Ficus Tiger Bark progression


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Boerne, TX
I think I am finally going to start making threads of my trees to keep up with the progression as I rather enjoy reading the progression threads posted here by many members.

I bought this ficus last July last summer discounted at Lowes. Going to try to dig up some pictures but the tree was not more than 1/2" in diameter planted into a huge square with rounded edges ceramic. I moved the tree into a rectangular woven plastic basket less than a 1/3rd the size of the ceramic and used Bonsai Jack organic conifer soil, as that was the only soil I had available at the moment. The tree grew slow as it was kept indoors as soon as night temperatures dipped into the 40's and was moved outside mid March once temps were above 50's continuously. During June-July we had an abundance of rain that is not normal to the area and the tree loved it. I thought I was going to be able to keep it in the same pot for another season, but with the rain and fertilizing the roots were pushing the old soil above the rim of the basket.

Last time I planted the tree I completely bare-rooted it, this time I cleaned out the bottom and tried my best at teasing the roots out, cutting the thick roots and trying to keep as much feeder roots as possible. It is planted into 50/50 monto clay/bonsai block from Bonsai Jack in a 2 gal rootpouch, this will make it harder when it comes to move the tree indoors. I decided to save my akadama for when I place the trees in refinement as I noticed that the trees that I have in akadama are growing at a slower pace than the ones without it. The benefit I am seeing from akadama is tighter nodes, but I don't need that with this tree right now. My plan is to air-layer the top 2 branches to graft them into the tree as branches or additional trunks if I decide to go the banyan route.

Basket - May 2021
ficus basket.JPG

The tree has a big gap in the nebari between a big root in the back and the side of the right side of the tree, I used a cutting I took from the tree in January while it was still indoors. You can barely see it in the picture above, its the foliage behind the tree growing straight behind the main trunk. The way ficus approach graft work, that will be fused before fall, once that fuse and takes off I should be able to remove it enhancing the nebari and the taper of the trunk, but I plan on adding some wire in case I can make it my fist branch. The wound in the trunk in the middle of the graft was a failed graft, you can see the stub of the branch that was grafted there. I didn't have the grafting pins when and we had a night with strong winds and hail that knocked the branch off right after it was cut.
ficus root.JPG

Branch on the front side of the tree, this one was done at the same time as the failed on, but it wasn't ready to be cut off and survived the hail damage that killed the first one. I got the pins and hammered one in to make sure it will survive.
ficus branch.JPG

This is where the tree stands right now.
ficus full.JPG

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