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 bushes, 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 type?, which was printed manner again in April 17, 2014. Right here’s the way it regarded then:
Yeah. I do know, what occurred? Proper? I’m presupposed to be knowledgeable and all that. Neglect, unchecked development, a few hurricanes and freeze warnings. Unintentional uh…drought. Bugs, illness, cats, youngsters. Mainly it’s survived some biblical trials and tribulations.
Talking of illness…
I see these spots early within the spring…quite a bit lately. I had my nursery inspector do some checking and, although I assumed it may very well be a fungus or a micro organism like pseudomonas, he stated it’s proof of a gall wasp. Now, because the identify suggests, it’s normally an evident infestation by there being a gall on the leaf, however I haven’t seen them in my ficus. Perhaps due to the systemic remedies I exploit (extra on that later) killing the larvae. I don’t know.
The work immediately in rehabbing this tree will embrace a repot, a tough reduce, fertilizer, insecticide, and weed prevention.
Let’s get to work.
I’m bringing it down fairly a bit.
Chop chop goes the scissors!
This department under would be the one department I don’t reduce. You’ll see why (once more) in a while in this system.
Usually, I might lower this kind of fig again so exhausting, as it is a customary Ficus microcarpa, and you will get vital dieback on it, generally shedding entire branches. To distinction this, the Tiger bark microcarpa doesn’t try this so badly, it again buds virtually anyplace. However the plain previous Ficus microcarpa does. Preserve 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 reduce. I wired it and left the develop tip.
Now to repot. I’ll be combing out the roots to eliminate all of the wrapping ones. And I’m being aggressive so I can get all of the weeds out.
Weeds like these. This can be 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 might be quite a bit like, simply because the identify says, a cat’s claws.
Right here you may see the “claw”.
This one is named “Florida spurge”. It’s underground roots can get as large as carrots. It’s important to be carful to drag out these roots as it would simply develop again from the bulb. If in case you have them it’s a superb indication you’ll have nematodes.
Right here’s the leaves of the spurge.
That performed, time to chop the roots.
They have been circling the pot (it’s in a distinct 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 want 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 larger and deeper than the ceramic one.
However utilizing it’d give me an excessive amount of development. Is there such a factor? Yeah. I want managed development with brief internodes (keep in mind the dieback, the department will dieback to the following 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 speak 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 once I see individuals spreading a fair 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 maintain the thrips away. And people gall wasps.
I like to combine it into the roots properly, 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 immediately).
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 it’s a must to get out all the sprouted weeds first. And there shall 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 need a plant, you don’t need 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 eager to do, so I rewired the wrong way and put it again within the place I needed it to be. Right here’s a tidbit: in the event you maintain 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 possibly can see this in larger bushes 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 strain may very well 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 a protracted method to go, however by the tip of the season, I’ll have secondary and tertiary branches to work with. I’ll replace if I keep in mind.
And “Bob’s yer uncle”.
Let’s see if I can get it again to its former glory.