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10 Bonsai Tips for American Moms

Most of the time, the first bonsai most people buy is chosen at random on an impulse buy, usually the most reasonably priced.  Most people also learn the hard way that it turned out to be not so inexpensive if it didn’t make it past its first month.

 

  1. Buy your first bonsai at a merchant who specializes in the cultivation of bonsai (a bonsai nursery). This way, you can be sure that the tree has received proper care before you become its owner.
  2. Understand that a tree is not necessarily a bonsai just because it is in a pot. If you buy a preformed bonsai, make sure it meets the quality criteria of a bonsai cultivation.
  3. The more perfect the bonsai, the more it will cost. Many consider bonsai to be works of art, and this is reflected in the price. It takes many years of careful culture to attain a mature bonsai, so don’t think you will get one for $10 or so.
  4. Look for healthy exposed roots and make sure the tree is well rooted in its pot. You should not be able to move the tree from side to side; the roots should hold it in place firmly. The roots system of a bonsai is very important.
  5. Make sure the trunk of the tree is tapered, wider at the bottom than at the top. The trunk should also not demonstrate too many scars. (Wires are used to shape the tree, but they should be used carefully so as not to ruin the asthetics.)
  6. Look for branches that are evenly distributed around the trunk. The largest branches should be on the bottom, decreasing in size the higher up they are. There should be few to no branches for the first third of the trunk.
  7. Make sure the foliage is dense and healthy looking. The foliage is generally a good indicator of the health of the tree.
  8. The older a bonsai is, the more expensive it will be. (The oldest bonsai in the world is about 600 years old and worth approximately half a million dollars.)
  9. The look of the pot must be consistent with the tree for best aesthetics. Generally, conifers are placed in terracotta pots and deciduous trees are put in glazed pots.
  10. Choose a species that suits your environment. Tropical species require a temperature above 60 ° F all year. However, they do not require a rest period during the winter and can therefore be easier to keep indoors in winter. Hardy and semi hardy species need a rest period each year so they can go dormant. For this, they need to be below 55 ° F for two months of the year.

Don’t expect your bonsai to survive for 600 years, but if you follow these tips and you will enjoy your bonsai for many years to come.

Did you know that people search can help you find anyone in the world. Try contacting any of the thousands of Bonsai enthusiasts and experts for tips, tricks or just sharing your hobby.

Beginner Bonsai – Juniper

A Juniper bonsai is one type of bonsai trees that is suitable for beginners because it is quite easy to be taken care of.

Their are many types of juniper that can be turned into bonsai, such as Shimpaku, Japanese Garden, Green Mound, Chinese Juniper, Sargents, and Needle. These trees are also adaptive as they can be placed outdoors or even indoors. This means that they are great for bringing a little greenery to a room where you might spend a lot of time reading, or spending some free time playing on websites like http://www.partycasino.com/. On the other hand, they can thrive just as well in an outdoor space, like a garden rockery. So you have plenty of options available to locate your Juniper and by following some basic rules in growing juniper bonsai, the plant will flourish without giving too many problems.

One of important characteristics of juniper bonsai is that it need a dormancy period. This period can be considered as hibernation or resting, which is required by the tree to revitalize during spring and summer.

Like other bonsai, proper watering is important for juniper bonsai. Although it prefers a dry period between each watering, you should never leave the plant dry for a long period of time as it will stress and kill it. The proper way to water the bonsai is to soak it in a tray full of water up to its trunk for five to ten minutes. Then you should allow the plant to drain properly because waterlogged soil can rot the roots of the bonsai.

On the other hand, if you use a tap water, you should repeat the process several times. You can water the juniper bonsai, wait for several minutes, and then start watering again. This repetition is to make sure that the soil and the bonsai has stored enough water to grow.

Maintain the right humidity is important for your juniper bonsai. To create the preferable environment, you can place the plant on top of tray filled with small stones and water. The stones prevent the pot to be soaked with water, while the water will evaporate and create humid environment around the plant. Another good strategy in this regard is to use moss on the trunk of the juniper bonsai. Moss will improve moisture retention and additionally it also gives a more natural look.

Sufficient amount of sunlight is another factor that you should pay attention at to take care of your juniper bonsai. Low intensity sunlight, such as in the early morning and late afternoon, is enough for the plant. If you put the juniper indoors, you can place it near a window to get the essential sunlight. Fluorescent lamps can be used as an alternative if there is no enough sunlight available. You need to expose the plant around twelve hours a day if you use this artificial light.

Every two weeks, you should fertilize the juniper bonsai so it will receive important nutrients. Organic fertilizer is the most suitable type for this purpose. Repotting the plant should be done once every year or two years. During this repotting, you should also prune the roots to keep the plant small and to reduce the pressure experienced by the roots as it is contained in a small pot.

 

Written by Cindy Heller


Feed that blooming bonsai!

florlion-(c)-ShutterstockThe proper soil and fertilization rates are imperative for a healthy bonsai. Typical bonsai soil is a fast draining loose mix of several compounds such as course sand, gravel, fired clay pellets, expanded shale, peat, and bark. Dependent upon your location the soil components may change or some extra components added such as in Japan the use of volcanic soils.

The harmonic mixture of organic and inorganic components set the base for the cultivation of your bonsai tree. The fast draining soil harmonizes with the bonsai containers made specifically for proper water drainage. The whole beginning process of acquiring the proper soil for your specific species of bonsai compliments the whole harmony effect achieved from a finished bonsai masterpiece.

Soils that contain little to no clay or native soil to the specific species of bonsai requires regular fertilization to overcome the soils lacking. Bonsai planted in non soil components definitely need nutrient elements added.

Plants fluctuate significantly in their reactions to soil nutrients that are programmed in their natural growth rates, the length of their growth periods, their ages, the types of root systems they have, and their ability to take in nutrients. Plants have broadly diverse growth rates and amplified nutrient intensities in the soil will not change natural growth rates. For an example, trees within the same species can have notably diverse nutrient needs and will respond in their own way to nutrient intensity in the soil.

Although one may think by increasing the intensity of fertilizer given to their bonsai will produce greater and more rapid growth rate, in reality it can have a complete negative effect and cause great distress to your bonsai. There comes a point when too much is just that, too much and the fertilizer begins to use the initial effect it was meant for and begins to cause more harm than good. Overdosing on fertilizer with your bonsai can result in a toxicity effect; make it more susceptible to disease, abnormal unbalanced growth, and nutrient imbalances.

Knowing and studying the specific species of bonsai you are working with is the first step in optimizing your fertilizer routine and save you from undue harm to your bonsai. Plant growths differ as well as the season s the plant displays the most growth and need for extra nutrients. Feeding fertilizer in doormat times or times of slow inherited growth is not only senseless but can be disastrous.

Depending on the maturity of your bonsai will also determine the amount of fertilizer it will require. Young bonsai will require more fertilizers than their slower growing mature counterparts. You cannot make a doormat tree begin growing by adding fertilizer. Absorption rates of nutrients by plant roots also vary dependent on several factors: salt levels in soil and high levels of other nutrients. Fertilizers specifically made for all sorts of varieties of bonsai are the best bet of any bonsai artist.

Practical Juniper

© Budi Setiawan - Fotolia.comClose your eyes and picture a typical Bonsai tree. You are probably visualizing a Juniper Bonsai. Juniper is one of the most popular Bonsai because it is very easy to grow and care for. Juniper Bonsai does very well both indoors and outdoors. In addition, it is a very forgiving plant as it will put up with a lot of abuse and still flourish.

Sunlight

Juniper Bonsai will do best in partial shade. They will do fine if they get morning or late afternoon sun but keep them out the harsh mid-day light

Humidity

Juniper Bonsai love humid conditions. Place your Juniper plant over a tray filled with water. Do not place the Juniper directly in the water but on a plant stand or pedestal placed in the water. For a “zen” look place smooth stones in the water.

Watering

Juniper Bonsai do need to be watered regularly. You want to test your soil daily. Simply stick your finger into the soil up to your first knuckle. If the soil is dry it is time to water. Usually this will be every 2 days or so. Do not use water that has been treated with a water softener. If your water is high in minerals leach the soil by flushing with distilled water once in a while.

There are 2 ways to water your Juniper. Immerse it in a water filled container up to the trunk and keep there until the bubbles stop. Or, water normally, wait a few minutes and then repeat. Do this 3 times to make sure your Bonsai has received a good soaking.

Feeding

Juniper Bonsai are quite hungry little guys and need to fertilized every 2 weeks during the growth season. It is best to use an organic liquid fertilizer like seaweed or fish emulsion. There are chemical fertilizers available for Bonsai but read the directions carefully. You may need to dilute this fertilizer to prevent the roots and plant foliage from burning.

Insects

Spider mites love Juniper Bonsai. This is especially true if your Bonsai is indoors due to the dry air. Spray your Bonsai and any other surrounding plants with a regular insecticide monthly.

Repotting

Repot your Juniper every few years when your tree is under 5 years old and ever 4 years or so after that age. The best time to repot is in the spring although fall is also acceptable. Repotting can shock your Bonsai so water well and keep the tree in the shade for 2 weeks.

Pruning Roots

It is best to prune your roots every other spring. Simply remove the tree from its pot. Gently remove the soil and spread out the rootball. I use a chopstick to smooth out the rootball on my younger Bonsai. Trim about 1/3rd of the roots and return to the pot. When you perform this step your Bonsai might go into shock at first. You can purchase some vitamin b-1 transplant shock solution and apply to you plant. Misting a few times a day for a couple of weeks will also help.

Pruning your Tree

During the spring buds will grow on the tips of the tree’s branches. These buds will need to be removed so tree limbs do not grow. Unless you actually want a limb to grow in the area of a new bud go ahead and remove them. This will not harm the tree but it will keep the tree shape you have worked so hard to accomplish.

Sleepy Time

Bonsai need to go through a dormant or sleep period where the temperature drops to at least 60 degrees F. If your tree is kept outside during this dormant time keep it well protected from the elements. Do not worry about freezing temperatures. Your Bonsai will survive.

Growing Indoors

Junipers can be grown indoors. Be sure they get at least 2 hours of sunlight a day. Usually indoor climates are very dry and Juniper Bonsai love humidity. Keep a humidity tray under your Bonsai and mist everyday. Do not place your plant near air conditioning or heating vents. You will also want to dust your tree regularly as indoor dirt and grim will clog up the pores of the your plant.

Conclusion

As you can see Juniper Bonsai are fairly easy to care for. However don’t just follow the above steps and believe you will have a perfect Juniper. Pay attention to your plant. You may find to achieve perfection you need to water less or expose your tree to more sunlight. Like you and your friends and family, every tree is different and responds in different ways to love and nurturing.

Did you know there are over 300 varieties of Bonsai to choose from? I’ve narrowed down my favorites to 15. Check out my Bonsai Tree Gallery and growing video collection to learn more about this fascinating hobby!

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Pruning Techniques

crab apple by walter pallWith the growing popularity of keeping bonsai and perfecting its art form over the past decade, many people may own or want to own a bonsai. Many people see beautiful pictures of bonsai that have been shaped and pruned into works of art. They themselves want to have a tree as magnificent in the photos so they buy a bonsai tree only to find out it takes special care.

Pruning Your Tree The Right Way

When it comes to caring for your tree and keeping it attractive, having the right knowledge in how to correctly prune and maintain its appearance can make all the difference. While some types of bonsai require more or less care there are some general guidelines that you can follow for all species.

  • Make sure to use flush cuts rather than concave when removing twigs and branches
  • Species such as the Jade Bonsai don’t require sealing when cut while most others do
  • Proper drainage of the soil is essential before removing large branches

Refining Your Bonsai Tree

Refining is the art of shaping the bonsai into the form that you want it to grow in. This is what the bonsai is famous for because of it’s ability to grow into different shapes and forms.

Removing the terminal bud is one of the best ways to stop a branches growth along with pinching buds and branches in key areas. Aluminum wire is the most common method used to refine bonsai because of it’s flexibility while still remaining strong. Aluminum wiring can be found at your local garden shop or hardware store and is relatively cheap. Smaller bonsai can be refined with wire down to 1mm thick while continuously increasing the thickness of the wire as the tree goes.

During the growth season a bonsai tree can grow quite quickly. Constant pruning and maintenance is required to keep things in order. During it’s smaller phases, bonsai may require pinching twice a week while larger trees can do just fine with pinching only once a week.

Bonsai Tree Pruning Tools

There are quite a few tools that master bonsai artists use to refine their trees. However, for the beginner only a few are required to make your life easier.

For most of those just getting into bonsai 2 tools are recommended when you start out. The concave pruner and the bud scissors.

Concave Pruner – The concave pruners unique shape and design allow you to cut the branches in a way that promotes proper healing of the wound.

Bud Scissors – The bud scissors are useful for trimming leaves, branches and buds. It’s design and shape allow you to efficiently and safely refine your tree without causing damage to adjacent areas.

As you grow your collection you are going to require more tools in order to fully develop and maintain your bonsai.

Wire Cutters – Essential for cutting the wire that is used to shape and refine the bonsai. Their small short blades safely remove wire that is already up against the bark and branches without harming the tree.

Root Hooks – Most people don’t realize that they also need to maintain the roots of the bonsai to keep it healthy. Root hooks allows for easy removal of tangled roots and soil.

Knob Cutter – While not always needed the knob cutter is used to remove protruding stubs. It can also be used to efficiently shape and contour the branch and trunk and while quickly removing unwanted wood.

It is said that caring for a bonsai can be a great stress reliever. People have been perfecting the art form for hundreds of years as tools and information is passed from generation to generation.

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