Bonsai Tonight

Making a big cut

Posted in Bonsai Development, Styling by Jonas Dupuich on December 24, 2013

While maintenance work like minor cutback or wiring can make a tree shine, it’s the larger cuts that really speed along development. Of course, we don’t always enter workshops expecting to make these big cuts. Such was the case for a tree that showed up to last weekend’s Bay Island Bonsai workshop. After selecting a new front and repotting the pine below, it became clear to the tree’s owner that the first branch on the left was too low and too heavy.

Before removing branch

Black pine

The longer one spends developing a branch, the harder it can be to remove it as the effort required to re-grow it is not lost on us. As these and other thoughts passed through Eric’s mind, the cutters came out and the branch came off.

Removing the first branch

Making the cut

Branch removed

That was easy

Branch removed

Branch removed

Lightening up the first branch made a great difference that will really show the next time the tree is wired and decandled. And I don’t expect this will be far off as the tree is healthy. Here are some shots from the repotting.

A healthy tree

New roots growing in December


Where do they end?

After trimming roots

After removing the extraneous roots

It took that much work just to get to the soil from which the roots emerged – a super sign of a happy tree.

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8 Responses

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  1. Daniel Dolan said, on December 24, 2013 at 5:45 am


    What is the estimated time since last repotting?

    Best regards,

    Daniel Dolan

  2. Merilee said, on December 24, 2013 at 6:58 am

    How very interesting to see what the roots look like! I’m inspired to try bonsai..

  3. Jonas Dupuich said, on December 24, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Hi Daniel – I don’t know, but it looks like at least two years.

  4. Adam Lyons said, on December 24, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Reblogged this on Lyons Bonsai.

  5. Gerald said, on December 24, 2013 at 10:35 am

    Do you recommend repotting in December?

  6. Jonas Dupuich said, on December 24, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Hi Gerald – I most recommend late winter/early spring for repotting, but as winter is mild where I live, I find I can repot through most of winter. I’m more likely to repot conifers, and especially pines, at this time of year because the roots are active. I try to repot deciduous trees right as the roots become active, usually late January into March, depending on the variety.

  7. marcus watts said, on December 24, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    strange bit to cut off – now bottom left foliage and bottom right are totally level with each other….i was sure it was the top coming off, that is the bit making the tree look a bit odd . Great root growth.

  8. Janet Nelson said, on December 29, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Looks better now, whew!

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