TOPIC: Root over rock - Ficus Abutilifolia

Root over rock - Ficus Abutilifolia 7 years 1 month ago #2077

Well.. After growing my Southafrican rock splitting figs from seed to 4 year olds, it was time to do something with them. And what is more appropriate than root-over-rock? So.. I pulled them out of their pot today, selected some rocks from the garden and started work. Note that I kept everything soaking wet during the work on the roots, and worked out of the wind, in the shade.

The plants, before ruining their day:


Unfortunately, the roots were not so well developed for two of the first batch of three trees; Decided to proceed anyway..


Placing them on the selected rock with wire, taking care to let the roots follow a somewhat natural route:


I burried the root in a big container. The container had a drainage layer of rocks and sand. On top 2 cm richt potting soil. The rock sits on this soil, in order to stimulate roots to utilize that layer. The roots were positioned, and coarse sand was piled against it. This in order to trigger roots to grow down along the rock, rather than into the medium. Now it will grow like this for the winter.

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  • leatherback
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Re: Root over rock - Ficus Abutilifolia 7 years 1 month ago #2078

A second tree had recovered from earlier trunck-rotting, which left the tree without roots in summer. The new roots are very clear, and I proceeded similarly as above:






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Re: Root over rock - Ficus Abutilifolia 7 years 1 month ago #2082

Wow! Thank you Jelle for the tutorial! I was just thinking today about whether or not to do this with my Ficus. This is fantastic!

What are the bulbous formations at the base of your plants? I was just reading today that some Ficus develop visable water sacs at the base of their trunks.

How do you know that the roots will not grow into the coarse sand medium you piled against them?

Did you do any trimming of the roots or leaves at this time?

Thanks so much for sharing! :cheer:
  • Leslie
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Re: Root over rock - Ficus Abutilifolia 7 years 1 month ago #2083

P.S.~ That's a mean looking pair of "pinchers" you have there. They look to me an aweful lot like what I used to use to "crimp" my male goat kids
...if ya know what I mean. :pinch: LOL!
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Re: Root over rock - Ficus Abutilifolia 7 years 1 month ago #2087

Hahaha,

I don't! I just hope the will follow as much a downward path as possible. But I DID keep the roots against the roch whil adding sand on top of them, in an effort to have them follow the rochs' shape. Is just.. If there are no nutrients, I hope the plant will send roots down. On the way they should encounter the rock and follow it.

Hm. yeah, I love those pinchers. They are very strong, sharp. I rbought them from Rumania 2 years ago. Best buy ever.

I did not do any trimming, but naturally, when you have 3 trees in s small pot for years, the roots get clumpy. I did loose some roots. Trick here is to get long roots to start with; One of them did, the others did not have them.

Over the winter months every week I will scoop out some of the sand on the side, so the watering will naturally erode the sand away from the roots. By spring I hope to be able to lift it out of the ugly containers, and plant it on a tray. The idea is that the main soil will be under the rock, and it becomes a rock-outcrop on which trees grow. This also means: I want a few strong roots on the rock, but the rootball at the bottom: I needed as much root as possible.
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Re: Root over rock - Ficus Abutilifolia 7 years 1 month ago #2090

hey leatherback,
try putting them in a tray and watering them from the bottom the water should wick up the rocks and keep them moist to keep the roots there while the water on the bottom will force the roots to search deaper for a drink.
  • manofthetrees
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Re: Root over rock - Ficus Abutilifolia 7 years 1 month ago #2096

Hey i just did a root over rock with a Ficus on the weekend! Not sure about the method i used because someone showed me it. I put the roots over the rock and then just buried the tree in the soil of the pot. Not sure if the roots will grip tho,i wanted to do it like this www.bonsai4me.com/AdvTech/ATRootoverrock.htm

But the rock was too big so i just used the other method. I will however use this bonsai4me method with a chinese elm soon! Im sure that method will work better
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Re: Root over rock - Ficus Abutilifolia 7 years 1 month ago #2098

Hi Man,
That is a good idea, thanks!

Joncoh: Nice link; Looks like a good option. I don't know I will have 2 years patience before digging up though; Was planning on slowly letting the soil com down over the next 6 months :D
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Re: Root over rock - Ficus Abutilifolia 7 years 1 month ago #2105

Thanks Leatherback, it takes about a year for the tree to grip the rock with the roots, my cousin did the same thing with two elm trees and they look fantastic! The benefit of this method is that the tree's roots dont get wire bite because the tree is wrapped with tape and plastic
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Re: Root over rock - Ficus Abutilifolia 7 years 1 month ago #2115

I agee with leatherback...excellent link, Jon. Thanks for sharing! :cheer:
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