Shohin Ficus microcarpa

Redwood Ryan

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Hey everyone,


Bought this Ficus microcarpa off of eBay for a decent price. I think it could one day make a pretty nice shohin. I am fine with the trunk size, which is an inch. What I would like to do, is place it in a training pot, not for the trunk size, but for the nebari. It's just not there. There is one root, but that's about it. I would ring bark it, but here's my problem. I think ring barking it would be great, but where I would do it is the question. The tree is very short and there is already that problem of the old root system that I believe would get in the way of the new one. I'll try to illustrate my idea.







The problem:

The old root system is in red. I could ring bark it in the yellow area, but that would shorten the tree by a lot. As illustrated by the arrow, the trunk is only about 2 inches in height. I dunno what I could do due to the lack of room:




So, how would you go about making new nebari?
 
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Instead of ring bark, you might try to wrap some spagnum moss around the base of the trunk, like you are air-layering, but without actually cutting the bark, this will send out all types of roots.
Problem I would see is that if you cut the bark and don't get the desired effect you are looking for... you will end up with a rather horrid scar. One could graft roots to the trunk, assuming one has roots to graft ???
Lastly there is my favorite trick for building roots... I dig a hole in the ground, stick the whole tree and pot in it, and then mulch it over, almost up to the leaves... this works wonders for ficus, and you can still remove them in winter and will also help with the ariel roots.
 

Redwood Ryan

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Instead of ring bark, you might try to wrap some spagnum moss around the base of the trunk, like you are air-layering, but without actually cutting the bark, this will send out all types of roots.
Problem I would see is that if you cut the bark and don't get the desired effect you are looking for... you will end up with a rather horrid scar. One could graft roots to the trunk, assuming one has roots to graft ???
Lastly there is my favorite trick for building roots... I dig a hole in the ground, stick the whole tree and pot in it, and then mulch it over, almost up to the leaves... this works wonders for ficus, and you can still remove them in winter and will also help with the ariel roots.
I never thought of the sphagnum, good thinking. I just might try that. For now I've just repotted it.

If I was to cut back the branches, do you think cutting them way back would cause some branch die back? Or would I be safe to cut them way back?
 
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microcarpa are awesome for their lack of die-back ... Unless you are removing the branch altogether, I would at least leave one leaf, mainly to help with recovery. The more green, the faster they bounce back.
I often let the branches go for a while, allowing them to grow really long, which thickens them up. Then I trim them back really hard and keep them in the full sun, greatly reducing their leaf size.
 
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