Prune bonsai ficus

The characteristics of the ficus bonsai

The ficus species includes many species (some thousands) which have different characteristics. Generally, all varieties are able to live healthy even in environments where other plants would die quickly. The most suitable species as indoor bonsai are those with small leaves and, among these, the most widespread is the ficus retusa. The latter is characterized by a robust trunk and sinuous lines, covered by a very light colored bark, sometimes horizontally flecked with white. Once it reaches maturity, the ficus develops many superficial twisted roots. In addition, it has aerial roots, which from the branches descend to the ground, transforming into minor trunks. Pruning the ficus bonsai is the main (almost the only) care that the plant requires: this

Prune the ficus bonsai

The ficus bonsai requires numerous pruning interventions staggered over time, in order to obtain an almost harmonious work of art. Generally, one pruning is carried out a year, but, before putting it into practice, it is necessary to consider which species of ficus the plant belongs to, when it is developed and in what conditions it is, the shape you want to give it, etc: in fact, all these factors affect the way pruning is carried out. Furthermore, the actual pruning is distinguished in training and maintenance interventions, in pinching and in defoliation. To prune a ficus bonsai you must never operate drastically: the wood of the plant, in fact, heals slowly, especially if branches that are 1/3 larger than those of the trunk have been cut. If, on the other hand, medium or thin branches are cut (in any case less than 1/3 of the diameter of the stem), numerous buds sprout in correspondence with the cut. Depending on the development of the plant, you can decide whether or not to pinch, in order to thin out the secondary branches.

Training pruning

Formation pruning is done when the plant is not yet a bonsai, and the future appearance and development of the plant depends on it. It is preferable to prune the ficus bonsai in the period from the beginning of the vegetative rest to just before spring awakening (ie in the months from November to March) and to use a previously disinfected concave cutting pliers. Once you have decided what aspect you want to give to the ficus bonsai, you must proceed by making sure that the high branches are shorter than the low ones (so each branch receives light). It starts from the bottom, leaving the branches thicker and longer than the upper ones. For the elimination of the branches, it is necessary to cut those that form a cross or that are parallel to each other, that cover the trunk that grow vertically or diagonally. In addition, all secondary branches at the base of the trunk and the diseased ones must be cut, and you must be careful to prune the branches with different lengths. In addition, the cut must be as smooth as possible for the bark to grow back immediately.

Pruning ficus bonsai: The other pruning interventions

Maintenance pruning must be carried out during the vegetative period of the plants, in order to ensure that the ficus bonsai follows the guidelines of the desired shape. The choice of branches to cut (to eliminate or shorten them) depends on the style and shape you want to give to the ficus bonsai. The objectives of maintenance pruning are, in fact, to maintain the shape of the bonsai, reduce the size of the leaves and regulate the development of the crown. The other two pruning operations are pinching and leaf removal. The first reduces the formation of buds (topping) and maintains the desired shape. In order not to weaken the development of the ficus bonsai, it is necessary to pinch only that at least 5-6 leaves have sprouted. Depending on the species of ficus, it may be necessary to staple several times during the year, leaving at least two months to pass between one intervention and another. Defoliation, on the other hand, is based on the elimination of all the leaves present on a branch: in this way, the two-year-old leaves develop in a single season. It must be done between May and July.

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