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Ficus, Multi-Trunks to Single-Trunks

Posted by hopefulauthor z5IL ( on
Mon, Jun 25, 12 at 17:24

Well, I finally did it.

For years, I've wanted a Rubber Tree w/one main trunk. Multi trunks are pretty, but I prefer standards.

While outside, 'pruners in hand,' I decapited all but one stem on green/red hue and variegated Rubber Trees.

Now what? Both trunks are a little crooked. Wish I knew how grafting was done, but I don't, so that's out.

Is there a way for the stems to grow straight, AND, will they branch out at some point?



Any suggestions? Thanks, Toni

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Ficus, Multi-Trunks to Single-Trunks

Those trees were that tall with no branches? What would you graft if you could? Are you going to propagate the pieces you cut? Won't the stumps send up new growth? Sorry, nothing but questions.

RE: Ficus, Multi-Trunks to Single-Trunks

Purple, again I apoligize for the other thread. I feel terrible.

Yes, both F. Rubber Trees were tall and full.
Variegated was purchased at KMart in autumn 1989 for 1.50. A solo 7-inch trunk, w/2-3 leaves, sitting outside in the cold.
Green was bought a few years before the variegated.

Both grew tall and full.




Rubber Tree

Well, you saw the decapitation, lol.

If I know how to graft, I'd have air-layered, 'instead of chopping' various stems. After rooting, they'd be grafted on root stock. This way each Ficus would grow as a standard.

Yep, stumps will continue growing..each will need sawing off each time one produces new growth.

Anyway, that's my plant..growing two standard trees.
Bushy plants are nice, but I have a thing for solo trunks. lol..Space is another issue. Bushy plants need a lot more room than Standards.

Purple, I tossed the excess pieces. Didn't know what else to do w/them, so in the compost they went.

I only hope both trees grow upright, then fill out. lol. Wishful thinking.

RE: Ficus, Multi-Trunks to Single-Trunks

Well I've looked and can't find any pics of the rubber tree I had that was almost as tall as me. I think it had side branches, but really couldn't say for sure. Do you remember me telling you it froze to death my first winter here? Still missing it - it was a big ol' cat.

If your plants are inclined to grow side branches, which I can't imagine they wouldn't since they are trees, I think pruning job would induce them to start doing so, if they're not too busy trying to grow from the bottom. Not sure I can picture what you see for them in your mind's eye.

That's an interesting form I can't experiment with here without some big rocks in the pot. Amazingly, only 1 pot was tipped over by TS Debby's 50+ mph gusts. That only happened because it got so dry. Most of the time there's not even a breeze, but it can get really windy about any time.

RE: Ficus, Multi-Trunks to Single-Trunks

  • Posted by rina_ 6a Ont (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 29, 12 at 11:28

you wrote:

If I know how to graft, I'd have air-layered, 'instead of chopping' various stems. After rooting, they'd be grafted on root stock. This way each Ficus would grow as a standard.

I am not sure if I have it right, but air-layering produces roots so you could plant air-layered piece into the soil & get new plant.
Grafting does not require air-layering - I hope I understand it correctly - you just take piece of plant you want to "convert" into standard (or graft weaker (?) tree onto a sturdy rootstock-they do it with roses a lot-I don't grow roses), and graft it onto rootstock & I think there is at least a couple of different methods of grafting.
When you graft, there is sometimes a 'bulge' visible where grafting was done, with roses, it is usually very close to soil. With standard, the tree will be as tall as rootstock was - I think - , then you will have the actual plant.

I air-layered a palm tree that was growing terribly tall & was hitting the ceiling; after the roots were visible, I just cut it off below & replanted. So now I have a 4feet tall palm instead over 8feet, bending because of ceiling. Air layering took about 3-4 month (I think that is very fast).

I hope someone knowledgable will post, I know Al (tapla) mentioned air-layering too.
I hope I am not misleading anyone...


RE: Ficus, Multi-Trunks to Single-Trunks

you wrote:

Oops, not me.

But I was having the exact same thoughts from having the same beliefs, that's why I asked what would be grafted and was also wondering why throw the pieces away if there was a previous desire to air layer them. Sticking them in a pot would be a lot easier than air layering. If they are planted upright, they should grow "as a standard."

RE: Ficus, Multi-Trunks to Single-Trunks

  • Posted by rina_ 6a Ont (My Page) on
    Fri, Jun 29, 12 at 12:44

Sorry purple....did not notice my mistake.
I guess it's Toni...Rina

RE: Ficus, Multi-Trunks to Single-Trunks

Purple..I remember you telling me a plant or two froze, but can't recall which plant.
Heck, I'd have sent you a bunch of Rubber Tree trunks. All went in the compost. Variegated and green/'purple.' :)

Oh yes, side branches are inevitable. I'll continue pruning...maybe they'll get the idea and stop growing. lol.

Purple, thank God you're not in Debi's range, by much anyway, and other 'canes missed your home.

Rina, I said it.

See, now you know why I can't

You're right..I should know since my Adeniums and Citrus are grafted, (with bulges) but they were grafted before I adopted. Otherwise, they'd be seedlings. lol

I've AL'ed in the past, too, and yes, the top portion becomes a second plant. Most often, the bottom regrows.

Ha, I once tried grafting a rooted lived throughout summer, then kicked the bucket. Poor plant hung on as long as possible.

At the time I had one Poncirus trunk, so gave it a try. Can't recall which method, but it didn't work, so I gave up.

Rina, you're right..w/standard the tree will be the same height as root stock, plus.

Thanks, Toni

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