Coiled Microcarpa; January 2017

In September 2016 I removed the plant, made some horizontal cuts in the bark on the coil nearest the bottom (closest to the tile), and dabbed-in some rooting gel in the wounds.  

Planted it upright with pumice nice and high to allow plenty of coverage (and some moisture)–all tidy:      

As you might also be able to see above, I decided to wrap two branches/trunks around the cone instead of the single leader that I had been doing to this point.  The thinking here is that double the branches might mean double the places where backbudding will occur later when I want to focus on growing branches.  

For now, though, it’s all about the trunk.  Fast forward to the end of January 2017 …

Today I pulled the plant out of its pot, which by the way is so wonderfully easy (and clean) when you have only pumice for soil.  I wanted to see how the root formation on the coils had progressed over the past three-to-four months.  

Pretty well, I think, considering it’s “winter” here in coastal Southern California:   

 

Nice and flat along the tile, too, just as planned.  Oh, and this Clonex rooting gel is amazing!  Roots appeared everywhere that I applied it.  
The roots are definitely radiating out from the trunk at an angle: 

 In other circumstances this might bother me, but I think I’m going to just roll with it here.  It definitely stays true to the coiled concept, anyway.  All these roots might fuse together, anyway, which could be interesting.

You may recall from earlier posts how I zip-tied the original cutting to the tile through two drilled holes:  

This is what it looked like today:  

And a close up of the zip tie area:   

If I were to do this over again, I would just thread a ficus cutting through a hole in the tile close to the cone.  Anyway …

Since the roots are looking so good, it was time to separate the original trunk and roots   
I applied more rooting gel on the coil above the cut so roots will cover where the trunk was cut below.  I also applied more gel on the cut area.  We’ll see what happens there: 

  

Buh-bye:  
 Placed deep again in the pot:  

Covered it up again, placed the pot in some bright shade, watered; now we wait.  I’ll probably wait until summer to dig it up again.

Coiled Microcarpa; May 2016

I have been using this 3-in-1 product by Bayer to fight the leaf spot, and it’s worked wonderfully on all of my Ficus Microcarpa.  It’s also fixed fungal issues I had been having with my Trident Maples over the past several years.  I hate to use chemicals, but sometimes … 

Healthy growth has allowed me to wrap one more coil around the wooden cone.  Because the trunk is still too small for a nail, I’ve just secured it with stretchy garden tape for now …   

 
Once the weather heats up here in Southern California this thing should progress really quickly.

Coiled Microcarpa March 2016

Getting some new growth now that spring is here.  Hopefully the leaf spot doesn’t return on the new growth.

I’ve been trimming lateral shoots to keep the leader growing strong.  The light green leaves that you see are about one week’s worth of growth after the last prune.  Started fertilizing, too.

   
 

Coiled Ficus Microcarpa Update

Great growth and progress in early-to-mid summer was unfortunately stalled by some sort of leaf spot fungus that affected only ficus microcarpa (and all of them in my garden and throughout town). Oh well, hopefully it’s only temporary.
   

  

    
 

Wood Base Microcarpa Progress

Things are going well with this one. I’ve take quite a few cuttings over the winter months from it, so it’s not as large as it would otherwise be. [By the way, I’ve read on some forums that it’s best to take cuttings in warmer months, and my low root strike rate backs that up.]

Now that things are warming up nicely in Southern California it’s growing quickly and there’s been no die off. These pictures don’t capture much fusing; there’s at least one area where it’s happening. Since I didn’t have enough stock to line the cuttings tightly against each other I didn’t expect there to be much fusion … yet.

I will let it continue to grow over the summer and will try to root more cuttings along the way. Once I have enough–and supposing the weather is still warm–I will: 1) begin to chop some of the individual plants in order to preserve taper in the trunk, 2) remove much of the lower leaf mass from the remaining plants so I can get the the trunk ready for more rooted cuttings, 3) remove the tree from its pot and attach more cuttings (hopefully for the last time), & 4) rearrange the roots so they are as radial as possible.

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Coiled Ficus Microcarpa (Yet Another Method)

I’m keeping a few consistencies with this new project:

-Genetics: keeping identical donor material is a given here since this is one tree (ficus microcarpa rooted cutting). As mentioned before, I no longer plan to use seed-grown material because of genetic variability (manifesting in leaf shape and bark texture differences, for example). This tree will be comprised of one tree fused to itself, essentially;

-Tile method: growing on top of a tile has yielded nice, flat roots in other projects that should benefit the look of this tree later; &

-Wood cone: this method seems to be working well with an earlier project, so I will again use the wood base and small nails to fix the tree to the base.

New ideas being tried:

-Vertical growth: I have several ficus microcarpa “trees” that are growing straight up in very long, single-trunked styles. The occasional branching doesn’t seem to stop that single leader from growing straight up;

-Bendable: these trees are fairly pliable when young, and can be wound around a circular base as used here even when woody;

-Quick fusing: by winding the single trunk around the base–essentially coiling on top of itself–and securing with an occasional nail when there’s enough caliper (and “wood”) to hold it, I expect the trunk will fuse very quickly and completely. These trees also thicken considerably from the bottom-up, so the trunk should have a pleasing triangular silhouette when done;

-New Roots: once the tree trunk has been wound several times around the base and its roots have deepened, I will reorient the tree right-side-up and encourage rooting around the base with some organic soil and rooting hormone. Once I have grown enough roots, I will cut off (layer) the existing trunk and roots and develop the nebari on the tile; &

-Pumice: I’ve only recently starting using this as soil.

Some pictures:

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Wood Base Microcarpa Update

It’s been a few weeks, and the wood base microcarpa seems to be thriving. All of the rooted cuttings seem well despite being nailed to the wooden base and whatever trauma that might have caused.

I’m propagating some more cuttings (from the same donor tree) in order to fill the gaps. I am also planning on a couple more “trees” using this method, but with ficus burtt-davyi and ficus salicifolia. I’ve taken cuttings of those as well as seen below.

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