ynot
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Ficus b.-Way of the Shohin.

If you want details on the process here, Just ask.
[Subject: Ficus benjamina 'panda']
Essentially this went from near 20" high to 7" in the space of a year.

It never should have been in the little bonsai pot in the first place but I had no room for a big training pot. This came from one of those 1G 'buckets of ficus' you can get at any garden center for 6$ or so. You have seen them, about 8 trunks w/caliper ranges from 3/4" on down to 1/4" and about 2' high.

18 to 20" high [can't recall sorry] and very boring..August 2005
[img]https://img244.imageshack.us/img244/3356/ficusbenj1arl4.jpg[/img]

Inspiration strikes 8) Stop, Chop, and Grow! First I did a [low quality] virtual for an idea: Maybe something about this size...
[img]https://img224.imageshack.us/img224/6335/ficusbenj1shohinvirtis2.jpg[/img]

I chopped it just above the first branch. Then I wired that branch to be the #1 branch, This is just before the application of that 1st wireing, Note the new growth coming from the chop area. Mid September 05
[img]https://img84.imageshack.us/img84/7062/6694ficusbadvicepleaseficuspostchopinsept2ci3.jpg[/img]


A bit later on with a normal size bic lighter for scale. Notice it is now in training pot as well.

[img]https://img301.imageshack.us/img301/9418/shohinsofar02uq2.jpg[/img]
Bushing out a bit now...
[img]https://img133.imageshack.us/img133/5979/p1041001dz9.jpg[/img]


During the last week of May 06, Just before I gave it away. [The pot is actually too big for it, More room for error as I gave it to someone busy.]

Soil to apex- 7", That is about the same size as your toothbrush.:)
[img]https://img224.imageshack.us/img224/9048/6693ficusbadvicepleaseficusshohinmay060002yp5.jpg[/img]


One month later under different care [I managed to have her get rid of that bottle for later pics...lol]:[img]https://img143.imageshack.us/img143/7130/july18o6frontlu7.jpg[/img]

It is still overpotted [Too large] But I have not found anything I like yet and the current post is appropriate for the development that remains.
If you happen to bother to scroll all the way through this, Please let me know what you think. Even if you only say 'It was too long'
I didn't go into long detail as I figure if your interested you will ask.8).
ynot
Last edited by ynot on Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:34 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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Gnome
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Ynot,

Thanks for posting the pics, might give some others a few ideas. The next to last pic in particular shows good movement and taper, two important concepts.

Curious though, in the pic with the lighter you seem to have lost the leader, later it magically appears again. Am I missing something or do you get that much growth that quickly in your climate?

Norm

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Its great that you have recorded all the work that you did on this tree it looks nice in the now result and I'm honstly suprised at how fast this ficus seemed to grow you managed to do this all in one seasons growth thats cool. I was wondering what kind of soil mixes and ratios are the best for ficus. I may actually purchase one of the fake bonsai at a local store and try my hand at ficus. Believe it or not I didn't want the tree out of sympathy I just actually saw some potential in the trees they had displayed, some were already on there way to forming aerial roots which to me imho is one of the graces of ficus as Bonsai. IMHO it certainly makes for an attractive tree.
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Ynot,

Sorry, I just looked back over the sequence more carefully and I see that it covers two seasons. The "2005" in the lower corner eluded me at first.

Norm

ynot
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Gnome wrote:Ynot,

Thanks for posting the pics, might give some others a few ideas. The next to last pic in particular shows good movement and taper, two important concepts.
Thank you, That is nice to hear, In all honesty I am quite proud of this tree as the top of it is entirely by my design.
Curious though, in the pic with the lighter you seem to have lost the leader, later it magically appears again. Am I missing something or do you get that much growth that quickly in your climate?
Yep, You missed something, It's all a matter of perspective though :wink:

Notice the postion of the tree in the pot in the w/ lighter picture, It is taken from the same angle as the picture above it.
[Note the new sprout coming off the LH side-lowest on the tree. In both of these pictures the tree is leaning away from the camera. Pointed at 12:00]

The difference between the 'lighter pic' and the one above it is...
That the leader branch has been wired down into postition in the 'lighter pic' [However that branch is facing directly away from you-mostly hidden by the trunk.]
The dark line directly above the left vertical edge of the lighter is that branch going straight away from you.

Now if you look at the pic below the lighter picture you will notice that the tree leans to the left as the pot has been turned 90 degrees.
There is the branch that was hidden in the last photo.
Gnome wrote: Sorry, I just looked back over the sequence more carefully and I see that it covers two seasons. The "2005" in the lower corner eluded me at first.
OK, I had to look it up but for the record this was chopped on 8-11-2005.
The final picture of when I still had it [2nd to last] was taken in the last week of May 2006.
I call that one season..lol, No matter as it is still a short development time. :)

It is safe to say that a third to half of the development was indoors over the winter.
Who says 'Indoor dormancy' :roll:
[img]https://img241.imageshack.us/img241/1939/u4jchinaec9.gif[/img]:D[img]https://img241.imageshack.us/img241/1939/u4jchinaec9.gif[/img]
ynot
Last edited by ynot on Fri Feb 02, 2007 3:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ynot
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Zombiefreak wrote:Its great that you have recorded all the work that you did on this tree it looks nice in the now result and I'm honstly suprised at how fast this ficus seemed to grow you managed to do this all in one seasons growth thats cool.
Thank you ZF,
Amazing things are possible I agree. I seem to take more pictures than I manage to organize.
I attribute the excellent growth to proper soil, good lighting, and lots of heat and humidity [when outside].

You can put alot of growth on a small indoor tree in 9 months, Provided you give them an enviroment that they enjoy. That's all it takes.

Which again means proper soil, good lighting, and humidity [Which I admit I don't do much to up the % indoors, The occasional misting and that's it.]
I may actually purchase one of the fake bonsai at a local store and try my hand at ficus. Believe it or not I didn't want the tree out of sympathy I just actually saw some potential in the trees they had displayed, some were already on there way to forming aerial roots which to me imho is one of the graces of ficus as Bonsai. IMHO it certainly makes for an attractive tree.
I am not sure what you mean by 'fake bonsai'..But ok :)
I was wondering what kind of soil mixes and ratios are the best for ficus.
Harry Harrington has a truly excellent article on soil, Well worth reading repeatedly. https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Soils.html
[That description applies to his entire site actually.]
Please also take to heart his article on watering It will do your bonsai good. https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Watering.html

If you are reading this, But you didn't read the two linked articles about soil and watering in the last paragraph you have missed a chance to dramaticly improve your bonsai.
Utilize the information there, It will change your bonsai for the better.

Well, People can get all technical when all it really comes down to is how your soil functions.
[IE: I have rooted ficus in a combo of Sifted sharp sand and cut up wool socks, No kidding. It is simply a combination of an inorganic media to provide drainage and promote aeration[sand] with an organic amendment to hold moisture and nutrients [socks]. It functions just like a proper bonsai soil should. IMO understanding this concept is more important than any ratio, and far more applicable.

It may be more effective to tell you what I do not use:
Essentially if you consider it 'dirt' It is not in my soil.
If it is of such a small particle size that it would go through window screen [IE:Actually a bit bigger than that is no good also IMO] it is not in my soil.

ynot
Last edited by ynot on Sat Sep 30, 2006 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

Zombiefreak
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Fake meaning not really bonsai but something that is marketed at like walmart and loews, where yes they are real trees there just not 7 yrs old in the form of bonsai training. The trees that some stores carry like money trees and such that are marketed to most people who think that all there is to bonsai is a tiny tree in a tiny pot. Essentially thats true but we know there is alot more work involved than what I so simply stated a moment ago. If I'm still not clear in my explanation I will elaborate later as you said I'm off now to go do real world stuff :lol:
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ynot
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btw-Bonsai is not about size, Some bonsai are over 6' high.

Zombiefreak wrote:Fake meaning not really bonsai but something that is marketed at like walmart and loews, where yes they are real trees there just not 7 yrs old in the form of bonsai training. The trees that some stores carry like money trees and such that are marketed to most people who think that all there is to bonsai is a tiny tree in a tiny pot. Essentially thats true but we know there is alot more work involved than what I so simply stated a moment ago. If I'm still not clear in my explanation I will elaborate later as you said I'm off now to go do real world stuff :lol:
Oh Malsai! [Broadly] Some folks get specific and say Wal-martsai, Lowsai, H-Deposai, ect....

I agree they are not bonsai, They are cuttings dying in cute little pots.
Wait, I must correct myself. They are disgustingly overpriced cuttings dying in cute little pots.

Yes, I know exactly what you mean

The exact same 15$ [Minimum]you spend on that lump of a ginseng ficus, That Juniper cutting that looks like someone stuck a juniper branch in a bunch of rocks [uh- because that's what it is], Or the 'Styled' digital '5' shaped bonsai of indeterminate origin,
[All of which are stuck in some soil containing the wrong kind of peat and sent out to die among the masses]

Do we all still remember that 15$ we were talking about?...
It could have bought THIS:
[img]https://img170.imageshack.us/img170/5743/contestbwoodbeforeht2.jpg[/img]

This is a Japanese Boxwood bought from Lowes for $13US it is in a 3G pot & about 2' high from the soil to the apex. You may not think that it looks like much But allways remember you need to look at potetial stock from all angles. There are actually TWO twunks in there! Both with suitable lines to them.

When I got done with my initial styling [Pruning and wiring] {I want to emphasise it was in no way required to repot it and the fact is I took a signifigant risk in doing it. One must gradually work down to a smaller pot- this one is a training pot to be technical about it, This spring it was moved again to a even more shallow pot.}
...At any rate, After the initial styling it looked like this: 16" high [from soil] with a 4" nebari spread....
[img]https://img208.imageshack.us/img208/6305/1780finalsubmissionsbonsaichatorgstylingcontestbox711we5.jpg[/img]

I was lucky enough to win a contest with the styling of this stock which allowed me the nerve to ask Walter Pall for a critique.
[If you don't know his work see his gallery here, It is world class: https://walter-pall.de/galerie.htm]
[The following visual images of this tree should be credited to Walter Pall.]
Mr. Pall was gracious enough to critique my tree and in fact he liked my efforts. As I had allready voiced my opinion that this tree was destined for an oval cream pot, Imagine my surprise when the first virtual of future options by Walter was this :
[url=https://img242.imageshack.us/my.php?image=1945critiqueynotscontestentrybox71132169ut4.jpg][img]https://img242.imageshack.us/img242/308/1945critiqueynotscontestentrybox71132169ut4.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Of course he had more than just one idea:

[url=https://img245.imageshack.us/my.php?image=1946critiqueynotscontestentrybox71133513lr8.jpg][img]https://img245.imageshack.us/img245/2924/1946critiqueynotscontestentrybox71133513lr8.th.jpg[/img][/url]

In fact he had more than two! World Class Indeed :!: 8) :

[url=https://img165.imageshack.us/my.php?image=1947critiqueynotscontestentrybox71135160pd6.jpg][img]https://img165.imageshack.us/img165/4479/1947critiqueynotscontestentrybox71135160pd6.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Take a nice long look at those last three pictures [or if you flatter me... last four pictures]....$13 it cost me. Now, Ask yourself do you really want to spend your money on that cutting with the rocks glued on top?.... Do you really?

[Mind you I had to dig and search and quest for it, Which was totally worth it IMO. Bonsai hunting in nurseries is a joy in itself 8).
And I have a decent eye for 'seeing the tree within']

This is an example of the phrase 'Little bonsai do not grow up to be big bonsai'.
Instead
Big trees and shrubs are cut back to be bonsai, Cut FAR Far far back and then grown out.
Not put in a tiny pot where they grow large, They won't.
Not in a human lifetime anyway.

Yes Zombiefreak, I know malsai.
You may even see me looking a bit sad standing by the table of them at lowes. [They know I am a bonsai guy, They also know I don't purchase the lowesai, and why.]
You won't see me bring one home though, I can build a better tree for less money at home..:lol: And it's fun.

And ZF, Thanks for your interest and for posting.8)
Later,
ynot [img]https://img241.imageshack.us/img241/1939/u4jchinaec9.gif[/img]

EDIT: Here is a progression of pictures of this boxwood in widget form:
https://s7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/novusordo1/Japanese%20Boxwood/?action=view&current=1161759616.pbw
Last edited by ynot on Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:01 am, edited 2 times in total.

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As I said these actually had some potential and were not the whole cutting deal you speaking of. I have done styling on nursery stock but ficus are few and far between even in loews around here. The trees are about 7 or eight bucks but if I wnated some really good stock I would spend about 50 to 75 bucks on a black olive as my next styling project. Anyways I migth have a go at either way and thats that no harm done just lessons learned.
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ynot
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Zombiefreak wrote:As I said these actually had some potential and were not the whole cutting deal you speaking of.
Yeah, occasionally the guys at Omiya let a good one on the boat, :wink::lol:
I have done styling on nursery stock but ficus are few and far between even in loews around here. The trees are about 7 or eight bucks but if I wnated some really good stock I would spend about 50 to 75 bucks on a black olive as my next styling project. Anyways I migth have a go at either way and thats that no harm done just lessons learned.
Sneak a picture of them..lol

Oh the ficus I get to fool around on aren't sold as bonsai at all. Strange ficus being rare there...
What I get are [I have mentioned this allready but these posts end up so long..lol] in the greenhouse in a 1g pot about 6 or 8 trunks 20 to 28" high 6$ or 7$ or 8$- I forget. They are cheap at any rate. Low risk to experiment on and tougher than a 2$ steak. Just good fun!

Olives eh?
You may enjoy: https://www.dugzbonsai.com/index.htm Check out the section called 'Olive Head Central' and also peek at what he is doing in the 'Trident Trunk' section too.
ynot

Petra26
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wow, impressive. i have not yet had the chance to even prune my ficus bonsai. i have only been trying to bring it back to life and keep it healthy. i am so glad someone finally posted pictures and step by step process, it was very informative and cool! now I'm thinking of going to get myself a nice big tree and cut it down :D

i hope to see more pictures from other posters :D i love looking at pictures and seeing other people's bonsai.

ynot
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Petra26 wrote:wow, impressive.
Thanks,
i have not yet had the chance to even prune my ficus bonsai. i have only been trying to bring it back to life and keep it healthy.

What's up with it? I will check your thread.
i am so glad someone finally posted pictures and step by step process, it was very informative and cool! now I'm thinking of going to get myself a nice big tree and cut it down :D
That's how it works!
I am glad you read it and found it usefull.
There actually is more to this story [of the ficus]..it's true...There's more.
i hope to see more pictures from other posters :D i love looking at pictures and seeing other people's bonsai.
Yeah, That would be nice.

I actuallly think the two best bits of info are these two links about soil and water. https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Soils.html
https://www.bonsai4me.com/Basics/Basics_Watering.html
Allthough the trees in Walters Gallery do offer Jaw Dropping Inspiration.
I appreciate the comments Petra!
ynot

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It comes as kind of a surprise to me...But nobody has asked

'What did you do with the top of the tree?' :?:

Two words 'Raft Style' 8)

Well, I pruned all the branches off of one side of it, Then wired all the remaining to face the opposite way. A few slices w/ a razor down the length of the trunk into the cambium, A sprinkle of rooting hormone and into the pot it went.

If you suffer from vertigo you may want to skip these next two pictures, August 2005:
[url=https://img138.imageshack.us/my.php?image=2772ficusbadvicepleaseraft1jz9.jpg][img]https://img138.imageshack.us/img138/1508/2772ficusbadvicepleaseraft1jz9.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img216.imageshack.us/my.php?image=2773ficusbadvicepleaseraft2pf8.jpg][img]https://img216.imageshack.us/img216/7730/2773ficusbadvicepleaseraft2pf8.th.jpg[/img][/url]

These branches will eventually be trees appearing to grow out of a fallen tree that has rooted where it lay on the forest floor. Freshly potted-August 2005
[url=https://img214.imageshack.us/my.php?image=2776ficusbadvicepleaseraft6uk8.jpg][img]https://img214.imageshack.us/img214/3273/2776ficusbadvicepleaseraft6uk8.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img214.imageshack.us/my.php?image=2775ficusbadvicepleaseraft5du9.jpg][img]https://img214.imageshack.us/img214/5164/2775ficusbadvicepleaseraft5du9.th.jpg[/img][/url]

I kept a carefull eye on it's progress as I had to remove the wiring before it got to difficult to extract from the progressing root system.

It went from having no roots [That's right ZERO, Remember, It was the TOP of the tree.] to this picture in three weeks. Growing in the blazing North Carolina heat and humidity, Full sun except from about noon to 3 or 4pm. [Stop babying your trees people.]
[url=https://img177.imageshack.us/my.php?image=3245ficusbadvicepleaseraftrootageki9.jpg][img]https://img177.imageshack.us/img177/9523/3245ficusbadvicepleaseraftrootageki9.th.jpg[/img][/url]
A bit of progress/growth over winter inside, This is from May 28, 2006:
[url=https://img84.imageshack.us/my.php?image=6698ficusbadvicepleaseficusraft28may060002du9.jpg][img]https://img84.imageshack.us/img84/8394/6698ficusbadvicepleaseficusraft28may060002du9.th.jpg[/img][/url]

Pictures I took today 10-1-06:

The nebari:
[url=https://img156.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficusraftoct060005oj4.jpg][img]https://img156.imageshack.us/img156/9746/ficusraftoct060005oj4.th.jpg[/img][/url]
A shot of the front [or back-I haven't actually decided that yet.] Currently about 10" high.

[url=https://img515.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficusraftoct060003to0.jpg][img]https://img515.imageshack.us/img515/6638/ficusraftoct060003to0.th.jpg[/img][/url]
Comments welcome as allways.
Not to many details to give with this one, Just ask if you want to know something specific. 8) [img]https://img241.imageshack.us/img241/1939/u4jchinaec9.gif[/img]
ynot

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Ynot,

Very nice, you are in a good climate for tropicals, better than me at least. I have never attempted a raft planting or a forest either. Something to look forward to.

Norm
Last edited by Gnome on Tue Oct 03, 2006 6:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

ynot
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Gnome wrote:Very nice, you are in a good climate for tropicals, better than me at least. I have never attempted a raft planting or a forest either. Something to lool forward to.
I think I just can't stand to throw any little bit of tree away... :lol:
NC heat and humidity is condusive to ficus growth, No doubt about that.

It's strange though, Because I see that raft every day.... I am allways thinking to myself 'Man! When is this thing going to grow :?: :!: '
But when I look at these pictures I think 'Wow it's getting bigger!' It makes me really look forward to next year...

:idea: ...Funny you should mention forests.... :arrow: ...... :?:
I will let the anticipation grow...heh heh heh
ynot

Petra26
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when you chop it, are you suppose to chop it diagonally? cause the walsai i have was just chopped horizontally... if so, why? (i have a tendency to like to know the why of things)

also, how did you get the top chopped part to grow? i thought the new growth just grows around the top chopped part. mine just has a bunch of new growth around top chopped flat part, like a flat coffee table in the middle with branches growing up around it. in fact, it looks quite bad, just a flat top in the middle of the tree :( how did you get from the top picture to the bottom picture where the new growth grew back in from the chopped area and make it look like part of the tree? and not just some skinny stick sticking out of the top?

[img]https://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y291/novusordo1/Ficus/Raft%20Ficus/raftdonor.jpg[/img]
[img]https://img224.imageshack.us/img224/9048/6693ficusbadvicepleaseficusshohinmay060002yp5.jpg[/img]

ynot
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Petra26 wrote:wow, amazing... but I have question relating to the bottom portion...
when you chop it, are you suppose to chop it diagonally? cause the walsai I have was just chopped horizontally... if so, why? (I have a tendency to like to know the why of things)
also, how did you get the top chopped part to grow? I thought the new growth just grows around the top chopped part. mine just has a bunch of new growth around top chopped flat part, like a flat coffee table in the middle with branches growing up around it. in fact, it looks quite bad, just a flat top in the middle of the tree :( how did you get from the top picture to the bottom picture where the new growth grew back in from the chopped area and make it look like part of the tree? and not just some skinny stick sticking out of the top?

[Rant][The very short answer is that malsai are mass produced and sold as soon as they have a root system to support them without regard to artistic styling any further than wiring a juniper cutting to look like a '7' Or the ever popular radish..er ginseng ficus. Then making everything else either a generic 'broom style' {no style} or insure that it looks like a 'digital 5' Because it is going to be sold to people who know no better in the west and that is what westerners think bonsai look like. [And we buy tons of absolute crap with tiny pagodas.][/Rant :evil:..Malsai :evil: ]

{The longer answer about why I did it the way I did it follows.}

Well, It depends on what your trying to do. If you wanted a broom style bonsai it would actually be proper to do a slightly 'V' shaped chop so that all of your buds aren't originating from the same point. Such as in a flat chop [IE: Your tabletop, That will eventually cause the trunk to swell at that spot and then you have reverse taper.]
If you make an angle cut it by definition causes some degree of taper.

I chopped at an angle because I wanted to induce some taper [Making the trunk gradually get more narrow as it gets to the top.]
Even when cutting at an angle the new growth that occurs is still [primarily] around the chop, But also some budding further down the trunk which I [mostly] rubbed off.
All of this depends on the species, IE: Ficus b backbud well, Not that I needed it.

Due to the angled approach of the chop, Some of the new growth is actually a bit below the wound. I chose a bud from the bottom of the wound and wired it so that it grew directly up across it.
This eventually fattened up a bit and made for a nice gradual transition between the old/newgrowth. There were two more chops that I made above the main one. Essentially, They are where the trunk curves. the last one was more pruning than 'trunk chop' at the time it happened.

The red are the other two chops, The branch in the yellow is the branch that remained when I chopped the top off of it.

[img]https://img71.imageshack.us/img71/3416/chloevirthgsq5.jpg[/img]

It is important to notice here that I allready knew what the front of my tree was going to be and I chopped it at such an angle that the highest point [of the old trunk] was facing directly forward. Meaning also that the wound is facing the rear.
A little thinking ahead in bonsai really pays dividends. 8)

I hope this helps a bit, But If not.... Just ask. :D

ynot

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majed
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very nice "fallen tree" i have tried it on ficus but failed.my brother says that i am very harsh to plants(actually when he see i am cutting the half plant wiring it or pruning it he dislikes it)

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