Sunday, December 30, 2007
Bonsai pruning and stylingIf you think that sounds like something a hairstylist might say to you, you’re not far wrong. All bonsai trees must be pruned during their growth cycle if they are not to lose their shape. The simplest way to develop a good bonsai is to start with a tree that has an excellent shape (also called its style) and simply (ha!) maintain that. If you’ve been given a tree, of course, it may not be particularly well-shaped, in which case you’re going to have to get in there and be ruthless.
A tree needs to be strong and healthy before you begin pruning, working on a weak tree can actually harm it, and a tree that is dormant won’t respond to the pruning until it comes back to growth, so you won’t be able to see whether it’s growing the way you want. Look for new stems that are getting longer, leaves that are slightly lighter than the old growth and some evidence of new buds developing.
Select the front of the tree, in other words, the viewing angle which shows the trunk to best effect. This is the angle you’ll show it from, so although you prune all the way round, you should constantly come back to this view to check how the tree looks.
Prune to leave at least two buds on each branch at the top of the tree and 4-6 buds on the lower branches. Your aim is to control growth and maintain style.
So what is style?
The basic rule is that style removes unattractive growth. This means branches are selected so that they grow out from all sides of the trunk without being overshadowed by a higher branch. Branches should also be appropriate in length to the height of the tree and elegant when bearing blossom or berries (so downward drooping branches should not be so low they let the berries touch the soil, for example.
The All Seasons Gardener at 5:48 AM
- Bonsai bonanza ...
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