Ficus microcarpa From Utah
 By Jerry Meislik


On a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, to present a workshop and demo to the Utah Society of Utah in late July 2005, I stopped at Ogden and visited with Tom and JoLynn Fowles. Tom is an avid bonsai grower and has many excellent bonsai in his collection. One tree that I really admired was a Ficus microcarpa that Tom had been working on for several years.

The second photo shows the tree allowed to grow out strongly to help heal previous large pruning scars.The tree has an awesome surface rootage and rather awesome taper has been achieved by multiple reductions of the trunk, always cutting back to a smaller diameter apex and then allowing this new and smaller diamter apex to grow wildly to thicken. Size of the tree is inches tall and the base of the trunk an surface rootage is inches.

Tom Fowles and I in the middle of Tom's bonsai collection.

Ficus microcarpa being allowed to grow strongly to heal scars. Original front of the tree.

Red line indicates an old reduction point and the hollow that has resulted from the healing callus.

Tom was convinced to let me take the tree home to Montana and to allow it to become part of my Ficus collection. Once in Montana the tree's front was rotated a bit counter-clockwise to emphasize trunk movement as well as to put the large basal scar to the side. The branches received a severe pruning and wire was applied to guide the remaining branches.

Trunk rotated, and branches cut back to allow secondary branch development.

After two months of growth there are many back buds developing to form the secondary branches of the tree.

New secondary buds emerging two weeks after strong pruning.

Two months later, regrowth is quite vigorous.

Selection of the best new secondary branches was made and unneeded branches were removed.

The best secondary branches selected and retained.

The goal from this point is to continue to direct the tree's enegy to more secondary and tertiary branching. Overly heavy branches will be restrained in their growth while branches that are too thin will be allowed more growth to "catch up". In the future a bonsai pot will help to give the bonsai a more finished appearance.

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