It’s been a while since I have worked on the trees in my collection. I have been away for work, almost two weeks now. As you can imagine my list of things that needs to be done has multiplied. I spend the last two days working my butt off to get ahead of all the work I have in front of me. As we all know trees do not stop growing just because your busy.
Enough said, today I want to share a journey of a tree that I am currently bringing back to life after it was neglected for a few months last year. This tree was a present to a client. It started out as a garden tree. It was planted in my clients garden but the dogs started biting it, it stood still, did not grow and was declining fast. They ask me to plant it in a pot and then asked me if I could make a bonsai tree of it. At the time I was in two minds about it. Never the less I planted it in a pot and styled it.
A few year later, here we are. The tree dried out last year and two major branches died and had to be removed. Here is a photo of the tree before I worked on it.
About two-thirds up the trees trunk you can see the wound where the one branch was removed. Just above that to the right you can see a slight indentation where the second branch was removed. Taking these two removed branches in consideration I started planning the new design. At first glance I must admit the tree does look a bit tall. I will have to thicken up the base of the trunk for the tree to look more stable. This is not something that can be changed overnight or in one styling, so for now I will focus on the placement of the branches in the overall design.
As you can see in the photos above I had to make two large cuts in the tree to get the first branch in place. In the past I found that the tree bounces back after styling. I’m hoping that cutting the branch and bending it into place will help with the branch staying in place. These wounds should callus over with in a year or so. Being a Ficus one would have liked this to be faster. But as this tree is a Ficus Benjamina commonly known as a Weeping Fig it tends to grow slower than the rest of the ficus species.
I then worked my way up the tree placing the second, the back branches and finally the apex.
I must say I have learned a lot for working with this specific type of Ficus. The two main things I learned will have to be that it has the habit of bouncing back to its upright position after you remove the wire even after the branch has set in place. The second thing I noticed is that when trimming or pruning branches to rather leave more buds than you think is necessary. It dies back very quickly if you bend or disturb the young buds. They fall of very easily. The tree buds back but not always on the branch you intended and that where you lost branches.
Above the tree after I restyled it. There is still a few things that I need to work on. The trunk needs to be thicken up and the roots at the base of the tree needs to be untangled and spread more evenly.
Please see below a video on the trees styling.
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