Monday, 2 April 2018

Will a massive fig cutting root?

In the footnote to a post I wrote in January, I referred to my attempts to grow a fig tree from a thick cutting off a neighbour's full size tree, only to be thwarted by the need to save water during a period of drought.

Thankfully that drought is now a thing of the past so, when my neighbour pruned his fig tree yesterday, I couldn't resist the temptation to try again. Unfortunately by the time I found them, the branches had already been hacked to pieces, and most of them were pretty straight, with no side branches. Still, I felt I had to try.

I quickly grabbed three large branches of various thicknesses, all far too long for my requirements, so my first job was to cut each in half.

As I began to cut them up I was already starting to fear that I'd bitten off more than I could chew so I began with the thinnest one to see whether I had the strength to saw through them. That didn't take too long so I moved on to the next one, which didn't prove to be too much of a problem either.

Then it was time to tackle the monster, a branch quite a bit thicker than my wrist. Would I be able to pull if off?

There were moments when I contemplated quitting, but once I'd made a start I battled on, unwilling to see all my effort go to waste. Finally, after two hours of hard labour, I found myself with two big stumps and a total of six cuttings to pot.

I left them soaking overnight in a solution of kelp and water.

As space is a problem, today I potted them in the smallest pots that would hold them.


They're now in a sheltered spot in my bonsai area, protected from sun and excessive wind.

I know they don't look like much, just straight stumps with little or no taper, but the two biggest are pretty large - bigger than most of the trees I own. Hopefully in time something can be done to improve their appearance... if they root.

For scale here's a photo of the biggest and the smallest side by side. To give an idea of size, the smaller cutting is in a one litre yogurt tub.


As I look at the two thickest stumps now, I have to wonder how I'll cope with them if they grow. When I grabbed the biggest branch, what was I thinking?

Update:
Only one of the thickest cuttings rooted.

Photo progression including future updates can be seen here.


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