Sunday, 11 February 2018

Which is the best front?

I thought I had my clip and grow Ficus Natalensis all sorted out. It's been hard work getting it to where it is without ever using wire, but over time it's filled out nicely. It's come a long way since this old photo from late 2015:

This summer I've been concentrating entirely on ramification, giving it only the occasional rough haircut to encourage as much back budding as possible. By this week it had grown so full that the trunk was hardly visible any more:

February 2018 - before pruning

Yesterday's club meeting was of a practical nature and we were asked to bring along trees for discussion or work, so I took the little guy along to see if I could get some new ideas that might improve it. I decided to allow the speaker to prune the tree, instructing him only that no wiring was allowed. He didn't do anything too drastic, or so I thought.

February 2018 - after pruning

Because the trunk had been hidden behind foliage for so long, it was only when I got home that I realised that this wasn't my front. My intended front currently looks like this, with a stick inserted to pull back some of the foliage that's still blocking the view:

February 2018 - current view of my intended front

Now I'm confused. His trunk line actually looks good, but there's an issue with the nebari. From my intended front, the tree has a fairly solid base, though the root on the left could do with a bit of thickening.

From his front, the trunk below the bend is rather straight and the roots aren't great. The left one is really weak and the thicker root on the right is badly positioned, meaning I might have to remove it in favour of the weaker one:

Still, that can be fixed. For now I'm considering raising the soil level to see if those roots fatten up. I hope they do, because I think the branch structure probably is better from his chosen front.

A little bit of wiring would have everything so much simpler!

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