Ficus Obliqua

This is a F. obliqua I collected growing out of a sandstone wall in Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, around 20+ years ago. It had a canopy about 3ft across, and these 2 slender trunks holding the whole mass up. No idea how old it is but it must have been growing in the crack in the wall for at least 10 yrs or so to get to the size it was.??? I removed all the branches at the time and ran a saw against the wall and base cut it free. It now stands around 15ins tall and 16in wide canopy. The nebari is my biggest issue with this tree…. very one sided due to its original growing angle. Never really known how to correct or improve it, so have learned to live and work with it.
First pic was November 2011.
Frustrated and neglected for a few years.
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Here is the same tree August 2012 after a season of more attention and a regular fert program instead of neglect.
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Another year on….October 2012

 I restyled this fig with the original rear view as the new front. There is some lengthening of the RH primary branch to happen, but so far it is powering along. I shouted it a new bigger pot as well and it looks like it is enjoying the extra room….so pretty happy with the progress so far.
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January 2014

We are smack bang in the middle of a hot summer down here which is perfect time to work on our figs…. here is the result after defoliation and full rewire, sitting on one of my own home made stands.

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Overhead view below, showing good ramification developing.

Obliqua overhead ramification 11-1-14

Large Port Jackson Ficus Root over Rock

I acquired this monster ficus off a good friend of mine who was the second owner. He had purchased it from a bonsai nursery some years earlier from the nursery owners private stash of projects I think, and I believe it was placed on the rock over 30 yrs ago. I’m not sure what type of rock it is, but I can tell you it is about the size of a bowling ball and weighs a TON !!!!! It came to me in a 20inch diameter nursery tub, and took the 2 of us to load it in the back of my car, so moving this thing around has had its’ challenges over the past couple of years.
Anyway, here are some pics of its progression to date.

History pic #1 from prior owner Sept.1st 2009

History pic #1 from prior owner Sept.1st 2009

History pic #2 from prior owner Nov. 2010

History pic #2 from prior owner Nov. 2010

First wiring October 2012

First wiring October 2012

I  have left this branch at the apex to run and it will be used as the new leader once it has reached the correct thickness to improve the lack of taper. It will also speed up the healing of a large chop scar at the back directly behind it.

March 2013 By the end of summer the new leader had grown to just under a meter high.

March 2013 By the end of summer the new leader had grown to just under a meter high.

November 2013 Time to chop the new leader back.

November 2013 Time to chop the new leader back.

Lots of feed and one season later and the new leader has reached about an inch or so in diameter. Just right for the first chop, and a few cuttings will be had as well…. all perfect genetics for branch grafts if needed. The new shoot will also be allowed to grow untouched, until it gets to about half an inch, then it will get pruned back to complete stage 2 taper, ready for the final piece of the new leader. This should easily be achieved this growing season.

All potted up.... Now if I can just lift it without doing an injury.

All potted up…. Now if I can just lift it without doing an injury.

Front view after potting and some tweaking.

Front view after potting and some tweaking.

Rear view

Rear view

More updates later this summer.

Ficus Retusa Shohin approach graft.

This was an ordinary upright Ficus Retusa, with not much going for it except some nice markings on the bark being a Tiger Bark. Laying it on its’ side and retaining one side branch, i figured it could make an interesting semi cascade shohin, so out came the loppers and off with the rest of the tree. A nice little pot and into the hot house it went hoping for numerous shoots to appear from the knob I had left….. well a couple of months on, and plenty of shoots in the area of the knob, but none exactly where I wanted, so it was grafting time. I had planted up cuttings from the earlier chop which had rapidly taken root and were growing strongly, so after sorting through a few, I found the perfect one…. long enough side branch with plenty of foliage already on it. This graft would give me another horizontal branch, plus a vertical one as the new leader/trunkline. Plonked them both in a bigger training pot and filled it with soil as well, to stabilize the two plants, and also provide extra room for roots to grow when they escape from the smaller pots, which in turn should speed up the whole grafting process.

F.Retusa ....sorry for the bad quality pic.:(

F.Retusa ….sorry for the bad quality pic.:(

Detail of graft area

Detail of graft area

Safely secured

Safely secured

Update time!

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Early summer here now and plenty of work to do still this season with this being the perfect time for me to work on Ficus.

The past few months have been consumed with saving my entire Trident Maple collection from the dreaded fungal leaf curl disease which affects so many people worldwide, but now I can say with a good deal of confidence, that I finally have a handle on this monster that wants to devour my favorite  species in Bonsai. With the help of some friends and an Agronimist, I have now got beautiful fresh, undeformed foliage for the first time in many years, so I will be sharing my detailed account of this in an update to come very soon.

In the meantime, I will try to catch up on my posts which will show much development to existing trees, and I will be posting some new unseen projects I have going on.