Ficus Techniques : 45

Following the Line

by Jerry Meislik

My good friend, bonsai teacher, and Ficus lover, Tom Simonyi from West Virginia, sends in a photo of a variegated Ficus benjamina that he has recently acquired and is working into a bonsai. We discussed if anything could be done to improve it.

Although the tree is quite nice there are a few conflicting lines in the composition. The root wrapping around the trunk spoils the flow of the trunk line and the small aerial root near the base is not quite in line with the flow either.

Tom decided that the line would be better without these roots and sends in a shot showing the improved line obtained by the removal of the roots.

Ficus banyan with aerial roots

"X" and "S" indicate aerials that do not flow with the trunks

Roots removed by Tom to clean up the flow lines

Tom updated the progress of his tree in this May, 2011 picture. He has removed the upper left root and states, "After further study of the tree from various angles I felt that eliminating the large aerial root in question would not change the tree in a negative way, and so I did so.  I think the basal area of the tree is now in somewhat better proportion regarding the remainder of the rootage."

Looking great in a new pot and further refined, May, 2011

Ficus benjamina variegate

Tom, working with a rounded canopy design, 2014


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