Tag Archives: pruning

The Art of Creative Pruning

Decorative tree pruning brings innovation and artistry to gardens. It has something for all tastes, including sophisticated sculptural trees, modernist bumpy hedges, boxwood balls and lollipops.

Author Jake Hobson outlines an approach to topiary that is more creative than traditional and positively encourages out-of-the box thinking. Instead of peacocks and rabbits, you will see boxwood shaped to reveal Russian dolls, trees snipped to resemble the top tiers of a wedding cake, and hedges carved with graffiti. All the practical considerations are here as well, including pruning to improve a view, remedial pruning to fix problems, and pruning fruit trees to increase yield.

Nothing brings a touch of artistry to the garden like ornamental pruning, and a series of deliberate cuts can create landscapes and evoke faraway places. All that’s needed to recreate the effect in the garden are a sharp pair of pruners, some imagination, and the instruction found in The Art of Creative Pruning. Drawing on both eastern and western styles, author Jake Hobson moves beyond the traditional, and teaches a whole new approach to ornamental pruning which will appeal to modern sensibilities.

Complete with spectacular photographs and well-illustrated step-by-step projects, this book will have everyone reaching for their secateurs!

Jake Hobson worked in a traditional Japanese nursery in the outskirts of Osaka, Japan, after completing a degree in Sculpture at London’s Slade School of Fine Arts. A keen observer of the artistry of gardens, Jake now runs his own pruning equipment and consultancy business, and experiments with mixing pruning styles from the East and the West.

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The Art of Creative Pruning

Inventive Ideas for Training and Shaping Trees and Shrubs

By Jake Hobson

ISBN: 978-1-60469-114-6

Published: November 2011, £25

Published by: Timber Press

Website: Timberpress.com

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April Bonsai Update

favourite_treeThe April newsletter was just sent to all subscribers, aptly named ‘April showers, no snow please’ after the the snow showers we had over the past few days. It should disappear by morn!

In this months newsletter we are offering two competitions, one for members offering a selection of Bonsai books and meditation CD’s from Damascus Acoustic Meditations. For non-members we have a great prize if you are a collector of Bonsai books and that is a specially signed copy of one Craig Cousins Bonsai books. To enter see competition page for more details.

Other news:

A prominent Irish Bonsai collector passed away last September and I have been asked by his family to sell off his collection of over 200 trees. The range of trees is mainly outdoor trees, including a selection of Yamadori. More details to follow in the May newsletter.

Bonsai Activities for April:

Your main focus of activity for April is trimming. As spring has finally started the growth on your Bonsai tree will become elongated and out of form from your preferred design. Trim back the leaf growth and remove unwanted suckers from the base of the tree. The following video will show some pruning techniques as well as showing you how to create a Bonsai from nursery stock.

The subject tree is a Juniper. For more information on Juniper for beginners see the following post.

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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