Pruning a Bonsai

Bonsai trees as discussed can be tiny, ranging in size from a few inches to two feet tall, but they can make a nice addition to any garden or outdoor setting.

If you want to grow these miniature trees yourself, you can purchase bonsai seedlings or you can also buy wood cuttings that can be transformed into a bonsai tree. Other tips for growing this type of tree include making sure it gets sufficient sunlight and humidity (You can place the bonsai pot in shallow water to ensure it gets adequate humidity), and only use potted bonsai soil.

To ensure success in growing bonsai trees, pruning these trees correctly is very important. First and foremost, make sure you are pruning them in the right season. You can do research or contact someone who specializes in bonsai to find out the appropriate season that you can prune your particular tree in. For deciduous types of bonsai trees, such as maples, prune by trimming unnecessary growth with scissor tips. When trimming outward, trim back the shoots but only to the point that is just after the following series of leaves. For the conifer types, such as Spruce, prune them by gently twisting the growth using your thumb and forefinger, while supporting the branch with your other hand.

When pruning, make sure you balance everything out, both above and below ground. This means if you do too much pruning of the leaves and branches, but you do too little or no cutting back of the roots (or vice versa), you will later on either have too much or too little growth as the bonsai tries to balance itself out. The roots should be no more than 30% ahead of the foliage.

Branches, such as those growing from the underside of the main branches, growing back sharply toward the trunk, or those that are crossing one another, should be removed. Extra branches growing on any weak area of the trunk should be left alone to allow more growth, so the particular area(s) can become sturdier. Another great tip is to cut approximately 60 to 80% of the larger-sized leaves in mid-summer, so all the leaves stay smaller throughout the year and will thus give off more noticeable and radiant colors in autumn (This is also known as leaf pruning, which can be used on both conifer and deciduous trees).

Also, remember to leave your bonsai with enough time to recover in between prunings and focus the majority of your attention on the trunk, which will give the illusion of a mature size and age.

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