Here’s a six year-old pine with a large sacrifice branch.
Six year-old black pine
It’s great that the sacrifice branch has grown this much, but it’s getting big relative to the future trunkline.
If I had reduced the sacrifice branch a year or two ago, it would have grown less but the future trunk would be thicker. To help the future trunk gain strength, I’ll reduce the foliage on the sacrifice branch.
Upper section of the sacrifice branch
After reducing the upper section of the sacrifice branch
Lateral section of sacrifice branch
After reducing lateral branch
After making just a few cuts, the tree is now much smaller.
I’ll remove the rest of the sacrifice branch after letting the new trunk thicken for a year. In the meantime, the only work will be to rewire the new trunk to make sure it has the right shape before it continues to thicken.
Registration Now Open for ABS/HBS Bonsai on the Bayou
The Houston Bonsai Society and American Bonsai Society are co-hosting Bonsai on the Bayou next April in Houston, Texas. The event will run from Thursday, April 11th, through Sunday, April 14th, at the Marriott Westchase hotel. The event will feature an exhibit, workshops, vendors area, raffles, live and silent auctions, and demonstrations from headliners Ryan Neil, Boon Manakitivipart, and Enrique Castaño de la Serna.
I’ll be vending at the event and leading a workshop on shohin red pine bonsai. Learn more about the event and register online here.
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Good day Jonas, another great post. Have to say that I your patience is being installed in my brain more than ever. Personally I think that is one of the best attributes I have learned from you. Yes, there are many more, but patience will only lead to a much better Bonsai down the road.
Jonas Dupuich says
Jeroen M says
I don’t understand why you did a partial reduction.
Wouldn’t it be equally good (and easier) to keep the sacrifice branch and to completely remove it somewhere next summer? That way the trunk can thicken a bit faster and if you cut the sacrifice branch in summer it will heal over faster. Or am I missing something? (I’m quite new to bonsai)
Jonas Dupuich says
Good question Jeroen – I don’t like completely removing the sacrifice branch when the main trunk is so slender. Waiting to remove the sacrifice branch will make it easier to heal the wound left behind by the sacrifice branch and prevent the branches I want to keep from becoming too strong. This approach is slower but offers more control over the growth I want to work with in the future. It’s also less of a shock to the tree.
Jim Irvine says
I’m very new to bonsai (2 years or so) and I’m always amazed at how little I know. The idea of using the largest branch as the sacrifice had never entered my mind. But it makes so much sense. Thank you.