Help with ficus - beginner

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Help with ficus - beginner

Post  ADO on Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:02 am

Hi all, first time poster and bonsai beginner. thumbs up
I have this fig and I don’t know where I should go with it? It has taper and is about 2.5 inches at the base and just over 35 cm high. I defoliated it about 1 month ago and its leaves are coming back nicely but I am a bit stuck for ideas as to where to go next and what kind of development/style I want In my mind, the tree is a little too tall for the caliper of the trunk. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers Very Happy
Adrian







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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  fiona on Fri Feb 03, 2012 12:28 pm

Hi Adrian and welcome to the forum.

I can't say anything about the tree as Ficus is not a genus we work with much over in the cold UK. There are plenty of ficus people on here so hopefully you will get some responses soon. In the meantime I hope you don't mind but I've taken the liberty of making your pic a bit bigger. It would also help if you posted a couple more taken from different angles and if possible in a better light.

Regards

Fiona



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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:01 pm

I am not good at virtuals so I will try to describe my suggestions and why.

1. Join a club and take the tree to a meeting.
2. Get some wire
3. As a general rule, branches should get smaller as you move up the tree.
4. Your first branch is a little low.
5. The only time you put a tree dead center in a pot is when the pot is round, move the tree to the left about halfway between the current location and the edge of the pot and juts to the rear of the center line.
6. So, re: #3 above you have a problem with the first large branch on the right side and all the smaller branches below it.
7. You can either remove the smaller branches, but I think that then leaves too large a gap, from branch #1 to branch #2.
8. So, I would remove that large branch.
9. Remove or wire down anything that grows straight up or straight down.
10. Send another photo when you have done this.



Last edited by Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:13 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : smaller for bigger)

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  jrodriguez on Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:33 pm

Adrian,

From the looks of you tree, it seems to me that you have already applied wire to the trunk. As far as the first branch, it is well placed and cutting it will not improove the tree. Also, you have placed the tree in a large pot. Great!!! The tree is still in development and will not need a bonsai pot just yet. Please visit our site at www.sidiao.com . You will find lots of pictures, articles and general techniques that apply to particular species, ficus included. Please read the article "Approaches for Cultivating Ficus".

Wam regards,

Jose Luis

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:36 pm

jrodriguez wrote:Adrian,

From the looks of you tree, it seems to me that you have already applied wire to the trunk. As far as the first branch, it is well placed and cutting it will not improove the tree. Please visit our site at www.sidiao.com . You will find lots of pictures, articles and general techniques that apply to particular species, ficus included. Please read the article "Approaches for Cultivating Ficus".

Wam regards,

Jose Luis

I was not referring to the first branch on the left, but the first large branch on the right.

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  jrodriguez on Fri Feb 03, 2012 1:40 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:
jrodriguez wrote:Adrian,

From the looks of you tree, it seems to me that you have already applied wire to the trunk. As far as the first branch, it is well placed and cutting it will not improove the tree. Please visit our site at www.sidiao.com . You will find lots of pictures, articles and general techniques that apply to particular species, ficus included. Please read the article "Approaches for Cultivating Ficus".

Wam regards,

Jose Luis

I was not referring to the first branch on the left, but the first large branch on the right.

That branch does not emerge from the right side of the tree. It is just a back branch. Look at the picture closely.

Regards,

Jose Luis

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  ADO on Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:40 pm

Hi gentlemen,
thanks very much for your input -
cheers
Billy, thanks for those points. I have already joined a club/workshop and I will be taking this tree. in the meantime i'll wire some of those branches down. I am a bit reluctant to lop off any branches at the moment, at least until I wire it and take it to the workshop.
thanks very much Very Happy

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  coh on Fri Feb 03, 2012 3:44 pm

What type of ficus is this?

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  ADO on Sat Feb 04, 2012 4:13 am

Actually, I have no idea.
there are some leaves on it now subsequent to that photo. I'll post it up tonight to see if anyone can help with I.D.

thanks again

Adrian

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:44 am

ADO wrote:Hi gentlemen,
thanks very much for your input -
cheers
Billy, thanks for those points. I have already joined a club/workshop and I will be taking this tree. in the meantime i'll wire some of those branches down. I am a bit reluctant to lop off any branches at the moment, at least until I wire it and take it to the workshop.
thanks very much Very Happy

That's a good idea. Tell them that Billy from the BCI China and Japan trips says hello.

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  ADO on Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:59 pm

Hi Billy,
now worries - i'll be sure to pass on your hello Very Happy

thanks again for your help. I'll keep you posted on the figs progression.

cheers

Adrian

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Help with Ficus - Beginner

Post  bonsaisr on Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:41 pm

A couple of observations from an unseasoned ficus fighter. If you look at the Taiwanese bonsai, and more important, at photos of ficus in the ground, such as F. microcarpa, you will notice the branches start much closer to the ground than the traditional one-third. I would leave the bottom branch on the right & work up from there. If you don't like the result later on, it is acting as a sacrifice branch & will help the trunk. In my humble opinion, the bottom branch on the left and the fat branch halfway up must go. They are too thick in proportion to the trunk & detract from the picture.
Iris

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Feb 04, 2012 3:53 pm

the bottom branch on the left and the fat branch halfway up must go.

What I said.

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help with ficus beginner

Post  moyogijohn on Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:15 pm

Adrian,,,,, I don,t want to get burned !! a question only.. your tree,if you keep the two large branches,prune the small ones on the bottom right.. wire the large branches down to level,,strighten the tree over to the right then wire the top branches down some.. what would it look like to you then??? help me BILLY SOMEONE ! Just a thought because if the left branch is pruned you will have none till way up.. take care John

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  bonsaisr on Mon Feb 06, 2012 11:13 pm

moyogijohn wrote: Just a thought because if the left branch is pruned you will have none till way up.. take care John
True. However, depending on what species of fig it is, if he is lucky, it will bud back on the trunk. If not, figs are very amenable to thread grafting. See article on thread grafting under Ficus Techniques at Jerry Meislik's web site.
Iris

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  ADO on Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:56 am

moyogijohn wrote:Adrian,,,,, I don,t want to get burned !! a question only.. your tree,if you keep the two large branches,prune the small ones on the bottom right.. wire the large branches down to level,,strighten the tree over to the right then wire the top branches down some.. what would it look like to you then??? help me BILLY SOMEONE ! Just a thought because if the left branch is pruned you will have none till way up.. take care John


Hi John, thanks so much for your ideas. Funny, I was actually thinking the same thing. The more I look at it, the more I think it would be a shame to lop of those larger branches. The smaller, thinner branches to the right look to skinny for the trunk. But I am pretty inexperienced so that is coming from a rank beginner.


Hi Iris, thank you also. The thread grafting techniques sounds very promising also. Its amazing how much these figs can take. Its summer here so it’s a great time to work on them too. At least I have a couple of options for me to consider.
Cheers
Adrian

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Ficus Beginner

Post  bonsaisr on Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:20 pm

ADO wrote:I think it would be a shame to lop of those larger branches. The smaller, thinner branches to the right look too skinny for the trunk.
However, in time the skinny branches will get thicker, especially on a Ficus. The trunk will stay about the same.
The general rule is that a branch should not be thicker than one fourth or one third the thickness of the trunk at that height.
Another option would be to air layer the tree just below that heavy left branch and make it a twin trunk. If you do that, I would put a notch in the top of the fork and wire the branch to a more vertical position. That would take care of the problem of too many branches on one side.
What kind of fig is it?
Iris

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  Rob Kempinski on Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:04 pm

Since you live in a Ficus friendly climate like I do, I'd be ruthless and I'd cut as shown in the red and wire as shown in the yellow. The cuts develop taper, the wire great structure. The cut offs can become cuttings for root grafts to improve the nebari. Good luck.


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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  coh on Tue Feb 07, 2012 7:37 pm

I was thinking about that as a possible approach last night...my only reservation was that the sharp bend in the upper part of the trunk doesn't seem in character with the smoother movement of the lower trunk. I guess in time some of that sharpness would grow out, though...

As for that lower left branch...couldn't one "hold it back" while allowing the other branches to grow and thicken? I think it could be worth keeping.

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  ADO on Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:41 am

Hi,
so many great options there. I'l take them under advisement and bring them with me to my next work shop.

Oh, Rob, thanks for your input and great virt. Also, I would just like to say that I am a subscriber to your BCI magazine and love it! the photos are beautiful and stories insightful and helpful. Please keep up the great work. cheers cheers

all the best

Adrian

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

Post  Rob Kempinski on Wed Feb 08, 2012 6:51 pm

ADO wrote:Hi,
so many great options there. I'l take them under advisement and bring them with me to my next work shop.

Oh, Rob, thanks for your input and great virt. Also, I would just like to say that I am a subscriber to your BCI magazine and love it! the photos are beautiful and stories insightful and helpful. Please keep up the great work. cheers cheers

all the best

Adrian

Thanks Adrian, nice to hear. We are working hard to improve every issue of the BCI magazine and to figure offer more benefits to our members while promoting the art of bonsai and stone appreciation.

Good luck with the ficus.

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Re: Help with ficus - beginner

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