Sunday, 13 March 2016

Breaking all the Rules

I know I've written at length about my fig tree, but I thought one last update would be in order before the Southern hemisphere winter arrives. Already the days are getting shorter and there's a nip in the morning air, so this tree will soon drop all its leaves. I can't see anything changing between now and spring, so you won't have to read about it again until at least September.

This tree has changed a lot over the course of this summer, and most of what I've done has gone against advice I've been given both online and at my club, but that's okay. It's my tree and I'm the only one who has to like it.

December 2015 - before pruning

This is what it looked like in December, before I started work on it. A strange twisty trunk low down with a dead straight top section. My plan was always for a short tree though, and all that height was just to thicken up the apex.

When I took it to my club for a crit just after this photo was taken, I didn't expect any positive feedback, but I did get some, and based on the advice I received, I cut it back to this:

December 2015 - after pruning

It didn't take me long to realise that I hated that as a front, so I started exploring my options, finally cutting them down to three possible fronts before deciding that the one I thought I liked best was probably just a bit too out of the box. All the while I was gradually cutting down on the number of branches, and by the time I took it to a club workshop today, only two remained.

Fig tree - before season's last pruning

I was determined to get rid of one of them, but should have known better than to ask for other people's opinions. Out of all the people I asked, only one agreed with my strange decision, and some even questioned my choice of front, preferring an angle that I dislike.

Sometimes I give in to others' opinions, only to regret it. In this case, however, I was not to be deterred from what I wanted to do. However, after hearing what was said, I did a little unplanned wiring to the leader. I also tweaked the front ever so slightly.

Fig tree - March 2016

In spring I'll repot it again, because I really want to bring it a bit more upright, more or less how it looked when I tilted the pot for this photo.

Proposed angle for repot

That will require a bit of root work though, because there are some really heavy roots at the back. After that I'll leave the side branch to thicken a bit, but I won't let the apex grow too much higher because I'm not planning to let it thicken much more and I really want to start working on ramification.

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