Bonsai Tonight

Big cut – crape myrtle

Posted in Bonsai Development by Jonas Dupuich on August 2, 2011

Greg recently brought a crape myrtle to a Bay Island Bonsai workshop. The tree has a large trunk and good roots. It also has a big first branch. Boon recommended removing it.

Crape myrtle - front

Crape myrtle – front

Right side

Crape myrtle – left side

Left side

Crape myrtle – right side

Because the branch was so large, Boon recommended making the cut in stages. Greg could cut most of the way through today, and complete the cut next year.


Proposed cut – left side


Proposed cut – right side

Removing the branch in stages speeds the time it takes for the wound to heal over. It’s also less stressful for the tree.

Making the cut

Making the cut with a sharp saw

The cut

Cut complete

After making the cut, Greg cleaned the edges of the cut with a grafting knife. Even sharp saws tend to leave rough edges. Cleaning the cut with a grafting knife will help the wound to heal quickly.

Cleaning the cut

Cleaning the cut

After cleaning the cut, Greg covered the wound with cut paste. In one or two years, the cut will have healed significantly and the rest of the branch can be removed.

I first learned about this technique in Japan at Ebihara’s garden. Here is a photo of a Japanese maple undergoing a similar treatment.

Removing large branch

Healing a large wound on a Japanese maple

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6 Responses

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  1. Maros said, on August 2, 2011 at 8:43 am

    Fantastic technique. If it works well than it can help a lot, I will try it definitely myself. Good post. Thanks.

  2. Justin Rotert said, on August 2, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    YES! BRILLIANT! Great technique, I will most surely remember to use it. thanks

  3. bonsaijapan said, on August 2, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Very interesting technique. Thanks for posting it.


  4. Jose Luis said, on August 5, 2011 at 5:37 am


    First, let me congratulate you on your beautiful site. I always enjoy your posts. Another way of removing a large branch is using toriki (air layering). Although one might discard the useless branch, because toriki creates a callus on both ends of the removed bark ring, once the branch is removed you will have a mature callus on the cut. In Taiwan, we usually use this to remove unsightly growth on celtis, keyaki, elm, ficus and other miscellaneous trees.

    Warm regards,

    Jose Luis

  5. xwires said, on August 5, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Hi Jose – thanks so much for the note. Layering is a good option for removing these larger branches. Ebihara has used a combination of these techniques by removing large branches over several years while re-purposing the ends of the branches with his branch grafting technique:

  6. Cheryl Sykora said, on August 13, 2011 at 3:56 am

    Jonas, your site and Peter’s site are the most interesting bonsai sites on the internet.

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