Common Name: Vad, shop Barh, patient Banyan [L: Ficus Benghalensis]
Source: collected material
Broom Style (Broom/clump)
This is a Vad I collected from an abandoned factory in the Dombivali MIDC where it was growing in a boggy place stagnant with waterlogged slush. It came off easily from the ground and had sufficient roots. But although it had a thick trunk, site due to its being spotted near to a wall, all its branches had started from almost one point and had grown straight up for about 4 ft. in length. However, as the tree had an abundance of roots, I reduced its tap-root and potted it up directly in a large flat cement pot with ample room for root growth. For the first 2 years I kept on feeding it with nitrogenous fertilizer; feeding was not reduced even in winter except that the thrust shifted to less nitrogen and more phosphates & potassium. This ensured that the plant stored up enough energy to respond to the plan I had in mind.
Of course, I could have straight away reduced its height but I did not want to risk losing such a thick trunked material by being hasty. But after about 3 years feeding, I figured that the plant was healthy enough to embark upon my plan; I started bringing down its height in stages. Every spring one month after commencement of the nitrogen feeding regime, I would shorten the height of the branches by about 1 foot slanting the cut inwards. This worked quite well and within 3 years I reduced its height to just less than one and a half feet which ideally suited the girth of its trunk. All branches were also re-grown from scratch and developed well.
If we compare the 2 photos the difference in height and development will be obvious. The girth of the trunk looked thicker and more mature due to the apparent shortening of its height over a period of time. The hollow trunk is a legacy of its life in the wall from where I had collected it. The shortening process too left its mark in the form of split trunk ends which look quite natural after formation of partial callus. During the course of the first five years of its training I had not wired the branches but after the reduction of its height the new branches were wired time and again and in the last couple of years, they have been also turned left and right introducing slight curves in order to induce some sub branching. During the monsoons of 2011 I plan to feed it heavily once again with pure nitrogen fertilizer. That should make its next photograph more interesting.
All in all a nice Vad that I like very much, although I would have been happier with a little more leaf-size reduction.