Petra26
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ficus #2 - remove branches, add new leader

here is another ficus bonsai, well, walsai since i got this once from walmart in the summer of '06. it has been growing fairly well and i've had no problems with it so far. i had repotted it out of the old crappy walmart pot and changed the soil. not sure what i can really do with it. it just have a narrow short stout truck that shoots out lots of small branches. then for the roots it has several large and fat storage roots coming directly from the bottom of the short truck making it hard to prune the roots. anyways, here are the pictures... any ideas what i can do with this guy?

[url=https://img110.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0606ow9.jpg][img]https://img110.imageshack.us/img110/6800/img0606ow9.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img296.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0607ib2.jpg][img]https://img296.imageshack.us/img296/9053/img0607ib2.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img93.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0608bj9.jpg][img]https://img93.imageshack.us/img93/1417/img0608bj9.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img93.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0609hd8.jpg][img]https://img93.imageshack.us/img93/1496/img0609hd8.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img93.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0610hd4.jpg][img]https://img93.imageshack.us/img93/6884/img0610hd4.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img93.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0611qd7.jpg][img]https://img93.imageshack.us/img93/2637/img0611qd7.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img110.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0612bb5.jpg][img]https://img110.imageshack.us/img110/7171/img0612bb5.th.jpg[/img][/url]
Last edited by Petra26 on Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Gnome
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Petra,

Looking at this tree I the potential for it to develop reverse taper. Bonsai are cultivated to have taper in the trunk, thicker at the bottom and gradually thinning at the top, this gives the impression of age. When you have numerous branches that emerge from the same point on the trunk it has a tendency to create an unattractive swelling at that location that is thicker than the trunk below it, reverse taper.

Most or, more likely, all but one should probably be removed. Lower branches are often left for various reasons. One would be the possibility of making one the first branch. In this case this tree has been cut so low as to preclude that possibility for all but the smallest bonsai.

Another reason to leave a low branch would be to help to thicken and induce taper to the lower part of the trunk, later it is removed. This is a very useful concept that is referred to as a sacrifice or escape branch, it is not intended to be part of the final design.

So, long story short, I see two choices for the time being. One, remove all of the branches but one that will become the new leader. This will help to induce movement and taper to the lower part of the trunk. The other is the same as the first but you would also leave one additional branch as a sacrifice to be removed later. Either way this is going to be a long term project.

Norm

Petra26
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um, not sure if i understand correctly... but are you saying i should remove all the branches except one lower branch and wire it upwards to make it the new trunk? and possibly pot lower and/or trim the top of the existing flattly cut trunk to smooth out the connection of the wired branch into the trunk?

ynot
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Petra26 wrote:um, not sure if I understand correctly... but are you saying I should remove all the branches except one lower branch and wire it upwards to make it the new trunk?
Yep, That's it.:)
Petra26 wrote:...and possibly pot lower and/or trim the top of the existing flattly cut trunk to smooth out the connection of the wired branch into the trunk?
Pot lower yes, But you will see that 'growth' as opposed to 'trimming' the 'connection' is the solution here.


Gnome offers two different ideas here:
One, remove all of the branches but one that will become the new leader. This will help to induce movement and taper to the lower part of the trunk.
The other is the same as the first but you would also leave one additional branch as a sacrifice to be removed later.
What you mention above is closest to the first option he mentions [As being the path to a broom].

Ok, Now A virt is on the way. :). I will ty to show you what he is referring to. IE: Additional growth is what adds the girth required to add taper.

You should decide upon a front though as this will affect your later decisions. [Let the nebari be your guide].

ynot
Last edited by ynot on Wed Feb 21, 2007 5:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ynot
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Petra,
I have a thread with a chop in it... I will find it for you. [EDIT: The link is in my next post. ]

Just an ultra quick virt of a very generic version of what Gnome refers to.

I hope this shows a bit of what is meant.

[url=https://imageshack.us][img]https://img401.imageshack.us/img401/5631/petraficus2virtvt6.jpg[/img][/url]

There are a few details I have excluded IE: Wiring your leader straight up [if you intend on a broom style] and wiring the sacrifice branch out of the way..etc.

I am off to find the chop thread [It is a ficus also].

ynot
Last edited by ynot on Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

rjj
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I will throw out something here for the sake of another opinion and feel free to ignore it if inclined. It's your tree to have fun with. I tend to spend more time thinking long term projection to get the most bang for my buck.

At least for me this species grows too fast to be considered for training the size that you have chosen. If it were mine, I would leave one side branch for later removal and choose a new apex. Remove everything else and then allow it to grow unrestricted a couple years. Then you can trunk chop at a lower branch somewhere on the trunk and train that up to be a new apex.

I can post a few photos of one I'm about to do if you are interested in seeing what I mean.

randy

ynot
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rjj wrote: It's your tree to have fun with.
LOL,

Randys statement is fundamentally important. :D

Always remember that this is supposed to be fun.

:shock: Er...I hope I wasn't sounding all super serious.

...'Cause I'm not- [img]https://www.bonsaichat.org/forums/attachments/general/6117d1146115989-humor-non-bonsai-moonie.gif[/img] ;)

Petra,

Here is the thread with the chop in it, I see that you have already seen it but perhaps it will be a useful visual aid for you.

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3379&highlight=shohin

Later,
ynot

Petra26
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thanx for the input gnome, ynot, and rjj

rjj, i don't quite understand what you are getting at either. if you could post a couple pictures it would be very helpful.

ynot, don't worry, i like serious suggestions and advice as this will be my first attempt ever in pruning and styling a bonsai considering i spent most of my time prior just saving and repotting from original containers. i am excited and having fun learning the possibilities for my bonsai. i understand what you mean now by having a new leader. one question - how would keeping a sacrifical lower branch add vigor and growth?

few things about this current bonsai...

- i bought it from wal-mart last summer and have had no real problems with it. has grown relatively steady.
- have pruned slightly the tips once at the end of summer
- i repotted this in oct. last year, same time as other ficus

taking these factors into effect...

- will if i prune it severely down to 2 branches, 1 as new leader and 1 as sacrifical branch, would it survive the process?
- if i am to do this pruning, when should i go about this? is there a time period i should do this around?
- after pruning, how would i take care of it? I'm assuming less water but still aimple sunlight.

oh so many things to do and too read and look up :D i am excited to do some actual work on my bonsai instead of just making sure they don't die :D

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Petra,
rjj, I don't quite understand what you are getting at either. if you could post a couple pictures it would be very helpful.
At the risk of speaking for Randy, he was saying that this is only one trunk chop among several that you will, if you take that approach, perform over the coming years. Once you choose a new leader allow it grow unrestricted for a few years until the transition between the first chop and the new leader is less severe. Then do it all over again, repeating as desired.
will if I prune it severely down to 2 branches, 1 as new leader and 1 as sacrifical branch, would it survive the process?
That should not present a problem at all for a healthy Ficus.
if I am to do this pruning, when should I go about this? is there a time period I should do this around?
For some trees timing is everything, fortunately for you Ficus is not one of them. Mine grow much more strongly when they are outside under sun as opposed to inside under fluorescents though.
after pruning, how would I take care of it? I'm assuming less water but still aimple sunlight.
There probably won't be any discernible difference, if anything its water uptake might slow a bit but other than that no special care would be required.

Randy,

Please post the pictures as they may help to illustrate this process to Petra and others.

Norm

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rjj, I don't quite understand what you are getting at either. if you could post a couple pictures it would be very helpful.
I think Randy is talking about exactly the same thing as Gnome & I [+ repeating the chop later with no sacrifice ]
one question - how would keeping a sacrifical lower branch add vigor and growth?
Sorry, I see how that sounds a bit cryptic.
It may be more accurate to say it: It puts growth where you want it [In this example, The trunk.]
This way your tree is not wasting it's resources on growth that is not beneficial to your goals.

Brent from EGG has a bit to say about it, This is from https://evergreengardenworks.com/trunks.htm:
Growing Sacrifice Leaders and Branches
A related process is to grow sacrifice leaders and branches to increase trunk or branch caliper, or correct a reverse taper in a developed tree. This process involves growing a wild whip somewhere out of the trunk, or less frequently, out of a branch to increase the caliper up to its point of attachment. The difference in this case, is that the sacrifice is simply a tool, an artifice, that will be removed completely when it has done its job of increasing the caliper. Sacrifice branches can be used for deciduous or evergreen trees, but they are especially important for developing conifers.

It is important when growing out sacrifices not to shade out the areas below it , or overly weaken the areas beyond it. I usually let the sacrifice grow as a long unpruned whip with all the leaves and small branches cut off of it for several feet to keep from shading the 'tree' below. Sacrifices can be as long as ten feet or more, depending on the degree of enlargement desired.

Use sacrifice branches and leaders to correct a problem when your tree already has good form and finished branches. Remember that branches increase trunk caliper up to their point of attachment. To increase the diameter along the entire trunk allow a sacrifice branch to grow near the apex of the tree, but not at the very tip of the apex or it will destroy its delicate structure. If this occurs you will have to grow a new apex to achieve the final diminishing taper. I often cut out the sacrifice before it has finished its job and start a new one a little lower to preserve taper.

You will have to remove your tree from its pot and put it in the ground or in a larger training pot to achieve the vigor necessary for the sacrifice branch to do its job. To achieve caliper and taper, select positions lower on the trunk for the sacrifice branches. Do not let sacrifice branches grow from existing branches (water sprouts) or you will overly fatten the branch and put it out of proportion to the trunk. They can, however, be used to correct the diameter and increase vigor of weak branches.

When sacrifices are used to strengthen branches as well as the trunk, one must be much more careful. Development can come very quickly, and overdevelopment can occur in a single season. Overly large branches are a common fault and are difficult to correct. If overly large branches occur, all you can do is place a sacrifice above the fat branch to increase the trunk size to restore the balance.
Essentially, The unrestricted growth of a sacrificial branch helps the trunk increase in girth which in turn helps to achieve taper. This is why you would let the leader develop unchecked also [And then possibly re-chop it as Randy mentioned
- will if I prune it severely down to 2 branches, 1 as new leader and 1 as sacrifical branch, would it survive the process?
Absolutely, This IS how bonsai are constructed/grown.
.
- if I am to do this pruning, when should I go about this? is there a time period I should do this around?
For your ficus it should make no difference though if you do not have good lighting you might wait until it can live in some bright sunshine.
Brighter=tighter growth and shorter internodes.
- after pruning, how would I take care of it? I'm assuming less water but still aimple sunlight.
Right you are [It may need less frequent watering but still do check every day]
oh so many things to do and too read and look up :D I am excited to do some actual work on my bonsai instead of just making sure they don't die
:D :D Yep

ynot

rjj
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Petra

Norm, ynot, and me are pretty well on the same page as far as describing a technique we think your tree would benefit from. Ynot posted a few photos of his little ficus. That should be a nice little tree in a few years.

I'll try to free up a little time today and trunk chop and pot my ficus. Try to post some photos later.

rjj
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Here is the post of the ficus I cut back. Hope it helps you some.
https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4218
randy

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rjj wrote: Ynot posted a few photos of his little ficus. That should be a nice little tree in a few years.
Thanks Randy! I am hoping so...:D

Petra26
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as for this guy, i will now refer to as ficus #2, it is still growing vigorously w/o any slowing down, rather speeding up due to longer hours of sunlight. i seriously need to get some copper wires and wire up a branch to be the new leader and cut off the rest of the branches :shock:

ynot
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Petra26 wrote:as for this guy, I will now refer to as ficus #2, it is still growing vigorously w/o any slowing down, rather speeding up due to longer hours of sunlight. I seriously need to get some copper wires and wire up a branch to be the new leader and cut off the rest of the branches :shock:
That's great news Petra!

One thing, Go ahead and skip the copper wire and get [copper colored] aluminum wire as it is both cheaper and far far easier to work with.

After you bend copper wire it stiffens considerably, It literally has to be annealed again to become soft and workable [again].

If you make any mistakes while putting it on you will quickly find yourself working very hard to rework the wire.

Aluminum [though requiring a bit thicker wire to hold] does not have this quality and is far easier to rework [if need be]

ynot

Petra26
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uh oh... i pruned all the branches away... :shock:

well, i left a leader at the top of the small trunk and a sacrifical one. i think i did it right :? i don't have any wiring yet since i have not had time to do any looking around so i just used a piece of string to pull the new leader branch and sacrifical branch together and so it pointed up somewhat. it will have to do for now.

i will upload some pictures once i have time. gotta go finish homework for 2 classes and study for 2 tests and finish a take home test for this coming week. i'll post a picture of the result whenever i have the time

ynot
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Petra26 wrote:uh oh... I pruned all the branches away... :shock:
You have two left, According to what it says below.
well, I left a leader at the top of the small trunk and a sacrifical one. I think I did it right :? I don't have any wiring yet since I have not had time to do any looking around so I just used a piece of string to pull the new leader branch and sacrifical branch together and so it pointed up somewhat. it will have to do for now.
:? Petra, Is there a reason for the new leader and a sacrificial branch branch need to be pulled together? Ideally they are located at opposite ends of the trunk, Though I realize this is not possible considering their location on your trunk.

Considering you are just going to be cutting the sacrificial off eventually, It makes no difference at this point what direction it points.
Petra26 wrote:I will upload some pictures once I have time. gotta go finish homework for 2 classes and study for 2 tests and finish a take home test for this coming week. I'll post a picture of the result whenever I have the time
Yes pictures please, The sooner the better. :D.

ynot

Petra26
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here is the result of my pruning for a new leader...

just using the string to hold the leader up since i don't have any wire :(

[url=https://img158.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0789oy8.jpg][img]https://img158.imageshack.us/img158/808/dscf0789oy8.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img161.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0792xu8.jpg][img]https://img161.imageshack.us/img161/7672/dscf0792xu8.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img161.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0793gi2.jpg][img]https://img161.imageshack.us/img161/1348/dscf0793gi2.th.jpg[/img][/url]

constantstaticx3
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Hey guys, Its been awhile my internet doesn't work at hame anymore :evil: , so I have to come on at school when I get the chance. Petra, that looks like a good job to me, I understand, I think, why you pulled the branches together. I think this is because the main leader wasn't pointing up so you tide it to the other branch to bring it up?

Ynot, remember Randy's post on his ficus in the gallery? He wired his sacrifice branch up because that way it will grow faster, I'm sure you'll remember. I don't think this is the reason petra did this but it will work.

Petra's tree kind of resembles Randy's in a smaller form.

Tom

ynot
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Tom,
Sorry to hear about your change of cpu access :(.

Yeah, I remember and understand, It was just a bit difficult to picture before the pictures were posted.

I agree that in this case, [Sans wire] The string is the only way to hold the leader vertical.
I suspect that bringing the sacrifice branch up was an incidental part of the process, It will be effective though and that is the most important thing. 8)

Well done Petra, I noticed the shorter internode lengths, Your tree appears to be getting better light lately also.

ynot

Petra26
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thanx tom and ynot for your replies. i remembered randy mentioning the sacrifical branch being wired up for faster growth so i actually wanted to get wiring for both leader and sacrifical branch. being my tree is so tiny and i didn't have anything to wire them up, so i decided to improvise.
ynot wrote:Well done Petra, I noticed the shorter internode lengths, Your tree appears to be getting better light lately also.
yep, spring kicked in and my plants all get much more light now. hopefully i will be able to set up something for moving my plants outside. otherwise they will stay at the window side, but they get a good 3-4 hrs of direct sunlight and still about 12-14 hrs of total sunlight a day.

ynot
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Petra26 wrote:thanx tom and ynot for your replies. I remembered randy mentioning the sacrifical branch being wired up for faster growth so I actually wanted to get wiring for both leader and sacrifical branch. being my tree is so tiny and I didn't have anything to wire them up, so I decided to improvise.
Good job Petra, Your very welcome.
It looks effective and that is what's important. :D. Eventually that branchlet will harden off and will stay in place all by itself.
ynot wrote:Well done Petra, I noticed the shorter internode lengths, Your tree appears to be getting better light lately also.
Petra26 wrote: yep, spring kicked in and my plants all get much more light now. hopefully I will be able to set up something for moving my plants outside. otherwise they will stay at the window side, but they get a good 3-4 hrs of direct sunlight and still about 12-14 hrs of total sunlight a day.
[img]https://www.mysmilie.de/english/green/smilies/cool/img/030.gif[/img]

ynot

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