This Port Jackson Fig [ Ficus Rubiginosa ] was growing on a wall for several years without much improvement in its growth.
I collected it in 2010 when I was just starting on bonsai and made the mistake of not working on the roots and taper. Instead I stuck that "stick" into a pot and left it there to thicken... I've just wasted 2 whole years on it... well not wasted, more like loss two years worth growth.
Plants dont thicken up that quick in a bonsai pot.
Last month I started a little experiment in growing trees in the ground
I have already 4 trees training in the ground and 2 other trees previously in the ground recently dug up.
One issue with training in the ground is that the lateral roots grow very long.
I end up pruning them in the end, because in a bonsai, you want a compact root made of the fine feeder roots.
You can keep some lateral roots as they will become your nebari, but you don't need a 30cm long lateral root.
You should also get rid of any tap roots at this stage in the training process too.
Here's the gist of my experiment.
I'm using a basket in the ground [ cheap 0.5€ ones ]
The roots will be able to grow freely and pass through the holes in the basket.
Every six months or so, I'll dig up around the basket and cut off any lateral growing out of it.
In 1 year I'll have a look at the root structure and adjust any roots if need be.
In 2 years I'll see how much it has progressed compared to the first two you in the smaller bonsai pot.
|The tree back in 2010 - Your classical beginner's|
stick in a pot
|In 2012 - In the pot, the growth goes in the branches but there|
is little growth in the thickness of the trunk.
|Trying out my experiment - Dig a hole, added several big flat stones|
at the bottom of the hole. The added the basket.
|Prepared my soil mix - 3 part perlite, 3 part gardening soil and|
1 part manure.
|Mix them all together|
|The tree's root system. Its a mess and I did try at first to sort|
it out, but gave up in the end. Several roots actually fused with
one another, typical ficus growth. Separating them would have
damaged the roots.
|The basket's bottom was filled with the|
soil mix, roughtly 1/3. Then the tree placed
at the center of the basket and then covered
with the rest of the soil mix.
|A shot before placing into the ground. Since 2010 to 2012,|
this tree has thicken by 0.5cm approx. I wanted to have a
measure to see how much it will grow in the next two years.