ficus trunk chop advice

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shibui
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Re: ficus trunk chop advice

Post by shibui »

Apologies for missing your questions mate.

The fastest way to reach a given trunk thickness is to let the whole tree just grow freely. That's quick but you end up with a straight untapered telephone pole that needs to be chopped low enough to grow a new top - big cut takes a long time to heal. It also takes a few more years to grow the new leader until it matches the thickness of the base.
I find a better way to grow a tree for bonsai is to grow to around half desired thickness then chop and grow again. Repeat this cycle until the trunk reaches desired diameter. It may take a year or 2 longer to get to the size but the trunk will now also have taper from the repeated chops and should also have some bends and movement. The earlier chops will usually have healed up or be well on the way. The later chops will be smaller than a single large one so they will heal relatively quick too. all that means is that it may take a year or 2 longer to reach the same diameter but the follow up healing and growing taper is already done so you are actually ahead of the schedule of the 'quick' method.

Dead wood is applied after the first large chop. carve the stump out so it has some taper and looks natural right away then just grow some branches on the remaining live parts. That's probably the quickest way to a bonsai but does not suit all species and making the carved trunk looks natural takes some practice, skill and imagination.

Your point 3 about a new apex and branches on a stump is very valid. It takes quite some time and a lot of growing to get a new leader to look natural on a stump. The thicker the stump the longer it takes which makes the 'quick' method much slower in reality.
Collected trees can be a great source of really good bonsai. Many already show the marks of time and hardship but not all collected trees are equal. A great many are just tall, straight poles so we are back to square one although you have not spent the years growing it. assuming the stock does have desirable trunk structure it does, indeed, save a lot of time. The problem is finding those trees as most commercial growers are proficient at growing the tallest, straightest trees possible in the shortest time so they can make money.
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tombops
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Re: ficus trunk chop advice

Post by tombops »

Thanks for getting back to me man, makes a lot of sense. Cheers
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Re: ficus trunk chop advice

Post by bki »

i have not done this but is it possible to graft some on the lower trunk?
more trees.....
tombops
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Re: ficus trunk chop advice

Post by tombops »

So just a little update on this tree. Started the air layer the other day. Fingers crossed that it takes and i can chop the trunk in a month or two.
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