Willow Leaf Fig - Progression

Jeremy

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I picked up this Willow Leaf Fig a few months ago. I don't have any photos as purchased but its heading in a similar direction.
It had a rock wedged in the roots but was loose, I decided to keep the rock, flipping until it was a more snug fit and strapped a long root tight against it. Hopefully it sets in place, if not i'll do a little surgery to encourage new roots which will 'stick' more easily.

I consider this to be a leaning/semi cascade. The branch on the right will eventually reach the rim of the pot. When I first styled it I considered the lower branch would be controversial and may not end up in the final design. Now the tree has filled out, in my eye it fits. Would love other opinions, as perhaps later down the road when more ramification is achieved, it may block out the view of the rock/base...
At the moment im letting most of the tree run a bit through winter, come spring time there will be more branch selection and re-wiring etc. the second branch on the left will be wired down once spring rolls around. But for now im enjoying active growth through our Australian 'winter'.

I would like to know if people consider this to be on the right track, and any possible improvements that could be made.

Cheers,
Jeremy
 

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carp

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Could you post a better picture, that's not cockeyed to view?
From what I can see, the tree looks a little high in the pot, and the pot looks a little small.
But the tree has a lot of potential and has a good basic shape to it right now.
Good taper and movement, just get the branches telling the same story and grow them.
Nice tree!
 

ericN

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Great progression Jeremy. I like what you did with the awkward root.

Eric
 

KennedyMarx

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Could you post a better picture, that's not cockeyed to view?
From what I can see, the tree looks a little high in the pot, and the pot looks a little small.
But the tree has a lot of potential and has a good basic shape to it right now.
Good taper and movement, just get the branches telling the same story and grow them.
Nice tree!

I'm assuming he didn't repot it when he got it, just finagled the rock and tilted the tree to what will be the new planting angle when repotted.

I like it and I'm not usually a fan of root over rock. I think the tilt gives it some drama. Maybe even tilt it a little more.
 

edprocoat

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I'm assuming he didn't repot it when he got it, just finagled the rock and tilted the tree to what will be the new planting angle when repotted.

I like it and I'm not usually a fan of root over rock. I think the tilt gives it some drama. Maybe even tilt it a little more.

How astute !

:)

ed
 

Poink88

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I'm assuming he didn't repot it when he got it, just finagled the rock and tilted the tree to what will be the new planting angle when repotted.

I like it and I'm not usually a fan of root over rock. I think the tilt gives it some drama. Maybe even tilt it a little more.

I think you are right but feel the current tilt is perfect.
 

Jeremy

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Thank you all for the encouraging feedback. As KennedyMarx pointed out, the tree is tilted at the intended angle for the next repot. That will happen in 4-5 months when we hit late spring/early summer. As you can see the tree is growing quite vigourously and we are in our second week of winter here. The joys of an almost 12 month growing season.

I will keep you updated in the spring:cool:
 

Jeremy

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Just for a gauge of size, this is 10cm at the base including the rock, and 26cm high. I gotta start putting a scale in my photos...
 

Jeremy

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So its mid summer here downunder and time to clean up all the Figs. Firstly I apologise for not having any 'before' pics but trust me, this was a healthy looking bush. I spent the last 10 weeks of spring away from home working and when I returned my benches were a jungle. Finally got everything under control so figured Id update the few worth showing on this site.

I have cut back long shoots, removed unwanted vertical shoots, defoliated the stronger areas and re-wired. The next step is to re-pot. Ive kept the bottom branch for now but the more I think about it, the more I feel it will come off. Just waiting to see how it looks in leaf and how much it obscures the view of the rock/lower trunk. The first right branch needs to extend and come down more but time will do the talking. As for the apex, when I view in the flesh it feels right, but looking at the photo it seems too tall. Perhaps chop or wire and compress more??
Will update next month when she fills out again.
 

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carp

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Ive kept the bottom branch for now but the more I think about it, the more I feel it will come off. Just waiting to see how it looks in leaf and how much it obscures the view of the rock/lower trunk. The first right branch needs to extend and come down more but time will do the talking. As for the apex, when I view in the flesh it feels right, but looking at the photo it seems too tall. Perhaps chop or wire and compress more??
Will update next month when she fills out again.

My opinion.

The bottom branch; it is just in a bad position. It's pretty far in the front of the tree and acting a side branch, but I like the feel of having that branch there, just if it were emerging from the side more. I would leave it as a sacrifice branch and allow it to thicken up the base for now though. You could expect to see some bud pops from the base when/if you chose to remove it and regrow a branch there. Or you could change the front and leave that branch, but I feel like its a nice viewing angle now.

the final height of the tree feels about right. i would chop before trying to compress it shorter with wire. ficus grow so damn fast that it would be a waste of wire and effort to try and shorten the height that way.

there's a root that is crossing underneath another root in the front of your tree. when you repot, pull it from under that root and reposition it with wire. the tree looks unstable as if it could fall off of the rock because the side root is not going out away from the trunk to give it support.

another issue that will present itself is that you have multiple branches emerging from the same location at several points on your upper trunk. the position of the branches is nice, but you will deffinetly bulid reverse taper because of this. consider removing some of them to avoid that.
 

sorce

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So you do grow all year.!

I like this one 2.

Of the low left branch. I wonder of you can cut a "notch in the crotch" and get it to bend up against the trunk. Turning the foilage to the back and left. Wrap it, let it fuse, will add taper and get that foilage in a better area.

Can't get my childish virtual to load. Aha there it goes.

Wrap it to the trunk till the (wire scar?) And then let the branch go to the back and left.

Sorce
 

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Jeremy

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My opinion.

The bottom branch; it is just in a bad position. It's pretty far in the front of the tree and acting a side branch, but I like the feel of having that branch there, just if it were emerging from the side more. I would leave it as a sacrifice branch and allow it to thicken up the base for now though. You could expect to see some bud pops from the base when/if you chose to remove it and regrow a branch there. Or you could change the front and leave that branch, but I feel like its a nice viewing angle now.

the final height of the tree feels about right. i would chop before trying to compress it shorter with wire. ficus grow so damn fast that it would be a waste of wire and effort to try and shorten the height that way.

there's a root that is crossing underneath another root in the front of your tree. when you repot, pull it from under that root and reposition it with wire. the tree looks unstable as if it could fall off of the rock because the side root is not going out away from the trunk to give it support.

another issue that will present itself is that you have multiple branches emerging from the same location at several points on your upper trunk. the position of the branches is nice, but you will deffinetly bulid reverse taper because of this. consider removing some of them to avoid that.

I feel in defoliated view the bottom branch seems right as it acts as a sub-trunk, but in leaf it just blocks the main feature which is the base. Perhaps I will chop it next year, in the meantime as you say, it will act as a sacrifice branch.
Other branchwork will be considered, i will continue growing it out and chopping back and address it again in the future.



So you do grow all year.!

Some species will grow all year here. My collection is made up of at least 50% Ficus. A few natives that mostly grow all year apart from minor shedding of old leaves during winter. My winters rarely go below 2 degrees C lasting from June til mid August, its enough of a dormancy for my decidous plants, even Chinese Elm.



I repotted the tree today, didnt quite get the angle I was aiming for but it seems to sit right at this slighty more elevated position. The crossing root Seth questioned seemed to be pretty well fused so instead of making cuts I just stripped the bark along the length of it and packed with sphagnum, hoping to generate several strong surface roots in future. I will have to find a better pot next season as at the new angle, this rectangle pot is too narrow.
 

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KennedyMarx

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I like how it's progressed so far. Have you thought about using aerial roots in the design?
 

Jeremy

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I like how it's progressed so far. Have you thought about using aerial roots in the design?

Good question. I live in a humid environment that provides a 12 month growing season for my Figs (apart from my Ficus Virens which spend 2-3 weeks dormant, defoliate themselves and kick back into life again) - so aerial roots are easy to grow here.
I enjoy large buttress and banyan Figs that have mature aerials that are well into the fusing process. It really depends on style on whether or not aerials will be an enhancement to the image. Sometimes its good to use them to your advantage to fatten up a branch or section of trunk, then chop them off when they serve their purpose.

For this particular tree, I have not thought about aerial roots in the design. I feel if I get some strong roots from the crossing root I scored on the right hand side it should provide stability off the rock as the tree is no a lean.

PS Even If i did want to use aerial roots, this particular Fig is yet to pop any for me. In fact none of my Willow Leaf's do...



I made a minor adjustment after repotting. Bent the bottom branch up and to the left slightly to give view of the base/rock. Shortened the upper left branch, theres 2 good shoots there that will take over in no time. And compressed the top down and to the right to give more flow.
 

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Jeremy

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@carp I bit the bullet, first branch scrapped.

Of the low left branch. I wonder of you can cut a "notch in the crotch" and get it to bend up against the trunk. Turning the foilage to the back and left. Wrap it, let it fuse, will add taper and get that foilage in a better area.

Can't get my childish virtual to load. Aha there it goes.

Wrap it to the trunk till the (wire scar?) And then let the branch go to the back and left.

There is a small shoot about exactly where you suggested so I will let it grow out and see what becomes of it.
For now, more ramification!
 

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carp

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You're on the right track. Grow the branches out a bit, and go for a profile like this.
 

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Jeremy

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Thanks for the virt @carp I will follow that direction. For now I had to get the wire off this tree so I defoliated to make life easier and got rid of some unnecessary growth. Some leaf tips were left on to encourage longer branches in the upper areas.
I'm thinking I now know what kind of pot I would like, should be a job for next summer when the profile of the crown fills out more and I can get exact dimensions. Heres the naked view and a shot of lichen around the first right branch
 

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carp

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Thanks for the virt @carp I will follow that direction. For now I had to get the wire off this tree so I defoliated to make life easier and got rid of some unnecessary growth. Some leaf tips were left on to encourage longer branches in the upper areas.
I'm thinking I now know what kind of pot I would like, should be a job for next summer when the profile of the crown fills out more and I can get exact dimensions. Heres the naked view and a shot of lichen around the first right branch

I would work on the roots before finding the show pot. two things i've observed (most people probably are aware but just incase); wide, shallow pots with ficus produce more lateral root growth and planting the trunk extra deep will cause the buttress to swell like a caudex. so, when you're growing for size, plant the tree deep and into a pot that is too large. when you're ready to develop good neabari, put it into a pot that is too shallow, but very wide. very nice job progressing your tree quickly. how did the ground layer on the side work out?
 

Jeremy

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I would work on the roots before finding the show pot. two things i've observed (most people probably are aware but just incase); wide, shallow pots with ficus produce more lateral root growth and planting the trunk extra deep will cause the buttress to swell like a caudex. so, when you're growing for size, plant the tree deep and into a pot that is too large. when you're ready to develop good neabari, put it into a pot that is too shallow, but very wide. very nice job progressing your tree quickly. how did the ground layer on the side work out?

Looks like only 1 root popped out. I will try again at next repot. I feel that now some of my trees are taking shape, I must be more diligent in my efforts to make improvements. Thanks for all your advice!
 

Jeremy

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Ended up rushing the repot and didn't get around to attempting another partial ground layer. That's ok, its got a lot more room to move in this pot so the one root that did pop will hopefully get a bit of size to it over the coming year. More root growth= more vigour. Ground layer next repot, no excuses! Whacked a few pieces of wire on, I am pleased with the look in person though the photo shows a few flaws. Seems I need to bring the apex down further and round it out. Also need more length on the lower right branch and a bit more negative space between branches above it.
 

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