Petra26
Cool Member
Posts: 94
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:23 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

ficus retusa, update and future...

hi hi, long time no see. although i've been away, i did not neglect my ficus too much. anyways, here was the old topic/post on my ficus

[url]https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4196&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15[/url]

there are 3 pictures of my ficus post my hard pruning in the old post, done in order to achieve a leader and a sacrifical branch.

here are some current pictures... the current height of the tree is approx. 18inches

[url=https://img184.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0932el2.jpg][img]https://img184.imageshack.us/img184/2950/dscf0932el2.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img339.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0933wc6.jpg][img]https://img339.imageshack.us/img339/320/dscf0933wc6.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img168.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0934qi2.jpg][img]https://img168.imageshack.us/img168/1150/dscf0934qi2.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img522.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0935pn6.jpg][img]https://img522.imageshack.us/img522/3830/dscf0935pn6.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img522.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0936zu5.jpg][img]https://img522.imageshack.us/img522/6972/dscf0936zu5.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img264.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0937vi0.jpg][img]https://img264.imageshack.us/img264/5972/dscf0937vi0.th.jpg[/img][/url]

as you can see, the leader branch has grown quite a bit and has thickened up. the sacrifical branch has not grown too much in comparision. it's winter and my ficus is sitting inside and the growth has slowed. I'm not sure what i should be doing with my ficus at this stage. how long should i let the leader branch grow? and when i do start pruning? how should i do it? i was trying to reverse taper, but i don't really understand it. anyways, basically some suggestions and direction on what to do would be greatly appreciated :D

User avatar
Gnome
Mod
Posts: 5122
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2006 4:17 am
Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Petra,

Hi and welcome back. Sorry I was not able to reply sooner but yesterday was hectic for me. Your tree looks to be in good health and that is the primary issue now.
I was trying to reverse taper, but I don't really understand it.
You are trying to achieve taper, not reverse taper. Reverse taper is when there is a thick section of the trunk, or branch, above/beyond a thinner one. Reverse taper is to be corrected.
I'm not sure what I should be doing with my ficus at this stage. how long should I let the leader branch grow? and when I do start pruning? how should I do it?
When building trunks one method is to allow the new leader to grow until it is about 13/ to 1/2 the diameter of the previous section. If you let it grow more it will catch up to the section below it and you lose the taper you are trying to achieve.

Also each section is generally shorter than the previous one. In this case though, the chop was done so low to the soil line that you really have no first section yet.

As it stands now I see several options. Prune for the next section and continue development. This would, out of necessity, become a small bonsai. With the short first section and relatively large leaves that I see this might not be the way to go.

A second choice would be to allow it to grow out until the trunk is the desired diameter and you have enough for a significant first section, then essentially start again. This might seem that that you have wasted this time but I don't see it that way, time must pass for it to get thicker. With my Chinese Elm I am already thinking ahead to what I'll do in 2009 and beyond.

The third choice would be to wire the leader to induce some movement, this won't help with taper though.

Sorry I can't be more definitive, I am still struggling with the styling options on some of my own trees. It might be best to just wait for now and really examine where you want to go with this tree. The extra growing time can never hurt.

Perhaps now would be a good time to (re)-read this.

https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/rules.htm

Norm

Petra26
Cool Member
Posts: 94
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 2:23 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Gnome wrote: A second choice would be to allow it to grow out until the trunk is the desired diameter and you have enough for a significant first section, then essentially start again. This might seem that that you have wasted this time but I don't see it that way, time must pass for it to get thicker. With my Chinese Elm I am already thinking ahead to what I'll do in 2009 and beyond.

Norm
this was the choice i originally had in mind. i wanted to grow the leader until the diameter was much thicker, something comparable to the stump. i am also considering repotting the tree lower to basically hide the stump and let the leader become the main trunk. not sure if that's a good idea.

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