Common Faults in Bonsai

Common Faults in Bonsai


hi everyone nigel saunders here it is a sunny day today and it’s ficus friday today i’ll be updating all my ficus i’ll be putting them on the turntable one at a time and i’ll show you what is happening with each tree i’m going to start with my root over temple ficus this is a medium leaf size ficus benjamina and it’s planted over top of a stone temple that i cemented together i hard pruned this tree last year at about this time it was really vigorous it had all these multi trunks coming up it was getting way too large so i thought i’ve got to take a chance and hard prune it back so i did hard prune it and most of the trunks died off except for the one that’s coming forward right here which was good because that’s the one i wanted to really develop so my apex and my tree is kind of over top of the root base the trees sulked all last summer it didn’t really grow much at all it got a few shoots after the hard pruning and i didn’t know if it was going to live or die but it didn’t it didn’t go downhill over the summer it just kind of stayed there not doing much but now over this winter it started putting on all kinds of new growth which is really encouraging here’s a close-up of the crown of the tree so i have hundreds of branches to select from so once they’ve grown a little more i’ll start doing my branch selection picking the best branches and removing the others seeing all this new growth on the root over temple planting is very encouraging i see a good future for this tree my next update is my vietnam style ficus micro carpa in the last video i did a lot of root carving dividing all the thick kind of ginseng roots into smaller strips and then i packed all the wounds with the sphagnum moss hoping to get more fine aerial roots growing down from the trunk to give the tree a more miniature appearance because it’s it’s not a very big tree it’s only the height of my hand so i’ll show you the updates on that i’ve noticed some fine roots forming so there’s one right in here you can see it wrapping around that root around the back here you can see another little fine root forming there at the edge of the pot here there’s a whole bunch of small fine roots there’s even one hanging over the edge of the pot here so that’s encouraging that fine roots are growing underneath that moss hopefully i’ll get that network of fine roots to cover up the thicker ones and the whole tree will look very miniature at the very top of the tree i’m getting some really strong growth especially these two branches here and i think i need to prune them back before they get too thick and vigorous so i’m going to do that from above you can see the branches that are getting too much vigor the leaves are getting large they’re getting long and straight without any subdividing so i’m going to prune them back to kind of maintain that miniature look for the entire tree so here i go i’m going to prune this one back to here like that this one i’ll prune back to here like that and the other large leaf is over here on this branch so i’m going to take that branch back to here like that removing the vigor from those branches there’s one more back here that looks like it’s beginning to take off i better prune the tip off of it like that and that’ll do for the pruning of my little ficus microcarpa my goal for this tree is to get a lot of small details on it so it looks like a giant tree but it’s only you know the height of your hand tall the next ficus is a very old cutting off my very first ficus a ficus microcarpa it was chilling down in the basement and i brought it up fairly recently and now it’s just starting to grow with quite a bit of vigor so that’s good i haven’t really picked a front for this tree yet whether it’s this side or this side i think it’s probably this side there’s a lot of branches growing towards you so i’m going to do a little pruning on it today just to bring it back down a little more compact get rid of some of those branches that are you know coming towards you i’m going to pick this as the front of the tree i think it has the nicest trunk line now i’ve got a branch coming straight out towards the viewer here so that has to be removed i have a shoot off to the side that i could prune this branch back to which i think would be a good idea so here i go i’m going to take it off right here fairly big cut like that this branch is kind of a drooping branch now there’s another one coming straight out towards the viewer here i’m going to remove like that there’s a stub on the end of that branch i can cut that back like that now i’ve got a lot going on here i’ve got this branch comes out front i got another thick one coming out out over here i think i could definitely take the tip off this one like that shorten it back there’s one growing from here the inside here that needs removing too many branches coming from one spot on the tree now this one’s still kind of coming towards straight out towards the viewer i gotta remove that shoot also like that there’s a branch out the back i could trim the tip off that keep it compact there’s a stub i can remove here i can take the branch tip off here too and i’ll take this big old leaf off here and i’ll take this leaf off that’s kind of cluttering things up okay and there’s another older leaf here i can remove like that i’ve got two opposite branches here that doesn’t look very good i’m going to remove the one on the inside like that and then up in the crown i’ve got two branches on this side and two branches on this side i think i’ve got a branch here so i’ll remove this one here branch here branch here i could remove this one here so now they’re alternating branches which looks a little better i’m going to trim the tip off here the apex keep that small this branch needs pruning back to here i’m going to take the tip off this branch i will take the tip off this branch and tip off this branch and this one too just to get back buddy the plant is really vigorous it’s sat dormant for a long time so it’s just going to explode in growth so i’ve got to manage this new growth as it comes in just putting some stubs off here i think that’s it for now i wouldn’t say it’s totally sorted out there’s something funny going on here that’ll need sorting out eventually and this branch you know it doesn’t look the greatest but who knows in the future it might develop into a nice looking branch we’ll give it some time see what happens to the tree and make more decisions in the future the next tree is a tiger bark ficus micro carpa this is the remains of an air layer it was just a stump you can see the hole where the original top was air layered off the tree and i’ve developed a new leader and i’ve been growing it ever since in the last video i did a severe reduction of the canopy kind of giving it this windswept sort of look and new branches are just starting to grow in now here’s a look at the growing tip and you can see on all the branches there’s buds coming out so i think in the next couple of weeks the tree will be out in leaf and it’ll be looking more like a tree once again in the last video on this tree i didn’t touch the roots at all and there’s some aerial routes that have grown that are kind of sticking out you can see it in that view and over here they’re not gripping the rock at all they don’t flow from the tree down into the soil i didn’t remove them last time because i kind of wanted to keep all the roots the tree had but i think i’ve got to get rid of them and i’ll do it today all right so here i go the first one will be this one up here that’s hanging in midair off it comes and this one like that and then i’ve got to remove them from the soil so i’ll just cut them off like that and then i can remove them let’s see how the tree looks now i think that looks much better all the roots are gripping the rock here’s an overall look at the tree now yeah it’s definitely has some style to it i can’t wait till it all leafs out and starts growing once again the next tree is also a ficus benjamina a medium leaf size and my root over temple planting the cutting was taken from the tree right here there’s a big scar there where it was removed long ago so in the last video i did a lot of pruning on this tree selecting branches trying to get that nice tropical umbrella and i think it’s got a nice skeleton to the tree it’s uh looking quite nice no changes today to it uh the nude leaves are just growing in after the last pruning i’ll show you a close-up of them here’s a close-up of the canopy and you can see all the new growth is just starting to come in up top on the canopy i’m quite happy with this tree i think it’s developing really nicely it’s an interesting tree and i’m looking forward to developing it further in the future the next tree is my natal ficus this tree was chilling in the basement and then i noticed all the leaves were starting to kind of turn yellowish and i thought i better bring it up and warm it up so i did bring it up and one side of it has started to grow really well the other side is all just got all kinds of buds all over it so it’ll be catching up very soon this tree has come a long way from when i first got the tree it initially was kind of almost a cascade tree and i’m restyling it to a more upright tree kind of get getting a balance in these upper branch structures and it’s looking really good i think it’s come a long way this tree had a really horrible root system on it when i first got it and i’ve been working towards getting a nice radial root system i can see it needs repotting again there’s two roots surface roots that have thickened up considerably compared to the other ones so i’m still working on getting that nice radial root system on it it’s getting a fairly large canopy on it and that usually means with a ficus that the more leaves you have on them the faster they grow so i think this summer is going to be a big growing season for this tree i think you’re going to see it uh really take off probably probably gain about a third more size to it maybe even double its size this summer it’s hard to say but yeah usually once you get that big kind of umbrella shaped canopy on it there’s lots of leaves to get the light for photosynthesis and the trees just take off like crazy they just grow so it’ll be an exciting year ahead i’ll repot this one i think that’s a good question when am i going to repot it um probably mid-summer sometime when it’s hot out these fights just don’t skip a beat if you repot them when it’s hot and humid outside so that’s when i’ll do it kind of early to mid summer here’s a look at the roots so you can see there’s a big thick root here and one over here so i’ll have to balance the root system so those big thick roots might have to be divided into you know two smaller roots with root carving or cut off and new roots grown from that area i’ll have to come up with some solution i’ve got to get a nice radial root system on this tree i think these natal ficus are some of the best ficus for growing bonsai they’re just fantastic trees the next tree is my medium-sized ficus religiosa i repotted the tree into this shallow oval shaped pot and i piled the soil up quite high on it around the roots with the intention that i could rake away that soil in the future and kind of expose the root base a little more so i’m going to start doing that today i placed four rocks around the tree to hold it in place but i’m quite sure the roots have grown into the soil enough that i can remove the rocks now so i i will do that [Music] i can see underneath the rocks there’s lots of roots in the soil there so that’s good okay here i go with the raking of the roots i’m just going to expose a little bit at a time i think that’s good i’ll remove this excess soil because i don’t want roots growing up into the soil so i’m going to take that away that should be good i really like the styling of this tree it’s uh initially it was very angular and then as the branches get older they smoothen out so even though it’s very angular the curves are starting to soften and i really like that and as you go higher in the tree on the newer wood it gets more angular and that’s a sign of an old tree where you get smoother bends on the older wood and the newer wood has more sharper angular bends and if you see a tree in nature they grow the same way they they’re kind of zig zaggy the young growth and as the branches mature they flow and smoothen out and this is a good example of that the next update is my fusion ficus or as it’s called frankenficus the top of the tree died and i rooted a cutting off the tree and then i planted the cutting on the apex of the tree to continue you know the flowing trunk line going upwards and it’s really developing well you can see it has a trunk line now whereas before it just had the branches off to the side so they had no kind of vertical crown to the tree so it’s filling in really nicely it’s uh growing since the last pruning you can see all the new bright green growth coming in on the canopy starting to fill out the crown of the tree yeah it’s doing really well i think the next big step for this tree will be to repot it into a nice pot and i’m i was thinking the marble pot might look good on it i’ll have to try it out and see but it needs uh needs a fairly big pot there’s a look at the fusion site this is the cutting up here and the roots from the cutting draping down over the original tree it’s starting to blend in it has a ways to go i think if i can get some aerial roots coming from the cutting up here growing down into these roots it’ll really blend in well so i’m hoping when it gets out in the greenhouse this summer and i get my misting system installed that i’ll get all kinds of aerial roots growing i could even you know pack the trunk here with sphagnum moss try and grow roots that way so we’ll see i think that’s what it needs is more aerial roots kind of growing from up higher to kind of blend in this section with the lower section i think the root base is developing really nicely lots of good fine roots looking very miniature also here’s an overall look at the tree you can see it needs some filling in in this area here and it’ll have kind of a rounded umbrella shape but it’ll still have separation in the uh the branch layer so it won’t be like a smooth round canopy on it it’ll be broken up into layers and i think that’s going to look really nice so i’m really looking forward to summertime when i can get this outside and it’s growing like crazy i think it’s going to be looking really good by the end of summer i think it’s going to really fill out and it’ll get hopefully those aerial routes and yeah just keep improving this tree into the future i’ve got my two ficus elastica plantings back here i did a video on them recently and really there’s no changes to them since i lasted the video there’s my forest here and in the back corner is my clump style so i’ll show you updates on them as they start to come out into leaf later on in the winter my willow leaf ficus here has also been recently pruned i thinned it out there’s really been no changes since i last pruned it so again hopefully towards the end of winter it’ll start growing and fill out once again under this bench i have my chinese cityscape engine with the tiger bark ficus and i lost two trees in the planting and i’m not sure if it was due to low light since then i’ve moved that led light in behind them to give them light i lost one tree in the corner here right over there and then at the back there’s a tree back there that just died and i’m not sure why it just um it was either lack of water maybe i didn’t get enough water to that back corner or just not enough light and they just got weak and dyed but all the others are doing really well so hopefully that’ll continue i’m keeping careful eye on them keeping them well watered and they got lots of light in here now so they should do well beside that is my ficus bengalensis i repotted that recently into this root maker pot and no changes on it nothing shriveled up and died the leaf that did come out is still looking nice and green and has another bud at the apex so hopefully that will root and start growing with tons of vigor in the future the next tree is my ficus microcarpa the one that i call plain because it doesn’t have any fancy aerial roots going down the trunk i recently pruned it back getting kind of a flat top canopy to the tree and now it’s starting to leaf out once again and there’s all kinds of back buds on the branches so let’s go in and have a look at it there’s a look at the upper canopy and you can see this shoots coming out all over the branches back budding it’s it’s really exciting it should really fill out by the end of winter it’ll be quite a different look to the tree having it all in leaf once again this is the first ficus that i tried the root carving technique out on and it worked really well you can see this big root i divided into two i carved a big groove down it and it’s grown and rolled over and looks completely natural now this root also was a great big thick root and i divided it into three sections carving quite a bit large groove out you know between the sections and you can see it’s kind of rolled in and is looking more natural i wouldn’t say that one looks 100 natural but it looks pretty good compared to what it was in the past i could never use this view as the front view because it had these great big thick kind of roots and didn’t look very good at all so now yeah the root base is looking quite nice all the way around you can see on this ficus ficus plane that the trunk is getting this nice kind of ghostly white color to it or a very light gray color and i really like that it really shows an old ficus some of the ones that i have the big umbrella canopies on the trunk is in the shade and they’re more of a brown color they don’t get that kind of bleached white color from the sun so it’s interesting i uh i like it it really shows that the tree is old when it gets that kind of white bark on it last time i pruned my large ficus religiosa i took a big cutting off the top planted it in a pot and i’ll show you what it looks like now here’s what that cutting looks like today so it’s definitely rooted it’s leafing out and growing so that’s exciting i planted the cutting really deeply in the pot so there’s quite a trunk on it and i think it’ll make a really nice ficus tree in the future so i’m kind of excited about taking it out of this pot in the summer and getting it into a nice pot and seeing what the trunk looks like and what the root base looks like so yeah the start of another bonsai here’s a closer look at the cutting it has a fairly large trunk buried down in the soil and then there’s some upright branches which is what you can see on the surface here so it’ll be exciting to see what’s below the soil line here’s a look at my large ficus religiosa so you can see it’s getting more branching in the upper canopy the leaves are reducing a bit because it has more branching so the more leaves it has the smaller the leaves will get so it’s kind of exciting it it is developing slowly if i go back to some of the first videos on it um at first glance you would say well it hasn’t changed all that much but it has all those upright branches have thickened up it’s looking more mature and it’s getting more branching so quite exciting and uh yeah again i think once this gets outside in summer it’s going to really take off it’s getting a large kind of canopy on it a lot of surface area of for photosynthesis and it’s really going to start taking off as a bonsai here’s a look at the canopy on the tree so the primary branches are pretty well set and now i’m starting to work on the secondary branches lots more work to go on it but uh it’s off to a good start that’s for sure i am no longer the caretaker of the auction ficus those duties have now been passed on to ross in the toronto club i do have a cutting off of the auction ficus and this is it here mike took an aerial route and then he grafted some of the foliage to it so you can see this is an aerial root and then grafted onto the top of it is some foliage off of the auction ficus so even though the auction ficus is gone i still have a cutting of it here’s another pot of ficus microcarpa cuttings whenever i’m pruning my larger trees if i prune a nice branch off of it one that has good movement and taper and branching i always try and root it and this is one of those cuttings it was a nice cutting i put it in a pot full of soil and it rooted over the summer so i can hardly wait to get this dug up and see what the trunk line looks like on it and get it planted in a bonsai pot the next tree is my two little leaf ficus benjamina over the past year i’ve root pruned and repotted it and i’ve top pruned the tree and now you can see it’s starting to recover it’s got new growth coming in all over the canopy there’s a look at that new growth coming in now exciting to see the next tree is my smaller natal ficus i believe this is a bert davia ficus the one with the little tiny leaves right now the leaves are kind of large because it doesn’t have a lot of branching and they’re indoor leaves which naturally grow larger in the summer they reduce kind of to the size of your fingernail very small leaves it’s growing really well i think last time you saw it i pruned it up and it probably had no leaves on it the natal ficus grows aerial roots really easily even in moderate humidity they’ll grow them so a good tree if you want to grow aerial roots the next ficus is my ficus microcarpa the one i call fancy because it has all these aerial roots one thing i’ve noticed is that the the trunk line is starting to smooth out i’ll show you a close-up of it i’ve read about this effect in some of the articles on some of the ficus masters that you know have this really interesting trunk when it’s young with all these aerial roots and then as the tree grows older everything begins to smooth out and get more flowing and in some cases less interesting because the trunk just becomes a smooth trunk instead of all these interesting roots and uh you know bumps and veins of life going up to the tree so yeah it smooths out as it gets older so you always have to be growing new aerial roots to kind of cover the trunk if you want that interesting kind of texture on the trunk at the junction here where all the branches come out of the trunk you can see the branches are starting to thicken up and in a few places they’re starting to fuse together with some of the other branches the ones beside it’s it’s just starting it’s in the early stages but eventually this will all thicken up and all these branches will be fused and they’ll all kind of flow out of the trunk it should look quite nice in the future this is also a tree with a giant canopy on top a lot of leaf surface area for photosynthesis i think this tree is going to really grow like crazy the next summer i have to move way back for the next tree this was my very first bonsai that i grew from a seed it’s a ficus microcarpa and it’s 30 years old now i recently repotted this from the 3d printed pot that stefan made for me i’m going to be repairing that pot and i put it in this plastic large plastic pot that jerome and mari sent me from the bonsai supply so it’s a really large pot and i think it’s really going to let those roots stretch out and again with this huge canopy on the tree i’m going to see a lot of growth this next summer with this tree it’s going to be incredible i think how much this tree is gonna bulk up over the summer it’s one of my favorite trees because well it got me into bonsai it uh inspired me to grow trees and yeah it’s uh just starting to look good it’s starting to get that nice umbrella canopy the branch structure is still quite long on it kind of long and leggy so it’ll need pruning uh some hard pruning over the years ahead and then i’ll have to start getting you know structured branches in the canopy to get a bit of separation a lot of work to go to the tree but it sure has come a long way from a seed my ficus here isn’t large compared to some of the ficuses that are grown all around the world but it’s definitely the largest tree i have in my collection as far as the size of the canopy anyway my plans are to grow this tree all next summer getting that canopy even larger thickening up the trunk the branches maybe fusing some of those roots together growing my root base even better looking and then i think towards the end of summer i’ll have to defoliate the tree and then do some branch pruning to get the canopy sorted out once again maybe bring it in a little more compact get it ready for the next growing season it feels very strange being able to stick your head under a tree that you grew from a seed i can remember the day that this little tree poked its head out of the soil and started growing and i wondered is it a weed or is it what is it and uh it started growing and it got kind of a woody trunk in its leaves and i thought yeah it looks like a tree so i went to the bookstore and i was looking around at books on trees to try and identify it and i came across the bonsai section and yeah that was it i uh i never knew bonsai was a hobby growing miniature trees and uh so it was just changed my life and so this little tiny tree yeah changed the rest of my life and for the better it was uh yeah i was lucky to have this grow in that little poinsettia pod the next ficus is the mistletoe ficus that jay from blue jay bonsai gave to me as a christmas present and it’s a really interesting species it has kind of spatula-shaped leaves i don’t think the trunk thickens up very quickly on them but it will over time and underneath the leaves is a very interesting feature i’ll show you that under all the leaves are these dark shaped and i think they’re glands of some sort and you can see them at the uh the intersection of all the veins underneath all the leaves when i first saw them i thought oh no it’s got some scale and infestation but it’s not it’s part of the tree i was reading up on it yeah so very interesting this will be a tree that’s coming up in a future ficus friday i’ll be repotting it and doing some initial pruning or styling on the tree the last two ficus in my plant room here is my ficus cutting of a cutting here and my newly planted ficus elasticas so nothing’s happening with them yet i think by the end of end of winter you will see some changes on these trees so i’ll keep you updated in the future ficus friday continues down here in the basement down here i have my ficus carica this is the edible fig and you can see this fig grew last summer but it didn’t ripen in time for fall so it’s kind of gone mushy and i think it’ll fall off the tree soon this one is a cutting off of this one way back here i have a nutella ficus cutting it’s just chilling here in the basement at around you know 10 to 12 degrees celsius they can take the cold for quite long periods of time they kind of go dormant they might even lose their leaves but then they’ll come back in spring you don’t want to take them below freezing that’s for sure but they can definitely survive a cold winter in the basement here over here i have my saber leaf ficus i’m overwintering it in the basement down here where it’s cool i did this last year and it grew really well in the summertime so i think that period of rest was quite good for the tree i was editing the video tonight and i thought wait a minute i forgot some trees so i’ve put them on the on the turntable here so i’ve got my ficus rumpfey eye the one that connor gave to me as a cutting so it’s doing really well i uh i pruned it back it’s got new branches forming at the tips i’m growing a leader up right here yeah doing really well over here i have my tiny ficus religiosa very old tree and to get very small it’s doing really well growing with a lot of vigor and i had put that in a new pot and it’s doing very well and then at the very back there i’ve got my ficus lyrata my fiddly fig and that was in a recent video where i i pruned it down a bit uh pruned my branches back i took a branch off the bottom so yeah there’s the three ficus that i didn’t include in the video that was a tour of all my ficus bonsai i do have one more ficus that’s out in the greenhouse it’s an edible ficus that i got at the kw bonsai society’s nursery crawl this year i haven’t done any bonsai work to it yet so that’ll be coming up on a future ficus friday and that’s all for today i’m nigel saunders thanks for joining me in the bonsai zone [Music]

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