Sunday, 27 September 2015

Post 207 Ficus sacrafice branch removal

I have a couple of old root over rock Ficus benjamina 'Baby Ben' trees that I've I've grown from cuttings I struck way back when. I knew less then than I do now about bonsai development and on this tree in particular the lowest branch was one that got 'left behind'. 

You see this a lot. A branch doesn't develop enough before the tree (and the owner) moves on and grows taller. Time never fixes the problem and the branch gets left behind. These underweight branches can be a compositional flaw, distorting the proportions of the tree.
The only thing to be done is to either cut it off and restyle or grow a sacrificial appendage to build it up. I chose the latter.

The same conundrum applies to stump started bonsai where the branches come second. Lower branches are always a challenge to develop and sacrafical entension is the fastest way to achieve proportion.

Two years ago I got started, identified a small leading piece of growth and most importantly pointed it upright. As it extended I gave it a pole to grow on and away it went. This will never be achieved by allowing such a branch to remain in a horizontal or lower position.

Here it is now after two growth seasons. The branch has bulked up to the right diameter  and it is time to take the sacrificial extension off. As I look at it now that is quite a rooster tail.

Here's a picture from the left side showing the branch. The cut will be made just after the small secondary branch to the left.

After removal you get a small view of the lower branch and it is a much more appropriately proportioned diameter than two years ago. It no longer stands out as an obvious flaw. It is spring here in Brisbane, the tree has had its annual root prune is just breaking out into a new cloak of beautiful bronze-green foliage.