Ficus lyrata pruning and notching

elena_bSeptember 22, 2013

i posted somewhere my question about making notching on Ficus lyrata for encouraging new branches, because when i cut of the top of the tree it produced only one new branch. I wanted more, i got reply on this thread:
Cannot reply there because it's full.
so here is story of my lurata trees with pictures.
I got two plants in one pot from Lowes. After two years, i decided to separate them and do some pruning. Each tree got a new pot with good soil and rocks on the bottom for good drainage. But the pruning didn't stimulate many new branches. On one tree i removed almost all the leaves because i thought it would stimulate even more new branches. Again, it didn't work either. Then i found the thread above and i made notches above each leaf and since i didn't have many leaves left i made notches where i feel is ok to do. :) maybe i killed all natural flow of the plants' juices.
So far it doesn't work. It's about 2 weeks now how i made those notches. I have a feeling something is not right.
I am fertilising the plant.
I am submitting pictures of the notches i made.
Maybe nothing will help on this stage?

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this is my second tree

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 4:18PM
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these are some of many many notches i made

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 4:20PM
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and another question: when a tree doesn't have leaves is it possible to get new branches? I noticed that when a trunk or branch is thick in diameter, it doesn't produce new branches after pruning.
I am asking because i have a third healthy ficus lyrata tree( i got it by airlayering ), which i didn't prune nor notch it, i am not sure when to prune/notch so it will have many branches approximately on the same level.
Here is photo of the tree with the image of the tree i like.
Thank you so much for help! i am so glad to find this forum!

    Bookmark   September 22, 2013 at 4:37PM
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in the last pic the stake obscures the trunk: do you have any branching on it ? how many leaves total?
small pip pic - is 'what you would like it to look like' or what you have?
separated plants:
those 3 leaf stalks look very weak to me - i would not prune them yet either. and especially not now, unless you are in zone 10 :) and will have warmth/good sun for sev months. or you have a conservatory to grow them in.
i read that it is not advisable to prune off the branch leaving less then 2 leaves on it - it might die off.
you need to get them growing next year and producing more leaves and then prune back.
i much prefer multi-trunks for lyrata in the same pot - the trunks will remain rather thin always and bottom leaves will eventually drop after many years - leaving just top branches.
it is much easier to maintain a full look with many in one pot.
this year i notched 3 branches on my ficus in beginning of july and by aug they did not produce buds yet. i was surprised, as before twice i had buds popping within 2-3 weeks. so i pruned them anyway - and i had 2-3 buds formed within 3 weeks after pruning. i have tip-pruned before - and it mostly produced single bud, with very few exceptions. while with notching done 1 mo before pruning i get multi-buds, always. i do notch not just the bark but like for air-layering: about 1/3 of the stem at an angle. then when i prune, i just finish the cut.
on each branch i now have 2 opposing buds growing well with 2 leaves each within 1 month of buds appearing, but the 3rd buds are just sitting there. it's good enough, though.
i have to say that when i prune off the branch i do prune it way back, at may be half.
i try to get a 6" -8" stem for rooting with 5 leaves on top. and then i root the cut off usually without any leaves dropping tented. so my branches where they produce buds are may be 4-5 years old. they have bark on them.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 10:59AM
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Dear Petrushka, thank you so much !
the last pic plant has 8 leaves, no branches, and yes, the small pic is not my plant :(, this is how i want all my trees to look like.

But! i noticed something !
i think i have one bud coming on the trunk of the tree in dark pot beside the windows. I kinda want more buds so i made my notches deeper.
I understood that pruning after notching would be good too. I am thinking to prune the top of that plant. just a little bit. I started to have hopes on this one.

The 3 leaves plant wasn't weak, it's me who pruned and removed all the leaves. i thought i am stimulating side branches. I will leave this plant in peace until next year.

I live in WHitby Ontario, zone 5 maybe? but the plants get lots of light, windows face north west side.

thank you a lot!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2013 at 4:11PM
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i keep reading that in far north ;) - which is where you are compared to subtropics.. people have hard time with tropicals. may be your ficus needs more light and warmth during summer growing season and best light it can get in winter indoors. can you put it somewhere, not north nw/ne? where it can get a ray or two of early/late sunshine? it really likes a few hours of that.
i noticed on 2nd pic - looks like there is a young branch coming out of the pot ? did you root the tip in the same pot or it produced a shoot? leave it there, do not separate it.
pinching tips can be done often once you have multiple branches going. but best in summer.
i am not sure but i think that it makes a difference how old the pruned branch is - that is how many buds it'll produce and how fast. it makes sense to combine air-layering with pruning
of course, but you need to leave min 2 leaves , better 3-4, for it not to die and bud. and the pruned tip should have 2-3 leaves too (i prefer 5) and should be barked , not green.
i also read somewhere that for tip pinching on lyrata, if you are hoping to get a double branching - you need to remove at least 3 leaves on top, not just the bud/last leaf.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2013 at 12:18PM
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