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Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

Posted by bryanscott none (My Page) on
Fri, Aug 24, 12 at 14:00

Hi folks. Long-time reader, first time poster.

Question about a ficus plant I am currently attempted to fuse. I took a nursery plant with several individual cuttings, separated them, wrapped them tightly with a plastic packing wrap, and re-planted them.

Assuming all the cuttings survived separating/re-planting process, I'm wondering if the plastic wrap might pose a problem. Right now it's up and down the complete length what will be the plant's main trunk. Is this overkill?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

Here's another photo.


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

Hi & welcome to GardenWeb.

Ficus are prone to inosculation. As soon as the individual sections are sturdy in their places, I would remove that wrap. They make wrap especially for tree trunks that has expansion properties. Pantyhose works well too.

Do we have a budding arborsculpturist?


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

Thanks purpleinopp. Do you suppose the wrap you mentioned would be better for the plant as it would allow it to breathe? I started worrying that the plastic might smother the "trunk" if that's even possible.

Arbosculpturist? No... I just like growing interesting house plants with potential bonsai on the back of my mind.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 24, 12 at 17:17

Good answer. Not many are familiar with that term.

Here are some F benjamina photos where inosculation (aka approach grafting) is evident as being used purposefully:

Photobucket

Same tree - a young potential bonsai I still have & just reworked a few weeks ago. The tree is actually one of the first I ever attempted and was developed originally from 2 - 3" pots with several tiny ficus cuttings in each.

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Here's another, which came about as a result of exactly what you're doing, except I used grafting tape as a wrap, and left it in place about a year. I'm not particularly pleased with the results of this effort, but a budding bonsai artist will probably be very happy to get the tree, which I still have. This picture is more than 10 years old .... in fact, all 3 of them are at least that old.

Photobucket

In bonsai, we often use approach grafting to grow a branch in a strategic spot where one is needed to improve the tree's form, there was none formerly, and when the tree has ignored the prayers of the grower in favor of belligerence. We would use a small cutting from the same tree, or a branch from the cutting, cut a groove in the parent tree to expose the cambium, remove the bark of the scion to expose it's cambium so the cambial tissues mate well, then bind with grafting tape and seal with grafting wax .... and wait until it's obvious the graft has taken - usually about as year.

Another technique we often use is thread grafting. For trees that have buds small enough to pass through a hole drilled in the trunk of the parent tree, we will drill a hole in the trunk so it exits where the branch is needed. We then thread one of the tree's own flexible branches through the hole and out the other side, or we use a branch from a cutting, started for that purpose. The small branch is secured so it can't move, and the holes sealed with grafting wax. As the branch grows, the cambial tissues combine & within a year or less the proximal side of the branch can be severed, leaving the tree with a new branch exactly where it was needed.

Prolly more than you needed to know, so I'll just have to hope it was at least interesting. ;-)

Al


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

Al,
I did the same thing to one of my Tri-colored Beech trees in my front yard. I didn't want it to grow to 60 ft. and been pruning it every year and started to wape the stems around each other and now they grew into each other. Looks great.
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I alos got a fat 4 trunk ficus that I am trying to sell/trade.
Stush


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 24, 12 at 18:55

Looks great. Very unique and adds a LOT of interest. Can I make a suggestion?

Al


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

I guess what I'm a little unclear about is whether or not keeping the plastic on the tree until fusing has taken place could be detrimental to its health.

Al, if it was me you were offering a suggestion to, I'm all ears.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 24, 12 at 19:40

That 'suggestion thing' was directed to Stush. I'm sure what you're doing is fine, & will eventually work to accomplish your goal of fusing the plants together. BTW - the younger the plants, the faster the fusing will occur, so you should see some evidence of it by next summer, sooner if you live where there's an extended growing season & you can keep the plants outdoors in the sun. My interest is always piqued when I get to see someone else taking a whack at a little more than just growing their plants. Have fun! ;-)

Al


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  • Posted by rina_ 6a Ont (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 24, 12 at 22:32

Stush...

please say yes!
(I am very nosy, want to hear the suggestion...)
Rina


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

I'm on the edge of my seat, too! This stuff is almost as good as the subject, "purple leaves."

We often drive by this house where their curbside-mailbox used to be growing right in front of a tree. Now it is IN the tree. Only about half of it sticks out, and it's about 18" higher than all of the other mailboxes. Some kind of oak, I think, but I never remember to look at the tree, always goggling at the mailbox! (The crape myrtle foliage is from a nearby shrub.)


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 25, 12 at 12:33

My 'tea cup maple' - the handle is perfectly centered on the tree, and the tree is in the middle of some vacant hunting land about 3/8 mi. off the nearest road. Whatever caused it .... it was completely natural - no manipulation on my part or by the previous owner, who I know well.

Photobucket

Al


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

I hope that this hasn't already been answered, but the plastic wrap should be removed. Lenticels, small openings in the bark of woody plants, allow for the exchange of gases between the surrounding air and the inner tissues of the plant. You don't want to cover large areas of the bark 's surface with anything nonporous.


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Sorry I'm late, Go ahead Al I'm listening.
Stush


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

My friend happened to email me this a minute ago. Power company trimmed a large limb away from wires that had become surrounded.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 25, 12 at 17:06

What Dorie mentioned about not covering large areas of the bark sounds perfectly reasonable, and I'd be inclined to follow the advice myself, if on the practical side I hadn't already wrapped grafting tape (example of the tape visible in my first picture above) tightly around clumps of Ficus b, with each clump containing several trees and with the tape overlapping and covering the trunks very tightly from roots to the first branches, just as you did and with no apparent ill effects (which doesn't mean there were none - only that I noticed none). The group of trees that are fusing in the last picture was started along its path using the technique I just described. I don't have any concern that what you're doing is fine, because there is still some air flow beneath wrap due to the openings you can see where the wrap ends at the top and bottom. If you're concerned, wrap the trees with hemp/sisal twine, or melt some holes in the wrap where it bridges 2 trees with a hot paperclip.

Stush - I have to LOL because this is surely going to seem anticlimactic after the press it's received. ;-) I was just going to mention that what you're doing with your tree is going to leave the trunk looking much more massive, except at the lower part of the trunk. I think the practiced eye will notice it right away as reverse taper, while the casual observer will just be left with the feeling something isn't quite right about the tree's appearance, aside from the neat grafting that's going on. If you start several cuttings (up to a dozen) and plant them a foot or more away from the trunk and angle them toward the trunk so you can graft them in strategic places, then sever the cutting after the graft has taken, you can add tremendous mass to the base of the tree, and the added cuttings will grow to appear as buttressing roots. I think that would make an already rockin tree even finer!

Have a good weekend, all.

Al


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

You don't need plastic/tape all along the cuttings, you can just do it in small sections with the plastic/tape too wide to cut into the stems but narrow enough to hold them together. Ficus take very easily to this and you don't need to leave the bindings on all that long. A friend of mine plaited some small hanging aerial roots on a Ficus (virens) some 25 years ago. They've grown into quite large prop roots now but still maintaining the plaited shape. Looks really great.


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

Okay... So what I think I'll do is unwrap the plastic and then just re-wrap a small section...probably towards the top of the new trunk.

Thanks for all the input everybody.


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

Sounds like a much better plan! Keep us posted on your progress.


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

Al

I was thinking that you'll suggest 'fattening' of the lower trunk, and read about what you suggested. Wasn't sure thou since it is such a big tree already...so where approx. these will be fusing with the tree? (I am thinking up to where that first 'split' is or?)
Once you sever the cuttings (after fusing take place) would there be any significant 'grow spurt' since there is so many more new roots? Just wondering...
In case of Bryan's tree, is the straight-to-the-soil level trunk -without any flare/taper- desirable? (I see that yours is straight too).

Bryan, hope you don't mind me sidetracking your thread. Thank you.

Rina


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Not anticlimactic to me, fascinating. Best of luck, Bryan!


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 12:36

Your eye is accustomed to seeing trees ion nature that taper in trunk diameter slowly from top to bottom, getting continually thicker toward the soil line and then flaring out dramatically where the tree enters the ground. By the interesting grafting of branch to trunk, Frank is adding visual mass to the center of the tree. He could offset this 'fat where it exits the soil then thin then fat where the branches are grafted' look, with more mass between the first branch and the soil line. I would start the cuttings in a flat and plant out in their second year, angling them toward any thin spots or hollow areas between the first branch and the soil line. He could actually cut vertical grooves in the trunk at the grafting sites & bury the young whips in the grooves & seal with grafting wax.

Roots do come before shoots in the o/a growth scheme, so grafting more roots to the tree could encourage additional growth, but I don't think the small volume of roots on a first year whip will add significantly enough to the o/a volume of roots on the large tree to make a difference large enough to be noted.

My tree is straight, but remember, I'm not impressed with the outcome, which is why I'll be glad to give it to a budding bonsai artist that visits one day. If I was undertaking the same endeavor now, I think I'd put a piece of packing peanut or something similar between the stems at ground level to encourage a trunk flare, so the composition looks more natural. I'd STILL wrap the tree from roots to lowest branch, tightly, with grafting tape as before. The reason is, wrapping the tree tightly and holding in the moisture encourages grafting (the reason for grafting tape & grafting wax). It also forces the tree to grow AROUND the tape. IOW, the tree can't expand in size where it's bound by tape, so it grows into the openings between the stems. You can see this most clearly in my example about half way up the group, just below where the branching begins. See how the tree's stems grew sideways and started to approach graft? The problem with intermittent wraps is, they need to be in place for about a year for the trees to 'take a set', so the trees will want to grow around the wraps. You'll end up with a groove where the wrap was, and a swelling above the wrap (like the little scheff growing through the stone we're talking about on another thread), unless you change the position of the wraps several times during the undertaking, which can allow the plant to shift positions and set the effort back. Still, with patience, the effort will be successful if you just keep the stems as close & tight to each other as possible.

I know I mentioned it before, but it's very interesting to me to find others interested in how to manipulate their plants and get them to grow in the grower's image, a forward step, instead of allowing their plants free reign and just following the plant's lead.

Al


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  • Posted by rina_ 6a Ont (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 14:39

Al

Thank you for the explanation.
I find all of this quite fascinating too, just like purple said.

Would you attemp to 'bonsai' trees that grow huge leaves - like a catalpa? I know that catalpas are very often pruned to form kind of mop head, but I mean real bonsai.
I see that vigorous growers (wisteria) could be 'tamed', even very tall trees (like ginko).

Rina


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 15:34

Certain trees don't lend themselves to bonsai well for one reason or another, usually having to do with leaf size and/or the fact the leaves can't be reduced in relationship to the size of the tree. For instance, the leaf on a catalpa (pollarding is the word you needed for that specific form of pruning often used for catalpa) is sop large the tree itself would need to be huge in order to make it a believable bonsai. Also, compound leaves often don't reduce well - like ash & nut trees.

Bonsai techniques can be applied to any tree and lots of material that isn't normally considered woody.
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geranium
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It all just adds another dimension to the growing of plants - lets you get involved in leading the plant to a destination you have in mind. Of course, that destination might change in your mind's eye on a weekly basis, but still, you'll always have a sense of direction instead of following the plant. I'm not saying one is superior over the other, only that they are different and breaking out of the mold just offers an additional opportunity to further your enjoyment and satisfy your curiosity. Different strokes .....

I went out to look at the tree I posted above. I DID repot it this year, but basically it's been neglected and is way overgrown. I'll post a few pictures & talk a little about what I see. I'll use several posts so I don't have to upload to photobucket first.

This is F benjamina 'Too Little', that has been left to its own devices & not attended to at all.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 15:38

It's fattened up quite a bit since the last picture, but still the trunks haven't fused entirely. You can see the fusing going on and where one of the 6 original trunks was removed to reduce congestion.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 15:40

more fusing and where another trunk was removed


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 15:44

It's not that the top is hopelessly congested that makes this a problem tree, that can easily be fixed, it's the fact that the trunks are so heavy in the upper 1/3 of the tree. The tree needs to be delicate and have more taper toward the top.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 15:45

another view


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 15:58

.... so I look for opportunities to shorten the tree and correct the heaviness in the top. I removed a heavy trunk above a branch, and removed the heaviest part of the trunk that grew between the forking branches on the middle trunk. The heavy trunk on the left will back-but and I'll shorten it severely and create a fork between two branches next year, as I did on the middle trunk. The only branch currently growing on the tree that will remain as part of the final composition is the low branch growing to the right. The rest of the branches will be removed when the tree is shortened after back-budding.

The reasons I undertook such a hard pruning so late in the growing season is, this plant has tremendous genetic vigor and I grow under lights during the winter, so it should take it in stride. If I was higher on the tree (liked it more) and we weren't talking about it here, I probably would have waited until next summer to cut it back.

The leaves are so small on this tree that I could root the cuttings I removed and almost have an instant bonsai, but I need to curtail that sort of obsessive propagation because I don't even have room for what I have now.


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  • Posted by rina_ 6a Ont (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 17:13

Al

Thank you for great pictorial.
This is like playing chess - one has to think so many steps ahead.
Did you do those last steps today just for this post?
I just realized that it is Sunday, am sure you could be doing something else instead of giving a free lesson.

Thank you, it is soooo appreciated.

Obsessive propagation, LOL - that sounds familiar (except in my case it is poting any seedling found; my kids are sure I am obsessed. They are threatening me with hoarding intervention!!!)

I have done some pollarding & also copicing in my garden.
Maybe one day will have chance to grow an espalier - apple or another fruit-bearing tree.

Rina


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  • Posted by rina_ 6a Ont (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 17:20

Bryan

Apologies again for participating in steering your thread in slightly different direction.

I hope you will take photos, and post them, of your tree's progress.
Thank you.
Rina


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Sun, Aug 26, 12 at 18:12

Yes, I just pruned the tree today - it took less than 5 minutes to prune and another couple of minutes to wire a few branches so they're headed in the right direction, so no big deal. I'm in a lull period right now. Not doing much work on the trees because in most cases they need to build their volume of foliage to continue to store energy for the over-winter period. The garden's what it is except for weeding & deadheading/maintaining the containers, so I'm just waiting to prepare those trees that over-winter inside to bring in. It's a relaxing time as opposed to the bedlam between the first of March & Independence day (July 4).

I'm hoping I'm close enough to being on topic with all the fusing pics & sticking mostly to the same species that Bryan's working with. Hopefully he'll find the pictures & comments helpful or at least interesting.

Planning ahead is a big part of keeping trees nice. For example, if we look at Bryan's picture we see one 'trunk' that is particularly thick with the potential to thicken significantly faster than the rest of the trunks. Once the planting is firmly established, he can slow that trunk's thickening down by removing some of the photosynthesizing machinery on it. This can be done in 3 ways. By removing entire branches from only that trunk, by removing some of the leaves, or by cutting some/all leaves in half across the venation. If he had one trunk in particular that he wanted to thicken, he could direct 1 branch to vertical and allow it to grow unencumbered by pruning while selectively pruning the branches on the other trunks.

Obviously, I'm depending on branches that haven't even appeared yet, but I'm certain they will because of the plant's growth habit. With other trees, it might be necessary to graft a branch where one is reluctant to grow but but would enhance the composition, but not this one.

After I posted, I started thinking about the trimmings that would make almost instant bonsai. I couldn't resist, so I pruned one up and started it as a cutting. It's cute, so I won't have a problem finding it a home.

I too, hope Bryan posts progress pics. I'm interested in seeing how his adventure turns out. ;-)

Al


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No apologies necessary for steering this thread in other directions. I've found this conversation very informative (and entertaining to boot).

Will try to post follow-up pictures. Heading into a long, cold Manitoban winter right now, so things will be slow going for a while....


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Al,
how could you Not !? hehe
i was actually wondering if you'd posted a ficus propagation thread here at GW somewhere? ..or maybe you'd find time to start one?
some of the more subtle nuances of striking cuttings would be invaluable, as opposed to finding the random grafting, fusing, propagation 'tidbits' scattered here and throughout GW.

that said... its an enjoyable adventure (for me) stumbling upon things like buttresssing,, approach-grafting, and trunk-fusing, in threads like this.

Bryan,
..prolly tons of Alt. materials ya could 'bind' with,
found this rently at the Goodwill store for a cpl bucks. :)
...drywall tape maybe?

good stuff kids, Thanks for sharing :)


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"...but I need to curtail that sort of obsessive propagation because I don't even have room for what I have now." Glad that didn't stop you, the cutting IS cute! It isn't stopping me either, although now I'm having thoughts about some partnering, but that's another story. My thanks also for the info, your time & effort, Al. If there's anyone around me in person who knows stuff like this, I don't know THEM. Yay internet!

Realized I just read everything since my last interjection with my coffee cup poised halfway to my face, like a breaking news story.

My honey was reading with me over the weekend to the point where I put up the pics and he got pretty excited about it too. We took some cuttings from the fig tree in the yard to start playing with once they get some roots going. Probably quite late for this, but there's an abundance of material to play with, so why not? As long as Isaac doesn't blow them into the next county, they'll probably do ok.

Silentsurfer, I love how often construction materials (especially free wood scraps and empty buckets) and house plants come together. It wouldn't hold moisture (which could make the process take longer?) but would be good otherwise, I think.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 27, 12 at 13:50

Great screening material for covering drain holes in pots, too!

It's hard not to start cuttings that look like that. I mean, within a few weeks you can give a little rooted tree away that has the makings of an already believable bonsai. You never know who you might snag and pull into the small but slowly growing group of bonsai practitioners ..... and for me, I get a great deal of pleasure from sharing some of the not so well known techniques that can be used to great advantage on houseplants.

Lol - I have a couple of well established Negronne (hardy) figs to give away that I started as cuttings, too. Here are some tips you can use on any species of fig to improve your chances for success when growing from cuttings:

Choose your potential cuttings from the south side of the plant. Very tightly wrap 1 or 2 zip ties immediately below where you want the roots to appear - do this now. Also, wrap black electrical tape around the cutting now, from just below the zip ties to immediately above with the sticky side out. The zip ties cause carbohydrates and auxin to build up above the constriction they cause, and the etiolation (exclusion of light) from the area where future roots will form + the holding in of moisture predisposes the plant to the formation of root initials, so when you DO sever the cutting, it's rarin' to go. ...... planning ahead.

Basal sprouts, if your tree provides them, are just about foolproof for vegetative reproduction because they come from the youngest and therefore most vigorous part of the tree - especially if you can separate them with a root or two attached.

Al


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Oh, many huge thanks! I did none of that and they're pretty wilty because I forgot to remove any of the leaves, getting eaten at the 10-bites-per-minute-rate. Think I'll take a pic of "what not to do" in the grips of over-exuberant forethought-less euphoria and try again after this storm passes.

I want a bumper sticker that says "More auxins, less toxins."


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  • Posted by rina_ 6a Ont (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 27, 12 at 17:17

Too bad I am in Canada, Al...you have some plants to get rid of...I really need bigger place so i can have more plants!
Rina


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Mon, Aug 27, 12 at 17:45

What? Canada not big enough for you?

BTW - what street is Canada on, anyway? ;-)

****************************************************

Bumper stickers for Purple:

"It takes iVillage to raise a fig"

"Damp Rules, Soggy Drools"

"As below, so above.
Healthy roots are what we love."

"Green thumb? Learn to see things from the plant's point of view."

"I believe in the cutting Fairy"

"Autobiography? See my garden."

For fun:
Words from a John Denver song: "..... only two things that money can't buy, that's true love & homegrown tomatoes."

Think about it - a clever guy, eh?

Al

Now we ARE off topic. ;-)


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lmao,, crazy kids,,,, hehe

purpleinopp,
i thought suffocation was the immediate concern? then compression-scarring,?
heck i dunno, im on 12 differnt posts trying like mad to catch-up! its like every post here has SOMETHING hidden somewhere i can use (learn from) hehe

hey, always great being in the company of more-hopeless-propa-junkies tho! hehe
yea, im a big use-whatcha-got, this'll-be-good-for-somethin-someday kinda guy,
i think all them broken clay pots n a hammer could be my 'grani-grit' here if i can just find some time :)

not sure about the moisure retention? i try to think how things would react in nature (naturally)? cuz ya know there're Never any suprises there right!?

Al,
'predisposition'
man, thats exactly the kinda stuff im talkin bout mista!
one-step-ahead, anticipating,, making the plant pre-react, if possible,,,
Our local bonsai-ist(?) once showed me to simply stick yer thumbnail into the bark of (ficus i beleive?) said that could well encourage/stimulate a dormant bud at that location. Im startin to think the crazier-the-better with some of these techniques maybe!? Bold strokes Monsieur! :)

btw every time you mention "give-aways" in the same post w/an adorable little cutting picture my heart skips-a-beat! lol


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It's been about a month since I did this initial planting. Tree is doing very well; all "trunks" have survived, and I've only had a total of 3 or 4 lost leaves. Assuming it's an alright time of year to do this (I hope it is because last night I did some impulsive pruning!), I thought I might now attempt to reduce the tree's top-heaviness.

So I'm looking for suggestions. I should note that I did this planting with bonsai on my mind, but it may just end up being a bonsai-like houseplant. I'm okay with that.

Al, I wanted to touch on something you said in a previous post:

"if we look at Bryan's picture we see one 'trunk' that is particularly thick with the potential to thicken significantly faster than the rest of the trunks. Once the planting is firmly established, he can slow that trunk's thickening down by removing some of the photosynthesizing machinery on it. This can be done in 3 ways. By removing entire branches from only that trunk, by removing some of the leaves, or by cutting some/all leaves in half across the venation. If he had one trunk in particular that he wanted to thicken, he could direct 1 branch to vertical and allow it to grow unencumbered by pruning while selectively pruning the branches on the other trunks."

A couple of questions about this:

1. Why would I want to slow the trunk's thickening? Is it just to encourage an attractive taper?
2. How would I direct a branch to vertical? Everything about this plant suggests verticality, so perhaps I'm not getting your meaning.

Oh, crap. This post has gotten long. Probably just because I'm completely lacking in confidence about this tree's next steps.


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  • Posted by tapla z5b-6a mid-MI (My Page) on
    Fri, Sep 21, 12 at 10:30

We have to recognize that it's always ok for the grower to do whatever he wishes with his plants because they're his plants, but when we look at various procedures from the perspective of what's best for the plant, we'll find an emerging pattern that takes advantage of the plant's increased energy levels and tries to minimize the effects of low energy levels. For most houseplants, the highest rate of increase in energy occurs between Memorial Day and July 4th, and the plant's highest level of reserve energy would occur in August, so any significant work (hard pruning, root pruning, full repots) are best done between Father's Day and Independence Day. Potting up (as opposed to repotting), minor pruning - removing a wayward branch or two or pinching, can be done safely whenever the tree is healthy. If you were removing more than about 10$ of any one of the tree's foliage, it would be best to wait until early next summer. Foliage is where food comes from, and your plant needs foliage to meet current energy demands and minimize demands on energy reserves so the tree isn't playing catch-up when late spring rolls around.

1) Why would I want to slow the trunk's thickening? Is it just to encourage an attractive taper? It was just a notation - a tip you could use if you found 1 trunk being inordinately fat when compared to the others as being unpleasing to the eye. For bonsai artists, it's important for the lowest branch to be the thickest, and for branches to grow subsequently thinner as they occur closer to the apex. Since trees are usually apically dominant, they want to concentrate 3/4 of their energy in the upper 1/4 of the tree, so it's up to the grower to slow the top down so the tree is forced to channel energy into the lower branches. The same principle applies to slowing down one of the trees in your grouping. Remove some of its foliage - some of its ability to make food - and growth slows in that trunk only, allowing the others to catch up.

2) How would I direct a branch to vertical? Everything about this plant suggests verticality. Below, you'll see a picture of a maple with an obvious sacrifice branch. In this case, the branch will never be a part of the composition. It's there only to thicken the section of trunk immediately above the 'chop' because the taper is too pronounced. You're looking at the back of the tree, so when that fat, unrefined branch is removed, the scar won't be seen from the front.

The small secondary branch emerging upward off of the fat primary branch and has been directed to vertical (initially by wiring it upward) is the future moneymaker. BECAUSE it is growing vertically, the plant will funnel an extra measure of growth energy into it and it will thicken the primary branch faster, which in turn will thicken the trunk faster. Refinement on the rest of the tree will continue as usual, & the primary sacrifice branch along with the secondary branch will simply be removed when the desired measure of trunk thickening has occurred.

Al


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

Thanks Al. As usual you've given me lots to think about! I will leave this plant be (for the most part) until Spring.


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RE: Plastic Wrap on Fused Ficus

Hey Bryan, another discussion going on this week made me remember this one, so was curious - how's your tree doing?


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