Ficus benjamina reduction

Redwood Ryan

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Hey all.

I went to my local nursery today and saw a beautiful Ficus benjamina with a graceful, curving trunk with great taper. However the tree was 5 feet tall, and had no growth in the first 3 feet. So the only option I had was to chop the tree. Reading up online I was afraid to see that benjamina does not backbud well, at all, and when it does, it is random. So I took my fears to a good friend who works at the nursery. I told her what I wanted to do and how scared I was of doing it. She understood and took me to where they had 2 sick/new Ficus benjamina. She told me she could sell them to me for $10 each. I looked at the price tag on them and it said $60 a piece.

So long story short, I got a helluva good deal for 2 trees to experiment on. I have the trees in a greenhouse I set up next to a bay window. They were a bit too tall, so I cut some branches back, but they were still too tall for the greenhouse. I simply shoved them in there and figured no harm could be done :D Inside of the greenhouse I have placed a warm air humidifier. I set up a thermometer in the greenhouse and it read 92 F (33 C). Is that too warm? It is very, very humid.

Here are the pictures:

Tree #1:



Tree #2:



And the greenhouse:


Don't mind the light, it's temporary until I can find some other way of hanging a light above the greenhouse. I can't put the light inside the tank, as there is far too much humidity. It is crazy in there.
 

GerhardG

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Hi Ryan

Nice looking tree!

I would just like too question that info about Ficus Benjamina back-budding.

I've seen that same advice a million times, but it just doesn't gel with what I've seen personally on various Bejamina varieties.

Few months ago I trimmed 2 multi-trunk Bejamina's (about 9/10ft high) in my parents' yard, caused quite a bit of shock and horror when they saw the results - my hand was heavy:D
Fact that since shortly after that they've needed to get rid of all the back budding on the lower trunks to keep the lollipops looking nice.

Climate is probably the big determining factor, but they can back-bud fiercely.

Cheers
Gerhard
 

360

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It does bud back well but their is always some die back. Benjamina drops its leaves with cold weather, I don't think it needs to be in a marijuana tent, just bring it inside til it gets warm. The humidity might cause you to have a problem with fungus. What I do with mine is just cut it back to the first growths leaving 1 leaf per branch. This should cause it to back bud near the base. Then cut 1 or 2 inches above the new growth. Ill post some that I'm working on tomorrow. It probably would survive even if you just chopped it, but you can't really predict where it will back bud.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Thank you both!

Hi Ryan

Nice looking tree!

I would just like too question that info about Ficus Benjamina back-budding.

I've seen that same advice a million times, but it just doesn't gel with what I've seen personally on various Bejamina varieties.

Few months ago I trimmed 2 multi-trunk Bejamina's (about 9/10ft high) in my parents' yard, caused quite a bit of shock and horror when they saw the results - my hand was heavy:D
Fact that since shortly after that they've needed to get rid of all the back budding on the lower trunks to keep the lollipops looking nice.

Climate is probably the big determining factor, but they can back-bud fiercely.

Cheers
Gerhard

That's great news! Thanks Gerhard! I hope I can get them to back-bud when the time comes....

It does bud back well but their is always some die back. Benjamina drops its leaves with cold weather, I don't think it needs to be in a marijuana tent, just bring it inside til it gets warm. The humidity might cause you to have a problem with fungus. What I do with mine is just cut it back to the first growths leaving 1 leaf per branch. This should cause it to back bud near the base. Then cut 1 or 2 inches above the new growth. Ill post some that I'm working on tomorrow. It probably would survive even if you just chopped it, but you can't really predict where it will back bud.


It's not a marijuana tent :D And I just placed them in this tent to keep them warm and humid, which it is doing a great job of so far....
 

360

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Heres a pick of a ficus I angled cut near the new growth this past October. The caliber of the trunk is about 2 1/2 inches. I used non conifer cut past and you can see it is already forming a callous at the top. I am in a very dry environment though so all of my trunk chops don't have much die back. Remember though that benjamina tends to die back all the way to the trunk if you totally defoliate your branches. Good luck.
 

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