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Learn How to Prune a Large and Small Ficus Bonsai
So we are in the middle of August, but I’m going to show you how to look after your ficuses. The Ficus, as I’ve said on many occasions, is perhaps the best or most reliable, of all the indoor bonsai. Sometimes people grow a Chinese Elm as indoor Bonsai, but they are better grown as outdoor trees.
It doesn’t mean you can’t grow them indoors. I know a dear old lady who’s in her 80s and she’s been growing a Chinese Elm for the last 20 years and it’s in the pink of health. So some people have very green fingers, but if you’re not sure about the Chinese Elm, please grow it as an outdoor tree.
While I’m talking about indoor outdoor trees, there are some other indoor subjects. This is a gardenia. It’s just finished flowering. It’s got a absolutely divine fragrance. Look at those beautiful flowers and the fragrance is really lovely, they are so reliable.
If you have trouble with Carmona, don’t be disheartened because you’re trying to tackle something which is quite difficult. So, let’s get back to the ficus.
Let’s begin by looking at these, which are already pruned, you see when they’re prune nicely they’re, so nice and tight, so the ends of the shoots have all been pruned to give it that lovely tight. Look, you can see how the ends have been improved.
Now, let’s look at the ones that have yet to be pruned, so the ones that have yet to be pruned are these ones. I will also show you something which should reassure you. Look at all these yellow leaves, which are falling down here.
If you walk in a forest or you go to tropical jungles. What do you find on the floor? You find on the fourth floor, all the leaves on the ground. So it always surprises me how some people panic when they see yellow leaves.
They think that yellow leaves are an anatoma or a sinful thing to have done it. No, it is nature’s way of shedding the old leaves when you get the new leaf. So when new leaves come, however, healthy is the tree you will get yellow leaves so no need to worry.
If you see yellow, leaves just shake it off, just shake them off and the tree will come good again.
So all these ficuses are due for pruning. So I’m going to put the camera down and we’ll put it on our turntable and we will work on it.
So, let’s look at this one. This one is a good example, because I’ve let these shoots, grow long, almost 18 inches off far too long, but I will admit that I keep them long because I make cuttings from them.
Nothing is ever wasted. So that’s cut the long shoots back to the long shoots I’m going to keep for cuttings and I always say to people who want to learn how to prove look at the basic shape. First of all, the overall shape is all important, so you can see the triangular shape there, but because these shoots have grown about four to six inches long, I have to prune them back to about one or two inches.
So I’m not going to look at each single twig or branch like that. I’m just going to look at the overall shape and just go like doing a hedge trim. Don’T worry if you cut a leaf in half it doesn’t matter at all.
I keep reminding people that if I had to charge by the time I would not make a living because I worked too fast. I think what I’m doing here may take someone an hour to do, but no matter as long as it gets done.
That’s all that matters, so that is the overall shape you have to aim for that triangular shape. How you do it is immature. If you want to refine it, you don’t go in and look for things like crossing branches.
You come in close here. You see, there’s a branch which is inward growing. I take that out, so you analyze each trick and then from the inside see which are needed which are not needed, those which are too close to the trunk.
I will take off and that’s how you do it generally: inward growing branches. We don’t encourage just encourage outward branches to grow and you should be okay. Josh has just pointed out that a wire that I had put on this tree in Spring, just to make the branches go downwards, has better into the trunk focuses grow very fast, so they will Mark, but never Panic.
The wire marks will soon go out as they get more mature. The branches will fill out and you won’t see the box every now and then you need to rewire the branches, because the tendency of branches is to Spring upwards.
It would have my wire cutter with me, but it doesn’t matter you don’t have to have all the tools just by unwinding it carefully. You can get it done there. You are. So that is how I have put this tree.
So this one is done. Let me look at another one I’ll go through several, so that it reinforces the learning process for you and see it is a nice large one paste. So, let’s look closely again. If you come close, we will see that these leaves are yellowing.
Sometimes they are even blotched. Look at that one. That is not a disease, it’s just that the leaf is turning yellow and it starts by doing that. Blotchy effect, so yellow leaves are not an issue. So again, what do I do? You can see the young growth, which is spoiling the Triangular shape.
So the first thing I do is this: you see these tips here. You always need to tip. Take all the tips out, because if you don’t take that tip out, it’ll continue to grow longer and longer, so every new tip should be taken off.
But that’s it again. If you want to Tin some of them, you can go in and tinsel and lots of like this yeah yeah talking of cuttings, every single shoot will make a cutting. The focus is so uh plentiful.
You know they’re very prolific in the way they can propagate from cuttings, I’m going inside to see if it’s too congested but, as I said, some people like the congested effect, but I like to keep the chunks belly clean this Ficus reducer.
They have these lovely aerial roots, so that can be grown as a new Branch. But if you don’t like it, you can take it off. So that’s how we deal with this one. Now this is a lovely semi-cascade ficus. I did put some wires onto to find the direction of the branches I have taken some off, but there’s some still on, so you can see in the space of four months.
They’Ve grown a lot since April. All these are new shoots and where do we find the yellow leaves they’re inside? So they are. The old leaves like on Pines. You get the second and third year needles which shed so with the fic assist.
It’S the old leaves that shed become yellow and drop off. You do get die back on Ficus, so you see there’s some tricks which die back. So don’t worry about that. This is all natural. You know, buyback is natural.
So again, what would I do with this? One I can’t see the trunk because it’s meant to be a semic Cascade where you see the lovely trunk, but the first thing I do is to pull the overall shape. So let me use that invisible line analogy so there’s a line like that and everything outside that line.
I should really prune off. If you use this analogy, it helps you to focus on the overall shape. If you are into business studies, it’s what we call the Strategic View, you have a look at the Strategic view.
Don’T look at the micro aspects. The Strategic view is what you want to see. So all the things outside the line. I have the ability to view the overall shape without having to put a line like that, but learn to have the Strategic view where you’re looking at the overall outline, and that will help you create.
You can see how perfect that triangular shape is now when I’ve done that I’m going to go inside the tree and take out branches which are going too long, because I want the pad to be visible. You look at this one.
It’S so long like that. Don’T be afraid that these tricks will end out end up without leaves, that’s perfectly all right. It will go again. We are in August, so you still got September and October for it tomorrow in the winter they won’t grow much it’s different.
If you live in the tropics, these things go all year round, although in the winter they do slow down, but they will grow so they need to be pruned hard. Otherwise you lose control of the ship. Also, these branches are hiding the trunks, so I’ve got to watch that as well.
Wow, that’s a huge one, Peter in commercial Industries. People populate every single tree, that’s how they Mass produce these trees, but I don’t have the room, although we have a huge Nursery. I don’t have the room to keep making cuttings, so you see how I’m making the pads like this.
Thank you. I’Ve almost made the tree bold but, as I said, do not panic, it will grow again and you will get more defined shape. Okay, so that’s hard for that one. Now, even these branches there are pads there that I need to deal with foreign devices.
All these shoots will merge grow too long and you will lose the shape of the tree completely. This is what most people are afraid of. Doing in the summer, if you grow the focuses Outdoors, those of you who live in the UK.
The summers are quite warm especially this summer, but don’t grow them in full sun. They like to be grown in partial shade, so you go next to the wall. In the garden where it gets shade most of the day, that’s all right.
You just want the bright light and the fresh air to improve the health of the tree. I hope you can still see what I’m doing. I would mention that focuses. Do get an insect Crest, which is like a fluffy scale and you’ve got to keep an eye on it, just spray it with insecticide many people are worried about tests and say: oh you sold me a battery.
Why does it get better? These insect pests are in there. You can’t help it they fly around and that’s why insecticide is used. If you don’t want to use insecticide, just go around with a piece of tissue and squash the insects, but for goodness sake, Don’t Let It Grow because they do damage the plant.
Look at this. It’S almost like pulling a hedge, the way I’m working inward going branches. I’M pruning so hard that it’s almost like total defoliation, but it’s not I’m leaving a lot of trees. See that part is quite long.
Can you see how the shoots are longer? We do a follow-up in this one here. Yes, we are followed this one, so we will show you the front again look at the leaves that are on the floor. So what was a very Lush tree are now cut hard back.
I know that a lot of people don’t like to cut it. They say like: oh I’ve got such a lot of lovely foreign [, Music ]. So once a year, if you do this, that’s all that this tree needs. So that’s how I’ve dealt with this one yeah.
So I’ve got one more big Ficus to show you, but because most of you don’t have these large ones, let me show you what is one of our very popular lines, Ficus of this size, which is much smaller than that big one.
So again, you can see how the shape has been lost, so the overall triangle you’ve got to pull. Even these, you see how long these shoots are. Look at how long the laterals have become prune every single leaf off.
I know it’s a bit drastic heart-wrenching, but you got to do it, so that’s the pruning for this one. Let me show you another one: to reinforce the learning process and look at this. In literally one month, I’ve got a shoot which is about 12 inches long I’ll print off and show you.
How long is that that’s grown in one month and all these have grown in one month, so I’ve got to turn it back to the Triangular shape like so, and I’ve brought it back to the conical shape again, but you’ve got to grow these strong.
So the trick is, don’t grow it indoors all the year round, even if you live in about a balcony flat, if you have a balcony or an apartment, put it outside where it gets fresher in the summer, you get good growth like this feeling that I think The kitchen is a good environment, but of course we grow it in our greenhouse and the greenhouse is really a very humid atmosphere, so the humid atmosphere promotes a lot of this growth.
Okay, I’ve done these little ones. Now. Let me get on to this. Last of the big ones, so again let us have a look at what we are doing. This is a rather unusual shape, but the beauty of this tree is really showing the trunk so to show you the detail of the trunk.
I can’t remember which I used as the front. I think this was the back. Let me just cut all this off now. You must be asking where’s the Triangular shape here. The Triangular shape is a bit uh, I would say elusive, but I’m still going to create a shape on this side.
[, Music, ]. Let me see what can experience better like this. It’S just that these long shoots have to be done and by the way, I’m going to feed the cheese quite heavily after the spoon. Any fertilizer will be good.
If you don’t feed it enough, the trees will turn yellow or get chlorosis. So you need to feed it, so I’m pruning the pads back. Okay. So I’ve got a sloping like this. You can see, and on this side I think there is a branch going back where this is a rather tricky one, and I could reinforce the Triangular shape by bringing that Branch down like.
So let me think about it. Let me think about it, so this side is quite visible now, the back I should also deal with because it’s all part of the tree okay, so this side is looking nice because you can see the beautiful trunk which is there.
In fact, I’ve got to ask myself: do I need this new show more of the trunk. I will just do a bit of wiring to the strip. I’Ve got to give it an anchor foreign [, Music, ] foreign [, Music ], but I’m going to do a double a bit of cheating, really two Branch principles being modified: try not to cut the wire off! That’S why I’m struggling a bit to bring the wire on that single piece of wire is not strong enough.
So I’m doing a double there. You go, I’ve got double many of you may not have seen the sleight of hand. It’S that single piece of wire mesh to double it up: [, Music, ], foreign yeah. You might need to do a guy.
While you can see what I’m trying to do, I’m trying to create a triangular shape there and at the end of this wire, could use even a cigar wire. Should I want to it’s only a temporary thing: I’m not showing this as an exhibition tree at the moment.
So let’s use that as a guy wire to bring that Branch right down like so lovely. So you see I’m creating that triangle like that, so that offending Bunch which went that way has been brought on this way.
So let’s hope that works. So that’s how I created the triangle shape the overall triangle with a shape by creating that and then, if you’re worried about this, you can even take this off, because that really is clouding that lovely front.
You can decide whether to take it off or not. So that’s how hard I prune the tree and then let it grow again. If I can just take a peek to see how the roofs are doing. Most of these tropical trees are very vigorous and it’s tied in it’s going to take it off.
So the roots are not pot Bound in here, so there’s a lot of room to grow. So, despite all that Vigor on the top, the roots are quite normal. Okay, so that can stay in here for another two three years or more.
So next thing to do is to feed the tree, so we will now complete this.