Pretty impressive, right? At least the base. One of the anthems of my day, when I was young and idealistic, frames this trees proportions with élan and grace…..”Baby’s got back!” That’s why we are even looking at it, to be honest. It’s one of those ficus benjamina office trees that got put outside several years ago and forgotten.
It’s a little bit taper challenged. I’m in West Palm at my client Greg’s house. He just purchased the place and part of the purchase, I mean, actually in the contract, was this tree. I think it raised the selling price even. You read that right. Greg told the real estate agent that if the tree wasn’t part of the sale, there was no sale. Nope. Nada. No commission.
All the beginners out there are scratching their collective heads wondering what in the hell is wrong with Greg. Don’t worry, it’ll hit you soon. You’ll be overlooking a beautiful scene one day, say, in the Grand Canyon or on the mountain trails of Maine or in some relaxing Swiss Chalet, next to your honey or love, sipping wine or a beer, maybe a hand crafted cocktail, and you’ll be looking at that pine on the ridge, looking at climbing routes, do you need ropes or can you be lowered down to it. What tools? A spade? Pick axe? Is it the right time of year? The moon phase? Has it rained recently? Is it legal or can I get away with it if it’s not? Should I call someone or will my love help me?
The old timers are scratching their heads too, wondering why anyone would worry about a stupid ficus like this. It must suck to be jaded.
Me? I’m excited! Time to get to work!
For long term treatment I use a systemic insecticide. Today, I will CRUSH THEM!
That’s how you fix obverse taper and give some movement to a big tree. Ficus are perfect for the technique, especially a benjamina. Granted they have the branch dieback problem but they heal big wounds better than any other ficus we use for bonsai. I think it’s because of the trees apical dominance and auxin creation that makes it excellent at the compartmentalization needed for fast wound healing.
Just call me Victor Von Frankenstein. A little whittling, drill a hole. Insert tab A into slot B. Yes, I literally drilled a hole in the trunk, whittled down a branch end, and stuck it into a hole. We will be calling it a “peg” graft. Just don’t do a google search for pegging.
And a little putty should keep the branch from drying out too fast. While I’m at it, I’ll use some of those other aerials to help heal some of the other wounds and put a little interest in the trunk. They’ll graft onto the bark sections where I have those staples holding them down.
And that’s it until next summer. Let it grow Greg, let it grow. He has two boys now so he doesn’t know the pain yet from that song. But his wife is pregnant with a girl now. Congrats my friend…..…both on your soon to be born daughter (he has no idea what’s in store for him, does he? ) and on this beautiful frankentree I have left for you.
You should have seen the look his wife gave me when she saw it. She literally asked me if I got paid for this type of work. Literally.