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

ficus #1 - spring/summer chapter

hi hi :D


i am updating on my ficus retusa and so far it is doing pretty well imho. here are some pictures of when i first received it and a few after its rescue and then will be followed lastly by the current pictures.


[url=https://img116.imageshack.us/my.php?image=ficusep6.jpg][img]https://img116.imageshack.us/img116/6315/ficusep6.th.jpg[/img][/url]
picture at time of rescue (summer '06)



[url=https://img98.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0372rh0.jpg][img]https://img98.imageshack.us/img98/5673/dscf0372rh0.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img138.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0373kx0.jpg][img]https://img138.imageshack.us/img138/1504/dscf0373kx0.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img149.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0374kg2.jpg][img]https://img149.imageshack.us/img149/594/dscf0374kg2.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img138.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0375yq6.jpg][img]https://img138.imageshack.us/img138/8855/dscf0375yq6.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img218.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0376wu1.jpg][img]https://img218.imageshack.us/img218/2974/dscf0376wu1.th.jpg[/img][/url]
these are pictures prior to repotting (aug '06)



[url=https://img456.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0501rx1.jpg][img]https://img456.imageshack.us/img456/724/dscf0501rx1.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img521.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0502mi4.jpg][img]https://img521.imageshack.us/img521/4937/dscf0502mi4.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img241.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0503zp3.jpg][img]https://img241.imageshack.us/img241/1326/dscf0503zp3.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img75.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0504ys2.jpg][img]https://img75.imageshack.us/img75/2122/dscf0504ys2.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img73.imageshack.us/my.php?image=dscf0505dh6.jpg][img]https://img73.imageshack.us/img73/9019/dscf0505dh6.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img132.imageshack.us/my.php?image=10506repot06yq6.jpg][img]https://img132.imageshack.us/img132/6140/10506repot06yq6.th.jpg[/img][/url]
these are pictures post repotting (oct '06)




this was the progression of my ficus retusa and i would like to thank everyone in the forum for all their help and knowledge they imparted upon me, especially ynot and gnome for their excellent guidance and patience with such a noob in bonsai.




so w/o anymore waiting, here are pictures of my bonsai... i took pictures from different views, not sure which i should put as my front view... (pictures look pretty much the same as earlier ones only slightly bushier)

[url=https://img299.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0582rc6.jpg][img]https://img299.imageshack.us/img299/1537/img0582rc6.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img184.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0583lp4.jpg][img]https://img184.imageshack.us/img184/1931/img0583lp4.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img184.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0584eo2.jpg][img]https://img184.imageshack.us/img184/7194/img0584eo2.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img82.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0585nc0.jpg][img]https://img82.imageshack.us/img82/6580/img0585nc0.th.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://img176.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0586mn0.jpg][img]https://img176.imageshack.us/img176/6374/img0586mn0.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img266.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0587cm2.jpg][img]https://img266.imageshack.us/img266/7034/img0587cm2.th.jpg[/img][/url] [url=https://img82.imageshack.us/my.php?image=img0588if9.jpg][img]https://img82.imageshack.us/img82/5909/img0588if9.th.jpg[/img][/url]

so these are the pictures as of today...



now, onto the questions...



ok, so i made it through the winter... what do i do now? i have no idea what i need to know or do to prepare myself for spring and the summer's growth. do i need to fertilize? should i prune? if so, when?

i would like to do for a formal broom style and possibly keep the ficus smaller but is it getting pretty big. (~15"?) i would like to try to make the ficus smaller and bushier. the leaves are pretty huge at the moment aswell. i am looking into fertilizing but not sure when or what kind of fertilizer to use. i would like to prune more of the fat feeder roots away as seen in the virtual picture to allow for future shallower potting and possibly potting more of the existing root system under the soil.. I'm assuming not to repot or root prune anytime soon since i had just done so about 4 months ago. should i start pruning the branches? if so, how do i do that? where should i cut? how much can i cut w/o killing the bonsai? i am confused on the the pruning process as i am mainly too hesitant to do anything drastic that might kill it.

i am looking for any advice you guys can give me. thank you for all the time and help. i hope to make this ficus into a wonderful bonsai :D
Last edited by Petra26 on Mon Apr 02, 2007 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Gnome
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Location: Western PA USDA Zone 6A

Petra,

That certainly is an improvement, good for you.
I'm assuming not to repot or root prune anytime soon since I had just done so about 4 months ago.
I agree that it is much too soon to consider another re-pot or any root work now.
should I start pruning the branches? if so, how do I do that? where should I cut? how much can I cut w/o killing the bonsai?
My experience with Ficus is limited to a Benjimina species and my research indicates that they should not be pruned back below existing foliage as the branch may die. I cannot say if this species is any more resilient, you have time to do some research don't rush into anything.
I would like to do for a formal broom style
Brooms usually have a straight cylindrical trunk for 1/3 of its height so I'm not sure if this specimen or even this species is appropriate for this style. If you are interested in a broom style Ficus try doing a Google search on "Willow Leaf Ficus" that is the next species I hope to try. Check out my thread about brooms in the gallery if you care to.
do I need to fertilize?
The tree has been growing actively now for several months and you have not yet fertilized, correct? Unless you have included fertilizer into your soil I think it is time that you began an appropriate fertilizer program. By far the simplest method is to use a balanced water soluble fertilizer that is available in any hardware or home center. There are other options such as liquid seaweed or other organic products if you are so inclined.

For now just keep doing what you have been, the plant will do much better during the summer as it becomes better established. Can you keep it outside during warm weather?

Once again, good job so far.

Norm

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

i will have to look into the pruning for this species so for the meantime i will not touch it :D i guess i don't really know anything about having a style or anything. i am just looking to try to make it look bushier and not so lanky with huge leaves.

as for fertlizing, i think i will have to start fertilizing. the closest thing i got to fertilizing was yesterday when i gave it the water from my goldfish aquarium when i did my water change. i don't know if that is considered fertilizer but i did that for the first time yesterday, not sure if it will do anything. also, when you say "balanced" fertilizer, are you talking about the 15-15-15?? I'm not really clear how to gauge fertilizer.

i could keep it outside during the summer but i am worried about kids running through our backyard and being malicious... maybe i will be able to find something, i will have to look around.

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Gnome
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Petra,
the closest thing I got to fertilizing was yesterday when I gave it the water from my goldfish aquarium when I did my water change. I don't know if that is considered fertilizer but I did that for the first time yesterday, not sure if it will do anything.
I have heard of others using aquarium water but it is foreign to me. I would tend to think it on the weak side.
also, when you say "balanced" fertilizer, are you talking about the 15-15-15?? I'm not really clear how to gauge fertilizer.
Yes that is correct. It could be 10-10-10 or 20-20-20 as long as you mix it according to directions it is the same thing.

[url=https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/fertiliz.htm]Everything you ever wanted to know about fertilizer but were afraid to ask.[/url]

Norm

ynot
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Petra,
I am glad to see the progress:).

As Gnome has addressed the ferts, I just have a few comments.
Petra26 wrote:I will have to look into the pruning for this species so for the meantime I will not touch it :D
[url=https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/growprin.htm]How plants work as a system,[/url] [url=https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/pruning2.htm]And A bit about pruning.[/url] [Two links there] The pruning article has a deciduous focus but the general principles apply.
Petra26 wrote:I guess I don't really know anything about having a style or anything.
I think a broom would be quite challenging, I have another potential option [That maintains your trees small stature but has a more rounded canopy] which I will virt for you.
Petra26 wrote: I am just looking to try to make it look bushier and not so lanky with huge leaves.
Good lighting will help to reduce your leaf size.
[As well as the internode length. 'Internode length' refers to the distance between leaves [or leaf pairs] on a branch. Bright light reduces this distance and helps promote the tight compact foliage required for bonsai] Lanky=Long nodes.

Notice in the picture below the distance between the red lines as opposed to the [shorter more compact] distance [of the more recent growth ] between the yellow lines. This is your internode length and as you see it can vary dramatically.
This being a smaller tree it is very important to have short 'nodes as [You may have noticed] longer ones really ruin the scale and it then looks all out of whack.

[url=https://imageshack.us][img]https://img377.imageshack.us/img377/719/petraficus2jk8.jpg[/img][/url]

[url=https://www.evergreengardenworks.com/leafsize.htm]What you need to know about reducing your leaf size.[/url]

I will wait on the virt for now, See edit-

ynot

EDIT:: I was partially complete with a virt on how to 'bush out' your tree when it occurred to me that you may want to peruse [url=https://www.bonsaihunk.us/ficusforum/FicusTechniques.html]this.[/url] You may have already seen it, But....

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

any suggestion on pruning this bonsai? not the one ynot posted a pic of, that's the other bonsai which i will most likely be doing the 1 new leader branch and 1 sacrifice branch.

ynot
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Petra26 wrote:any suggestion on pruning this bonsai? not the one ynot posted a pic of, that's the other bonsai which I will most likely be doing the 1 new leader branch and 1 sacrifice branch.
Petra,

[I am confused, Do you mean that the picture in my previous post is incorrect for this thread? - Please clarify this.]

WRT styling- Do you mean this from a technical aspect or stylistically? If its the first one see the link I mention below, If the second...again you are kind of limited by the material you have to work with.

Where do you see it heading?

There is an excellent link in the 'EDIT' in my last post on this thread for you to checkout wrt ficus.

ynot

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

yeah, the picture u posted displaying the internodes is of my other bonsai, not this bonsai. you did the same thing in the other thread. you swapped the 2 bonsai. for this one, which is weaker, i would just like to reduce the size of the branches and make it bushier.

gotta go... going out of town for work for 2 days, bye bye.

ynot
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Petra26 wrote:yeah, the picture u posted displaying the internodes is of my other bonsai, not this bonsai. you did the same thing in the other thread. you swapped the 2 bonsai. for this one, which is weaker, I would just like to reduce the size of the branches and make it bushier.
I am sorry about that :oops:, These threads are hard to keep straight w/similar titles and all.

The idea is the same in principle.

Read the link in my edit two posts back- It exactly references making your ficus 'bushier' using a similar tree to yours.



ynot

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

for a quick update since i have been too busy to do anything w/ my poor neglected bonsai, i have started my fertilizing, maybe about 2 times already. at every other week probably will be the 3rd time tonight when i get home to water them. the poor originally near death ficus is now actually growing with vigor. after i started fertilizing and since spring time has kicked in with longer hours of sunlight my ficus has started to grow notably faster. sprouting leaves all the time now and i think one of the branches is about to sprout it's first new branch ever since the revival :D


so to sum things up... the ficus is growing well and maybe soon i will be able to start pruning/styling this little guy :D

ynot
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Petra26 wrote:

so to sum things up... the ficus is growing well and maybe soon I will be able to start pruning/styling this little guy :D
Excellent!

8) 8) :D

ynot

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Gnome
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Petra,
I have been too busy to do anything w/ my poor neglected bonsai,
Don't let it bother you. Sometimes a little benign neglect is just what the doctor ordered. We can have a tendency to fuss too much anyway. As the weather warms and days lengthen your trees will become more active and more readily rebound from whatever styling you decide on.

Norm

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