My Banyan Style Schefflera, The Bonsai Zone, Jan 2022


hi everyone nigel saunders here it is a cold day outside the greenhouse is just barely above freezing so i thought today i’d stay warm and work in the plant room we have got some even cooler weather coming in the next couple of days minus 21 degrees celsius that’s getting down there pretty cold i’ll uh have the heat on in both greenhouses that’ll kind of keep them at a warmer temperature than the outside air that should help the plants get through the winter a little better even in the plant room here it’s quite cool it’s only 15 degrees celsius and that’s because it’s cold and windy outside when the sun comes out the plant room usually heats up to like 30 35 degrees celsius which is pretty nice i’ve switched places i moved my ficus benjamina over here and i’ve moved my cheflera my clump style shiflera under the light here on the turntable so it needs a lot of cleanup uh since i brought it in from outside a lot of the leaves the older leaves have gone yellow you can see some in there there’s some back in here so a lot of leaves are falling off and there’s a lot of debris underneath the tree that needs cleaning up so i’m going to come in there today clean it all up and i’ll also be doing some pruning if you look it’s getting quite large and unmanageable it’s uh there’s shoots sticking up really high here that need pruning back kind of balancing the vigor once again on the tree yeah so a general cleanup work it’s really hard to water because you can’t really get in here very well all the foliage is hanging down and so i’m going to do some cleanup work on it today just to get it all back under control and ready to grow around this time of the year kind of you know late december early january it’s always dark out you don’t get many sunny days it’s always cloudy and the days are still short the sun is very low on the horizon so you can see the plant room is quite dark you know except for the areas that have lights on them the plants survive but they don’t do really well in here it’s more of just a matter of keeping them alive until spring comes that’s all i can hope for um sometimes they grow well like under the lights here they they do fairly well but not like they do outside there’s nothing you know better than natural light on the trees that’s why i don’t mind keeping it cool in the plant room over the winter because the plants just kind of stay dormant if i keep it cool i don’t have to do as much watering i don’t have insect problems and yeah the plants just kind of stay dormant until spring comes which is still about three months away i checked the playlist for this tree the last time i did major work on this tree was september the 3rd of 2020 i totally defoliated it i pruned all the branches back and then they started growing in and i took some nice photographs of the tree i’ll show you the photograph so here’s the tree today and it needs repotting but i’ve gotta i’ve got to wait till it’s vigorous and after defoliation it takes it takes about a year before the vigor of the tree comes back so it’s growing really well now and i think you know when i put it out in spring it’s just going to take off once again and that will be the time to repot it when it’s really super vigorous and healthy so today is just a cleanup work on it i’m going to start with pruning because i’ve got a lot of yellow leaves and debris in there but i just can’t get to it because it’s so congested and crowded and it’s really hard to water this tree as i mentioned it’s it’s you kind of have to get in there with a spray bottle underneath it and there’s no way you can get a watering can in there or even the bottle top watering system it’s hard to get in there so i think this will really help giving it a bit of a prune not defoliating it just pruning it up tidying it up and that should be good for today i’m going to start the pruning but before i do i have to get my tools they’re all outside in the greenhouse all right i’ve got my tools and i’m ready to start working away on the tree so i’m going to start by pruning some of these long shoots off here and i’m looking for leaves that are facing outwards fanning out from the trees and i’ll prune back to those so this one i’m going right back to here taking that whole branch off like that so you can see how large the internodes are the space between the leaves on this branch quite large there’s another one here sticking up i’ll prune it back to here taking the tip off that branch so i’m kind of doing a profile pruning just to get everything brought back in it’s taking up a lot of space on the bench this which i don’t mind i don’t mind you know it’s a nice spreading bone side but i don’t have a lot of space indoors here and all this is going to be pruned back anyway so might as well do it now and i’m pruning you know quite concerned conservative right now i may come in later today and prune it back further once i can see more of the structure i’m slowly getting the profile restored pruning back the longer branches making them more compact you know they just grow straight anyway so you prune them back and then you get movement and taper in the branches these are great trees for clip and grow bonsai you can wire them but the wiring is just sort of gentle bends on them you can’t get tight kind of movement to them you can only do that with the clip and grow so now you can see i’ve got some really tall leaves sticking out of the profile like this one here so they need to be pruned back also so i’ll come in prune some of these longer leaves off because i have to get light in here the canopy is too dense at the moment this back of the plant wasn’t getting much light it was against the wall so it’s a good thing i’ve got it out so i can kind of rotate it around get some light to this area restore it vigor in here yeah it was getting a little sparse looking in that section i’m back out to the front of the tree so the profile is much better now it’s not perfect but it’s it’s better at least it has some you know a bit of an umbrella shape to it which is what i’m after a lot of leaves falling off in here so my next step i want to remove anything hanging down like there’s a lot of leaves hanging down that stop you looking in at the tree and it stops you getting into water so removing all these drooping leaves has a double benefit the reason so many of these interior leaves die is that in the summertime when you get the high light intensity all the leaves that are growing in the shade still survive but then when you bring it indoors and the light level is a lot lower all those branches that we’re still surviving in the low light in the interior just don’t get enough light so they they turn yellow and die off so it’s a good idea to thin the trees when they’re indoors so all parts of the branches get light you don’t want you know all your interior branching dying off so i’m still removing all these hanging leaves so i can get in at the tree more easily these chef laras are good in low light though it’s tough to kill a schafflera generally the only way to kill them is over watering them it’s the first time i’ve been able to see in here for a long time it’s kind of nice to see what’s going on with the branches and that they fill in very quickly lots of aerial roots in here which is kind of good so this is the back of the planting now there’s a lot of debris in here that i need to clean out [Music] still a lot of leaves up in the canopy too there’s a look at the floor and all the clippings i have has a lot of a lot of leaves come off here’s a look at the tree now i’ll shine the light in there so you can see the branches a little more so you can see it’s still too high there’s too much foliage on top so i’m going to do some further thinning on it i want you know when i look down from the upper canopy here looking down i want to be able to see some of the branches i want to maybe thin it by 25 to 50 percent here’s a look underneath the tree so you can really see that uh banyan styling with all the low spreading branches the aerial roots it really gives you the impression you’re under a giant tropical rainforest tree it’s one of my favorite styles here’s a view looking down at the canopy from above and you can see how dense it is you can’t see anything through the canopy even if you move leaves out of the way there’s just more leaves underneath them it’s super dense so i’m going to try and thin it out and i’ll start by removing any leaves that are growing in towards the center of the tree so i keep my leaves that are fanning outwards and remove any that are growing in towards the interior and that thins out you know some of them maybe uh you know 25 percent of the leaves so i’ll begin with that operation i’ll try and show you an example of this leaf pruning so if this is my branch you can see this leaf here fans outwards this one’s kind of straight fans outwards a bit this one’s fine but these two grow in towards the center of the tree so they would be removed like that and that thins that branch down and it still flows out nicely from the center of the tree so now i’ll go in and look at each branch and prune any that are growing in towards the center there’s one here take that one out and this will create holes in the canopy to let light down through the canopy now the only time you wouldn’t want to thin the canopy is if you’re trying to develop aerial roots when you have a really dense umbrella canopy it traps humidity in there and you get all these aerial roots growing which is kind of nice so i’m just taking one branch at a time thinning out those inward facing leaves so it’s not defoliation it’s just thinning there’s the sirens could be the start of the zombie apocalypse in here there’s leaves fanning outwards but they’re crossing over top of another branch in this area so i’m going to prune those crossing ones out because there’s leaves pointing upwards here to give this branch more light then so now you can see this branch is light and this branch is light if you don’t do this and a branch gets shaded out it’ll just die off and that’s rule with any bonsai if the branch isn’t getting light it’ll just weaken and die so you can see all the holes i’m opening up in the canopy getting light to all these branch tips some of these parts of the canopy are just super dense they just need thinning badly and again just with the ficuses you don’t want branches in the middle getting too long and then shadowing out the outer branches you’ve got to kind of keep them all equally pruned so each branch gets light if you get a branch that’s quite long and has a lot of leaves on it you can reduce the number of leaves on the branch taking away some of the older leaves or pruning the branch back more compact so there’s one here it’s got one two three four five six leaves at the tip so i don’t need all that that many leaves they’re just shading out the branches beside it so i’m reducing it to two leaves still lots of debris i’m pulling out of the canopy older leaves here’s another case where i have one two three four five six leaves i can in this case prune it back the branch to an outward facing leaf you can see as i thin the canopy i’m getting a lot more light shining through the canopy onto the lower branches and that you know will promote back budding on these branches once they get light you might get back buds and that way you can keep your tree compact so after today i’ll leave this tree under the ufo light giving it you know good light to recover start growing new branches we’ll spoil it well that’s starting to look quite quite nice i’m kind of looking from underneath seeing if there is dark spots in the canopy and it’s looking pretty good there is one dead stump in here it’s where i hard pruned a branch back long ago and it wasn’t successful so i’m going to get rid of that stump so we can heal over and be less noticeable she’s good that’ll heal nicely yeah it’s amazing there’s always new branches trying to grow from the old wood in here every year i get little new shoots coming out as long as they get light they’ll grow this is my favorite area of the tree over here it’s got all these branches that are kind of growing together they kind of snake around each other and it’s getting very dense in that area i really like it lots of aerial routes it’s a great tree to explore looking at all the branches and that it’s a very interesting tree i think i’ve got the canopy thin quite nicely i think i just got to clean up my debris down below here and then give it a good watering so i’ll pick out all these leaves in here i can hardly wait till summer when i get this tree in the greenhouse and i get my misting system in place i’ll have all kinds of aerial roots growing and i can pick and choose my best ones they’ll grow down the trunk and look really really good now i don’t want too many railroads that it obscures the trunk but i do want to be able to grow more vertical ones coming off these low trunks i think that’ll look really good and we’ll get the tree repotted this summer i was going to do it last summer but the tree wasn’t vigorous enough after that branch and leaf pruning it took a while to gain its figure back which is understandable it is hard on the trees defoliating them and hard pruning them back but if your tree is nice and strong it can take it i made sure this one was nice and strong before i did that operation if you do it on a wheat tree you’re asking for trouble you’re looking for trouble you’ll get it all your weak branches will die off and you might still have the tree live but may not look how you imagined it okay so i think the next operation is the watering watering and misting i had cleaned the floor up since the initial pruning so all these leaves on the floor now are from the thinning of the canopy quite a bit taken off i’m going to start the watering by missing the tree and i’ll mist it from underneath so here i go spraying up into the canopy and this is to get all those aerial roots moistened up to keep them growing now i’ll mist from bob [Music] [Music] and next i’ll give the tree a watering so i’ll come in with my bottle cap watering system give the tree a water from all sides so it’s much easier to water now that it’s thinned out i can even water from above here like a tropical rain shower so this water has a small amount of fertilizer in it too so i’ll let that soak in give it a couple more waterings give it a good thorough watering today all right i’ll give it some more water now and i’ll let that soak in i am all done the watering now the tree’s looking good i’ve never stood under a tree like this but i can imagine this is the feeling you get in all those branches and aerial roots it’s pretty cool it’s like being there in miniature a bit of a spa day for my schiflera benion style bonsai it’s looking really good i’m really looking forward to spraying when it starts to grow with vigor once again and that’s all for today i’m nigel saunders thanks for joining me in the bonsai zone [Music]

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