Portulacaria Afra 'Cork Bark' … New to This “Tree”

John P.

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Just bought this from an eBay seller. This is the angle I’m planning, but there is inverse taper on the lower trunk. Has anyone with experience with these used trunk splitting (as with a ficus) to correct this?
 

hemmy

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Just bought this from an eBay seller. This is the angle I’m planning, but there is inverse taper on the lower trunk. Has anyone with experience with these used trunk splitting (as with a ficus) to correct this?
Nope! I wouldn’t think it could survive being split in half.

But once growing vigorously, mine usually push shoots from the trunk base which can be used as escape branches.
 

LittleDingus

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Just bought this from an eBay seller. This is the angle I’m planning, but there is inverse taper on the lower trunk. Has anyone with experience with these used trunk splitting (as with a ficus) to correct this?

They are succulents...not trees. The trunk is not woody like a tree trunk: no rings. The trunk is a water storage organ. Splitting it will kill the split portion...possibly more.
 

Tieball

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You just bought this….I would just get it to grow more first for a year or more and not start chopping away portions. Resist the temptation to interfere with the potential growth as it stabilizes and grows in your climate….and through the colder and dryer season ahead. It has sparse growth now. Let it regain more vigorous health.
 

MrWunderful

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I like your plan, but it needs to regain health. I would leave it until next year and make sure its in good soil. Make those structural cuts then.
 

John P.

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I would take some cuttings, especially off of that long branch on the top. Nice trunk and I love the pot.
Thanks, Carol! Was thinking along similar lines. Once I start watering again in 3 or 4 days and see some growth, I’ll likely cut back to 1 or 2 pairs and start building some ramification.

The pot’s an Iker.
 

Theo Smith

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Just bought this from an eBay seller. This is the angle I’m planning, but there is inverse taper on the lower trunk. Has anyone with experience with these used trunk splitting (as with a ficus) to correct this?
100% don’t split the trunk. It will most likely die from rot and you can get back budding at the base for a sacrifice branch. I love P. Afra for many reasons and its ability to back bud is one of those reasons. Try this, with as much heat and sunlight that you can give it:

Trim every branch back to a pair of opposite leaves, at the desired length. (It helps to make the cut as flush as possible)

Dry it out till most leaves start to slightly wrinkle. A couple of days in direct sunlight should do this but, your mileage may vary.

Apply synthetic, liquid fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen as per label. I use Miracle Gro. Don’t water it until right before you apply liquid fert again.

Apply again 3-5 days later. Don’t worry, you won’t burn it. I have a boatload of them and I’ve never burned one, chemically or otherwise lol. In the summer (South Florida) I sometimes apply liquid fert twice a week, to trees that I want to push growth. (I’ve applied liquid fert to dry soil as an experiment and noticed no difference but, I still water just before applications)

Repeat if needed. At worst, you’ll have some bulky, long growth where you don’t want it and you’ll just have to trim it back.

It will take as much heat and sunshine as you can provide and loves nitrogen. Root rot is the real killer for this species. As general advice, just water when the leaves start to wrinkle.

Nice tree and I like your angle/plan. HMU if you want a pic of the results from this technique.

I hope this helps!
 

John P.

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Thanks, @Theo Smith … I’ve discarded the split trunk idea. I’ll definitely try your fertilization technique when it’s time to water this one. It should coincide with a switch from gloom to sun here soon.
 

Theo Smith

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Thanks, @Theo Smith … I’ve discarded the split trunk idea. I’ll definitely try your fertilization technique when it’s time to water this one. It should coincide with a switch from gloom to sun here soon.
Cool, post update pics if you can. The more I look at that pot, the more I like it. Looks good on the tree.
 

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