matter of styling it from early on to keep it branched low and at the same time build trunk caliper.

I have 4 now that are clones in 5 gallon pots that I have been working on for 3 seasons, and they are getting there its just a different process, you have to really start training them when they are young, Like violin Virtuoso's.

-Jay

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Sun Apr 01, 2012 10:56 pm

I lost one of the benjaminas a while back, but the other one is currently thriving.

Here it is today before pruning:


After pruning:



There is a branch at the base of the tree that I plan on grafting to the upper right side of the tree, to fill in that open area up there.


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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  EpicusMaximus on Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:11 am

I just saw this thread. How is the tree doing now? It looked like it was doing good...

I was planning on doing exactly what I have seen you do so far.

Thanks!

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Fri Sep 28, 2012 4:23 am

EpicusMaximus wrote:I just saw this thread. How is the tree doing now? It looked like it was doing good...

I was planning on doing exactly what I have seen you do so far.

Thanks!


The tree is doing pretty well and has put out lots of growth. It's not looking too happy right now and I need to re-wire and thread graft some branches, but it'll get there....


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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  EpicusMaximus on Fri Sep 28, 2012 5:18 am

thanks for the update. What is your soil mix?

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

Post  Ryan on Fri Sep 28, 2012 1:48 pm

EpicusMaximus wrote:thanks for the update. What is your soil mix?

Normally a turface, haydite, and bark mixture, but this one is currently just in turface.

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Re: Ficus benjamina backbud?

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