Willow leaf ficus chop

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Poor tree. Poor Dave.
If you know me, you’ll know how this will end.

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It looks so full. Why would anyone want to chop that pretty tree up?
Why, to make it prettier. Of course.

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There’s a good look at the nebari.
Hmmmm.

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That root will have to go.

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It goes from the front, up, and around to the back.

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Let’s see what else is under the soil.

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Usually the root base will be bigger the deeper we go under the soil.

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Which is the case here. There are just a few awkward roots.
It helps, when looking for a good front, to look at the tree from all angles.

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Ahh

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Uh huh.
I know this technique is taught as a standard procedure and I know that some of you even do it, which is excellent because you should. But if the potting angle you choose destroys the widest point of your root spread, you’ve not really learned the lesson; choose another angle. As an extreme example,I once saw this demo where the tree base had to be 12 inches across. Using upended pots and ties and bungee cords, the artist had propped the tree at a 49 degree angle. It gave a dynamic movement to the tree that was cool. The thing of it was though, if it were potted at that angle, half of the nebari would be buried. 12 inches to 6. Insert joke here.
Beautiful styling and great wiring technique but the artist let the top dictate the bottom. It went from “massive” to “meh…”. If you’re working on a tree (like a juniper or such) which doesn’t have much of a nebari, this “all angles” approach is valid. It’s the movement that would dictate the potting angle. But a maple or a cypress (or any tree similar) with a nebari should be potted to show off that massive base.

With this ficus I will be able to go from “meh..” to, well, a little bigger. 4 inches to 6 inches. Not bad.

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Let’s excise this root first. The rest will go quick from here.

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I cut the top back. And trimmed more roots.

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Now this is constructive “examining” from different angles.

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The trick is turning it and angling it just right so that the base is … bigger.

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The trunk and branches will be shorter of course (taper, taper,taper) but I left them longer to give me more choices when this buds back.
And bud back it will. Being as its a willow leaf ficus there will be at least 50 new buds to choose from. There will be so many that Dave won’t know what to do. He’ll be all,
“Yo’ bro, what do I do?”. And I’ll be like
” Dude, choose one”
Here’s the after:

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Sorry it’s so blurry. It’s Dave’s picture and not my iPhone camera. He has a Droid.
And the before

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It will be a cute little pig…. Next year.
Here’s an artist rendering of where this tree should be in 5 years.

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Not really (thats my logo tree) but it’s close. I’ll post some updates soon

About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
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2 Responses to Willow leaf ficus chop

  1. Have you ever worked with a black willow tree? It doesn’t seem like a whole lot of artists do, but it’s a pretty cool tree and I’ve got a few.

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