Root Over Rock and Giant Ficus Bonsai Part 1

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Hi everyone, Nigel Saunders here Ross, is back in the Bonsai Zone and he’s brought his Chef Lara root over Rock today hi Ross. Here this is my schlaflora root over Rock. I started it three years ago, um and we’ll repot it today and and Resort the roots and take off all this branching and we’ll see how it goes today.

We’Re going to prune back the structure quite hard and Ross did this just a year ago and look at the growth in one year. It’S incredible, you know somebody shoots are over two feet long and it’s just amazing to get that bigger.

So you had it in a a pot within a pot right Ross. In the summer, during the the heat of the summer, I cut the roots pool um with that method. Putting this inside another pot just to keep the sun off the black uh, because at the top of this we’ve got very hot black, absorbs the Heat.

This is black larva on the lava rock on here: yeah black Lava Rock. On Top. This is a decoration but, and it dries out very quickly being so thin. So I I just put it in a deep inside another pot. Does about this High yeah um and the foliage got lots of sun and the roots cut nice and cool in the pot.

I even yeah I even put mulch down underneath this pot and The Roots grew into the mulch. I see um and uh yeah. I think it really helped with the parole super Vigor right, yeah, that’s incredible! To get that much growth in one summer.

I guess yeah. It fertilize it a lot too lots of them. Let’S go in now and have a close-up of the root system. Here’S a close-up of the root system, so you can see there’s some beautiful aerial Roots, I’ll rotate it around.

So look at the roots coming out. The back here they’re just fantastic, absolutely incredible, and they start out just as fine little Roots. Didn’T they Ross yeah. They thicken up quickly, though this year, especially this summer, they just they almost doubled in thickness wow.

That’S that’s really incredible. They look really good. They’Re really gripping that rock aren’t they yeah. There’S a couple this one diagonal here, I’m not too happy with I’d like to get rid of that one today and the rest is just sorting out those roots and yeah, maybe picking the new front, yeah, maybe a new front to Show Off The Roots.

I think we were thinking somewhere in that direction. Was it yeah and maybe get rid of this root in the front yeah or it looked pretty good in this direction too kind of that angle of the rock yeah? Well, I think that’s.

The next step is to kind of evaluate the design of it, isn’t it and maybe pick a front and decide what we’re going to do up top with the branch structure. So Ross we’ve been having a good look at the tree and looking at all the alternate fronts, I think originally, you said the back here was the front yeah uh, which is nice, but I think it doesn’t show The Rock and The Roots off to their fullest.

So we were thinking more of looking in that corner with this thick root as the front, I think, if we choose this as a front, we’ll have to remove this thick root. It’S too distracting. It doesn’t show off the rest of the roots.

So if we rotate the front the problem is, this pot is very narrow. I think this is called a Chinese style pot, they’re, usually longer and more narrow than uh Japanese pots. Someone told me that it was because they like to set these pots and window sills.

Is that they always made them narrow and long, whereas the Japanese pots are traditionally a little wider for the length of them so uh? If we rotate this, I don’t think the pot’s wide enough. So then we started looking around for other pots that I had.

That would be suitable and we found a real Beauty. Didn’T we yeah? We did it’s. The color goes amazing with the trunk and it’ll really transform this tree. I think it’ll be a really nice change for it.

Yeah and this pot is made by Sophie and I’ll put the link in the description below for her her website and uh. She makes fantastic pots she’s located in Cambridge Ontario. So let’s show you the pot that we picked out for the root over Rock schefflera.

All right, so there is a look at the new pot with the tree and you can see the coloring. The pot just matches the roots perfectly. It’S just. Ah, it’s just tailor-made. Isn’T it it’s just fantastic yeah, it’s a very good choice.

It’S a very nice pot and it’ll uh it’ll transform it quite a bit it’s going to make it look very different and it matches the truck very nice. I’M really happy with that. I think it’s a good size too yeah these Stone, yeah, nice and shallow.

I think it’s just perfect for the street, and even even with the round pot like this, we have to pick a front and we yeah there’s a lot of variation in the pot. So you can kind of choose if you want to show more more of the dark, Browns or more of the light colors.

If you want to show more drips in the glaze or less it’s a very flexible pot, mm-hmm, so yeah, it’s really interesting Sophie makes some awesome pots. That’S for sure. Our first objective with this tree is just to reduce it from this giant tree down more compact.

So we’re going to do like an initial pruning, reducing these long branches back and then we’ll take a look at the design and see what branches need further pruning or maybe need removal. So this will make it easier to see in there we’re just going to Lop off all these tall branches.

Uh we’ll be able to get the camera in a little tighter without being so large. It’S cut very nicely up there yeah, so we’re using the Ironwood uh ratcheting, pruners, they’re, fantastic, cutting off about three quarters of the branches, so we’ve been see down in there.

There we are wow already left, looks pretty good, well yeah wow! Let’S, let’s leave it there that looks fantastic yeah, but that’s almost the idea. Long term is to have a really dense, foliage canopy up here, but yeah and a lot of branching.

But again I want to thicken everything up down at the bottom and primary branching. First and secondary and then yeah we want to get rid of all these straight sections, so you want to reduce it back then.

Have it subdivide so you’ve got kind of interesting flowing movement but yeah. That is the like the perfect size for the sort of finished canopy. I think at the moment anyway yeah how much of this rock goes into the ground.

Is it only about uh, not even half an inch, maybe just halfway, not very much just sitting almost on top of the soil, so that’s sort of the final height of the rock thinning, yeah? Okay, it I don’t think it’ll it could.

We might be able to lift it up a bit we’ll see you know. Maybe it depends on the roots. If they’re looking good and flaring out, we might be able to lifted up a little bit. You can always um in future.

You can always lift the rock up with soil underneath and then the roots will and Moss will take over. So you can almost extend the rock if you want to get it higher in the future. Oh right, yeah, so it’ll be like a rock on top of a mound of soil yeah.

If you need it higher, I don’t know if you will, but yeah root over Rock can change a Lot quickly like yeah. You know all these roots right now: they’re individual Roots, but in the future they can all fuse together and almost yeah to the point where you don’t see.

Individual moves anymore, so now’s a good time to sort some of those out before they fuse together. Yeah yeah. We’Ve rotated the tree around um, maybe 50 times, having a look at all the different possible fronts and we’re still leaning towards this as the best front.

If we remove that route um, there are other fronts that would work that you could keep this route, but I think this route is getting too thick compared to the roots that are gripping The Rock it’s almost taking your eye away from the roots on the Rock And this becomes like a major feature of the tree, which doesn’t really the point of a root over rock is to focus your eye on the The Roots gripping, The Rock and not other features, I think um.

So if this is the front which is, I think, the front we’ve picked, I think so I think I think that might be step number one is remove this route last chance Ross. Do you think or yeah? Let’S do it? The the only uh thought I had was this route over to the right it or over to the left.

It’S pretty thick too, but at least uh, it’s hugging, the rock fairly well right in that view. So let me have a look at it again, but it’s pretty thick also right. It’S an aerial root. That’S really thickened up, isn’t it yeah, but it might get right tight to the Rock shortly, but it’ll always be thicker than everything else yeah.

So when we’re repotting this uh, you can do a couple of things to control the thickness of this root. Uh. You can prune The Roots back on this aerial root very severely and it’ll take a bit of vigor out of here, so it won’t thicken up so quickly and then also whatever this root is feeding.

If you keep, it pruned back a little harder than the other branches it’ll kind of minimize the growth of this root and the others will kind of catch up. Yeah I’ll have to do that: okay, um! If you move that route.

If this is the front, and you remove that root, then the rock is fairly bare on the one side which is okay, it kind of it shows a nice face of the rock, so The Rock’s not swallowed up by Roots but uh, I’m more distracted by the Root, that’s cutting that one that yeah that’s across here, yeah we’ll have to remove that too.

I think I think yeah yeah I like on this side. We talked about this braiding effect of the roots, and that looks really good. I really like that. I think it’s really cool the way, they’re all twisting around each other, and you see that effect on a lot of Ficus and that with aerial Roots they the wind kind of braids them they get all tangled and they they look exactly like this.

It looks really good yeah and you can see. I talked about uh how these aerial Roots they tend to pull themselves tight, so you get tension and it’ll actually bend your branches down, and you can see how some of these aerial Roots they’re, absolutely taunt.

They’Re like guitar strings or violin strings, they they’re kind of loose at first, and then they tighten up with age. They become very taunt, which is kind of cool yeah. That could be very helpful to bring down some of your branches yeah yeah, okay.

Well, let’s start by removing that aerial root: okay, let’s do it uh I’ll! Do the honors, then uh I’ll keep the Arrow Route. That’S above it for now see what happens with that. I guess, or is that in the bad spot too um for now yeah, okay! Well, just do you want to um I’m trying to think maybe cut her off roughly and then use the the branch printers together? I think so: okay, okay, so I’ll just cut it uh here and here yeah and then, when we repot it, we can get all this stump of that root out coming up one two: there we go, it’s gone awesome! Well, how does it look wow, you’re right? It makes a big difference: yeah, let’s go back to the front here.

So hopefully that looks put your focus on the root over Rock part. You can see all the roots underneath it now and it looks more uniform all the root thicknesses. Oh yeah, that looks awesome. I really like that.

Yeah, that’s, really cool, okay, great! Well! Let’S prune that off um turn it off flushing. I can use these all right. It’S exciting, working on trees! This is going to be a big transformation today of going to a new pot new front pruning.

It back it’s it’s quite a transformation. Listen, they don’t need to well, actually might make it easier. Okay, cut that off flush yeah, because it’s splitting into three Roots, I think yeah close enough.

I guess, and then we want to prune off that this one root here. It’S kind of a cool route, it really grips The Rock, but it’s just not flowing down everything else, flows down like a melted candle on that one root just stands out as it’s the Renegade Rebel Without a Cause yeah.

So I think if you can get in there and snip that out Ross yeah again I’ll, do a rough cut and then come back to it. Um we’ll use these there and back here, and I think I can pull it through, pull it down.

Well, it’s tight in there yeah yeah, you know what I’m gonna cut it in the more sections, just two pieces that one and that one’s gone how’s it look now, there’s the there’s your front. Definitely I’m gonna flush cut this okay, get rid of that! Oh yeah face of the root yeah much better, oh yeah, that looks great beautiful.

I I think that’s there’s sort of the front somewhere here, yep awesome. So let’s tackle the upper structure now, so we were looking at the tree again and we’ve kind of decided. Instead of being kind of more like this is the front view, Maybe more like that, I think it shows it off really nice.

So now we’re going to begin the upper part. So the goal here you can see some of these sections are kind of long straight with no taper. So the the idea is to get them. Taper more snake-like get movement in them, so it we’ve got to prune them back fairly hard regrow the branches.

Every year. You know once a year prune them back grow them again and eventually you get this really cool snake-like structure to the chaflaris. Otherwise they just go. You know they’re very stiff. Looking, so you’ve got to prune them back hard.

Let them grow putting them back again. Let them grow so slowly. You get that snake-like movement with taper and really interesting branches on it. So we can start with this Branch. Here we were yeah looking for root or for branch stars on here to see where yeah a new Branch will come out.

There’S one down at the bottom and one up here: you see that one yeah there’s one way down here, but we were talking about, maybe cutting it just above this one up here yeah. I I think if we cut it here and then see what develops on here and then maybe you can cut it back further, depending what it develops on that Branch, because that is very long and straight um.

But if something grows down here we can cut it down even lower yeah yeah, if you’re kind of too far back it may die off and you’ll get new Sprouts coming out from here. So you’ve kind of lost this thickness.

So it’s better to be kind of a bit safe. Putting it back longer, see these branches develop and then prune further back to them. Okay, so that’ll be our first cut here we go I’ll leave, maybe half inch for die back sure and then we’ll seal the wounds with the uh okay great.

Here we go like that, nice, okay, so that is one branch done which one’s next Ross. Well, let’s uh keep going around this way. Let’S do this one okay, so you’ve got a leaf coming out the bottom here. So if you prune just above that, there’s a leaf scar on top and you’ll have a shoot out the bottom, so you’ll get kind of this effect.

I think that’ll keep it compact. You may get a branch coming out, see this Leaf coming off here you may get one coming off here, which would be really nice. That would be a nice Direction. Okay and maybe one out the front – and this one and then cut this top one off.

So I I would prune it right here in between these two Leaf scars here: okay and you’ll get something good happening right there, nice going around this one is very short, yeah this Branch uh, I think of anything we just want to prune the tip off to You’Ve got a branch coming to the one to the left and one to the right, so I would just take that that tip off the top that’s pulling in the wrong direction anyway, yeah it’s starting to shoot straight up, yeah, just like that, and then we come Around now, there’s two branches kind of running parallel here, um, looking at the front, you don’t see it much you kind of do if from the original front, you don’t see it at all, but when you rotate it like this, you can just see it peeking out Here, if you see that Ross um see part of it and then it disappears behind the other trunk, I think I think the solution is to prune it off short and hope you get a branch coming out the back lower down.

Okay, is there a scar over there, I’m just looking um it’s hard to tell it’s so old. I think there’s a ring here. So I think if you prune it up, maybe even up here or should we go just above that, maybe I’m sure yeah.

I guess so yeah and then, at the very least, we’ll hopefully get a branch coming out. Yeah here, hopefully done lower yeah, hopefully down lower. That’S probably a good safe place to prune. It is about that one I’ll put that one next then hoping to get something.

Even lower that’s more horizontal, which should happen yeah, sometimes you got ta click that twice I would prune just a little shorter because I think you’ve got part of a segment up top there. Oh yeah, my butt out in the wrong place better yeah yeah.

I think that’s uh good move for now and then uh the last Branch. Oh wait, we’ve got this one, don’t we yeah, you almost don’t need it. You got the secondary small one shooting off to the one side. We could Lop off the whole thick part right down to it.

I think so yeah. So if you see this, stick part of the branch comes up here and then there’s a thinner one. So you get really good taper if you prune that whole one off. So I would cut it halfway between a second right about in here get out from your side here you want to do it.

Actually, you can reach it. Okay, I can hold the pot. I think I can get it from here. I might have to cut it in sections yeah, it should cut and very cut sure, very cousin, it’s after tertiary, I’m not sure quarterly quarterly quadruple there you go almost through it.

I got some smaller yeah. Maybe feet can’t quite reach in there. It’S a tight spot. Looking up there, okay, that’s cut off nice yeah and that Branch should take off so we’ll get some good movement good taper there, and then we’ve got one more Branch here this one here, which already has some nice branching on it.

I uh, I don’t think I’d. I don’t think I’d want to reduce it. I think it’s good to keep this branching, it’s being cut here. It’S been cut up here, so you’ve already got some good taper and movement. So I would say this one um, you prune it here once there’s a leaf scar on the bottom here I would actually cut it just below this Leaf here.

So it goes out more horizontal, just below that yeah just below that one yeah that’ll be perfect right. There yeah other one, so you can see this one. We’Ve pruned it just below that leaf. So this one there’s a nice uh Leaf coming off horizontal.

So if we prune just above that, you get more of a horizontal leaf or Branch coming off there. I would say: that’s the point to prune it right about there yeah halfway between that one and now how’s that work or shorter.

Is that? Oh, that’s the direction we want, though, so that’s probably okay, yeah or directional pruning. I think that’s the best we might want to get one go growing straight up, but I’ll cut that off.

You can cut that off. Yeah, okay, yeah that looks pretty balanced. If you look at it from the front view it, the overall canopy is looking fairly balanced. Mm-Hmm show they there’s uh. Where are we for the front view? Um yeah right right there, yep yeah, that’s the front.

It’S looking good, so Ross is just getting rid of the old pruning stubs the dead pieces of uh branches. There just cleaning up the structure. Good time to get in there, because it’s nice and open before all everything fills in again yeah yeah.

I think I got it all. That’S good um this one branching this one leaf in the middle. I think we’re gonna okay get rid of it all together. I don’t want a branch coming out here: yeah, you may get more aerial roots coming from the branches, eventually too, which could look quite good, someday um.

I think we’re set like ones that are higher up aerial roots, that you can have train them to kind of flow against The Rock again yeah, even that one yeah sort of guide it. These are not. This will be perfect it’ll.

It can go kind of right down beside this one yeah these ones, maybe down here. Okay, yeah, I don’t think you want aerial Roots, dropping from the branches when you have this, but I don’t know, maybe that’s something in the future.

You could have a root like so like that one we had originally but more vertical and dropping down, but I don’t know something: you’ll just have to see what happens in the future yeah. I think I think initially it’s better just to keep it tight and yeah and grip the rock yeah and then it might, you might be, I might be covering up 80 of the rock.

So maybe that’s just an extra step. Another feature you can add to it: yeah yeah later on, because you don’t want these aerial Roots thicker than your base Roots. I think right, okay, I guess the next step is repotting great wow, I’m gonna seal.

These Cuts with some contact cement. This dries within about, I guess, tacky within about five minutes. It’S a good way to seal them up. It’S only six or seven Cuts, so it doesn’t take too long. Stop the bleeding a bit foreign thing where I cut the root here and here here all done perfect.

It’S looking good Ross. It’S looking really really nice, that’s exciting yeah and it’s a pretty quick process. It’S only three years to get to this point. So it’s a quick project. It is that’s amazing, isn’t it yeah all right Ross? I got my root rake.

I think it’s time to get the tree out of the pot. Okay, um I’ll hold the pot. Okay, you do the honor three see how many roots are in there. I can see it’s already a little bit root bound to some roots coming up the top here.

Do you want to run something around the edges? First, yeah. It’S not a bad idea. I actually I’ve got a butter knife. We can use, but great thank you, yeah. It may just pop out, but sometimes depending how many roots you have in there.

They can be a little stubborn at times. Okay, let’s start put the Lava Rock separately yeah in there. [ Applause, ] wow – that’s really tight! Isn’T that amazing defending my all yeah, it’s going to come out in one piece.

I can feel it. I think we just pull it right: okay, um, yep, I’ll tip it over. Let’S tip it over and get some of the black stuff just separated, maybe I can get it right in there. [ Applause ] around here, maybe a little on the other side, a bit yeah I’ll, do the same.

With the other side yeah, we can just brush it over to the one side of the table, or so the rest of this will mix in with the soil. It’S very good for the show yeah all right now we’re ready, okay, all right I’ll hold the pot.

Okay, now we’re ready screwing up and I want to recognize Arrow Roots, I’m going to grab it down here there it goes yep, okay, oh look at the right screens came with it. That’S a lot of roots yeah! That’S one year.

Okay, we’ll take the pot away. Well, let’s see them growing right through their drainage spring or right through the drainage holes yeah, they were growing into the uh, the the uh, the mulch that I had underneath.

The pot was because I had the sitting on the ground in the garden for most of the summer. Well, yeah. Let’S start doing the Rooney, we’ll start up top and we’ll just kind of gently break off the layer of lava rock [ Applause ].

I uh this. This soil is still good, it’s less than a year old, okay, so I’m going to save it, but I don’t necessarily need to use it for this I’ll I’ll, take it home and sift it, and but I brought some other soil.

We can put some brand new stuff in here all right. That sounds good. Instead of taking time to sift, all this it’ll definitely use it. A lot of these are untangling quite nicely good time to do Potter.

I think once a year I think with this yeah, especially if you let it go like that at the end of the summer, oh – and I got the drainage screens underneath yeah like a lot of these roots, you’ll want to keep if they flow nicely.

You’Ll want to keep the ones that are going the best direction right. I don’t need to necessarily chop them right back to the Rock like I did. The last time depends we’ll have a look at them yeah, but you might get some good ones.

You want to keep other ones you might want to spin out and the last time there were very premature roots or half as thick. Okay, so yeah there’s no real other than this route. This is probably your thickest one here.

Isn’T it yeah, but the rest are quite fine and nice. It’S a good time to repot. That’S for sure yeah! You can see the soil I used was really gritty gritty and and not very many small fines in it. It was very uh coarse, which is good for these trees yeah.

I found I never had a problem with over watering this at all, there’s some at times I yeah I’ve over watered them, but this this soil I’ll do the same now I’ll make sure it’s not much organic and uh good particle size, and I find when you Get a mat of roots like this: they suck the water very quickly it doesn’t.

You know if you have a lot of small wheat system and a lot of soil. You get all this wet soil around it yeah I’ll have to be very careful not to over water it at the beginning yeah. This is all the most of the roots are going to be gone, so yeah keep it on the dry side.

Yeah we’ve reduced the top quite a bit, so it won’t need that yeah a bunch of a root system to keep it healthy, yeah. Okay, I think [ Applause ], pretty close. Oh here’s, one of those Springs right here.

Okay, now, can you pull this root out? Is it loose still wanting me yeah? Oh there we goes good. It’S gone to come here, not part of it. Yeah attached, that’s! Okay and then I think I think this route has to be removed.

It’S thicken up out of the soil. I would take that off. If you can there’s not another route, that’s cutting back into the rock that maybe I’ll I’ll, remove the whole yeah route right back to uh. I’M gonna remove it right right back to here: okay, yeah! That’S a good idea! Yeah that one doesn’t flow.

Does it flip and flow? It’S got a nice root underneath it that’ll take its place. Yeah we’ll go around and have a look at the root system. Once we get all the soil removed, I’m just going to give it a spray Ross.

Great. Thank you. Yeah! [ Applause, ], okay, okay um, I think I’ll hold the I’ll hold it and you do the underside. Okay breaking underneath that way. Wow look densities; wow, I’m not sure where the how far the rock will be easy to find out.

Still, I think that’s the rock right there, so, okay, so yeah, I was about halfway down the pot yeah only about half an inch into the soil. Here’S the other screen. I think we will want to plant this a little higher in the pot and then taper the soil towards the edges of the pot.

I think it’ll look good. That way. The new Roots will grow on that angle. Okay, coming down: if you have your roots too horizontal, you can’t raise the tree slowly over the years, so you always have to have the roots angling down into the soil right that way, you can slowly lift it out of the pot as the tree grows.

Larger yeah, sometimes when I as I’m packing in the soil, I’ll lift the tree up a little bit just to kind of get that angle on the roots. Yes, very good idea and you’re gonna pack, more uh soil, underneath just lift it up a little bit to get that root.

Angle: yeah, yeah, wow, there’s a lot of room. Oh there’s a another green screen in the middle there: okay, there’s three of them Hidden Treasures. Yeah. This is a nice gentle rake. Isn’T it yeah? It’S really a good size for small trees, [, Music, ], okay, let’s flip a 180, and I can get the top side of it.

Yeah [, Music ]. I stepped two people isn’t it. It is yeah. I used to have extra hands. Here’S the rock right there yeah, so we can talk right down to the rock it looks like yeah. I would leave the roots that are underneath the rock there.

Okay, just do we’ll just trim them off a little shorter okay and it kind of helps hold the tree against The Rock, oh just a thin layer, because I think the last time I actually took removed them all. Maybe I didn’t need to do this yeah.

I think, as long as we trim them back, it sort of helps, surround the Rock and yeah hold the tree, and I don’t think we’ll flush it with the hose. I think we’ll just soil is really good. There’S no potting salt or anything yeah, there’s no pockets in there right.

It’S a very uh, very easy to rake out yeah do some more on the top, but the Bottom’s almost done trim off some of these ones that are pointing straight down but yeah. Okay. Let’S flip it back up: okay upgrades, Let’s uh, let’s clean up, oh yeah, we’ll come back and then we’ll start to be pruning: okay, foreign [, Music, ],

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