Sumo Shohin Willow Leaf Ficus Progression

ryan_tree(7aVA)September 16, 2011

Hey everyone,

I thought I would show the couple month progression of a Willow Leaf Ficus I've had. This tree has a 2.25 inch trunk and stands about a foot tall. Here it is when first purchased:

I then repotted it, and took it WAY back, to just one branch, which I plan on growing out:

And wired it a little straighter up:

Time to let it grow! Feel free to make any comments or ask questions.


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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Since nerifolia/salicifolia back-buds so readily on very old wood, I would probably not have pruned anything above the chop (looks like you might not have anyway); this, to facilitate the elimination of the radical change in caliper at the chop site. Letting the top grow wild will add thickness to the branch trained as the new leader. I would be sure to repot yearly (large shallow pot and a very fast soil - plenty of fertilizer in a 3:1:2 ratio (different than NPK %s) and would center my priorities on correcting any root problems and building the surface root base (need more info?) along with the previously mentioned waiting for the radical change in taper to disappear between the chop and the branch trained to vertical as the new leader before I got too far. Once you get those areas going your way, and even before, you can start building your tree.

This cutting from one of my other trees has a lot of the same characteristics yours had/has:


    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 3:52PM
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Thanks Al, that's what I thought too. I haven't even touched the new leader in terms of pruning it yet, as, like you said, I want it to grow out and thicken.

I love how readily these backbud on old wood. I've got probably 8 others and I regularly chop them back and they come back like crazy.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2011 at 5:32PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Great update! Nice work, Ryan!
(Yours, too, Al ;0)


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 1:06PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Oh jeez - mine is still at the very beginning of its journey to becoming a bonsai. I only showed the picture because of the similarities between the 2 trees. Here's a pic I took just a few minutes ago, of a tree really needing some pruning & thinning before it comes in to it's home under lights for the winter.

It really looks much better in life than in 2D - especially when it's been pruned. Most bonsai growers understand that your trees don't (and probably shouldn't, if you're watching out for the tree's health) look good every day or even every month of the year.

I need to remove the left-leaning top and train a branch that moves to the right instead of the left so it doesn't flow against the movement of the tree as the new top. The tree is so apically dominant I should be able to quickly develop a top as I start working a little more seriously on branch refinement.

It's 25" tall from the pot rim and has a 9" root spread at the soil line. I acquired it as a much smaller tree in a Dale Cochoy workshop in Ann Arbor in '02. It's in a Sarah Raynor pot now that's much too deep for the plant, but it had a very poor root structure that I've been reducing as much as possible each year so I can get it into increasingly shallower pots.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 4:02PM
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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Well it looks wonderful!

By the way, I eventually removed one of the co-dominant leaders from my Weeping Willow.
Haven't done much else to it, though.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 5:13PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Lol - .... best that a tree doesn't have 2 heads.


    Bookmark   September 18, 2011 at 6:49PM
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