Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

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Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:22 am

Hey everyone,


I've had this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki' for quite a while now, and I've still no idea where to go with it.

Here is a shot of it:


Now, here is something I've been considering. I tilt the tree to the left:


And chop off the left side, creating this:


However, this would create a large scar on the left, which would take a long time to heal over. Any input/comments are welcome.

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Poink88 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:35 am

Ryan, not another chop! Wink

How about a shot taken from the side?

It might work by tilting it to the current back, rewire the lead vertically and position the trees front to either the current left or right.

Poink88
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  coh on Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:44 am

You've got a short-ish trunk with decent looking taper and a strong upright structure - so what's wrong with the obvious choice of making a formal-upright type of tree? Why fight the material and make a huge chop that'll take forever to heal? Grow out the top to make a better transition, and then cut back and start branch growth.

Caveat - I have no idea how this variety responds to pruning, whether it buds well from the trunk, etc. I would assume that eventually that big root will merge with the trunk, which will make the lower trunk look nice and wide?

Chris

coh
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:59 am

Thank you both.


Poink- The problem with turning the tree around is that the back is just that, the back. The tree has been "styled" so that the back cannot be the front and vice versa, but here are some shots of it:



Chris- I've gotten mixed reviews about the taper, or lack thereof, on this tree that I guess it's gone to my head and I now believe the taper isn't as strong as it could be. Benjamina 'Kiki' reacts nothing like regular benjamina. Benjamina 'Kiki' backbuds a lot better and grows a lot faster. I'm hoping that eventually that gap closes up and forms a pretty nice base.

Here are some more shots of the 'front' of the tree:



As you can see, one of the big things that I really dislike is the big nasty bulge at the top of the tree, where the leader comes from. I guess that can be fixed with time, however.

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Poink88 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:05 am

Ryan, Can you post a side shot (not the back).

Looking from the top, if the front is 12 o'clock, can you take one at 10 o'clock?

Re: the bulge...your solution is too drastic for such a small problem. As I told you before, trunk chop is not the solution for everything.

Poink88
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:14 am

Sure, will these do it for you?


Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Poink88 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:15 am

No...those are still front shots just tilted...(right or left) side shot please

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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:24 am

Poink88 wrote:No...those are still front shots just tilted...(right or left) side shot please

Oops, guess I misread that then. Out of curiousity, why a side shot?

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Poink88 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:26 am

Ryan wrote:Sure, will these do it for you?

I prefer this as a front actually...now I don't know if the other side is better.

Poink88
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Poink88 on Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:27 am

Ryan wrote:
Poink88 wrote:No...those are still front shots just tilted...(right or left) side shot please

Oops, guess I misread that then. Out of curiousity, why a side shot?

Just to see if it offers other options.

Poink88
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Mon Jan 16, 2012 4:33 am

Poink88 wrote:
Ryan wrote:
Poink88 wrote:No...those are still front shots just tilted...(right or left) side shot please

Oops, guess I misread that then. Out of curiousity, why a side shot?

Just to see if it offers other options.

Oh I can guarantee this is about the only option Laughing

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:36 am

Here are some new pictures. I'm still not happy about that transition to the leader. That unsightly bulge is just hideous. Don't know how much I can work it down, either....

Keeping the tree in an aquarium with a layer of gravel at the bottom has caused the roots to do this:






You can see where growth is rolling over the old chop scar:


Tomorrow I'll repot and makes some marks in the trunk to get some nebari going.

Any comments are welcome.

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:44 am

Wire down the branches, watch them for cutting, but let them grow wild to develop diameter. These are apical (top branches) dominant so you have to restrict top growth to get lower branches to get diameter. Remember Ficus are mostly rainforest trees and the first tree to the light wins.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Thu Apr 05, 2012 2:46 am

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:Wire down the branches, watch them for cutting, but let them grow wild to develop diameter. These are apical (top branches) dominant so you have to restrict top growth to get lower branches to get diameter. Remember Ficus are mostly rainforest trees and the first tree to the light wins.

Thanks Billy! I know which branches on the left side of the tree will be wired, but I'm still trying to decide on which branches on the right to keep....

And when you say wire down the branches, do you mean wire them downward at an angle?

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:39 am

Here's Jerry Meisliks thought:


Now, what if I then wired those branches downward?

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Apr 05, 2012 11:15 am

Wire the left branch to at least 90 degrees maybe a little down, the right side looks like you took off a large branch and left a stub, from which you have some new growth, I think the stub needs to be shorter and you can select one new shoot, let it develop a few weeks before wiring.
But, you must keep the top under control by pruning to force growth down into the side branches.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Thu Apr 05, 2012 4:25 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:Wire the left branch to at least 90 degrees maybe a little down, the right side looks like you took off a large branch and left a stub, from which you have some new growth, I think the stub needs to be shorter and you can select one new shoot, let it develop a few weeks before wiring.
But, you must keep the top under control by pruning to force growth down into the side branches.

Thanks Billy. I haven't really been keeping on the top growth at all. Pulling it out yesterday I realized just how tall that leader has gotten, it needs a small cut back.

I see the area where it looks like there's a stub, I do need to correct that. What I really need to do is get this tree under the T5 lights, as right now it's under a two bulb T8 light, but is still growing like a weed.

By the way, here's my revised version of Jerrys design, I just added a few branches where I think it's possible:

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:06 pm

Repotted and cut back just a little bit. I tried to move that lower left branch more downward, but it's pretty stiff and I'm afraid it'll break if I fight it too much Laughing

Before:



After:





Comments welcome.

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:42 am

I was thinking something along this line...

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:49 am

So I'd keep only the branches shown:

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:46 am

I think your last vert. might work. You need to find a way to hide that abrupt transition from the very thick base to the narrow top. I think keeping it as short as possible and hiding the top with foliage is the best way.

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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Sat Apr 07, 2012 3:18 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:I think your last vert. might work. You need to find a way to hide that abrupt transition from the very thick base to the narrow top. I think keeping it as short as possible and hiding the top with foliage is the best way.

Thanks Billy, good point. I plan on keeping it as short as possible, so maybe growing out the leader some more will help that transition?

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:25 pm

Ryan

Just remember that this tree is apical dominant that is it wants to grow on top and ignore the lower branches, so if you let the top grow too wild the lower growth will suffer.

Billy M. Rhodes
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:39 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:Ryan

Just remember that this tree is apical dominant that is it wants to grow on top and ignore the lower branches, so if you let the top grow too wild the lower growth will suffer.

Thanks Billy, very true. That's why I gave the leader a trim in hopes that the lower branches will now thicken a bit.

Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

Post  Ryan on Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:58 pm

Removed the unwanted branches and ready to just let this tree grow. I need to work on bringing the foliage in closer. I left that bottom right branch as I thought it could belong, I don't think it makes a bar branch with the branch on the left side.


Ryan
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Re: Where to take this Ficus benjamina 'Kiki'

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