Pruning ficus bonsai
The ficus bonsai is among the most beautiful indoor plants, originating in the tropical and sub-tropical regions, it belongs to the Moracee family, it includes a vast genus of species with different characteristics.
For the cultivation of bonsai the most suitable species are those with small leaf type bonsai Ficus Benjamin, bonsai ficus Microcarpa, bonsai ficus ginseng, bonsai Ficus Retusa.
In bonsai care pruning of ficus bonsai is one of the most important activities, through pruning the plant is educated to the desired shape with the characteristic of the species of ficus (aerial roots, robust and sinuous trunks etc.) in respect of the natural posture of species.
Many interventions on the plant are required, spread over time to obtain at the end a harmonious ficus in the form, beautiful to look at, almost a work of art.
Pruning is generally done once a year, before any type of pruning of the plant it is necessary to take into account several factors: the species, the condition of the plant, the degree of development, the shape that is to be achieved , the reinvigoration of the plant, the containment of development, etc.
In pruning we can distinguish several techniques all necessary to shape the bonsai the main ones are: formation pruning, maintenance pruning, stapling and defoliation.
The ficus bonsai do not tolerate drastic pruning because of the particular type of wood that heals slowly, this occurs especially when the cuts concern branches that are 1/3 thicker than the thickness of the trunk.
When medium or thin branches less than 1/3 of the trunk diameter are suppressed, all ficus respond by emitting new and abundant buds near the cut.
It then depends on the vigor of the plant species if it is necessary to proceed with stapling to thin out the secondary and tertiary branches periodically.
Tools for pruning bonsai
First of all in proceeding with this important operation that requires attention and care to achieve the desired aesthetic effect it is good to have all the tools that can be useful for the various interventions.
The equipment for bonsai techniques are not different from those used in gardening such as wide and strong scissors to cut the roots, small and strong scissors for cutting the branches and sub-branches, scissors to cut off the shoots), to these must also be added two other tools, specific for bonsai techniques, patented by the Japanese bonsai artists, the concave-cut pliers and the Jinning pliers.
The concave-cut pliers is an indispensable tool in the bonsai technique because it allows to cut branches causing a slight concavity at the point of removal, the concavity with the healing of the wound is covered by new bark and thus cancels in fact the anti-aesthetic effects of pruning .
The Jinning pliers, on the other hand, are difficult to use tools reserved for experts only, it allows you to work the bark to have particular effects.
All the tools to be used for pruning must be previously disinfected to avoid infections and necrosis.
The training pruning is done when the starting plant is a pre / bonsai and it is a very delicate operation, since it depends on the aesthetics and the future development of the bonsai, it is advisable to do it in the period from the beginning of the vegetative rest a before the spring awakening (November-March) and the ideal tool to use is the concave-cut pliers.
Once the ficus bonsai project has been established regarding the style and size of the bonsai, we proceed by taking into account the following general rules: make sure that every branch that remains receives the light, therefore the high branches must be shorter than the bass so as not to do shadow
In most styles, the first branches (starting from the bottom) must also be the thickest and the longest.
We then move on to the suppression of uninteresting branches.
For aesthetic purposes the branches are considered uninteresting those that grow opposite to other branches (forming a cross), cover the visual of the trunk, are parallel, grow vertically (both upward and downward), cross each other, they head towards the trunk, sprouting under other branches.
Furthermore, all the secondary branches and twigs that grow at the base of the trunk, such as those that are sick are to be eliminated, again for aesthetic reasons.
When pruning the branches it is advisable not to equalize them of the same size but to prune them of different length in this way, leaving everyone the vital space to develop harmoniously.
Particular attention must then be paid to the time of the cut, which must be as smooth as possible precisely to allow the growing bark to immediately hide the wound.
It is important not to exaggerate with pruning in order not to incur unwanted aesthetic effects, it is advisable to always proceed with gradualness, considering first of all a branch of branches and when sufficiently develop those useful proceed to the suppression of the others planned to be suppressed.
During maintenance pruning, the point of the cut is fundamental for the growth of the bud after pruning because the new bud will always grow from the side of the last leaf.
This information is of particular importance because it allows the branches to be cut so that the bud and the subsequent branch grow in the direction we want.
To obtain good results in the practice of pruning it is always necessary to keep in mind that the wood of the ficus plant is soft and fibrous and, for this reason, the healing takes place in a way that is not very aesthetic, this occurs especially when cutting large branches, therefore it is good apply a cicatrising paste to the cutting point, so as to promote healing and protect the plant.
The healing paste will go away on its own with time.
Pruning for maintenance
The maintenance prunings must be done to the plants during the vegetative period and also this operation is delicate and complex because it serves to give the right setting to the tree and to maintain the reached shape.
In the vegetative period the bonsai is in full vegetation pruning is simpler because there is a precise idea of the cuts to be made to obtain the desired results.
The choice of the branches to be shortened or to be eliminated depends on the style of the ficus bonsai, generally it is done on the branches with irregular or disordered course, broken branches, dry or sick.
With maintenance pruning the objectives that can be achieved are different but all equally useful and important: maintaining the set shape, making the green more compact, reducing the size of the leaves, balancing the vegetative development and aeration and illuminating the more internal areas.
Staple and defoliation
To ensure the ficus bonsai a balanced vegetation, it intervenes with stapling and peeling.
The stapling consists in the reduction of the shoots that develop in an excessive way, it is a useful technique that is used to thicken the crown of the ficus, it is necessary to resort more times to the stapling if you want to maintain the line of the bonsai that, not cimato, could become in short a shapeless bush.
According to the rules, the stapling is done, so as not to weaken the plant, only after the release of at least 5-6 leaves, then with the help of long scissors we proceed to cut after 2-3 leaves.
According to the species of ficus, various interventions may be necessary during the year, it is advisable to wait at least two months between one stapling and another.
The defoliation consists in the removal of all the leaves from a branch и or a radical pruning technique that allows to develop the vegetation of two years in a single season.
It must be carried out between May and July by cutting a quarter of a leaf from under the peduncles with the scissors, the branch soon then emits new and smaller leaves, producing a pleasant aesthetic effect.
Defense from pests
Like all plants, the ficus bonsai also needs care and attention. This is because the plant can be attacked by parasites or develop diseases. One of the most difficult enemies to fight is the red spider. This small insect, or better defined as a mite, infects plants especially during the summer and the immediate consequence is the loss of bonsai leaves. Another enemy, very well known in the world of gardening and plants, is cochineal. In this case, the plant will show white patches like cotton balls at the leaves. If the ficus bonsai shows instead of black powder on the leaves, it means that the smoke has developed. To avoid having to run into these problems it is useful to act in advance using acaricide, anticocciniglia or an anticryptogamic.
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