Ficus Techniques : 40

How do I turn this into a bonsai?

by Jerry Meislik

"Respected Sir, my name is Neha Shrivastava. I am located at Bangalore,India.
I need your help and guidance in relation to one of my bonsai. I recently got a Sacred fig (Ficus religiosa) bonsai from local nursery here. I needed it for some religious function . So I didn't have much choice. Aesthetically i don't find it very attractive. In a few places the branches have broken too. I haven't learned bonsai. So am totally stranger to it. I would be glad if you could help me making it more beautiful. I feel something is missing in it.

1. Three of the trunks are broken. I think it was result of improper bending . So what can I do?
2. This bonsai had cuts the top of the trunks. So its doesn't have any growth there. Only few branches below the cut. Shall i do something with it & how?
3. It hardly has any branches or leaves. How can I develop new growth & make it bushier.

Hereby, I am attaching few pics of it."

Ficus religiosa with multiple trunks

Ficus religiosa close up


Dear Neha,
Your tree has multiple trunks and should make a nice forest planting. I would suggest cutting the trunks to varying heights depending on their trunk thickness. So, for example, a 1" trunk could be one foot tall, and a two" trunk would be cut at two feet. In this way the trunk heights will relate to the trunk diameters.
Two, I would use blocks of wood to separate the trunks so that they flow away from each other. You can see the flow of the trunks in this picture.

Three, allow lots of new growth and shape the canopy of new leaves like a cloud above the trunks.
You can see a rough idea in this image.

By allowing it to grow lots of new leaves you will encourage the broken trunks to heal over. Also this will allow cutting back and getting more density to the canopy. Read more about Ficus techniques in the article on the Ficus Techniques section for ideas on getting more density.

Red lines suggest trunk positions,
green color outlines the new canopy to be developed

Good luck with your Bo tree.



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