Monthly Archives: December 2011

Ficus Obliqua

Just ordered some seeds from Australia.  A native ficus, ficus obliqua (“Small-Leaved Fig”), will be my next attempt to grow ficus from seeds.

I have tried germinating ficus species before, and had pretty low germination rates.  One type that I ordered from a South African seller a few years ago labelled as “ficus nerifolia” gave me a tree with 8-inch leaves that was wholly unsuitable for bonsai.  It was one seed out of many that actually germinated, and I ended up discarding it after it reached about 5′, potted.

I ordered hundreds this time from an Australian-based eBay seller with good feedback.  Time to dust off the seed mat (heating pad) and get ready.  I would really like to build a ficus fused tree since they’re such strong growers.

Stay tuned.

What Next?

Clean Up

I need to remove a few of the dead seedlings that are wired to the frame, and clean out the leaves and debris from the top of the tree Continue reading

Trident Maple–1 Year Compared

Just for reference:

Trident Maple After One Season

Here is what has resulted from one year of growth:

Clearly some good growth and fusing occurred here.  The amount of fusing is consistent around the lower part of the tree.  Some of the seedlings didn’t make it; if I had to guess, I’d say maybe 5 or 6 didn’t wake up from dormancy, and the same number perished during the year.

Amur Maple

This past September 2011 I attended a wedding in Santa Fe, NM.  Aside from being a great wedding, it gave a great opportunity to collect a lot of great Amur Maple (acer ginnala) samaras.

I started stratifying them a couple weeks ago, hopefully on target for an early planting.

I will use these for more project trees in the Spring.  I’m glad to know where they came from, and that they’re as fresh as possible!

Japanese Maple Seedlings

After starting the Trident experiment, I decided I wanted to try my hand at a Japanese Maple “FrankenMaple.”  I had tried growing from maple seeds before, but had terrible results even after reading up on the whole stratification process.

I chose to try again, and ordered acer palmatum seeds from eBay (seller was fix1break2).  I got a late start, and started stratifying in late July 2011.  These particular maples seeds arrived without the full samara (wings were already gone), and were very small.  I placed a pie dish with warm water on a seed heating mat with the seeds, covered with a towel, and let marinade for about one full day.  Then I removed them and spread them out on damp (wringed) paper towels.  Placed each folded paper towel in its own Ziploc bac, placed those in a Tupperware-type container, and popped it into the fridge.

I checked periodically, and began having root sprouts within a month or so, and then en masse after about 2 months.  Every week I’d pull the sprouted ones, and plant them so the root was in the soil, and the top of the seed was sticking out.  After all was said & done, I had nearly all of them sprout.  I was amazed, no doubt.

Here they are as of the other day (Dec. 6, 2011); I guess I’ll have to see how they deal with the shorter, cooler days here in Southern California:

It’ll be interesting to see when they drop their leaves given their late start.  We’ll see!

Another Trident Experiement

Soon after my initial Trident tree project, I decided I wanted to try something a bit different.  I had read in the past about people drilling holes in tiles, and putting an appropriately sized tree or sapling in the hole so that that when the tree grows in width it essentially grows into a tourniquet air/ground layer.  The resulting roots growing from the tourniquet would grow flat because of the tile.

I decided to order some more Trident seedlings from the same supplier as before, and went to Home Depot to pick up some large tiles and a masonry bit for my power drill.

After drilling holes for an interesting-to-me trunk shape, I positioned the seedlings, wrapped the trunk with some garden tape, and planted in a clay pot:

I chose to use an akadama mix for this one, and wish I hadn’t.  The tile likely kept the roots from getting water, and because there were no organics to wick and retain the moisture, this “tree” was DOA in no time.  You can see the evidence of this project-gone-bad in my “Leaved Out” post.  It’s the crispy thing behind the healthy-looking Trident.