Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Still Struggling with my Three-in-One Ficus

When I conceived my plan to fuse three different colour varieties of Ficus Benjamina about a decade ago I had no idea what complications this gimmicky project had in store for me.

While the trunks have fused well enough to confuse some people, differences in the growth habits of the three varieties have resulted in some branches growing more vigorously than others.

Working around that has been a constant battle, further complicated by the fact that I got carried away with what was meant to be minor pruning in late 2015. After that I made the mistake of letting the tree grow largely unchecked for over a year.

February 2017 - before styling

Had the dark-leaved branches (the most vigorous) been near the bottom of the tree, that might have worked out alright. Unfortunately all those branches were high up and as a result they had become disproportionately thick and had also created some nasty reverse taper and a massive bulge high up on the trunk.

Although it's another setback in the tree's progress I decided those branches had to go.

The old leader was contributing to the problem too so, with a better option having presented itself, I removed that as well. I also decided that the lowest branch didn't fit in with my future plans for the design of the tree.

Here it is after another major pruning and some wiring.

February 2017 - after styling

Right now the new leader needs to fatten up a bit, but hopefully I'll pay enough attention to keep the vigorous top growth under control this time.

And hopefully today's work will stimulate some back-budding because the tree really needs a couple of extra branches on the right side to get things properly balanced.

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