Ficus too little - Newbie wants critique

spaceo(6)December 27, 2007

Hey all

As people on this forum have been very helpful, I thought I'd put up my first project to take criticisms - and advice.

I went to a local nursery that has a pretty extensive bonsai section. I was going for supplies, but as they had 'pre-bonsai' I picked one up to try out my new Christmas present - a Bonsai tool kit. They were cheap so what the hay.

First shot shows the pre-bonsai no trimming or prunning.

Second shot shows how it looks now. I was intending to do one more cut but decided I should let the tree recover a bit first. But I might have been overly influenced by my girlfriend and her daughter whimpering at each cut. lol.

The third shot shows my original plan. As I removed SO much foliage I decided to leave that long silly looking stringy thing in shot 2 for now.Shot 3 shows what looked like my best apex.

I also removed quite a bit of the roots - and am not sure how I should balance that out. The roots were pretty much a solid root mass in the container it was in - (4" conatainer, now in 4" oval pot) so I THINK I balanced my root/foliage trimming about right. But The roots were taller than wide so the bottom of the bonsai pot is pretty far from full of roots.

Also - What would be better to thicken up the area where the apex makes its first lean the right at 45 degrees? to let all the extra long bit stay on (Which would but more foliage/growth on that whole branch) or cut it (to make all the growth on that branch go where it will be needed)- If it doesn't make a difference either way I'll chop it as it looks so goofy.

Finally - another approach would be to chop off the bend and go more for an almost formal but actually informal upright. much shorter and 'thicker'- I'd wait a while for that though for tree recovery.

If you see this tree and shake your head and think 'jeez - where do I begin what a screwed up bonsai' then don't worry. I'm taking a bonsai for beginner workship at the end of january.

Don't worry about pulling your punches. I'm a newb looking for advice.

Oh yeah. its a ficus kiki - or ficus to little. Indoors Michigan/detroit area.

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That tall apex will thicken by itself if left alone (not pruned if you can stand it for a while!). Otherwise, I'd do nothing at all for now but get it into a larger pot (slip it rather than 'repot') just adding new soil around the outside. I am curious why you did so radical a job on the tree that looks like it had some promising branches, but I guess that's newbie-ness!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2007 at 5:32PM
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re:Slippinn into new pot - Is this to speed growth? There's a good amount of wiggle room in the pot.

As far as pruning - yeah probably 'newbie-ness.' I saw a lot of trunk chopping online that actually leaves no foliage at all. Granted these were for decidious trees in spring.

I picked the front of the tree and started trimming from the top down. (waiting until my final chop to commit to the apex) Most of the foliage was from the part of the tree I chopped off. I also trimmed branches off the front of the trunk - thinking I'd go ahead and get the scars healing. Perhaps I should have waited for some growback for that phase. Theres slightly more green in the back than it looks like in the pic.

Thanks for the comments

    Bookmark   December 28, 2007 at 9:54AM
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