Ficus Techniques : 65

Ficus Demonstration in Winnipeg

by Jerry Meislik

The Winnipeg Bonsai Society is a very active bonsai group under their President Paul Collard. Paul has been president of the club for about ten years. It was my great honor to be invited back to Winnipeg in June 2012. In preparation for the demonstration and workshops the club ordered some Ficus microcarpa 'Tigerbark' and had them shipped up from Florida. Despite some brief difficulties in getting the materials across the border thetrees all arrived in good time.The material was some of the nicest specimen Ficus microcarpa raised in Florida that I have seen. The material was much nicer than the typical imported Ficus with most often has several tiresome curves which need to be dealt with in order to design an acceptable bonsai. See the Dreaded "S" Curve.

Paul was my able assistant and consultant throughout the demo. Thanks to Paul for his help. Thanks also to Joe Grande for taking all these pictures and allowing me to use them in this article.

i will discuss some points that arose during my demonstration on this tree.

Ficus microcarpa before
Ficus microcarpa before any work

Paul pushing my book
Paul Collard introducing me and "pushing" my Ficus book

fungal coated bark
Cleaning the dirt and debris off the bark with a soft brush to reveal the Tigerbark

the group
Club members attentivley watching the demonstration

roots close up
Close up view of thestrong basal trunk and rootage


possible fronts selected
Scutinizing the basal trunk, rootage, and the branching for possible front(s)

crossing branches
Discussing bar branching and proper branching in the bottom half of the tree


possible fronts
Wooden chopsticks indicating at least 3 possible fronts for the tree

removing upgrowing root
An up-growing awkward root is removed with a saw

cuttings can be rooted
Any cuttings removed from the tree can be rooted and later made into bonsai or used for grafting

Paul removing the top
Paul and I dicussing how much to shorten the tree to increase the visual impact


Paul removing the top
Paul removing the top to shorten the height of the tree

front of the tree
Two of the chopsticks wer removed - leaving one to finalize the front of the tree

shortening up long branches
Shortening overly long branches and thus helping to push future interior growth


Completed bonsai
The tree nearly completed - notice how much of the foliage has been removed

Regrowth of fig
Re-growth has started, June 2012

The post care of this tree and the workshop trees involves keeping the tree warm and in full sun. Watering only when the soil gets dry. Fertilizing every week at half strength. Removing none of the new growth until 2 months have passed and then shortening all the long branches, bringing the foliage back in towards the trunk.

Thanks again to the Winnipeg Bonsai Society, Paul, Joe and the many other members for extending a very welcoming time to me.




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