Henry.
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:10 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Young Ficus Nerifolia

Hi!
I just bought a young tree to grow. This is my first foray into the bonsai art but I've done a lot of reading, so hopefully within a few years I will be able to make something acceptable.

When I first got the tree is was growing in a 4 inch square nursury pot, and quite root bound. The roots were mostly growing downwards, although the surface roots weren't bad. I pruned the thicker roots pointing downwards.
Here is the result.
[img]https://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb307/hsigall/0630071504.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb307/hsigall/0630071504a.jpg[/img]
Sorry about the poor photography, I'll do better next time.

I also removed about half to a third of the foliage to compensate. It grows very full and dense. I also raised the trunk in the pot slightly to reveal the flair at the base of the trunk. The bottom is a bit.. round, particularly before I took off the down-growing roots.

It's now planted in a 6in pot with hoffman's bonsai soil over 1in gravel plus perlite for drainage. Incedently, I'm thinking I probably should have screened the soil before I used it. It seems a bit muddy. Anyone have any experience with that sort of pre mixed soil? It's grit, expanded shale, turface and composted pine bark I think.

My general strategy is to grow this in larger containers without pruning much until it grows a larger trunk, then cut it down. Maybe repeat that again with a large branch to create a taper, I'm not sure. I think I want to go for a broom form in the end. Is this a good strategy? Will this species grow back reliably if I cut it down to the trunk and leave only one maybe two sacrifice branches? That's not until at least a year down the road anyway I suppose. What can I do to encourage a robust nebari other than good soil and watering habits?

[img]https://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb307/hsigall/0630071552.jpg[/img]

Also, how soon can I get this out into the full sun after such a big operation? I'd like to have it outdoors for it's health durring the summer months.

Thanks in advance!
Henry.

ynot
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1219
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:49 pm
Location: USDA Z:5a Sunset Z. 41 IL

Re: Young Ficus Nerifolia

Henry. wrote:Hi!
I just bought a young tree to grow. This is my first foray into the bonsai art but I've done a lot of reading, so hopefully within a few years I will be able to make something acceptable.
Welcome to the forum Henry, I think you are spot on with your horticultural intentions for this guy. :D
When I first got the tree is was growing in a 4 inch square nursury pot, and quite root bound. The roots were mostly growing downwards, although the surface roots weren't bad. I pruned the thicker roots pointing downwards.
Here is the result.
Looks good to me. 8), Too bad you had not seen [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3423]this[/url]when you repotted. It could have helped you prevent repeating that procedure.
[Sorry about the poor photography, I'll do better next time.
:shock: LOL - If you only knew what often gets posted as 'photography'.. You would know you have nothing to apologize for.. Seriously 8). I am glad you understand the importance of a good picture though and I thank you for that :D.
I also removed about half to a third of the foliage to compensate. It grows very full and dense. I also raised the trunk in the pot slightly to reveal the flair at the base of the trunk. The bottom is a bit.. round, particularly before I took off the down-growing roots.
So far so good...
It's now planted in a 6in pot with hoffman's bonsai soil over 1in gravel plus perlite for drainage. Incedently, I'm thinking I probably should have screened the soil before I used it. It seems a bit muddy. Anyone have any experience with that sort of pre mixed soil? It's grit, expanded shale, turface and composted pine bark I think.
I mix my own soil so I have no experience with this brand but IMO sifting out the fines is a necessity, not an option. So I agree with your assessment & you will have to be cautious with your watering as it may be staying wet longer.
My general strategy is to grow this in larger containers without pruning much until it grows a larger trunk, then cut it down. Maybe repeat that again with a large branch to create a taper, I'm not sure. I think I want to go for a broom form in the end. Is this a good strategy?
I like the fact that you have a plan and you understand how to get there. [This key point is so often overlooked by people who go chopping and say... 'Well, I am still thinking about it', Or ask for ideas after they have chopped it to pieces :?:]

Broom style eh? Quick question: Considering [url=https://images.google.com/images?um=1&tab=wi&client=firefox-a&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=broom%20style%20bonsai]brooms[/url] tend to have little to no taper at all... Why the multiple chops?
Will this species grow back reliably if I cut it down to the trunk and leave only one maybe two sacrifice branches? That's not until at least a year down the road anyway I suppose.
You can chop a healthy Nerifolia down to a leafless stump and it will come back...

Pearlmasters Ficus:
[img]https://www.bonsaichat.org/forums/attachments/tree-critique/7858d1158767239t-ficus-salicifolia-salicifolia-1.jpg[/img]
[img]https://www.bonsaichat.org/forums/attachments/tree-critique/7859d1158767255t-ficus-salicifolia-salicifolia-2.jpg[/img]
[img]https://www.bonsaichat.org/forums/attachments/tree-critique/7860d1158767505t-ficus-salicifolia-ficu-salicifolia.jpg[/img]
All three=Same tree. Feel better?...I thought so :P ;) :D.
What can I do to encourage a robust nebari other than good soil and watering habits?
The only thing I would add to that equation is 'time', But you already knew that. :P ;)
Also, how soon can I get this out into the full sun after such a big operation? I'd like to have it outdoors for it's health durring the summer months.
If you have somewhere partially sunny [Preferably Am] it should be outside now, In a few weeks as the new growth starts you could move it.

Do check out the stickys [And the links in them] at the top of the forum as well as the gallery and do visit [url=https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3343]this thread[/url] for some bonsai inspiration.

You may find Jerrys' site very interesting also: https://www.bonsaihunk.us/ficusforum/FicusForum.html

I hope this was helpful.

ynot

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

Henry,

You seem to be off to a good start and Ynot has answered your questions well so I won't go over everything again. I do have one comment though.
My general strategy is to grow this in larger containers without pruning much until it grows a larger trunk, then cut it down. Maybe repeat that again with a large branch to create a taper, I'm not sure. I think I want to go for a broom form in the end. Is this a good strategy?
If you are wanting a broom I think I would avoid the chops as this will impart unwanted movement to the trunk. A few years of unrestricted growth is more appropriate for now. This will thicken the trunk without without creating curves that are not appropriate for this style. It is possible to do chops and still present a fairly straight image from one view but that is a challenge that you don't need right now.

Norm

Henry.
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:10 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Tree update:
It's... Surviving, no doubt there. Many lost leaves, but still many left. I'm sure now that this pre-mixed soil I bought (hoffman's) isn't actually "ready to use" and should have been screened.

Right now it's spending most of it's time in a sunny south window. I tried putting it out but um... There's not enough solid roots there to hold it up in the windy weather. I wonder if I wasn't over zealous pruning the roots.

I'll try giving it a light dose of fertilizer later this week.

Thanks for the pointer on the broom style going well with a strait (w/o tapir) trunk.
Gnome wrote:If you are wanting a broom I think I would avoid the chops as this will impart unwanted movement to the trunk. A few years of unrestricted growth is more appropriate for now.
Sounds logical to me. I will have to cut the trunk in half (later on of course) so that all the main branches that hold the canopy exit the trunk from it's top point, right?

That's not for years anyways, it's still a stick! I am a little impatient though.

constantstaticx3
Green Thumb
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:24 am
Location: Haddonfield, NJ

Very good start indeed, you did your research :D .

As for the wind blowing it out of the pot, you could use some wire wrapped around the bottom of the pot and then twisted around the trunk to hold it in place. Be sure to use some type of padding to keep the wire from cutting into the trunk.

The tree really needs to be outside it will be much happier there. I recently bought a small ficus and re potted it. It too is losing some leaves but they can be temperamental at times and will bounce right back so no worries there.

Tom

Henry.
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:10 pm
Location: Massachusetts

constantstaticx3 wrote:As for the wind blowing it out of the pot, you could use some wire wrapped around the bottom of the pot and then twisted around the trunk to hold it in place. Be sure to use some type of padding to keep the wire from cutting into the trunk.
Oh, hadn't thought of that. I'll get on that tomorrow morning.

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

Henry,

Tom has a good idea WRT securing the tree. I do similar things from time to time. You can also do this with twine, one strand around the pot under the rim and three or four extending upward and tied to the branches. It takes a little creativity and looks bad for a while but it is important that you get it off to a good start for now. I'll see about getting a picture up but it really sounds more complicated than it is.
I will have to cut the trunk in half (later on of course) so that all the main branches that hold the canopy exit the trunk from it's top point, right?
The usual proportions are something along these lines; one third of the trunk is bare and two thirds foliage. So if you desire a finished tree of 18 inches then you need 6 inches of straight trunk before the chop.

There is another ratio that is also used. If I recall correctly it is 6 to 1. The finished height is 6 times the diameter of the trunk at the base. So using the same example, an 18 tree requires a 3 inch trunk. These are of course only guidelines. I think a broom style can look OK with a thinner trunk. Ultimately it is up to you, but as you say you have a while to consider your options.
I am a little impatient though.
The solution for this is to get more trees. That way you wont fixate on any one.

Norm
Last edited by Gnome on Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Henry,

OK here's a picture showing a 3 yr old Zelkova that was re-potted this spring. I had difficulty keeping it upright so I tied it in. This particular pot was made from soft plastic so I just poked some holes around the rim.

[url=https://img528.imageshack.us/my.php?image=twinexz2.jpg][img]https://img528.imageshack.us/img528/8116/twinexz2.th.jpg[/img][/url]


Norm

Henry.
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:10 pm
Location: Massachusetts

[img]https://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb307/hsigall/0710071013.jpg[/img]

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

Henry,

Looks good, now all you have to do is to maintain it and allow the passage of time. I would not consider another re-potting for several years. The summer of 2009 at the earliest, perhaps longer. I have been wanting a Willow Leaf myself but have never seen one locally.

Norm

Henry.
Newly Registered
Posts: 8
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:10 pm
Location: Massachusetts

Gnome wrote: I have been wanting a Willow Leaf myself but have never seen one locally.
I bought mine on ebay from Florida. It was about 20 dollars including shipping. It was a bit much for a seedling, but then again it wasn't too much to pay for something very specific which I wanted.

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

Henry,

Thanks for the tip. I'll have a look.

Norm

constantstaticx3
Green Thumb
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:24 am
Location: Haddonfield, NJ

Gnome,

just remembered, you can find them here https://bonsai-mart.com/bonsai_starter_trees.html
Its the second one down.

Tom

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

Tom,

Thanks to you also.

Norm

Return to “BONSAI FORUM”