Bonsai Study Group Forum

General Category => General Bonsai Discussion => Topic started by: Anthony on March 28, 2014, 07:51 AM

Title: Aother soil related situation
Post by: Anthony on March 28, 2014, 07:51 AM
The work down here has been to find the best soil mix for each species.

The local ficus resembles the one you guys use, and was not responding to the typical mix of crushed red brick, 5 mm builder's gravel and compost.
Growth was sluggish compared to what was seen on walls, rooftop gutters and drains, or just rock piles. Observations were made and questions asked of a Danish lady on IBC.

Eventually, it was discovered that all that was needed was the gravel and a 10 % compost by volume. Additionally, rounded aquarium gravel was also tried. The pots were also lowered in depth, to what is presently just the shallow rectangles. Growth became constant and further tests showed that within a month of growing, a tablespoon of compost could be sprinkled onto the surface. This "melted" in after about two weeks.

Additionally, one could also add beads of Blaucorm [ German made fertiliser inorganic ] or 1/3 strength lawn fertiliser.

Reading back showed that D.S.Young and K.Yashiroda, also spoke of a gravel [ sand that stays on the 1/8 seive ] and some form of a composted organic material, be it leaves or oil seed meal or sphagnum [peat "?] moss.

This also the mix that is used on the J.B.pines. just a smaller size of gravel was used in the past [ 3mm ]

Our gravel comes from a sand blasting supply company.

What is also being tested is how to even out the growth of the Ficus, as they very quickly out grow a tree shaped type design. We don't really have any native ficus, in the landscape that features the aerial roots and the strangling of trees. You can however find examples in the deep forests, but those leaves are too large, and you have to really look to find that feature.
So the decision was made to work with tree like features as opposed to the standard Chinese technique of well placed roots and a green topping.

Everytime a tree shape is reached, the ficus quickly outgrows the design and branchlets become very coarse.

Hopefully, this x time try, success will be achieved - ha ha ha - Sisyphusian are we not - ha ha ha.

The trees remain stable in the soil mix even with our high winds, and are very easy to repot.
I am told that the rounded pebbles for the aquariums now comes in baby type blue [ acrylic paint ] Should be intereting waiting for that paint to wear off, takes about a year in use.
Good Day

Thsis ficus was found as a young one,
Title: Re: Aother soil related situation
Post by: Anthony on March 28, 2014, 07:58 AM
This one also found a young one, has of last year had all the soil washed off and only gravel added back. The idea here is root, to first branch, to second branch and so on.
When the thickness of the branch is realised, then come the branchlets.

The tree is being trained in this shallow container to observe, and control the excessive thickening. Presently trying to get the second branch to respond.
Good Day

First year and 4th year.
Title: Re: Aother soil related situation
Post by: Anthony on March 28, 2014, 08:12 AM
The example showed above is supposed to be a Formal, around the corner in the same type of pot  are, Besom [ broom ] Informal, and Leaning.
The idea became to see if one could grow all the major styles in this ficus.

Yes, this ficus is being trained - piney - in nature the tree is very hard to find and the only two that were seen were just normal dome shaped trees.

Tests are also being done of the various Ficus b. cultivars.
Good Day

A cultivar lighter green markings on leaves. Has very good radial roots, and a graceful curve, but no back, hence no depth. It is hoped that this one will thicken very slightly as the trunk goes and at some point a back will develop.
Handles the % of red brick well.
Needs to be shifted in the pot for better balance.

Placement for all these trees is as close to full sun as can be had. Watering is morning and later afternoon.
Title: Re: Aother soil related situation
Post by: Joshua Hanzman on April 06, 2014, 04:56 PM
very nice, I guarantee that your extra effort to keep records will pay off immensely, very smart move...