BONSA~10 Aftercare and development of Bonsai



While understanding the fact we need to water, feed and repot from time to time, the most important aspect of Bonsai and Penjing care is the maintenance or ongoing after care.

  1. Wiring a tree and unwiring is a regular event and takes place in most species once a year and sometimes twice in warmer countries with different and fast growing species.
  2. Checking wires to ensure that it is not biting onto the structure is an ongoing and daily chore.
  3. Cutting the wire off stage by stage is necessary-usually from the strongest parts first such as apex, tips of branches etc.
  4. A regime of correct feeding will need to take place to make sure that the tree is healthy.
  5. Checking for insects is an ongoing and daily part of the cycle which will include a soil drench to combat sub surface pests.
  6. Turning the tree around every week to make sure that equal growth is happening.
  7. Removing moss from lower trunk area and nebari-surface roots. Both to stop dampness on the bark and insects being harboured in that area.
  8. Weed removal is also a weekly chore and this is important to increase the amount of food available to the tree rather than the weeds.
  9. Placement through the year to either gain light or reduce light such as in mid summer days when the trees may need some shade.
  10. Constant pruning of tops unless growing onto a shape. Tip pruning is to encourage new twigs and so increase ramification or twig structure development.
  11. Taking photographs twice a year, in leaf and out of leaf if a deciduous tree. This is to let you see the development of the tree.
  12. Protection in cooler climates over winter or on high elevations on cooler climates throughout the year where frost can hit any time in the year.

Article written by Craig Coussins and from his fourth book, Bonsai Masterclass-available from Amazon.

Craig Coussins  designs a Hinoki Cypress

It does not matter what the tree is that you design but this example shows the potential of a basic garden plant into a Bonsai.

Hinoki Cypress-Chamaecyparis obtusa. This was  designed at the Mid Atlantic Bonsai Societies. The bush was grown as a garden plant but was purchased to make a Bonsai. I spent the previous day preparing the tree, wiring all the branches etc, which left me time to explain what I was doing and how I was to do it. I believe that many potentially good Bonsai are lost when not enough effort is put into the demonstration. When I am privileged to be invited for a major event I insist on getting the previous day to prep large material and take the time to study it. Its not about showing off and making a bonsai suddenly appear in an hour. Its about creating art and making sure that it stays alive at the end of it. Perhaps entertaining my audience as well. Cant do those if I am not sure what I want to do with the material. I enjoy finding the tree in the wood!




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