5 or 6 shohin willow leaf ficus in varied states of dress

I can’t count today, how many trees do you see?
I thought I’d share some work with you on varied trees in different levels of advancement.
Basically, what to do at each stage, from the first trimming after a total cut back to the removal of a maintenance wire and repotting. And what should happen at each stage.
I’m gonna go quick, I have lots of work to do.
I’ll start with this tree.
It needs repotting, wire removal, and a slight trim.
The moss is looking a little old.
But it’s still kinda green, which is better than any moss in the nursery.
I’ll be able to reuse it.
Why reapply it?
I’m glad you asked.
Here’s the advantage of using moss: the roots are able to use the entire volume of the soil in the pot because the top layer of soil doesn’t desiccate so quickly.
Kind of looks like my pub…..nevermind.
Too bad I need to cut them back.
But it’s just as important to trim the roots on a ficus as it is to trim the top.
New soil, now to the top.
Unwire, defoliate and cut the tips.
Next tree. The little guy.
I’m afraid I’ll have to change out the pot, awesome though it is.
It’ll make a good finish or show pot (a tricky thing many bonsai professionals do is to grow a tree in one pot and, when the show comes around, shoehorn the tree into a smaller one. We should keep that in mind).
The pot is one I made, so of course I like it.
But it’s not deep enough for this poor things development.
In order to encourage side roots, I cut back the middle root.
And, of course, defoliate (and de-flower…..
……yes, that thing that resembles a fruit is a flower. It only becomes a fruit when a specific, and naughty, wasp pokes into that opening with it’s poking thingy and pollinates it, which will cause the hole to then close and the fruit will then ripen.)
Looks like the scene of the crime.
Next tree (if you didn’t notice, I’m saving the after pics for the end of post. It’ll be way more dramatic that way. Way more)
This one just needs repotting, I removed the wire and cut it back maybe 2-3 weeks ago.
You can see the difference when you don’t repot.
Every other ficus salicaria I have where I repotted and trimmed at the same time is looking shaggy. They’ve exhibited sufficient growth and backbudding.
And this one (you should remember it from a few posts back) even needs a second hair cut.
And after…..I warn you, this next pic is shocking.
Don’t worry, this won’t hurt the tree.
You gotta clean the pot…..
….before you soil the pot.
Next tree.
This is a tree that’s very early in its development.
It’s for sale too.
If you can read the price tag that is.
All the wire on currently on it was the first wiring.
There was some dieback (as you see) and the wire cut in pretty badly.
Again, not to worry, the scars will grow out by next year.
It’ll help to thicken the trunk and give some gnarly-ness to it.
Wire off.
Cut back.
And heavy fertilizer.
All the trees I’m working on are getting a handful of fertilizer, they need it.
Next tree.
This is a tree I won in the Bsf convention’s auction.
I don’t want to tell you how much I paid, but, it was worth it. It is a tree that was worked on by Jim VanLandingham, one of our Florida ficus masters.
I’ve let it get super shaggy and grow everywhere.
This stage of development consists of choosing the strongest and best branches and defoliating everything except the growing tips.
You leave the tips to elongate the branches and, therefore, thicken them faster.
No wire at this point simply because the branches won’t set, they’re too young.
I could do it and show off but, really, why? I’d like to see the tree develop faster and if you put bends and kinks in a branch, it does the same thing as if it were a garden hose. It slows the flow.
I think I’m done?
Has anyone been keeping track of the number of trees?
Let’s count.
And six:
And that is that.
I’m off to the National Exhibit in Rochester now and I’m not sure if I’ll send any missives from the show.
If I know myself, though, I probably will.
Unfortunately, I can’t take pictures of the exhibit trees, it’s not allowed, but I’ll get some of the vendor area and the people.

About adamaskwhy

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

3 Responses to 5 or 6 shohin willow leaf ficus in varied states of dress

  1. Thanks Adam, real nice post. I currently don’t have any willow leaf ficus, but you pretty much covered it! I’m especially fond of the smaller (shohin) bonsai.
    I hope you have a good time in Rochester, it’s really nice weather this time of year. I also hope that you DO send some missives from the show, I would really like to hear your impressions and thoughts, not just the trees, but also the people that run it.

  2. Hi Adam, thanks for the info on Florida nurseries and the tip on leaving leaves on the growing tips. I’ve always defoliated …everything!

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