First of all, in proceeding with this important operation that requires attention and care to achieve the desired aesthetic effect, it is good to have all the tools that can be useful for the various interventions.
The equipment for bonsai techniques are no different from those used in gardening such as the large and strong scissors to cut the roots, the small and strong scissors for cutting the branches and sub-branches, the scissors to cut the shoots). add two other tools, specific for bonsai techniques, patented by Japanese bonsai masters, the concave cutting pliers and the Jinning pliers.The concave cutting pliers are an indispensable tool in the bonsai technique because it allows you to cut branches causing a slight concavit in the point of removal, the concavit with the healing of the wound is covered with new bark and thus effectively cancels the unsightly effects of pruning.The Jinning pliers instead a difficult tool to use reserved only for experts, it allows you to work the bark to have special effects.All tools to be used for pruning must be disinfected beforehand to avoid infections and necrosis.
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The training pruning is done when the starting plant is a pre / bonsai and a very delicate operation, since the aesthetics and future development of the bonsai depend on it, it is advisable to do it in the period from the beginning of the vegetative rest to before the spring awakening (November -March) and the ideal tool to use the concave cutting pliers.
Once the ficus bonsai project has been established regarding the style and size of the bonsai, we proceed taking into account the following general rules: make sure that each branch that remains receives the light therefore the high branches must be shorter than the In most styles, the first branches (starting from the bottom) must also be the thickest and longest. Then we move on to the suppression of the uninteresting branches. For aesthetic purposes, the branches are considered uninteresting those that grow opposite to other branches (forming a cross), cover the view of the trunk, are parallel, grow vertically (both upwards and downwards), cross each other, head towards the trunk, sprout under other branches. aesthetic reasons, all secondary branches and twigs that grow at the base of the trunk as unsightly ones that are sick.When pruning the branches it is advisable not to trim them to the same size but to prune them of different lengths in this way each one leaves the vital space to develop harmoniously. Particular attention must then be paid to the moment of cutting which must be as low as possible precisely to allow the growing bark to immediately hide the wound. pruning in order not to incur unwanted aesthetic effects, it is advisable, thinking about the vigor of the bonsai, to always proceed gradually, first pruning a part of the branches and when the useful ones are sufficiently developed proceed with the suppression of the others programmed to be suppressed. for the growth of the bud after pruning it is the cutting point because the new bud will always grow on the side of the last leaf.This information is of particular importance because it allows you to cut the branches so that the bud and the next branch grow in the direction from us to achieve good results in practice of pruning it is always necessary to keep in mind that the wood of the ficus plant is tender and fibrous and, for this reason, the scarring occurs in a not very aesthetic way, it occurs above all when large branches are cut, therefore it is a good rule to apply a healing paste in the point of cut, in order to promote healing and protect the plant. The healing paste will go away on its own over time.
The maintenance pruning must be carried out on the plants during the vegetative period and also this delicate and complex operation because it is necessary to give the right setting to the tree and to maintain the shape reached.
In the vegetative period, the bonsai in full vegetation is the simplest pruning because you have a precise idea of the cuts to be made to obtain the desired results.The choice of branches to shorten or eliminate depends on the style of the ficus bonsai, generally we intervene on the branches with irregular or disordered course, broken, dry or diseased branches.With maintenance pruning the objectives that can be achieved are different but all equally useful and important: maintaining the set shape, making the green more compact, reducing the size of the leaves, balancing vegetative development and ventilate and illuminate the innermost areas.
To ensure a balanced vegetation for the ficus bonsai, we intervene with pinching and leaf removal.
The pinching consists in the reduction of the shoots that develop excessively, a useful technique that is used to thicken the foliage of the ficus, it is necessary to resort to pinching several times if you want to maintain the line of the bonsai which, not topped, could become in short a shapeless bush.According to the rules, the pinching is done, in order not to weaken the plant, only after at least 5-6 leaves have come out, then with the help of long scissors you proceed to cut after 2-3 leaves. several interventions may be necessary during the year, it is advisable to wait at least two months between one pinching and the other Defoliation consists in the removal of all the leaves from a branch or a radical pruning technique that allows the vegetation of two years to develop in a single season It must be carried out between May and July by cutting a quarter of a leaf from under the peduncles with scissors, the branch soon releases new and more the leaves producing a pleasant aesthetic effect.
Like all plants, the ficus bonsai also needs care and attention. This is because the plant can be attacked by parasites or develop diseases. One of the most difficult enemies to fight is the red spider. This small insect or better defined as a mite, infects plants especially during the summer period and the immediate consequence is the loss of the leaves of the bonsai. Another enemy, well known in the world of gardening and plants, the cochineal. In this case, the plant will show white patches similar to cotton balls on the leaves. If the ficus bonsai shows black dust on the leaves instead, it means that fumaggine has developed. To avoid having to run into these problems, it is useful to act in advance using acaricide, anti-cochineal or a fungicide.
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