by Jerry Meislik
This Ficus benjamina was created from a tall interior landscape tree. It was chopped back to a bare trunk without branches or leaves. For more about this tree you can click here.
The lowest right branch died off some years back and fortunately a very tiny new branch appeared at nearly the same point as the dead one. In order to get that branch to the right thickness and maturity it required lots of growth on the branch while keeping other branches on the tree clipped back to allow the new branch to "catch up".
The photo shows allowing the branch to grow much longer than all the others and then cutting it back to the proper length once the branch diameter is improved. This is a long term process but it can ultimately result in the proper branch dimensions and overall desired design to be achieved.
A second technique is periodic defoliation of the tree but leaving the weak branch to grow and gather strength and thickness. See last photo.
Ficus with weak branch - bottom right, 2000
Ficus defoliated except for weak branch, 2001
Ficus with wildly growing long branch, 2011
Ficus with weak branch nearly completed, 2011