Stripped bare

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Stripped bare

Postby taffyman » Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:53 pm

Hmm, wonder if the title will cause a stir :-? Bet you people were expecting something a bit more rude than a tree without any leaves :lol:
Anyway, as I said on Leah's 'Nudie Rudie' topic these are the photos of my large Hill's fig (Ficus Hillii) after its complete defoliation. It took me nearly three hours to remove every leaf - one at a time. It then took me nearly 2 hours to take off all the wire I'd put on it :roll:
First photo is after defoliating it in October 2007. Next is last week, the rest from today:

Image Image Image Image Image

If you go back to my topic 'Hillii, work in progress', you should notice quite a big difference in this tree. It's slowly getting where I want it.
http://www.gardenexpress.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=21&t=10912
Now the fun really starts - deciding what to keep and what not to keep, pruning to shape then wiring once again. That'll keep me out of trouble for a day or so :shock:
When I've wired it, I'll post some more photos (after I clean up the pot!).

Edit:
Well, I've finally finished clipping and wiring after working on it for nearly 3 days on and off.
The first photo is the finished project. Next two are looking down from above to give some idea of the ramification of the branches and twigs. It looks like a tangled web but there isn't a single branch crossing over another on all the individual layers. Overall, from one layer to another it's inevitable to have some branches crossing otherwise there would never be enough room for separate foliage pads.

In photo 4, the red arrows are pointing to two branches that I've been able to train across the front which when covered in foliage will take the eye away from the 'bar branching' effect of those two branches behind and between them. All the branches marked by the yellow/orange arrows point to branches that actually grow towards the back of the tree to give some depth. The blue arrow is showing how that lower branch has grown somewhat since the last pruning, and is now more in line with the overall triangular pattern of the tree. There are a few branches that break that triangular patter, but the only one I'll most likely cut back when it's in full leaf is the one up near the top on the right side.

The tree has at least three times the amount of small twigs since I last defoliated and pruned it, so it can only go on from here and develop more. As it does, I'll be able to reduce even more of the heavy 'unmovable' branches.
I thought the next photo was quite interesting - seeing the tree in virtual silhouette gives it a different perspective.
The last photo is as it looked when I acquired the tree more than three years ago. Compared with the latest photo, except for the exceptional trunk, it hardly looks like the same tree.

In three years this tree has gone from a real basket case to something looking much more like a true Bonsai. It's really rewarding to me to see the way this tree has developed over those three years. Yes, I've done a lot of work on it, but the tree has done most of the work. All I've done is guide it in the way I'd like it to develop. If the tree didn't put out more and more growth on the branches I wouldn't have anything to work with. Ficus Hillii? Great tree to work with (Y)

Image Image Image Image Image Image

The first photo below was taken on 17th Dec 08 after its huge defoliation and wiring and the second was taken today - 6th Jan 09.
It really shows that good results that can be achieved by complete defoliation. The 'bar branching' that can be seen in the photos above is almost non-existent now, and it can only get better when it fills out more.

Image Image
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Re: Stripped bare

Postby Mister Wisteria » Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:49 am

Damn, what a disappointment, :oops: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: Took your time taking the leaves off Taffy, no, just kidding, well done. You have far much more patience than I do. :cry:
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Re: Stripped bare

Postby taffyman » Sat Nov 15, 2008 11:58 am

Thanks Mr W. The 'fun' has just started. I've started clipping and wiring all those branches and twigs - 2 hours so far, and I've managed to do one and a bit of the lower branches. :shock: Reckon I might finish it close to tea time tomorrow (if I'm lucky :wink: )
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Re: Stripped bare

Postby Luzy » Sat Nov 15, 2008 4:46 pm

What a job. :shock: May we see it wired up again please, Taffy?
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Re: Stripped bare

Postby taffyman » Sat Nov 15, 2008 7:01 pm

Sure Luzy, as soon as I've finished wiring it I'll post some more photos. (Y)
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Re: Stripped bare

Postby taffyman » Fri Nov 21, 2008 5:42 pm

Just edited the topic above with the finished tree (for now :-? ).
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Re: Stripped bare

Postby guzzigirl » Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:11 pm

all that fiddly wiring! but it looks fantastic! can't wait until it has its new foliage to see how it looks then. I noticed the "basket case" shot has a first prize ticket - but you sure have raised the bar on that one! :mrgreen:
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Re: Stripped bare

Postby taffyman » Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:21 pm

Yes GG it did get a first placing in the Fraser Coast show 3 years ago, but at that time the judge was a Bromeliad grower and knew absolutely nothing about Bonsai. The tree should never have got a placing let alone a 1st place. I think she gave it the 1st because it was the largest tree on display.
All that fiddly wiring is the basis for really good foliage pads. If every little twig sends out a couple or more leaves I'll be using a lawn mower to keep it under control :shock:
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Re: Stripped bare

Postby Luzy » Sat Nov 22, 2008 8:17 am

Just a bit if wire, huh, Taffy! It's great being able to see the differences right through form when you first got the tree - just from there until the latest defoliation is an incredible difference. I'm sure seeing the next lot of foliage develop will be an eye opener.
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Re: Stripped bare

Postby lmrk » Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:04 am

Aww Taffy - I thought we had a deal - you send me that tree to defoliate, and I get to keep it!!! :D :D :wink:

What a fantastic job you have done!!!! The way you explain and provide updated pictures, it's like having our very own personal master class!!!! Sensei Taffyson :lol:
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Re: Stripped bare

Postby taffyman » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:53 pm

Update on the fig. It's now got a full canopy again shown in the last two photos posted today (Y)
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