The reason for that delay is because I cut a fairly large surface root and have left it in the pot, hoping a new tree will develop from that root. If that happens I'd like to remove the new tree when I repot this one.
This is what it looked like before I started work:
|August 2016 - before chop|
Although someone at my club suggested I make the chop one branch higher, I decided to stick to what felt right to me. One quick chop and I was left with this:
|August 2016 - after chop|
As we moved from winter into spring the tree dropped all its old foliage, but not before new buds started developing everywhere.
Here are two shots from yesterday:
|September 2016 - possible front|
The above is my probable front, though I may change my mind when I see how the tree develops. It depends whether I decide to keep the left branch. I'm not sure it's in the best position, but for now it's the only one I've got.
|September 2016 - possible back|
From this side it's clearly visible that, in addition to lots of new buds on the leader and branch, the tree is producing new growth all over the trunk too. As my main focus is on thickening the new leader, I'll probably remove those unwanted buds. After that I'm unlikely to do anything more to the tree this summer other than repotting it when and if that root decides to grow.
When I made the chop last month, I planted the top as a cutting but soon noticed that it was drooping and in due course it lost all its leaves. I'm happy to report that in the last few days I've noticed new leaves developing though, so I'm optimistic that it's developing roots too.
I hate to waste anything that can grow, but I'm slowly learning not to keep the smallest cuttings. Given the fact that Ficus Natalensis grows quickly, however, this one was too good to waste.