Work on a Benjamina

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Work on a Benjamina

Postby taffyman » Fri Feb 22, 2008 10:40 pm

I was going through the stuff I have in styrene boxes to find something to work on. I picked this one up fully intending to cut those aerial roots off - because they didn't look right, and then give it a bit of a trim. Then I had a brainwave (or was that a brain storm :-? ). As you can see by the first photo, the trunk is just about parallel all the way up to where I cut the original trunk down. So, I thought 'I wonder if I can get those roots to fuse with the trunk'. The next few photos show how I did it. I cut those grooves in the trunk down to the heartwood, shaved a thin sliver off the sides of the roots, put some rooting hormone gel in the grooves then pressed the roots into them. That big scar on the back of the trunk was where I cut the original trunk down. It's callousing over quite well, but I thought I could help that as well. There was one aerial root coming down over it, so I cut a small V at the top of the callous and another one at the bottom. I then took a very small sliver of bark off the aerial root where it matched the V's that I'd cut and then I put a piece of styrene on the root at the back and two more pieces at the front to make sure the roots were pushed in tight. Finally, I bound the whole thing up with grafting tape. and cut the foliage back to start giving the tree some shape. It's still got a long way to go, but the last photo shows the roots partially embedded in the trunk are actually giving it a bit of taper already. As the roots thicken up and fuse with the trunk the taper will become more pronounced - and when those roots do thicken and turn from brown to grey they'll give the trunk a bit more character as well.

Image Image Image Image Image Image Image
Update: (june 9)
I took the tape off this one today to see how it was going and found that most of the roots have fused with the trunk. Not full length as yet, but getting there. In the third photo, the root with the blue arrow didn't survive and the large one on the left with the red arrow hadn't fused at all. There is also a gap at the top (green arrow). I've taken the dead root off and when another aerial root develops somewhere above it, I'll train that one down the same groove and hope it'll take. I re-cut the groove under the large root, shaved a bit more off the root and have bound it very tight against the trunk. If it still doesn't fuse I'll do the same as with the dead root - I'll cut it off and train another thinner aerial root down the groove. At least the ones that have fused are doing well but I don't expect them to thicken up too much over the next 3 months or so. When I see the roots have fused with the trunk for their full length, I'll take the tape off and leave them exposed to the weathers so they will turn grey and blend in with the trunk.

Image Image Image Image

Update 15 February 09.

The first photo shows what this tree looked like on 4th Feb.

The second photo is one of those from the previous update but it shows the aerial root on the right with a big gap between it and the trunk (yellow arrow) and the same with the root on the right (green arrow).

In the third photo the right red arrow show that the root on the right has straightened itself out as it has thickened and has now fused with the trunk. The left arrow shows that root has also fused with the trunk as it has thickened. The blue arrow shows there is still a small gap between the front root and the trunk on the left of the root, but the brown shows that the trunk is callousing over and will eventually fuse with the root. There are roots growing out from that callousing so it must be still quite healthy. The rest of the root is fusing ok. Those two green arrows are pointing to new roots that have formed since I last looked at the tree – and they’re growing at quite a good pace. The yellow arrow is still pointing to the dead root that I haven’t taken off yet, but the trunk is callousing over underneath it. I’ll leave it there (unless it falls off itself) until another aerial root starts growing further up the tree and I’ll put the new one in that groove.

The Yellow arrow in photo four shows another new root that’s formed over the last few months and the red arrow is pointing to where that root has filled in the gap that was visible in the second photo. The blue arrow is pointing to another root that didn’t make it, BUT right at the bottom, it had fused with the trunk and is now another healthy root. From where it has fused and up to the top is dead, so again, I’ll wait till another aerial root forms further up the trunk, remove the dead one and insert the new one into the groove. The long root that comes down over the hollow section has fused on both edges of that hollow and in a number of places down the trunk. Eventually that one will thicken and spread more, and if more aerial roots form above it, I’ll train them down alongside and at some time in the future, the hollow won’t be visible.

The last two photos show the tree front and back after being pruned and wired.

Image Image Image Image Image Image
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby The Estate » Sat Feb 23, 2008 9:17 am

just too clever Taffy :mrgreen:
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby lmrk » Sun Feb 24, 2008 2:44 pm

That's excellent Taffy!!!! (Y) Instructions are easy to understand and very helpful. Let us know how it progresses!!

BTW, I just bought one of those bonsai turn tables that you have in the photo. Do you like yours?
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby taffyman » Sun Feb 24, 2008 6:58 pm

Yes, I do like those turntables Leah. That in in the pic came from a '$2.00' shop (cost me $7.00). I have another smaller one but that had a different origin. Does anyone remember quite a few years ago some mob on tv (may have been K-Tel or similar) were advertizing 'exercise' equipment. One of which was a small turntable that you stood on and swivelled from side to side "guaranteed to remove kilos from your thighs (yea, right)". Well, my small turntable is one of those. Cost me nothing - it was given to me. There are other things you can use for a turntable. One guy I know uses an old record player turntable and another uses the swivel base of an office chair with a piece of plywood on the top instead of a cushion. Yet another uses a white marble 'lazy susan'!
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby lmrk » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:47 am

taffyman wrote:Yes, I do like those turntables Leah. That in in the pic came from a '$2.00' shop (cost me $7.00).


I paid $30 for mine :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Taffy, you're king of the bargains!!!! (Y)
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby Pam » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:51 am

Leah, I came accross the listing where you'd bought your turntable and was wishing you'd mentioned here that you were looking for one. I'd have been only too happy to pick you one up.
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby lmrk » Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:04 am

Thanks Pam - I'll come to you first next time I need something!!! :D
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby Pam » Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:15 am

:lol:
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby taffyman » Mon Jun 09, 2008 9:26 pm

Just updated the original post with some new pics of the root development today.
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby lmrk » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:20 pm

Well done Taffy!!!!!!!!!! (Y) (Y) The gap with the green arrow still looks good to my untrained eye :wink:

It's great to see you posting - the bonsai's down south aren't doing much at the moment, so any bonsai updates from the north are greatly appreciated!!!!!!

How are some of your other projects coming along?
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby taffyman » Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:43 pm

Mmm, check out 'Fixing Root Structure 3' in the How To section Leah. Some good results on that one (Y)
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby taffyman » Sun Feb 15, 2009 4:42 pm

New edit in the original topic above.
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby alpinebonsart » Mon Feb 16, 2009 3:40 pm

Hi taffyman , that is one EXTREMELY NICE SPECIMEN . Good to see someone trying something out of the ordinary as per the roots . Cheers
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Re: Work on a Benjamina

Postby lmrk » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:47 pm

Amazing Taffy - just amazing!!! :shock: :shock: =p~ It's great to see your brain storm come to fruition! As I was reading the post and looking at the pictures, & wondered, "what is Taffy going to do about that hollow?" and you answered it! Great minds eh :-? Please keep posting updates!
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