Ficus Techniques : 9

Splitting A Root

Bart Thomas writes "I was potting this Green Emerald Ficus that I styled last fall at a Pedro Morales workshop duirng the International Bonsai Symposium, when, since Chase was right there, I asked him if the root shown in the first photo should come off (indicated by red arrow). Had I done this at home, the root would be gone!

Chase said, "Let's live dangerously." He then told me to take straight-jawed cutters (called also root cutters), and split the root lengthwise. Once I had done this, I commented that I had done a messy job, and he said it didn't matter.

 He then took a chopstick and placed it an the tree end of the cut. We then positioned the "two" roots (each had feeder roots coming off it) and finished potting. The result is shown in the second photo.

 The worst outcome is that we lose the root I was prepared to remove. At least, I have learned another new (for me) technique.

 I wonder whether Chase did this to improve the tree or to improve my knowledge."

Ficus microcarpa, red arrow indicates the root that is to be split.


Chopstick spreading the split root.


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