richm2778
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

My trees!!! (Ficus & Trident Maple)

Here are some pics of my trees. I know I have some work to do, but these are my babies. Any advice or comments are welcome. My special project is the Trident Maple. It should be leafing out pretty soon, and I am psyched up about the second season that I have it for. I have no plans to cut or train at all, just let the sucker grow for a while, and then I can move forward with my plans. I think that a broom style could be nice, or if I decide to trunk chop it in drastic fashion. Thoughts?

On the Ficus Retusa, there are two trees, and I have had them up against each other for the past year. I kept them that way when I repotted, but I am toying with the idea of trying to graft them together once the rapid growth season begins.
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/eb1928da.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/b89f42ab.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/85c2b880.jpg[/img]

JTred
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Location: Elizabeth, PA

You've got some nice trees to work with. I agree that you should let the maple just go for a year, but it already has a pretty nice shape. I like your ficuses too. The double ficus looks like two people embracing. If I may offer a suggestion, I would simply leave them in the position that they are in, maybe scraping the bark off down to the cambium layers where they are already touching (graft), then encourage some aerial roots to fill in the hole in the middle to get a nice banyan look, and a drastic taper. The other ficus I like too. It sort of looks like a baobab tree, and it already has a nice taper. I'd like to see what you decide to do with them in the future.

P.S. You don't know how jealous those pictures made me when I saw that you have none of that cold, ugly, wet, white stuff on the ground. I feel like we'll never get rid of the stuff.

richm2778
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

Thanks.

It is so funny that you made that recommendation about the double ficus tree. That is exactly what I have planned to do. I am not sure how to generate good aerial roots though. Any tips? I also like the Ginseng Ficus. I think it has a really good natural shape to it. I usually just defoliate the larger leaves and I do a complete defoliation in early spring as well as in summer. It keeps the leaves nice and small.

The Trident is my baby!!!! I think I am just going to let it go this year and hope for a huge growth season. It will look nice if more ramification occurs, but I was disappointed last season that the leader grew so much and there are very few branches towards the top. Oh well, we will see what this season brings!!!

FLBonsai
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Location: Florida

Re: Thanks.

richm2778 wrote:It is so funny that you made that recommendation about the double ficus tree. That is exactly what I have planned to do. I am not sure how to generate good aerial roots though. Any tips? I also like the Ginseng Ficus. I think it has a really good natural shape to it. I usually just defoliate the larger leaves and I do a complete defoliation in early spring as well as in summer. It keeps the leaves nice and small.

The Trident is my baby!!!! I think I am just going to let it go this year and hope for a huge growth season. It will look nice if more ramification occurs, but I was disappointed last season that the leader grew so much and there are very few branches towards the top. Oh well, we will see what this season brings!!!
For good aerial roots there are several easy methods. The most common is wrap plastic or burlap around the trunk to increase humidity and allow the roots that break to survive until they reach the ground. If you only want a few strategically place aerial roots I would consider the next method. Tie a string around the branch where you want an aerial root, soak the other end of the string in water. The string will wick up the moisture and when a root breaks out it will follow the moisture in the string.

Show us your results on those nice trees!

richm2778
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Location: South Florida

Did a little bit...

I did a little bit of work last night. I took the double ficus tree and I made an attempt at grafting two separate locations. It is still chilly, but the trees have been growing like weeds lately. I have had to constantly prune back the biggest leaves and stuff.

Anyway, I scraped down to the layer you described to me. Then I put both trees tightly up against each other. As far as stabilizing, I was given a really good idea by a friend that raises bonsai. I took electrical tape, and I wrapped the trees together. I kept the sticky side away from the tree though. this way, it is wrapped tight, but there is some stretch to the tape for when the trunks continue to grow. If I have to reinforce with wire, I will do so at a later time. I am hopeful that I will get them attached by next season. As for this year, I am not planning to do anything else but chase those aerial roots. I think that I need to learn more about how to develop them though.

It gets super hot here in the summer, like the 90's. I am thinking about getting an opaque plastic pot and placing it over the tree for a few weeks. some sunlight will get through, but not too much. I hope that by doing this, I will keep it extra humid, kind of like a greenhouse type of set up. Perhaps I will put some stones under the plant in order to make sure that the bucket has some airflow under it. What do you all think?

WatchMeShove
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Location: Marin County, CA

yo

If it is 90* outside I'm not so sure that you would want to make a greenhouse effect for it. The hot air can get trapped inside and it could become much hotter than that, essentially killing the plant. The greenhouse cover is a great idea for spring and maybe even fall also, just be careful when it gets overly hot in the summer months, maybe take off the greenhouse in the day and put it back on in the late afternoon, keeping the plant warm overnight. With the maple you probably wouldn't need a greenhouse cover, especially if it is 90*. Actually if it is 90 outside you should keep the maple almost in full shade, giving it a little sun only in the morning and no full sun in the afternoon.

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SHS
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Location: South Florida - Zone 10

Re: yo

WatchMeShove wrote:If it is 90* outside I'm not so sure that you would want to make a greenhouse effect for it. The hot air can get trapped inside and it could become much hotter than that, essentially killing the plant. The greenhouse cover is a great idea for spring and maybe even fall also, just be careful when it gets overly hot in the summer months, maybe take off the greenhouse in the day and put it back on in the late afternoon, keeping the plant warm overnight. With the maple you probably wouldn't need a greenhouse cover, especially if it is 90*. Actually if it is 90 outside you should keep the maple almost in full shade, giving it a little sun only in the morning and no full sun in the afternoon.
Since I live nearby, I am sure he was speaking of "when" it gets warmer and considering creating a greenhouse effect until then because it has been cool down here.

You people up north need to stop send the cold down here, we are getting grumpy!

JTred
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Location: Elizabeth, PA

Re: Did a little bit...

richm2778 wrote: It gets super hot here in the summer, like the 90's. I am thinking about getting an opaque plastic pot and placing it over the tree for a few weeks. some sunlight will get through, but not too much. I hope that by doing this, I will keep it extra humid, kind of like a greenhouse type of set up. Perhaps I will put some stones under the plant in order to make sure that the bucket has some airflow under it. What do you all think?
I would probably opt for a shade cloth and a setup like FLBonsai suggested. That way you get good air circulation around the foliage, protection from the sun, and the humidity you need on the trunk. In your area it shouldn't be hard to get the humidity you need. Another idea is to use some type of cylindrical container to bury the trunk with a well draining medium as far up as you want aerial roots, then to slowly remove it from the top down as the roots form and get strength.

richm2778
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

The weather here has been so crazy. The Maple still hasn't leafed out. At this time last year, it was in full bloom. I guess that is good though, as it is supposed to rest for the winter. My ficus trees are growing heartily. The double ficus especially has gained a lot more leaves and has a much fuller canopy. I have tried to grow aerial roots before with no success. I have tried rooting hormone, I have tried wrapping in plastic wrap with sphagnum moss, I have tried everything. I will make an effort to provide shade for the Maple this summer, in order to allow for better growth and no leaf burn. I will keep you guys updated.

Rich

richm2778
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

Update!

Okay. Finally, my Trident Maple is beginning to pop buds into leaves. I am a bit surprised though. I did not think the tree had been growing much since the repotting, but now that I look at the pictures I posted a few weeks ago, I can see some noticeable growth towards the bottom of the trunk, as well as in the length of some of the branches. I am hoping for a really good growth year. Do any of you know how much the trunk can thicken in a season? I would say that right now, the trunk is about as wide around as a marker. I am going to wait until it is huge!! Somewhere in the 5 or 6 inch range before I begin to train it. I think that size trunk will give me a lot of good character to the tree, as well as produce a nice sized canopy to shape and train. I have seen some really nice pics of Tridents online and I am inspired. I will have to do a trunk chop at some point, though I am sure.

As for the ficus trees- I have tried to graft them and I sealed the edges of the graft with wound sealant for trees. I am not sure how to tell if the graft has begun to take though, as I have never done this before. Any advice for a newbie???? I will post updated pics as soon as the Trident is in full bloom- probably another week or 2 at most. Thanks guys!!

Rich

richm2778
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

Trident Maple. Not fully leafed out, but in a larger pot and ready for a good growth season!
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/4f113741.jpg[/img]

Ginseng Ficus. Large and in charge. For some reason though, new growth is coming in with gigantic leaves! If anyone knows why, please let me know. I am thinking about a complete defoliation because I got really great results from that process last season.
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/39740063.jpg[/img]

Ficus Retusa. I have the plastic cups around it to hold the additional gravel I put along the trunk to hold humidity and stimulate the growth of some more roots. I am not sure how long to leave it there, but I am guessing it takes a few months or so. I plan to reduce the height by a few inches each week or so once I see some new growth along the highest areas covered. Also, I have the black tape on it (sticky side out) to help it fuse. I scraped down to the Cambium layer on both trunks, and set them against one another. I sealed the outside of the wounds with tree glue (that grey stuff) that I got on another bonsai site. It seems to be working, and it has only been about 5 or 6 weeks so far. I hope to have the tape off and the trunk exposed by the end of summer. Any advice would be appreciated because I have never done a trunk fusion or gotten aerial root growth before.
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/243e51a6.jpg[/img]

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Big Vine
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Location: Florida - Zone 8b

Rich,

Nice trees...congrats on the growth you've been getting! 8)
A few thoughts come to mind about those two Ficus you've got...

As for the large leaves on the Ginseng---this is an indication of strong growth, and deciding whether or not to defoliate has to be considered not only from an aesthetic viewpoint and your design goals, but also in relation to the health of the tree as well. If you are still working on developing the overall branch structure (I'm guessing this is the case, based on your pics), then I would leave it be and not defoliate. If you are past that stage and have moved on to the finer ramification details and are mostly looking to maintain the tree in its current state without a lot of growth (more appropriate for a more mature/refined bonsai), then perhaps defoliation would be in order.

But BEFORE you decide on anything, I very highly recommend that you check out the www.bonsaihunk.us site of Jerry Meislik, who is a leading authority on Ficus. He is also on the BonsaiVault forum where he leads a study group once a month. We had an earlier session on fusing, and the transcript for it is available over at that forum for members to see at their leisure. I think you would gain a LOT by checking it out. Jerry's a great guy and is always eager to provide help and feedback; especially as it relates to ficus.

BV
Sean
Indoor Grower
Schefflera arboricola
Ficus microcarpa 'Green Island'
Ficus salicifolia 'Willow Leaf'
Portulacaria afra
Pachira aquatica

richm2778
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

Quick Question for you Maple Experts:

It seems like the older, smaller leaves that were the earliest to open on my Trident are drying up and beginning to fall off. The new growth is great. The leaves are big, and although that is not great for bonsai, it is good for just growth. My tree is not in training yet. I am concerned...Is it normal for the older leaves to dry up and drop off of this type of tree? If so, will larger new leaves replace the ones that drop off? I am watering properly, the soil is good, and the tree is growing VERY fast. Advice??? Please???


Also, my Ficus trees have been doing really well. Unfortunately, here in South Florida, there is a problem with White Flies. I dealt with it last year too. I have been spraying them like crazy, but to no avail. It seems like the only choice I have left is a radical defoliation of the ficus trees. I di this last summer, and it seemed to alleviate the issue. Do any of you have any other ideas I could try first? I am all ears!!!

Thanks, in advance.

Rich

Marsman
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Location: Coventry, CT

Have you tried [url=https://www.spectracide.com/ProductCategories/RoseAndFlowerCare/SpectracideImmunoxPlusAero/]Immunox Plus[/url] for the flies? It's what I use.

richm2778
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Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

I have tried everything. I tried a tobacco and water mixture I read about somewhere. I sprayed myself. I also had a professional exterminator come out and treat my whole yard including the bonsai trees....that was nerve-racking. Nothing has worked. It seems like once the flies are on it, the only thing left to do is to take off all the leaves. I guess I will do it this weekend.

Marsman
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Location: Coventry, CT

There's only one thing left to do...

[img]https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/GWJ/nuke-it-from-orbit.jpg[/img]

richm2778
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

Updated Pics!!!!!!

Hey Guys,

Here are some pics that I took a few minutes ago. The first one is my Ginseng Ficus. It is pretty much the same, but I have had to remove some new growth and leaves due to White Flies.
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/fb1f3c5a.jpg[/img]

This is my other Ficus. It is actually two trees as you can see in earlier photos on this thread. I have just changed the gravel container that is keeping both trunks covered and moist. I have seen a whole bunch of new root growth off of the trunks of the trees. I only took off the other cover because it broke from constant weather and sun exposure. Now, I have a clear container on there so I can see the root growth much better. Also, I have had to tie some of the branches downward with fishing line in order to open up the canopy for thicker growth. In addition, I removed a lot of the leaves this morning due to White Flies. I plan to just keep pruning the damaged leaves and hopefully the new growth during this season will make up for it. Regardless, I am happy with the root growth I saw and I am exited to see what it will look like towards the end of summer. I am sure there will be really heavy root growth by then. By the way, do I just remove the container and gravel all at once, or do I have to slowly decrease the height of the covering week by week? I have read conflicting things about this. The graft I performed, in order to fuse the two trunks seems to have taken. I think that the new root growth will fill in a lot of the gap towards the bottom quite nicely.
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/e14f5aff.jpg[/img]

Finally, my Trident Maple. Tremendous growth in the past few weeks. The tree is getting taller every day! The new leaves are large and they are beautiful. What I am concerned about is the browning of the leaves that are older. They seem to be baking or something. I am providing plenty of water, and they are getting a lot of sunlight. Is this normal for this type of tree? Do the older leaves fall off and new ones replace them? Please let me know, as I am worried.
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/6c3cef89.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i429.photobucket.com/albums/qq11/richm2778/ff40d2cb.jpg[/img]

Any information or thoughts are welcome. I am just a guy trying to have fun with bonsai! Thanks guys!

Rich

TomM
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Location: Cedarville (SE of Utica) NY, USA

Hi Rich, Just a thought on your trident - not expert advice. We grow Japanese and trident maples here in the frigid north (yeah we got 2 inches of snow yesterday !! Mothers Day) and these trees still need to be brought in at night to protect from frost and snow damage.

But, getting to my point - they don't like a lot of direct sun either. They tend to get sun scorched. So I use a location where they will get nice morning sun, then dappled or filtered light mid-day and then another couple hours of late day sun. This works very well for our maples, and fortunately we have a patio that provides the right combination of lighting.

Your trident might be stressed from the heat of the Florida sun. Try a little shade.
Tom 8)

richm2778
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

Thanks Tom. I am not sure that I have a spot I can place the Trident if that is the case. I will try hard to figure something out, as I truly love the tree and I want to see it grow and be trained as bonsai eventually. I will make a real effort to figure something out to help provide shade for the tree.

Rich

Marsman
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 1:19 pm
Location: Coventry, CT

I've been thinking about making a shaded spot for my trees as well. My yard has a lot of sun and I'm considering making a crude shelter with 2x4's and covering it with [url=https://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xh7/R-100656893/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053]shade cloth[/url].

ADDED: Something like this might work too. They are pretty cheap at discount stores.

[img]https://i956.photobucket.com/albums/ae50/marsman61/Bonsai/Various%20Hosting%20Pics/masterEU002.jpg[/img]

richm2778
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Posts: 60
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 8:13 pm
Location: South Florida

I might just do that. Another option is to put the tree on my front walkway which is under an overhang. The only thing is, someone could come up and damage it out there. The crude shelter thing sounds way better. I will try to find some shade cloth at Home Depot. Thanks for the suggestion. Can I just leave the tree under the cloth and drape it down on all sides to cover the tree completely, or does it just need something above it to keep out the sunlight?

Rich

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