Ficus microcarpa: Da’ Beast

This post requires a visit to the armory
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I Choose my weapon,
This is still sharp enough, I hope
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Time to tame Da’ Beast.
His lair
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Verdant and growing on both sides: The Greenhouse
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There he is!
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What a beauty!
He doesn’t want to leave his lair. He’s holding tight to the ground
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Ficus microcarpa. Though it looks like macrocarpa with those big leaves
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I think the pot has given up the ghost
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I got this tree from Ray Aldridge, proprietor of Bonsai World in Windermere (no longer in business I’m afraid. In fact, he gave the tree to me when he was closing up shop)
It was a little smaller then.
But I thinks it’s been 8 years or so I stuck it in that spot.
Let me set the scene:
It’s Sunday, high noon, August, Orlando Florida summer with 100% humidity.
Last night I went to Soldier City Saloon in St. Cloud, FL to watch a friend’s band, Papa Wheelee. We got home at 2….ish
They put on a spectacular show (its a cover band) and the bar has cheap drinks.
My only complaint: the band could be louder, turn it up to 11 guys
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My ears just weren’t bleeding enough after the show.
I was a little wobbly, but I blame that on the rum, bourbon, beer, Irish car bombs etc.
And that’s is why I didn’t start extracting Da’ Beast until noon.
I should’ve waited.
Now, I know I won’t be believed but, generally, I don’t get hangovers.
I didn’t have one when I woke up at 9:30.
Or when I walked out and prepared the implements.
After this cut though
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My head began to pound.
Needless to say, it was not fun.
But, I am a bonsai warrior. The trees must be styled, collected, repotted, wired; there is no reclaiming a wasted today.
And today is the day I had planned on this work.
Back to work Adam!
The root mass
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Almost done
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Finally!
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Look at all that space.
It’ll fill up in a minute.
And now, so I can lift the damn thing, I’ll do some cuts.
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Here, here, here
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These will root, hopefully.
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Now the roots…
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I’d say that’s at least 30 lbs of roots
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Yeah, right.
My brains may be addled, but not by that much.
To The Nook! (With electricity and reciprocating saws and powerful fans to cool me off. Not to mention a roof and the shade that entails)
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Ah!
Progress!
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And a scant few minutes later…
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Now it’s up onto the operating table
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A few more cuts, precision ones this time, and a pot and some good bonsai soil, and Bob, will, indeed, be your uncle.
This whole structure has to go, branches, aerial roots and all.
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And this middle branch and aerial root up high need to go too
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Remove the crossing roots
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And the unnecessary ones from the bottom
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And that’s the tree
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One big chunk of ficus log.
A good training pot for a tree this big is a mixing tub
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I drilled a multitude of holes for drainage and I’m using my standard bonsai mix.
For my European brothers, I give you the width in centimeters
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And that’s it
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Close up of the trunk and nebari
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Not much left is there? No branches to wire, no deadwood to carve.
I’ll have to use my….IMAGINATION…
I have some sketches.
Beginning
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Obviously what I’m going to draw may or may not actually happen. It’ll be close though. I need branches at the arrows
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And when the branches are thick enough I’ll shave off the excess trunk for better taper
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How long will this take?
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I will guesstimate (optimistically) about 2 years for the main branching to be in place and about 5-7 years for maturity.
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Anyone wanna bet?
I’ll shake on it
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About adamaskwhy

Visual artist specializing in bonsai, mostly.
This entry was posted in rare finds and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Ficus microcarpa: Da’ Beast

  1. FarmGirl says:

    I wouldn’t mind shaking on it but… that’s your left hand, Adam. If you have any readers in Arabic countries they would be extremely offended. Myself I just had to poke a little fun and mention that I wish I had a greenhouse.

    • adamaskwhy says:

      I don’t think anyone would want to shake that hand, wherever they’re from.
      I forgot to point out, ficus sap is composed of latex and can be irritating to some people. And even lethal to those with a severe latex allergy. Wear gloves (neoprene, not rubber) when handling ficus.

      • FarmGirl says:

        As a farm/ranch girl and former road construction guru as well as verterinary volunteer I can promise you I’ve had my hands in worse. Good tip though.

  2. ROSZAK says:

    Good job it will be à wonderfull tree

  3. Will Smith says:

    Aerial root emerging from the trunk not desirable. Great drawings though

    • adamaskwhy says:

      The questions I have for you are:
      To whom is an aerial root coming out of the trunk not desirable?
      And:
      Why might it not be desirable?
      The first question is artistic.
      The second is horticulture.

      • Van Nguyen says:

        Obviously Will has not seen a banyan tree before. Actually, it will be even more incredible with a few more aerial roots hanging down from the limbs. Keep your hands dirty Adam, just love those hands!

  4. Awesome job Adam,
    You do have great hands! Love those roots too!

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