Let's prune a bonsai tree.
This is my little indoor bonsai Ficus.
Before we begin, I always like to share some background information about the tree. I've got a collection of over 30 trees now. It is important for me to document progress on each tree separately, because it's like owning a nursery school with 30 twins named Katie, and sometimes I can't remember what I did with one or another when the parents ask.
Thank goodness, I do not run a day care center!
Type: Ficus Ginseng
Age: 4 to 6 years. Unknown.
Grown: nursery stock, gift
Last repotting: Never
Past articles featuring progress on this tree:
- New Tree: Ginseng Ficus
- Winter Maintenance: Branch Selection and Directional Pruning
- Ficus Ginseng: Analyzing Progress on Indoor Tree for Winter Pruning
- Bonsai Tree Update: Ficus Ginseng pruned in Spring 2020
Here we see the full shape of the tree.
The main trunk has full established dominance in growth priority over the lower branches. I think the trunk has developed a decent amount of thickness, and the height is more than prefer for my indoor space.
Pruning the trunk down to height will be my single goal.
Now that it haws been pruned back, the tree instantly forms a sap barrier to heal the wound. Ficus have a unique milky white sap that forms a stretchy glue latex barrier, and it helps the wound to heal very quickly.
While most trees tend to thicken the branch after it has been pruned, by pushing more growth energy through the buds, I sometimes notice the reverse happens on Ficus. I noticed this first in the fat roots, that they have actually shrunken down slightly after major pruning.
Pruning branches seems to steal vigor from the tree by robbing it of the nutrient energy that was stored in the sap of the pruned wood.
From above we can more easily see the centered trunk over the cone-like root flair. The two low branches are reaching out in opposing directions.
Hopefully this single cut will not reduce the thickness of the trunk too much.
My plan is to encourage the buds at the top to continue to form various branches in all directions.
The six or seven leaves on the trunk are all viable buds where new stems might be stimulated to grow.
In another 4 to 6 months, I will prune all of the new growth from the top of the top of the trunk except for the strongest stem.
When the tree gets to this height again, I'll prune it back down again to a slightly higher location from the last prune mark.
Over time I should develop a taller tapered trunk with a few natural zig-zags where each of the new growth stems began to regrow a new trunk extension.
All the while, I'll keep the lower branches maintained by increasing the ramification of smaller branch spread.
Find me on discord and chat with other tree growers, bonsai enthusiasts, and gardeners.