Ficus Benjamina restyling ideas

tjean

Seed
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Hello,

I am looking for ideas to restyle a 20 yrs old ficus benjamina. The history is as follows
- got the plant from a nursery as a pot with 4 straight stems 20 years ago
- I fused the 4 trunks over the first few years
- It almost almost completely dried 12 years ago, I cut all the deadwood back to a single trunk, it came back strongly
- I bring it inside from thanksgiving to April (san francisco bay area)
- I cut back a lot of the top growth last year
- Occasional repotting roughly every 3 years

The pictures represent the current state of the tree from three different angles. The tree is 3 foot high, the trunk is 3.5 inches thick.

My questions are about:
- How to bring back a more interesting structure ? There are still several vertical trunks coming out of the base.
- What to do about the overlapping nebari ?

thanks a lot for your help

tj
 

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Colorado

Omono
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This is a pretty sweet tree with a nice base. I would wait until it is really growing this summer, and then cut it back very hard leaving at least one leaf at each pruning site.

I think it can be a nice tree if you bring the canopy into proportion with the trunk.
 

19Mateo83

Chumono
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This tree is my end goal for the group of cuttings I have going. Beautiful tree! Thank you for sharing it with us.
 

ShadyStump

Masterpiece
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The way I see it- limited experience myself, so grain of salt- if you don't like the overlapping nebari you can;
A: cut out the top layer, but risk killing a trunk, and have to deal with the scars
B: cut out the bottom layers of roots, not have to deal with scars, but still risk killing a trunk
or C: plant it deeper and try to coax more roots out of the top layer to cover up the bottom layer of roots. Root grafting may also be an option here, but I don't know anything about that.
I personally don't find them too appalling, especially from a clump style.

The top, I think you're in for a few more years cut and grow, and some wiring. Get some of the lower ones going more horizontal, then you're into refinement.
 

Eckhoffw

Omono
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Man. Nice tree. Great base IMO. I don’t think the overlapping roots are so bad. You could cut them away and correct over time.
But yeah, nice tree! Prune back and ramiify this one. Very nice!
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
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Welcome to Crazy!

What to do about the overlapping nebari ?

If you keep the creases clean and gouge em thoughtfully when close enough, they'll grow together and lose the lines.

Looks like you have enough low growth to cut it back hard.
Just don't do it too soon, or ungreen anything you need to hide the deadwood.

Sorce
 

tjean

Seed
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Thanks for the thoughtful answers, got me thinking differently. I'll cut back more of the canopy and i'll try gouging one of the root creases this season and see the result.
 

brentwood

Shohin
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Is there a rule if thumb for cutting back branches and expecting it to live, push buds again?

Thanks,
Brent
 

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