HUGE Ficus retusa, with tons of trunk rot.

Mudvaine87k

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Hello, I am new here.
I just bought this huuuuge ficus retusa from a nursery.
The tree was kept in a greenhouse to its own means. Very neglected, tons of rotten wood at the bottom.
Keeping the tree alive, there's a few aerial roots with long shoots coming out at the ends, it really makes the now dead trunk stand out.
It needs re-potting, and a good moss clean up on the bark.
I started to remove some of the rotten, soft/wet wood until I reached somehard wood, but before I continued I wanted some advice.
Need help understanding tree rot, aerial roots, and lime Sulphur. I'll take all the help I can get. Pictures will be posted soon.
Thank you.
 

BonsaiDTLA

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What are your questions? If it's general help needed, using the search bar can help uncover a lot of valuable information and use cases.

Adding pictures would be helpful to see what you're dealing with here
 

Mudvaine87k

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Pictures. The tree is about 3 feet tall, the pot is 30 by 20.
 

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R0b

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either a tanuki or more likely an attempt at making a strangler fig

edit: tanuki is a young plant “grafted“ to an older trunk
 

sorce

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Welcome to Crazy!

I hope you bought it for free!

Where are you?
Your future growth rate will determine plan of Action.

Sorce
 

Michael P

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What an interesting tree! It has so many aerial roots and some of them originate very high on the trunk. It would not surprise me if most or all of the trunk is dead, and the tree is relying entirely on the aerial roots.

If it were mine, I would concentrate on bringing the tree back to health first. Depending on your climate, summer is often a good time to repot ficus. As you give remedial care, you can carve away the rotted or dead wood a little at a time. Ficus dead wood does not preserve well even when treated with lime sulfur, so one rarely sees ficus with extensive dead wood features. But the genus does make great hollow trunk specimens.

BTW, the current correct scientific name is Ficus microcarpa. This will help when you do information searches.
 

Mudvaine87k

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either a tanuki or more likely an attempt at making a strangler fig

edit: tanuki is a young plant “grafted“ to an older trunk

I have no idea, the aerial roots seem old, and some of them are very thick.
 

Mudvaine87k

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What an interesting tree! It has so many aerial roots and some of them originate very high on the trunk. It would not surprise me if most or all of the trunk is dead, and the tree is relying entirely on the aerial roots.

If it were mine, I would concentrate on bringing the tree back to health first. Depending on your climate, summer is often a good time to repot ficus. As you give remedial care, you can carve away the rotted or dead wood a little at a time. Ficus dead wood does not preserve well even when treated with lime sulfur, so one rarely sees ficus with extensive dead wood features. But the genus does make great hollow trunk specimens.

BTW, the current correct scientific name is Ficus microcarpa. This will help when you do information searches.

Very interesting tree indeed, the hole trunk is dead. It's all aerial roots, and they're everywhere!

I saw this tree a few months ago, and according to my wife, I kept talking about it, and on this last trip we made to Meehan's Miniatures in MD, I decided it was time to take her home.

We live in Northern VA, hot summers, mild winters. 50% humidity usually. I am waiting for my day off so I can re-post it and remove any rotten roots since it's so hot, even the guy at the nursery, Hugh Meehan, said it was the perfect time for repotting tropicals, he gave me about 20 pounds of substrate and some turface, all complimentary of course. Haha.

That is good to know about rotten wood on a ficus, that is exactly what I wanted to know, whether lime Sulphur will make it last or not, and how much I should remove. I reached some hard wood today just by using hand tools, I got into some red looking wood that appeared to bleed water? I think it was just the darkness of the wood from being wet. Anyways, I removed most of the soft watery wood and left it out to dry. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

I was just watching a Peter Chang video from Heron's bonsai on YouTube. He was talking about Hollow trunk bonsai. Thank you Michael.
 

Mudvaine87k

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Welcome to Crazy!

I hope you bought it for free!

Where are you?
Your future growth rate will determine plan of Action.

Sorce
It wasn't free unfortunately, I paid 250 for it, he gave me soil for repotting too. The pot itself looks expensive, so i think the price was fair. They're an older couple, they own Meehan's Miniatures in MD.
We live in Northern Virginia, hit summers, mild winter, 50% humidity usually.
 

R0b

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Looks like a root-over-trunk strangler-fig
based on the pictures that s the only thing I can see in it (assuming it is not a tanuki). So leave the trunk as is and develop a canopy and more aerial roots. The trunk will rot away eventually.
 

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