Here’s an easy one for me, but maybe not so for you all.
Exhibit A:
Ficus salicaria, or willow leaf ficus to us non-Romans.
Dave (you guys remember Dave, right?) won this tree on the raffle table at the last BSF convention.
If you read the title, you know what I’m going to do.
Let me set the scene:
It is July 27th, about 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the middle of the rainy season in Florida.
Which means that it’s cooler (no, really, in the summer it doesn’t get that hot here.) than a lot of the northern U. S. But it is a lot more wet and humid (the heat index is around 100).
We are hanging around at the end of this month’s study group meeting with Guest artist Hiram Macias from Miami.
We are drinking beer (which might explain everything) and I’m studying this tree.
I’ve been looking at it all meeting and it’s time for the saw.
I’m going to cut it about here:
And that’s what I do.
You should have seen Hiram’s face.
He said something to the effect of,
“…whoa! That low?”
I said,
“Yeah, it has all kinds of reverse taper..see?”
He looked at me, and then at Dave as if to say,
“¿es este pendejo mal de la cabeza?”
Maybe, Hiram, maybe.
Here’s Dave with the top.
Wait, is he flipping me off?
Hijo de puta! Cabrón!
The tree now.
There’s a saying that’s used often by the old timers in Florida.
I think it originated either with John Naka or maybe Mas Imazumi.
It goes,
” I can make that tree with one cut…”
And I did.
Well, I had to add one wire too….
When I trunk chopped it, I cut it to a branch, as is my SOP.
But the new top was a bit horizontal.
So, with a bit of wire.
We have an apex reaching for the heavens.
Or something like that.
And yes, the wire is a little messy, sorry.
You caught me wiring dirty.
That’s ok, no one will see it anyway.
The chop scar was covered with the putty version of cut paste.
From my experience, it seems to work best.
I gently removed the old potting soil and trimmed a few crossing roots, and I put it back into the same pot with some good bonsai soil.
It’s grown quite a bit in the last few minutes.
Y’all need to move to Florida and experience our jungle-like growth.
Well…that’s actually the top.
It’s way too big to throw out and it’s a perfect cutting; it will root in that pot.
That’s Florida ficus for you.
Enough fooling, here’s the tree.
You like that orange bucket behind it, don’t you?
It’s like a rising sun.
Get it?
All the tree needs now is lots of sunlight, fertilizer and water.
Everything your books tell you not to do after a major trunk chop and root pruning.
A ficus in the heat of summer wants to grow, so you gotta give it what it needs.
And that pertains to the whole world; if your temps are hot, your ficus should be growing.
Push them, fertilize more (you should see how much Jim Smith, THE tropical bonsai guy, puts on his trees) and trim the damn things.
Don’t be afraid to trunk chop either, have a beer if you need some courage.
In fact….amigo, por favor, uno mas cervesa!

6 thoughts

  1. Kung fu fighting, chop! Would be a good theme song for this post. You were carful with the saw, good job and i agree with pushing these plants now! Thanks for the inspiration! Toast to you with my cold cold brew!


  2. Having a Moscow mule and contemplating future trunk chopping on trees I have yet to own… Thanks for another great post. Has there ever been a tree you were given open season on that you have regretting chopping?


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