In the last post we looked at the benefits of removing root sprouts on developing bonsai. We can take the same approach with water sprouts.
Water sprouts are shoots that emerge from the trunk and generally grow straight up. If we don’t plan to use these branches in the final design, it’s best to remove them as soon as we see them. This is especially true for water sprouts – or any branches – that emerge on the lower part of the trunk.
New shoots on the lower part of the trunk
After removing the lowest shoots
Letting branches grow on the lower part of the trunk is undesirable as it leads to scars when we remove these branches. Even when I’m creating small bonsai, I try to avoid using sacrifice branches that emerge below the lowest primary branches.
While working on the above quince, I noticed some of the wire I had applied in winter had started to cut in. A little cutting in is OK on young deciduous trees that are still developing, but too much will leave scars that disappear slowly, if at all.
Wire cutting into the bark
Wire scars left after removing the wire
Here’s what the tree looked like after removing the low shoots and thinning a branch or two higher up on the trunk.
Chinese quince after cleanup
I plan to revisit the tree in a month or two to wire new shoots and remove or reduce branches that aren’t contributing to the future design. In the meantime, I’ll be checking all of the young deciduous trees in the garden to remove any root sprouts, water sprouts, spent flowers, or wires that are cutting in.
Subscribe to Bonsai Tonight
New Posts Delivered Every Tuesday and Friday