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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.
   

  

    
 

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.

It’s alive! It’s alive!

This blog will chronicle my experiments with fused trunk bonsai trees, as well as some other non-traditional methods of creating old-looking examples in a relatively short amount of time.

The concepts here are nothing new.  In fact, they have probably been done in some form for Millenia.  I learned of them a little more recently than that by visiting Doug Philips’ site–Dugz Bonsai–a couple years ago.

I hope you enjoy the blog and learn something, too.