braided ficus

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braided ficus

Post  MrFancyPlants on Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:29 pm

Sorry for the terrible photography. I am capable of finding the proper front to a tree, but not while holding a camera. Didn't we used to have a potensai section? I'll relegate myself to the question section instead.


-image of large air layer left over that will be cut flush to the trunk. I also used this large stub to hoist the plant into the air from the first branch of the tree that was serving as a background for it's first major repotting a month or so ago. Compacted fine sand and "garden soil."

hanging tree (repotting tree) with witches broom. If only I had a really tall ladder and some decent airlayering skills.


I know it is a braided houseplant, but I like it and it stays healthy and keeps me happy in the winter. I let my (very supportive) girlfriend pick the painted pot. While I have been reducing the stature during the last 3 years I have been kicking around the idea of inducing some arial roots all over the trunk in order to hide the braiding - technique suggestions welcome. I was planning on using spaghnum and saran wrap up all the way up the trunk to where the three branches split.

I recently partially defoliated (removed the large old leaves at the base of branches), and removed some small counter structural branches. Next summer I if it is really growing strongly, I may try a more drastic defoliation. It is capable of puting on gobs of growth with our hot and humid summers here in chesapeake influenced zone 7a.

Thanks for your input and (constructive) criticism,
Dave

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Re: braided ficus

Post  Ryan on Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:44 pm

I have one just like this. And I am also in the NoVA area. For the past few months I've been trying to fuse other benjamina seedlings to the trunk to try and get rid of the braided look. No luck so far.

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Re: braided ficus

Post  JimLewis on Mon Aug 22, 2011 5:16 pm

Be careful with defoliation. These don't like it.

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Re: braided ficus

Post  MrFancyPlants on Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:59 pm



I know it is a houseplant still, but it has given me the opportunity to practice some of my bonsai skills. Plus, I have given away quite a few cuttings as gifts potted in a sort of hydroponic setup so my friends only have to water every few weeks.  Maybe next year I'll try wrapping the braid in spaghnum and foil to try and obscure the braid with roots.

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Re: braided ficus

Post  beer city snake on Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:38 pm

i will be curious to see how that cling wrap technique works...

but i bet the "braiding" slowly disappears over time...
perhaps some intentional scarring in a cross hatch pattern along the seams might expedite it ?

and then you can let the supportive girlfriend pick out a bonsai pot...
(and extra kudos to any girl that lives with a surfer Razz )

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Re: braided ficus

Post  MrFancyPlants on Fri Oct 17, 2014 4:27 pm

As a matter of fact the wife did pick out the painted terracotta that it is in. And, she only boogieboards when the conditions are just right. I know, you call them something else on the middle coast. Is is really surfing if there is not even a small chance of something taking a chomp out of you? I have a bucket of middle coast "river" sand that I took the time to sift and sort. The funny thing is, even the smallest grade drains just fine, and the large particles would make a fine top dressing. Should I have bothered sorting them?

David

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Re: braided ficus

Post  Precarious on Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:33 am

I bought a f. ben at the grocery store to play with. It was five trunks, each only thick as a pencil. I brought it home and wrapped garden 'tape' around the trunks- the kind that is green, fuzzy on one side/prickly on the other, doesn't stretch, and basically acts like velcro, do you know what kind I mean? If not, I will post pics of tree and tape. At any rate, it only took a few months to get a good fusing of all trunks, and as the whole thing grew and tightened the tape, the trunks were forced to fill in the gaps.

I would think that this kind of stricture, with the fast growth your getting, would go a long way to hiding the braids. Fukubonsai does a lot of that trunk fattening through aerials, and last time I went to the website there were helpful videos. I think, though, that aerials would take as long to blend in as it would to just let it grow and naturally lose that shape, as Kevin suggested.

I also used this process on a larger, nine-trunk ficus with good results. Let me know if interested, and I will take some pictures.

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Re: braided ficus

Post  luni vedovello on Sat Oct 18, 2014 5:08 am

In Brazil it's very common twisted ficus for decoration and gardening. You can find it in any nursery.
Usually difficult to take off the symmetrical markings.
Although your plant has a good looking trunk.

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Re: braided ficus

Post  beer city snake on Mon Oct 20, 2014 6:23 pm

Precarious wrote:I brought it home and wrapped garden 'tape' around the trunks- the kind that is green, fuzzy on one side/prickly on the other, doesn't stretch, and basically acts like velcro, do you know what kind I mean?  If not, I will post pics of tree and tape.  At any rate, it only took a few months to get a good fusing of all trunks, and as the whole thing grew and tightened the tape, the trunks were forced to fill in the gaps.

I also used this process on a larger, nine-trunk ficus with good results.  Let me know if interested, and I will take some pictures.

Hey David - i am curious about that tape... i have a couple "blended trunks" i have been working on, one small 5 trunk korean hornbeam, and one tall 5 trunk dawn redwood...

for both of them, i bound the trunks in floral tape (slightly stretchy & sticky at first and less so as it ages on the tree), and then wrapped the trunks in aluminum wire... as time has gone on, i have left the tape on, but have had to snip the wire in several places around the coil, while leaving it on, to prevent it from biting in too much...

sounds like that tape might be the hot ticket for that type of thing...

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Re: braided ficus

Post  Precarious on Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:21 pm

Kevin- I think you'll find this a lot less trouble than the stretchy tape and wire method:
http://www.velcro.com/Products/Garden/Tree-Ties#.VEZSivnF9iY
I wanted to post pictures, but having camera issues at the moment. Anyhow, it's become useful in many ways in the garden, almost like duct tape to a handyman. I've seen two different widths at the nursery, I just by the wider kind b/c it is easy to cut as thin as I need.

Once I wrap my ficus trunk (or trunks if I'm doing a fusing project), it will be just a little loose even though I've tried to wrap tightly. I watch it get tighter over a few weeks, depending how fast it's growing. Pretty soon, the wrap will feel tight as if molded to the trunk, and that's when it starts forcing trunk thickening into the gaps I want to close/smooth over. Watch for the tree to begin growing around the edge, just like you would with wire on a branch. At that point, I just remove the wrap- it doesn't stick to the bark at all- and if it still needs more time, I reapply and start the process over.

Methinks, if I have a reverse taper on a ficus this might be the solution Exclamation

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Re: braided ficus

Post  beer city snake on Tue Oct 21, 2014 8:33 pm

COOL !
thanks david !!!

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Re: braided ficus

Post  Precarious on Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:28 pm

Kevin, camera working.  Here are two trees I am experimenting with.

This first multi-trunk ficus, growing in a 5 gallon container, was obtained when our church decided to get rid of it.  It was about seven feet tall and had nine trunks averaging somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 inches in diameter.  The first year, I pruned many branches, and bound it with the tree wrap.  The second year I repotted it into a much smaller pot- LOTS of root pruning on a very forgiving plant.  All the wrap is off for this picture, but going  back on as fusing is solid but not complete.  Especially at the base, where each trunk had been just too far apart.  It helps provide taper though.  Would this process be faster if I stripped off the bark where individual trunks touched? Probably, but I was not sure just how deep to make the cut.  Now it just needs to grow like mad so that thickening occurs.  I was going to keep it as a quasi-bonsai houseplant at its current 36", but thanks to inspiration from this club, I am planning to cut the 'trunk' at about 6" high when the fusing process seems complete to see if I can make something out of it at less than 18" overall height.
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This is my most recent attempt.  I began the fusing process about 8 months ago.  5-trunks thicker than a pencil each.  Each trunk became a branch at different levels as noted 1-5 in the picture.  I took off the wrap recently, but reapplied it to all but one section.  The fusing process seems complete there(the red arrow)- just a slight vertical seam.  Branch work to begin soon.
" />

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Re: braided ficus

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