jw
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Finding my way (with a Ficus)

Hello, I am new to the Bonsai Forum and to the art of bonsai. The first pic includes the original plastic 3" oval pot it came in from Home Depot and its new home. I found a an elderly couple here in Edmonton Alberta, Canada, who run a small home bonsai green house. I was able to take my tree to them to have a look at, and all is well with it other than small roots at this time. I bought the pot based on looks and with the petrified wood and tray, i thought it looked good.
The tree must be very young, so I will have a long time to decide on a style I wish to pursue.

[url=https://img24.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0076ydu.jpg][img]https://img24.imageshack.us/img24/4839/img0076ydu.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://g.imageshack.us/img24/img0076ydu.jpg/1/][img]https://img24.imageshack.us/img24/img0076ydu.jpg/1/w2592.png[/img][/url]

[url=https://img19.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0083g.jpg][img]https://img19.imageshack.us/img19/5061/img0083g.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://g.imageshack.us/img19/img0083g.jpg/1/][img]https://img19.imageshack.us/img19/img0083g.jpg/1/w1600.png[/img][/url]

[url=https://img16.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0124m.jpg][img]https://img16.imageshack.us/img16/7069/img0124m.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://g.imageshack.us/img16/img0124m.jpg/1/][img]https://img16.imageshack.us/img16/img0124m.jpg/1/w2592.png[/img][/url]

[url=https://img25.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0126m.jpg][img]https://img25.imageshack.us/img25/748/img0126m.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://g.imageshack.us/img25/img0126m.jpg/1/][img]https://img25.imageshack.us/img25/img0126m.jpg/1/w2592.png[/img][/url]

I am not too certain what type of Ficus it is, but someone suggested that it might be a Ginseng Ficus. If anyone is able to confirm this from the pics that would be great and so would be being corrected.

I am 50 yrs old and just starting bonsai with a very young tree...hmmm. I have been encouraging my eldest daughter to learn with me and then she will be able to carry on with it. Then she can teach my granddaughter and then she can then do like wise and so on....a literal family tree i say.:lol:
Although I do look forwards to many yrs developing not only family but my tree as well. It will be interesting to see the tree's development through photos.

I look forwards to many chats with experienced enthusiasts.

jw

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bonsaiboy
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Hello, jw, and congradulations on your new tree. The tree is indeed a Genseng Ficus (and a very nice specimen, I must say). I see the tree is in good condition, and it is potted in good soil, so it looks like you already know what your doing.
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jw
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta

Thank you bonsaiboy, I bought the tree at a Home Depot for $13 Cdn. I have been doing a lot of interneting and reading; I have two good books I bought: Peter Chan, Bonsai Secrets and Craig Coussins, Bonsai School. I know that I need to be patient with it, but the urge to tinker with it can be strong, I do resist though. There is some nice new growth at the top and it has grown quite a bit already. It will be a real pleasure watching it develop over time and the style it lends itself to. Oh...I have much to learn!
Thanks again for the compliment and for the vote of confidence and for the positive ID.
jw

jw
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I am a little puzzled

Hello again bonsaiboy, it's jw here.
A couple of questions.
I have noticed that there are two different spellings for Genseng and also Ginseng. Are they one in the same or are these two different types of trees?
What might be the process for promoting aerial roots and when. My tree has only just been re-potted, mid March, so I know that I shouldn't be doing much of anything for a few months.
Also, if you have any advice or suggestions please feel free to pass it on.

jw

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Looks like F. retusa to me... check out the warty lenticels, a give away...and yes that's Ginseng ficus (which I had to look up as I know this one as Taiwan ficus or banyan tree). That's why I try to list scientific nomenclature as it removes all doubt about what we are discussing...

Promoting aerial roots is easily done by wrapping wet sphagnum around the spots you want to promote roots, wrapping it in plastic and using wire ties to secure it top and bottom. Be sure to check and loosen regularly to avoid scarring bark...

HG
Scott Reil

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bonsaiboy
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Another way to promote the growth of arial roots on a ficus is to place it in a humid enviornment, such as a terrarium (like a Warden Case), or an aquarium that is not being used. Another thing you should know about the Ginseng Ficus variaties; they are prone to a certain kind of root rot, that I call Ginseng rot. What happens is, for unknown reasons (although I beleve it is related to letting the soil dry out), a fungi (that is, from my expiriance, harmfull only to genseng variaties, probably because almost all the plant consists of 'root') will invade the roots of the tree. It then decays all the vascular tissues on the inside of the root. The infection stops at the trunk or branches, but the plant is no longer able to obtain water, because the roots have been killed. The plant then, for lack of water, looses its leafs, and dies. Once it strikes a root, it is best to amputate it. One can tell if a root is infected due to a shived, wrinkled appearance, and a rather soft feel to it rather than a smooth, succulent look and normal firmness. However, if the fungi infects all the roots, it is usualy too late. This fungi is, from my experiance, little known because I have never seen it mentioned anywere. Also, be sure to check out this site for some more informaton on growing ficuses indoors: https://www.bonsaihunk.us/cultural.html
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jw
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta

I thank you both, bonsaiboy & the H/G for the info and the heads up. For now I have decided to just hold off on doing or attempting anything and let the little guy develop on his own for a while. I know that I will be venturing forwards one day, so I shall certainly hold on to this info. I think I am jumping a little to far ahead of the tree right now and my skills. Smaller steps...greater stride. :)
Without up-rooting the tree, how does one determine whether it has this root fungus, are there exterior signs? The trick, it sounds like, is not let the soil dry out between waterings. And speaking of watering, am I to understand that it s best to water from the top as opposed to soaking? I have heard that soaking is best only after re-potting and top is otherwise the way to go. :?

Thanks again
jw

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Top watering is best because it draws fresh gasses after it as the water percolates through; the soil is more sodden after a soaking, so not so much gas exchange...

That said, every so often, especially in warmer weather, I dunk them once a week or so. Makes it easier to keep them watered. Wait for bubbles to stop and pull it...

HG
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bonsaiboy
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The trick, it sounds like, is not let the soil dry out between waterings.
From my experiance this is true, however, as I said before, there seems to be a lack of information on this problem, so I cannot say for sure (although it could have a name, I have yet to find it). All I know is every time any of my Ginseng Ficuses dried out, even for a little bit, they soon became victim of this strange disease. As for detecting it, if you tree does get it, you will probably notice the symptomes described not on the roots (since it doesn't appear to have and above ground ones) but in the fat part (base) of the trunk. But don't wory about it. Just remember to keep it in well draining soil, and make sure it doesn't completely dry out.
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Earl K
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dunking

You say to dunk it .If my pot is 10 in. deep how far should i dunk it?Is this practice good to do for all types of trees?thanks

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Just over the top of the soil...

Now I should also mention that I moss all my pots so the soil won't float, and if that isn't something you want to do then soak it right up to the rim (untill you see moisture at the soil surface) or water from the top...

HG
Scott Reil

jw
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My soil has remained fairly moist since bringing it home in its new pot. I have the humidity tray and I was misting it every morning. I spoke with the grower in town and he suggested that I ease up on the misting (2-3 times weekly) and not to put too much water in the tray at a time, as it can cause bacteria's and things to form. I understand that it is in a fairly large pot so a curiosity question; will watering mostly at the tree base area work better than watering the whole thing? I imagine setting up a light will help all around.

jw

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bonsaiboy
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With the humidity tray its sitting in, does the water come all the way up to the drainage holes on it or not. If so, the water could be being absorbed by the soil, so the water level should be lowered. Also, ficuses do not need to be misted, as they have waxy enough leafs to retain all the nessissary moisture.
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jw
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No, the water is not able to reach the drainage holes. I'm thinking if not tomorrow, then Thursday, it shall need watering. I am learning the tooth-pick method of gauging the dryness. I will keep my eye on it and see how quickly it needs watering now that I will be top watering.
I find it very interesting just how many different points of view there are. :) :? :) Different perspectives are good though!

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That's why they call it the art of bonsai rather than the science...

HG
Scott Reil

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