Rehabbing a uncared for banyan ficus – Adam’s Artwork and Bonsai Weblog


It’s been too lengthy since I’ve attended to this poor tree. And the weblog. Sorry to the tree and to my readers. I’ve been busy with shopper’s timber, planning the Bonsai Societies of Florida 2023 Conference (test it out Right here ) and a few actual challenges in my life.

The tree is a Ficus microcarpa.

You final noticed it on this blogpost What’s the banyan model?, which was revealed approach again in April 17, 2014. Right here’s the way it appeared then:

Yeah. I do know, what occurred? Proper? I’m speculated to be knowledgeable and all that. Neglect, unchecked development, a few hurricanes and freeze warnings. Unintended uh…drought. Bugs, illness, cats, youngsters. Principally it’s survived some biblical trials and tribulations.

Talking of illness…

I see these spots early within the spring…so much not too long ago. I had my nursery inspector do some checking and, although I assumed it could possibly be a fungus or a micro organism like pseudomonas, he mentioned it’s proof of a gall wasp. Now, because the identify suggests, it’s often an evident infestation by there being a gall on the leaf, however I haven’t seen them in my ficus. Possibly due to the systemic remedies I exploit (extra on that later) killing the larvae. I don’t know.

The work at this time in rehabbing this tree will embrace a repot, a tough in the reduction of, fertilizer, insecticide, and weed prevention.

Let’s get to work.

First, in the reduction of…

I’m bringing it down fairly a bit.

Chop chop goes the scissors!

This department under would be the one department I don’t in the reduction of. You’ll see why (once more) in a while in this system.

Usually, I might lower such a fig again so laborious, as this can be a customary Ficus microcarpa, and you may get vital dieback on it, generally dropping complete branches. To distinction this, the Tiger bark microcarpa doesn’t do this so badly, it again buds virtually wherever. However the plain previous Ficus microcarpa does. Maintain that in thoughts. Know your tree and work accordingly.

If the department you’re chopping is a darker brown, it’s extra prone to backbud, as that’s newer development.

Right here’s the one department I didn’t in the reduction of. I wired it and left the develop tip.

Now to repot. I’ll be combing out the roots to do away with all of the wrapping ones. And I’m being aggressive so I can get all of the weeds out.

Weeds like these. It is a corm or bulb from a weed referred to as “cat’s claw”. A climbing vine that holds onto issues with tendrils and modified appendages which can be so much like, simply because the identify says, a cat’s claws.

Right here you may see the “claw”.

This one is known as “Florida spurge”. It’s underground roots can get as massive as carrots. You must be carful to tug out these roots as it should simply develop again from the bulb. In case you have them it’s a very good indication you’ll have nematodes.

Right here’s the leaves of the spurge.

That executed, time to chop the roots.

They have been circling the pot (it’s in a special pot than the one I used years in the past).

The pot it was in.

A great pot. However is it deep sufficient for what I would like for good regrowth?

I had had ideas of placing it into this container. It’s sort of what the commerce calls an “Anderson Flat”.

It’s greater and deeper than the ceramic one.

However utilizing it would give me an excessive amount of development. Is there such a factor? Yeah. I would like managed development with brief internodes (bear in mind the dieback, the department will dieback to the subsequent node decrease on the department). So I’m going with its present pot.

Right here’s an axiom “The wetter the roots keep, the slower the expansion”. You’ll hear me discuss of wetter and drier soil mixes and, on this case, the extra shallow a pot, the wetter the tree will keep.

To repot, first, make a mound of soil, and put the tree onto it and wiggle it down. This fills within the air gaps and offers the roots one thing to develop into.

It bugs me after I see individuals spreading a good layer round a pot. Don’t fear in regards to the edges. That’s what chopsticks are for, getting the soil in between the roots on the margins.

The wiggle method:

All chopsticked in.

Some systemic insecticide subsequent, on this case, imidacloprid. It’ll hold the thrips away. And people gall wasps.

I like to combine it into the roots nicely, or else you get a gooey mess.

Now, a beneficiant portion of fertilizer. That is half artificial time launch, and half natural (I’m utilizing Miracle Gro Skake ‘n Feed at this time).

And weed preventer. That is OH2 however you will discover a product referred to as “Preen” in all of the shops. It’s a handy product that inhibits seed germination, not an herbicide, so you must get out all the sprouted weeds first. And there can be ones you miss, so revisit it in per week or two to get these.

Have you learnt the distinction between a weed and a plant? You desire a plant, you don’t desire a weed. There are locations the place Ficus microcarpa is a weed.

And that’s it. Let it develop.

I did rewire a again department. It was rising up, as they’re desirous to do, so I rewired the other way and put it again within the place I needed it to be. Right here’s a tidbit: if you happen to hold a department wired too lengthy, if you take away the wire, generally it pops again into its previous place. The tree desires to develop up, particularly newer, and smaller branches, so the tree is definitely pushing in opposition to the wire, and if you unwire it, it pushes the department up once more. You’ll be able to see this in greater timber the place two branches are rising in opposition to one another, and tree trimmers know this and are very cautious once they see it. As they attempt to chainsaw the branches, the stress could possibly be so nice the department will violently snap. They name it a widow maker. It occurs with twin trunks essentially the most. Think about you’re sawing away after which “BANG” the tree splits aside on the seam.

With that, the fig has an extended technique to go, however by the top of the season, I’ll have secondary and tertiary branches to work with. I’ll replace if I bear in mind.

And “Bob’s yer uncle”.

Let’s see if I can get it again to its former glory.

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