my first ficus - what next? help appreciated

Adrian

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Hi, :)I am a first timer here at BN and also a newbie at Bonsai. I am learning a lot and bought this little Ficus the other day here in Perth, Western Australia. It had a lot of large leaves so I decided to defoliate and see what kind of branch structure I has. the result you can see for yourself. I think I would like to begin wiring this tree to start a basic shape and maybe put some movement in the upper part of the trunk. I think it has a nice taper and movement.

To my inexperienced eye, the tree has too many branches which are also all over the place making the tree like somewhat busy....

Should I wire this tree and if so, can anyone offer any ideas. Also, If i wire, can i still put it in a grow box to thicken it up some?

any help greatly appreciated:)

P.S its summer over here so days are hot - perfect for working on figs I understand.


Fig 1.jpg


P1000358.JPG
 

jk_lewis

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Before you wire, I recommend you decrease the height by at least 1/3, and shorten all the branches by about that much also. Then let it resprout new side branches and new leaves. While it is leafless (and after you cut it back) you might study the tree's silhouette from several sides. I'd guess there are at least 3 branches that you really don't need.

The front of this tree, by the way, will be the side that has the best root flare at the base -- which we can't see in these pictures and may be buried an inch or so under the soil surface.

You also might read the info on the soils forum and move this into better soil. The stuff it is in looks rather mucky.
 

Adrian

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Hi JKL, thanks for your advice. Sounds like a plan. would you be able to indicate to me where you think I should chop and which branch would potentially become a new leader?

the photo below shows the branch structure and the colored lines represent where some possible chops might be placed? Also, after I chop and choose a leader, I take it I should wire it upwards and start training it to grow as part of the trunk?

Regards the soil, its pretty free draining but I do need to repot, probably into a good grow container. I am unsure what soil to repot in as all i have lying around is normal potting mix that i use for my veges etc. I suspect its not free draining enough for the ficus. Nevertheless, I'll take it out, inspect the roots, clean the root ball of excess 'mucky soil' and repot in the hope that one day it will make a good tree. any further advice would be much appreciated. cheers

Adrian:)

trunk chop .JPG
 

JudyB

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Hi Adrian, looks like you've picked a decent candidate for your first tree, congrats! I don't do much with tropicals, so I'll leave the advice to others.

Welcome to the forum and the addiction!
 

Adrian

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Hi JKL, thanks for your advice. Sounds like a plan. would you be able to indicate to me where you think I should chop and which branch would potentially become a new leader?

the photo below shows the branch structure and the colored lines represent where some possible chops might be placed? Also, after I chop and choose a leader, I take it I should wire it upwards and start training it to grow as part of the trunk?

Regards the soil, its pretty free draining but I do need to repot, probably into a good grow container. I am unsure what soil to repot in as all i have lying around is normal potting mix that i use for my veges etc. I suspect its not free draining enough for the ficus. Nevertheless, I'll take it out, inspect the roots, clean the root ball of excess 'mucky soil' and repot in the hope that one day it will make a good tree. any further advice would be much appreciated. cheers

Adrian:)

View attachment 19826
 

Redwood Ryan

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I personally suggest chopping at the black line then making the branch circled in green the new leader, after it is wired up into position:

ft.jpg
 

Adrian

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Thank you Judy, much appreciated. I have well and truly caught the bug.!:)
It seems like a nice tree so we will see (if i dont kill it that is!)

take care

Adrian
 

jk_lewis

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would you be able to indicate to me where you think I should chop and which branch would potentially become a new leader?

Really hard to say from one picture. As I said, you have to determine the front, then stare at it for a good while before actually making the cuts. I could only do that if I could see some good pictures from several angles. I'm not sure I'd be a drastic with the chop as Ryan, bit then, he's the "fig kid." I have two shohin figs. Period.
 

Adrian

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I RR, thanks for the advice !:)

yes, i do have options but your suggestion sounds good. If i were to choose your option - would i wire that leader straight away pointing up or on a slant etc? what about a cut at the blue line using that small leader on the left? I really appreciate any time afforded my tree and questions!! ;)

trunk chop 2 virt3.jpg

trunk chop .JPG

virtual possible style if chopped at blue line using the small leader
 

edprocoat

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When you do decide where you want to chop it, take the chopped off pieces and dip them in some rooting hormone and stick them in some soil to take root. They come in handy for grafts and the top itself might make a good start for a new tree, Ficus take root very easy and it will leave you with many options if you keep the material you remove and grow it.

ed
 
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