Pruning My Natal Ficus Bonsai Tree

My Natal Ficus bonsai was heavily root pruned in January and now it’s time to trim the top!
This Natal Fig or Ficus natalensis is native to Africa.

Today i’ll be working on my natal ficus or ficus natalensis when i first got this tree it had a really horrible root system on it it had this big thick s-shaped root in the soil and one that came up out of the soil and wrapped around the trunk and i gave it a really severe root pruning and then in the last video on this tree i gave it its second quite severe root pruning and the tree has survived the tree is recovered and it’s got new roots growing all over the place on the surface of the soil and hopefully in the soil too i’ll show you some of those surface roots here’s a look at some of the surface roots they’re growing up out of the soil along the soil and then they go back into the soil and that’s happening all the way around the root base here there’s all kinds of surface roots growing up across the soil so that shows me that the root system has recovered from the last pruning on the last video of this tree i have a summary of all the operations i did to this tree so i’ll put a link to that in the description below today i’m going to be working on the top of the tree the tree looks really healthy the leaves are nice and green and dark green yeah it’s looking really good so it’s a good time to work on it so today i’m going to be removing the branches i don’t want to grow there’s a lot of branches coming out from one spot here then i’ve got to prune back keeping the branches i want and removing the ones i don’t the main trunk of this tree comes up and then it divides into some thicker upright branches here and then there’s all these new shoots that popped in down below these thicker branches and i don’t want to develop any branches in this area i want the strength of the tree to go into these upright branches otherwise i’ll get a big bulge here and it’s already kind of got a bulge here because it was trunk chopped here at one time so i’ve got to clean out all these branches in this area all right here i go so i’m just going to snip them off one at a time there’s my well there’s my first two another one there really windy out today you can probably hear the wind in the background there that’s getting there so that got rid of all these branches there is one here i don’t want either i don’t want it there’s already a a junction of two branches here so i don’t want a third branch coming off of there i’ll rotate the tree around so you can see that junction of my two kind of upright branches there and there’s a lot of other branches in the way here there’s another one here that i’ve got to remove so i’ll get rid of that one there’s a spider just dropping down hello spider protector of the tree i’ll have to be careful not to disturb him or her now i’ve got between these two branches and i may not keep them both um i’ve left these to grow to help this transition where the tree was trunk chopped here to try and somehow blend this all in so it looks like a natural tree and it’s it’s getting there it’s healing over quite nicely in this area so i’ve got to decide if i want to keep both of these upright branches let me see i think i do i do i uh i’ve got to prune out there’s a third branch growing up between them that i’m going to prune out so i’ll get rid of that that oh there’s my spider again hello spider i’m gonna relocate the spider to a different tree there he can climb up the grapefruit tree there okay and there’s another branch that comes off almost right at the junction it’s too low so i’m going to get rid of that one like that just to clean up this area a bit that’s what it looks like now from the side view down down at the front here i’ve got a branch that kind of hangs down and comes straight towards the front of the tree i don’t like that one i’m going to remove it i want all my branches flowing my basic structure anyway we’ll get into these weeping branches later on in the trees development there’s two branches here one on top of each other i’ve got to decide if i want to keep one of them or both of them or none of them well i definitely don’t want to keep any of them they’re kind of growing behind the trunk there so both of those are going to go like that okay now on the inside here you can see all this growth coming up on the inside of this this area and again i’ve got to clean all that out it’s uh it’s just going to create a big bulge in this area all right i’m going to clean those branches out one there one here and one here and there’s another one over here a couple there that’s cleaning that area up now all right now let me look at the front here okay so i’ve got an aerial route here if you can see this route here that’s coming out of that branch a little strange but i’ll leave it there for now there’s a couple of shoots on the inside here just little ones starting i’m going to remove those so prune those out again just trying to keep that these trunk lines clean i’ve got a branch at the back here or at the side here i guess you call that the side and then at the base of it i have a whole bunch of little branches suckering up i’ve got to get rid of those keep it nice and clean that basic branch structure there’s one out the back here i’ve got to get rid of right here like that now from this spot i’ve got this branch that kind of grows up on the angle and then i’ve got a horizontal branch here and i’ve got to decide do i do i want to keep that horizontal branch um it kind of looks nice but it’s kind of growing from the same spot where this trunk comes out and i don’t think i want any horizontal branches to slow down on the tree i want that upright structure first and then off of that will come on my weeping branches and that so i don’t think i want that branch there i think it’s just going to create a bulge and the sooner i remove it the better off the tree will be so i’m going to remove that let me get it from the front here like that it’s gone so now you can see the more of the upright structure of the tree so off in the back of that i have a couple of branches and i’ve got to decide do i want to keep these two branches coming off that bulge um again i don’t think so i think they’re too low on the tree so i’m going to prune them off there’s another spider put them back in the lemon tree there there okay now out the back i do have a third upright trunk here i’m trying to grow it upright it was quite horizontal and i pruned it off trying to get it more vertical and that seems to be happening but there is a branch coming off beside it that i don’t think i want and looking from the front view i don’t want that branch there so off it comes so here i go like that so that’s starting to clean up the the basic branch structure the upright form to the tree now i’m going to follow my branch structure up and i’m always looking for nice flowing lines i like my trees to flow nicely i don’t like abrupt angles like right here so again i’ve got two branches growing from one spot here and i’ve got to decide do i want those branches there i think i probably do because if i look at this front branch it kind of comes up and there’s a horizontal branch coming off and i think i want to grow one of these as the new branch leader because this will be kind of a branch off to one side i’ve got nothing kind of growing up out here and this is more upright the form of it so let me pick my best one and i think it’ll be the angled one i i think i’ll get rid of the vertical one here so i’ll do that here i go like that and this will be developed as the new branch leader this one right here and it’ll kind of zigzag up a bit now the branch behind here i’ve got a big huge branch here that crosses right over top of this branch that comes out to the front i don’t think i want that in fact i know i don’t want that um if i remove it i’ve got there’s not much else to take over as a leader of that branch i’ve got if you look at the side view here i’ve got ones coming out the back and one coming out the front and there’s nothing else in this area this was a hail mary cut on this branch i didn’t know what i was going to get i got branching it’s just maybe not exactly where i wanted it but so i think what i’m going to do is keep this one off to the side here as the branch leader and remove everything else so here i go i’ll remove that big one coming out the front i’ll start with a little one it’s a little easier to get at there and then i’ll take the big one off coming out the front here like that so this branch leader can develop up this side and then i’ve got another branch crossing here that i can remove a lot of branches coming from one spot there out the back of that branch i’ve got three branches coming from one spot and i think i’ll just keep this one that’s kind of fanning out a bit better so i’ll remove the one that’s coming straight back here like that on this smaller branch upright branch here i’ve got one that kind of crosses the middle of the tree i’m going to get rid of that one like that at the back here if you see this back branch i’ve got branches growing in the inside of the curve here they don’t look very good so i’m going to remove those like that and then i’ve got one branch that kind of hangs straight down here i’m going to get rid of that well shouldn’t i let me see it’s okay but it’s not really that upright structure i’m going to get rid of it it’s just hanging down there i want to build that upright structure first and then have weeping branches coming off of that so again i’ll remove this hanging branch here keeping everything upright the branch off to this side is getting a little long i do want vigor to thicken this up so i’ve got to decide do i shorten it or do i let it grow and then shorten it later there’s a lot of vigor in that branch i think i want to leave these two branches just to grow they’ve got to catch up and vigor with these two front ones here and maybe this back one i’ll let that grow also i’ll just remove the branch that overhangs this back one so it gets light and maybe this one too here and this one there now this back branch has light these branches have lots of light and this front structure has lots of light so that is looking much better you can see the structure of the tree now these stubs here will eventually be reduced back once this branch thickens up more i don’t want to do it now because it’s possible you could lose this this new leader here and same with this other branch i’ve got to let them these new branches thicken up and become a little more woody before i prune this back flush so there’ll always be some cleanup to do later on on with the tree but i think that’s got it back on track i uh i’m quite excited about this tree because it had such a it was so ah what’s the word it wasn’t terrible but it was it didn’t show a lot of promise and i’ve done a lot of work to it a lot of very drastic work and the trees reacted very very well to all this work it’s recovered and grown and gotten vigorous again so it’s a good tree i really like these nutella ficuses i think they’re if not the best ficus for bone side they’re definitely one of the best i i really like them i’m out front now having a look at the tree and i can’t believe how smoothly the old trunk flows in with the new upright branches here this was just trunk chopped here and it was just cut off right square flat there and these are new branches and you can hardly tell there was a trunk shop there and i think in a couple more years you won’t be able to tell at all it’s just amazing how fast those thickened up and blend it in so very exciting so i’m hoping you know all these branches on the left hand side here they thicken up and blend in nicely and get that upright structure and then we’ll start all the horizontal weeping branches and getting a nice smooth rounded canopy on top and yeah i think it’ll turn into a nice tree it’ll look like a giant old tree ficus tree growing in africa it’ll be really cool i’ll rotate the tree around and we’ll have one last look at it so here i go coming over to the right side there’s the top there going around to the back view to the left side and back to the front it’s the first of march today and it’s been quite a day we’ve had snow storms we’ve got high winds the sun comes out so i don’t know march is kind of coming in like a lion and hopefully it’ll end like a lamb so that’s all for today i’m nigel saunders thanks for joining me in the bonsai zone

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