Time for the Naked Truth

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Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:39 pm

This time of year it's time to defoliate my Ficus getting rid of any large or winter damaged leaves. With the trees naked I can clean up the branch structure and grow a new crop of leaves. This year, I've had an apprentice - my 86 year old mother has been defoliating my ficus for me. She's been doing a great job.

A before shot of a large Ficus Microcarpa, the "Flying Buttress Ficus"


After an couple hours plucking leaves. The red lines are drinking straws slit to accommodate aerial roots that needed to be redirected. Once I get all the trees defoliated I'll go back and put some wire on some of the branches on this one and repot it in April or May. The blue pot is an older Japanese pot.


This is "The Kracken" another Ficus Microcarpa grown in a very convoluted branch style. Before defoliation with leggy branches. Also in a large modern Chinese pot of decent quality.


After removing leaves and starting to assess branch arrangement.


This is about half way done with the wiring. I will go back next week and finish wiring the top. I am trying to make it look like a sea monster so the branches are very contorted.



Meanwhile, Mom is still smiling and willing to do more defoliation so she is continuing to remove leaves.


Here is the "Trident Ficus", a Ficus Nerifolia. Repotted last year into this large (22 inch across) Chinese pot.


And it naked.



Next she tackled a bunch of shohin Ficus.

Here are a few after shots.
This is a shohin Willow Leaf (Ficus nerifolia) forest, well it started as a forest. The trees seem to have all grown together over the past 10 years and its probably one clump now. Japanese pot.


An overhead view of the shohin forest.


A Triple Trunk Willow Leaf Ficus. (This guy has no name. Anyone willing to make a suggestion.) Pot by Bryan Albright , UK.
It was started in 1990 by a bonsaist that tried to have a bonsai business but went bankrupt and sold all his stock to a regular garden nursery. 10 years later I found it in a plastic pot and bought it. It is now another 10 years later and the top and right side of the tree were grown by me.


Here it is naked.


This is semicascade from a cutting in a pot made by me.


This guy has been featured here in the past and its progress documented both on the old IBC and in my book. It originally was a cascade that had a reverse taper problem.
Looking nice with new leaves starting to pop. Pot by Bill at Horse Creek Pottery.


Mom has done a bunch more but I haven't photographed them all. She has about 30 more to go. Here's one bench showing some progress.

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Guest on Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:48 pm

Good trees Rob.

This is the only case where the apprentice is the boss and the teacher though wiser can't say no.
flower Happy women's day to your Mom!

regards,
jun Smile

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  fiona on Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:45 pm

Rob, what does your Mom charge as an hourly rate? If I can afford her, can she pop over here for a day or three, or is she already fully booked as a result of people reading this thread?

Great work and stunning trees. It is really good to see them in the scud like that and the ramification looks pretty darn good to me. I am getting some stirrings of zone envy though.

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Jerry Meislik on Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:14 pm

Rob,
Love the trees and your MOM.
Lucky to have her.
Jerry

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  xuan le on Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:27 pm

Very nice trees Rob,
Your Mom looks great, about the Azaleas behind her, are they Satsuki?

Xuan

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:46 pm

xuan le wrote:Very nice trees Rob,
Your Mom looks great, about the Azaleas behind her, are they Satsuki?

Xuan

Thanks Xuan,

not sure about the azaleas as they were at EPCOT Japan pavilion. My Mom went with me to drop off my tree for the FLower and Garden Show this year.

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:47 pm

fiona wrote:Rob, what does your Mom charge as an hourly rate? If I can afford her, can she pop over here for a day or three, or is she already fully booked as a result of people reading this thread?

Great work and stunning trees. It is really good to see them in the scud like that and the ramification looks pretty darn good to me. I am getting some stirrings of zone envy though.

Mom is an appreantice so no pay, just room and board. Laughing But she can sure eat!!

Zone envy is very hard to overcome - but overcome you must. Of course you are always welcome to visit Florida. I'm sure we could find a few leaves to pluck.


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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Pavel Slovák on Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:52 pm

Hi Rob

Very nice trees and good work. ThumbsUp

Gretings Pavel

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  fiona on Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:09 pm

Rob Kempinski wrote: Of course you are always welcome to visit Florida. I'm sure we could find a few leaves to pluck.
Best chat-up line I've had in ages. flutter eyelashes flutter eyelashes

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:06 pm

fiona wrote:
Rob Kempinski wrote: Of course you are always welcome to visit Florida. I'm sure we could find a few leaves to pluck.
Best chat-up line I've had in ages. flutter eyelashes flutter eyelashes
Shocked

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:12 pm

Jerry Meislik wrote:Rob,
Love the trees and your MOM.
Lucky to have her.
Jerry

Very true. She has such a green thumb, if she planted a 2X4 in the ground a pine would grow.

Anyway, Jerry, remember this one? We did the kerf technique on the main branch when you visited - how many years ago was it now???
If this tree didn't have that chop scar it would be something.

Mom plucked the leaves. The pot is the BCI commemorative pot from the World Convention in Washington DC.

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Jerry Meislik on Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:57 pm

Rob,
I love that little guy. Nice work.
Jerry

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Time for the necked truth

Post  moyogijohn on Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:25 pm

YOU Have some wonderful trees!!! some way the two of you make them look as good without leaf as with..a ouestion,,do you clip the leaf stem or pull the leaves off??? you have so many to work with I AM GLAD your MOM will help,,a blessing to you...good work take care john

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  bontailo on Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:44 pm

Good Job, Rob.

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Jose O. Rivera on Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:21 am

Hi Rob

Very good job, I like all the trees. thumbs up

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Todd Ellis on Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:22 am

Rob, what kind of fertilizer are you using? I presume the whitish granules on the surface is fertilizer. Your mom is a superstar! Your trees are beautiful. You're pretty swell too. Razz

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Rob Kempinski on Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:07 am

Todd Ellis wrote:Rob, what kind of fertilizer are you using? I presume the whitish granules on the surface is fertilizer. Your mom is a superstar! Your trees are beautiful. You're pretty swell too. Razz
Hey Todd,

thanks- I'll tell my Mom.

The fertilizer is MiracleGrow granular. My favorite. No fuss, no muss. Every watering fertilizers the trees. No smell, no root burn, Good stuff.

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Todd Ellis on Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:21 am

I'm going to use up my fertilizer cakes and use granular this year. My dogs will miss the treats, but the time and mess and stench will not be missed.
Thanks,
Todd

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Ravi Kiran on Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:38 am

Hey Rob,

Those are some amazing trees.... ALL OF THEM.... simply love them. And to have your MOM lend you a helping hand is the cherry on the cake. The smile on your mom's face says it all that she loves doing what she did for you. Now that's one happy family, Rob, mom and the trees.....

Ravi

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Rob Kempinski on Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:08 pm

Here's another Willow Leaf Ficus. Pot by Nick Lenz, USA.




Mom cut off the leaves. She's using one of her small sewing scissors that seems pretty good for cutting the leaves.
I need to do some branch work on this one to organize them a bit.



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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Tom Benda on Thu Mar 10, 2011 6:12 pm

Hey Rob, You´ve evoked the whole story about ficus You´ve told me in Prague.
I just saw the "Flying buttress" and was back at the cathedral with You and Terry.
Greetings to Your mom.
My mom has a green thumb too, but she doesn´t help me with bonsai.
Do I need some special granules?

Nice trees, I like defoliated ficus.
Like all of them, but the one in commemorative pot is something special.

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Mohan on Fri Mar 11, 2011 7:18 am

Hi Rob,
Asking your 86 year old Mom to defoliate all those beauties, and that too without pay – not fair, when all you do is practice that swing nonstop Shocked There must be a law against it Exclamation Question Exclamation BTW, since when has she been doing it, seeing that she is such an expert
Regards to Mom, thumbs up
Mohan.

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:59 am

Mohan wrote:Hi Rob,
Asking your 86 year old Mom to defoliate all those beauties, and that too without pay – not fair, when all you do is practice that swing nonstop Shocked There must be a law against it Exclamation Question Exclamation BTW, since when has she been doing it, seeing that she is such an expert
Regards to Mom, thumbs up
Mohan.

One has to have priorities. Although I have been doing lots of bonsai related work, some on my trees, and a alot for BCI now that I'm President.


As for my Mom's experience defoliating, she just started but had good instruction. Very Happy



Last edited by Rob Kempinski on Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:33 pm

A couple more. This is a Indian Laurel Ficus (Ficus Microcarpa) forest from a set of cuttings I took a few years ago. I made the pot with some black cone 5 clay.
Before defoliation.


After


This Willow Leaf Ficus (Ficus nerifolia) has been styled as if it were a Trident Maple. It is also a tree from the bankrupt bonsaist then garden nursery 20 plus years ago. I've had it for 10 years. Growth hasn't been vigorous the last year or so so I repotted it a bit early in the season. The pot is a large one by Dale Cochoy. I have been doing clip and grow with it after using wire 5 years ago. The tree is about 28 inches tall.

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

Post  Tom Benda on Fri Jun 10, 2011 12:33 pm

Rob, thank You once again for the present.
I listened to Your advice and tried to do "my" best :-)
So I used the same procedure and tools :-D
The nerifolia ficus and an accent, which can tell that...

...mom´s the greatest!

Defoliated, waiting for repotting. Today afternoon comes the time.

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Re: Time for the Naked Truth

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