New Willow Leaf Ficus

Redwood Ryan

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Hey all,


Just thought I'd share my most recent Willow Leaf Ficus purchase. It was purchased online for $80 and has a base of 3 inches. There are two branches that come up from the base, each being over an inch thick. I first want to get this thing to sprout new growth, then I'll repot it into a bulb pan, then reduce the trunk on the left and remove the trunk on the right. Here are the pictures:

Front:



Base:




Back:



I hope to cut back to what's within this picture:


That would involve me doing this:



I've shared this elsewhere, so I'm trying to gather some opinions on it before I do major changes. Thoughts?
 

Bonsai Nut

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Instead of just cutting back, you might consider air-layering. It would leave you with three trees...
 

sammiboii

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BNut is right, airlayers would leave you with three trees. Cutting back to where you're talking about would leave you with a sweet little tree. I would advise you not to repot at the same time or at least not as aggressive as the trunk chop. I aggressively cut mine and it had severe dieback and eventually went to bonsai heaven. It's kicking it with Jesus right now.

Keep us posted. That's a nice tree.
Sam
 

Redwood Ryan

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Thank you both!

The reason I suggested chop instead of layer is that I believe layering would just set me back further than I want, and Ficus s. root pretty well. I also wanted to chop it so that I could quarter the base and flare it. So maybe I'll chop the one on the right and layer the one on the left.

My plans for right now are just to let the tree recover, then repot the tree when I see new growth, then chop/air layer it.
 

sammiboii

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Sounds like a good plan, Ryan. Keep us in the loop.

Have a great weekend!!!
Sam
 

Redwood Ryan

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Thanks Sam, will do.

This is my official plan. Cut back to what is seen in the picture, removing the right hand branch. That should promote back bud in the orange area. I will take one of those buds from that area and make it the new leader, the blue arrow. Once that branch has grown to a decent size, I'll cut the branch on the left off, thus creating really decent taper:
 

Redwood Ryan

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After the repot (I didn't mess with the roots a whole lot, if at all):


After the chop:


The cutting left over, which I will quarter the base on it and flare it:

 

Redwood Ryan

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Been quite a while since updating this. So far it's going where I planned on it. I chopped it back tonight, but here it is before the chop:



Then after a chop and wiring tonight:



Comments welcome.
 

mcpesq817

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Nice job. Brave of you to take the step and improve the tree by chopping it like you did. Did the cuttings take?
 

Redwood Ryan

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Nice job. Brave of you to take the step and improve the tree by chopping it like you did. Did the cuttings take?

Thanks!

One of the cuttings took, but it's not quite picture worthy as of now ;)
 

Eric Schrader

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why did you wire the top bud straight up? In my experience with trees in general if you wire the bud straight up it will get strong at the tip and want to continue up. If you wire it up and then lay the tip out like a side branch on the apex you'll get buds sprouting along the length of it and end up with much more fine branching. If you lay it over toward the back you can also use it as a sacrifice and put he chop to the back rather than at the top again. But perhaps I'm not understanding how you want the tree to look in the end?
 

Redwood Ryan

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why did you wire the top bud straight up? In my experience with trees in general if you wire the bud straight up it will get strong at the tip and want to continue up. If you wire it up and then lay the tip out like a side branch on the apex you'll get buds sprouting along the length of it and end up with much more fine branching. If you lay it over toward the back you can also use it as a sacrifice and put he chop to the back rather than at the top again. But perhaps I'm not understanding how you want the tree to look in the end?

Well, cause I didn't know about that :D

It's just what I've always done. That's a good idea, though.

I had just planned on a small shohin with this kind of a look:
vv.jpg
 

Redwood Ryan

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Here's the tree as of today. It's backbudding like crazy and I got a couple of buds there on the left side, thankfully.


 

Redwood Ryan

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Also, I didn't end up wiring the leader to the side, as you suggested Eric, but the leader is backbudding very well. There are sprouts all up and down it. I think it's due to the very bright light the tree is receiving.
 

Redwood Ryan

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To avoid the right angle created:


I could wire the branches downward?




Thoughts?
 

Redwood Ryan

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Long time no update. Here's this tree tonight after a small trim to select the main branches. Tried to wire the branches, but they're still rather thin and didn't take to wiring very well. Will let them grow and thicken a bit more:
029.jpg
 

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