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Pushing Focus roots?

1178 Views 15 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  frogparty
Is there any way, other than moisture and time, to force/ push aerial root growth on woody Ficus sp.? In this case I'm using F. pertusa. I was kind of thinking about notching the bark and adding a rooting hormone. Thoughts?
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so...of course my curiousity got the better of me...why this "strangler fig"? I tried to capture a neat picture of it engulfing a fence and a neighboring tree...but couldn't...
My dad is a bonsai guy and has some ficus sp. that he's been working with (especially F. microcarpa var Green Island). I know that he was working on forcing some roots...I'll see if he has any tips. I know this isn't directly related to your question, but have you tried training them by slowly removing soil? That should give you plenty of options for selecting which roots to keep and which to remove...but wouldn't help much if you are working with an established plant.
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I would think that your best bet would be to give it time so as to not stress the plant.

However, layering is basically what you are talking about which can easily be done on most all of the larger ficus sp. Basically all you do for that is notch the bark all the way around the stem, apply rooting hormong and moist sphagnum and wrap it with something to keep the moisture in and roots will form, and I would guess from there you could get the roots to grow down to the soil. However, at this point, that part of the plant may grow completely seperately from the rest of it depending if you cut through the xylem and phloem layers.

If you have a greenhouse, or somewhere you can put it with a high humidity level, that will usually promote more aerial roots to grow naturally.
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so...of course my curiousity got the better of me...why this "strangler fig"? I tried to capture a neat picture of it engulfing a fence and a neighboring tree...but couldn't...
Lol, It's actually going in my azureiventris tank
I was ogling some ficus bonsai at the San Diego safari park this weekend. My girlfriend wants to start some of her own. I like F. microcarpa a lot
Lol, It's actually going in my azureiventris tank
instead of trying to al, you could use some willow water, or coconut milk, and just try spritsing the trunk. After all, it's not like you're trying to force the plant to do something it wouldn't do naturally.

That is, unless you want to force it to root in specific areas. If that is the case I say try cutting and applying some gel
Willow cutting water, etc is pretty useless on intact bark.
air layering, try wrapping a section with spag moss cover it with plastic wrap and seal the two ends with twist ties. keep it moist. does this make sense. if not will try to go more in deft.
To get the best control of root placement, you could slip-graft them. It would be easiest if you have a couple of extra plants to take stock from.
Like upside-down t grafting with a straight scion...I think there are other names for it (probably more commonly used ones). Does that make sense?
EDIT: My dad called it slip grafting...he is a neologism factory though.
How many of us here immediately went to google your new word...???
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Thanks, everybody for the advice. I do want to get root growth in certain areas. I was lucky enough to score some big pieces of "floater" pumice at the Tucson gem and mineral show. I plan to make a rock pile with ficus rooted over it.
I read an interesting deal awhile back where you attach drinking straws to the trunk and/or branches. The mirco-climate created inside the straws would help encourage root growth and you could control where the roots came from and where they went.
Air layering with sphag and a little rooting hormone is your best bet
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