Irene...about 28" I think
Will......yes..still in development
Chris,Nut..........As Will pointed out,this tree is not show ready.I'm more concerned,and meant to ask...is the balance and flow looking ok.The tree looks pretty good(to me) in real life,but there is always something bothering me when I take pictures of it.
Does it look top heavy to you?...or does it lean too much?...etc.,etc.
I think your virtual of this tree as a cascade is daring and "thinking outside the box."
Seriously, one thing that would definitely improve this tree is spreading the nebari. It seems to go straight down into the pot. How deep is your pot and how deeply is the tree planted?
I like the second trunk formed of aerial roots, if I am seeing that correctly. Now if your roots were buttressed a bit farther from the trunk, you'd be well on your way to showing a very natural banyan style tree.
You might also work on refining the foliage masses. When you get in to work on this tree, defoliation is also good to see where you are going while working.
One reason I think this tree is a question mark for you, is that the movement or flow of the tree is ambivalent. If the tree moves to the right, the left branches are too heavy, and vice versa. I'd like to see this tree wired out. I'm not such a big fan of guy wires, especially for trees that take regular wiring as well as ficus do.
I would really like to see pics of this tree from all angles, too, especially if it were mostly defoliated. Great work so far.
Just an idea. I don't like the heavy aerial roots - I think they distract from the interesting trunk line. If I see aerial roots on a ficus I like them to be much thinner than the primary trunk and far away from the trunk line. Here is directionally where I would go with this tree - but it is strictly my opinion because I know some people like the heavy tropical look. PS I shortened and deepened the pot as well.
Chris,.....The nebari is not great but I'm working on it.
Nut.......I think I'm keeping the roots,but I like your virt.
Jay,..Thanks..I like the cascade too..it should improve quite a bit this year if I keep at it.
I've thinned it out a bit...maybe not enough,but it's still a little early,even here for total defoliation.We had some 38 degree nights last weekend and all my trees are outside and unprotected.I've kept some of the guy wires on as they help me place branches in order to better visualize where I'm going.
I think the top heavy appearance could be partially solved by showing some lower branch structure, as the trunk here speaks of a very old tree, but the heavy foliage going right to the trunk speaks of a younger tree. This tree, because of this gives two contradicting views....a near view in which the trunk and its details are clearly shown and a far view, in which the foliage blends together into a canopy.
I think the challenge you will have with this tree is that the trunk is out of proportion to the branches. The branch structure was initially developed when the tree was small and has been growing unchecked. Similar to the heavy air roots, the branches are too thick relative to the trunk. There are some branches that are almost as thick as the trunk - especially at the top of the tree. You would never see this in a large mature tree - in fact it is the thick trunk with correspondingly thin branches on many bonsai that give the impression of size and age. You now have a nice tree that will never be an awesome tree without heavy branch work. However because it is a fig, that can be accomplished quickly. Check out this amazing fig. Note how small the aerial roots are (to give the impression of the size of the main trunk) and how you can see numerous trunk scars from large branches that are constantly being removed. It is this work that gives the incredible taper, and ultimately the very fine ramification of the foliage.
BTW Agraham, you should update some of your other ficus photos (on other threads). I would love to see how some of your other trees are coming along - especially some of the dramatic chops you have done on other trees.
The funny thing Andy is that it sounds like I am talking to you but half the time in these posts I am talking to myself I am reminding myself of lessons that I have learned in bonsai that I need to consisting apply - no matter how much it "hurts" in the short term.
When I first started bonsai, I moved too fast. Then I made the opposite mistake - I moved too slow. I kept trees that needed major work low on the trunk, or trees that had poor primary branch structures, or black pines that needed new branches grafted. In the end, 5 years (or more) would go by, and the problems would still be there.
I have gotten better at this because I don't spend a ton of money on bonsai. Therefore the only trees that I can afford to buy at nurseries have flaws that caused them to be looked over by others. Its a great way to learn how to airlayer, or graft, or redesign trees
I like your tree a lot, by the way. It is certainly much closer to being a show tree than any of MY ficuses
Overall great job so far. I think the tree is WELL on its way.
A technical question: Do you like/ mind the space between the arial roots? I think they are great because they give thickness to the trunk which helps balance out the canopy. If this were mine I would grab a new bag of spagnum moss and wrap the trunk. Pack it inbetween and around those roots and then wrap with black plastic. Next year and every year thereafter slowly lower the top of the black plastic until you make it to the base, combing the roots as you go. These roots should be tacked onto the main trunk, adding to its character and girth.
This is a more of a chinese approach, but it would really enhance this beauty of a tree!