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"And the LORD God made ... trees that were pleasing to the eye ..." Gen. 2:9, New International Version.

"Bonsai isn't just something I do; it's part of what I am." Remark to my wife and daughter.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Roots Wandering Thru the Air

     The "Tropical Bonsai Two-Step" ended some weeks ago, and my tropical trees have been adjusting to conditions in the Bonsai Crate. As I mentioned on this page, I'm able to keep the humidity in the Crate quite high; high enough that, once the trees adjust, aerial roots start to appear here and there.

Ficus burtt-davyi, veldt fig. This root may be removed because of its angle of growth.
Ficus microcarpa 'Tigerbark.' This tree has aerial roots already, and this one is well-placed.
Ficus salicaria, willow-leaf fig. This rootlet on the trunk is just getting started.

For any who don't know, there are a number of tropical species, especially among the Ficus, that throw aerial roots from shaded areas of the bark if the humidity is high enough. The depth of shade needed, and the level of humidity needed, vary from species to species. Of the three species of wild fig that I grow, F. burtt-davyi throws aerial roots most easily; it is even known to do so in the humidity that's normal outdoors in an Indiana summer. F. microcarpa is next; some of its many varieties,  like 'Kaneshiro,' produce aerial roots more easily than others. F. salicaria, a personal favorite, is the least eager of my figs to grow aerial roots. (You can't have everything.)

I have one other species that throws aerial roots, Schefflera arboricola; it does so about as easily as F. microcarpa, in my experience. So far this winter, my single scheff hasn't started any new aerials, but I expect a few sooner or later.

As the winter progresses, more aerial roots will appear on trees in the Crate, taking advantage of the humidity. Those that reach the soil and anchor themselves will usually survive once the trees are moved back outdoors next spring. (Provided, of course, that I don't remove them for design reasons.)

One more part of the fun of growing tropical bonsai!

:-)  :-)  :-)

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