mandarinaoptimista

How should I shape my Ficus benghalensis (Audrey)?



Finally took my first jump getting a medium-large ficus! I got a Ficus benghalensis (aka Audrey). It's about 4 feet tall from topsoil, trying to figure out how to prune it to give it more of a (non-lollipop) open tree structure. Most pictures from the US shape it like a lollipop, but I've found and fallen in love with Japanese-style open tree structure where I can actually appreciate the trunk and branches like this one from https://www.tree-tree.jp/?pid=48546042





The best advice I've found for specifically Ficus benghalensis (aside from Houzz forum's user Tapla) is the following from Smart Garden Guide, looking for more advice like this but maybe a bit more in-depth and hopefully with illustrations or videos (closest thing I've found is bonsai masters pruning away). This is the advice from the link:

  • Cut the top off a tree once it reaches your preferred height. For appearance’s sake, the plant will probably benefit from some preparatory trimming … so get started!
  • To encourage branching, cut the chosen branch back. Keep one to three leaves: new buds will form at the base of the remaining foliage.
  • To keep the structure open, prune so that emerging branches grow outwards.
  • Trim crisscrossing branches and those that grow downwards or into the center.
  • Correct crooked branches by cutting them back to a section growing toward an imaginary center line.
  • To create a harmonious picture, trim branches so they grow closer together as they reach the top, as happens in nature.

Been nonstop reading articles and watching videos about bonsai, niwaki, arboriculture, etc. If you have any advice or know of any sources of info that could be helpful, I'd be very happy to hear any recomendations 🤗


I just pruned a few downward facing branches and leaves from near the trunk to be able to see better, here is the result:



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