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CharlieK
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Location: Covington, LA USA

Can we help this one?

I have been a member for awhile but now I have my compost and planting under my belt and would like some help with two bonsais I have. The one below I have had for four years and have done nothing but water it. The pot is about 12" X 9" and the tree is about 16-18" tall.

[img]https://www.charlieandpeggy.com/littlebonsai.jpg[/img]

I have started reading a few posts and I will start to get my feet wet. Right now I just need to know obvious things I can do to improve it's life. I don't even know what kind of tree it is, anything about the soil, trimming , etc.

I promise I will start reading and introduce the bigger tree later. These two trees are going to be my projects this summer and I know you guys will be a big help, like always! :D

Thanks in advance!
I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs. Addison

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bonsaiboy
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It appears to be a willow leaf ficus. Here is a site that I find is one of the best sites for information regarding ficuses.
הדמיון הוא יותר חשוב מאשר ידע

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Gnome
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CharlieK,
bonsaiboy wrote:It appears to be a willow leaf ficus. Here is a site that I find is one of the best sites for information regarding ficuses.
That was my initial reaction as well but I am only familiar with Willow Leafs from photographs so I am far from certain. If you have ever pruned it perhaps you have noted a milky, latex substance appearing at the cut site. This would tend to confirm the ID as Ficus. Even removing a single leaf should be enough to begin the confirmation process.

I think bonsaiboy intended to link to [url=https://www.bonsaihunk.us/cultural.html]Bonsai Hunk.[/url] Jerry Meislik well known for his work with Ficus.

We look forward to seeing your other tree.

Norm

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CharlieK
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Location: Covington, LA USA

Yes, from Jerry'e site, it is a willow leaf ficus (Ficus salicifolia). That website is going to be a great resource. Thanks!

I'll go ahead and show you the second tree. I know it is a Ficus. It is eight years old and I had a professional re pot it four years ago. The wires spread the branches nicely but it has grown back up now and overpowered the wires. The pot is about 18" X 12" and the tree is about 2' tall. I could take these trees back to the shop but I would rather learn and do it on my own.

[img]https://www.charlieandpeggy.com/bigbonsai.jpg[/img]
I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs. Addison

kdodds
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First tree needs a bit of help. It looks like it could use a good repotting in a larger but possibly more shallow pot (hard to tell from the angle). The tree currently overwhelms the pot it is in. Good news, by going with a larger pot, root pruning will be minimal, allowing the tree a better and quicker recovery. Have you been fertilizing? If not, once it's acclimated to the new pot (no leaf drop for a few weeks), I would start fertilizing. This tree I'd let to grow out for about a year before doing anything else with it. Unless, of course, it responds incredibly well, then I'd trim back to 2 leaves once you have 6-8.

The second tree is fairly nice, just needs a little encouragment to "fill in". As mentioned above, trimming will encourage this. Since this tree appears to be healtheir and growing well, I'd cut back to 2 leaves once there are 4-6 leaves.

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Gnome
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CharlieK,
I had a professional re pot it four years ago. The wires spread the branches nicely but it has grown back up now and overpowered the wires
How long has the wire been in place? It's hard to tell from the picture but you may have some scars to deal with when you remove the wire.

Norm

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CharlieK
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Thanks, kdodds. I will start looking for pots and fertilizers. The guys who sold me the plants said to drench them well every day and I have for all these years. Nether has been fertilized except for a very small amount of 8-8-8 last fall. The soil is VERY porous. What king of soil material shall I use to repot?

Thanks, Gnome. I neglected to mention the wire condition. It has actually cut into the limbs but I think I could remove them if I were careful. If I wait much longer, they are there to stay. You probably can't see it in the pictures but a couple of smaller limbs have died and I think the wire caused it? What can I do about scars?

I will worry about leaf pinching after I solve the plants greater needs!
I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs. Addison

kdodds
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I would keep the same free-draining soil. During growing season, weekly fertilization is probably best, every other week at least. I use a 7-9-5, 8-8-8 seems a little high on the K, particularly for a Ficus.

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CharlieK
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Thanks, I have had these trees for a long time and neglected them. I am going to, slowly, try to make it up to them and now I have a starting point.
I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs. Addison

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Gnome
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CharlieK,
Thanks, Gnome. I neglected to mention the wire condition. It has actually cut into the limbs but I think I could remove them if I were careful. If I wait much longer, they are there to stay. You probably can't see it in the pictures but a couple of smaller limbs have died and I think the wire caused it? What can I do about scars?
When you remove the wire cut it off, don't try to unwind it or save it, it's not worth it. One way to get rid of the scars is to cut the branches back to undamaged wood. This may or not be practical, it will vary with each situation. If you can't cut back far enough to get rid of them then you will have to grow them out. You may never get rid of them entirely but with time they should become less obvious.

Norm

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CharlieK
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Location: Covington, LA USA

Thanks, Norm. That is exactly what I was thinking. I will not get in any hurries and will post a picture of the wires as soon as I get back home, maybe Monday or Tuesday.
I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs. Addison

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