A common first step in creating redwood bonsai is to remove most (or all) of the branches.
Removing the branches makes it possible to develop new branches with short internodes, and with short internodes, we have much more flexibility with how dense the resulting tree can become.
For the tree to respond well to initial cutback, it needs to be healthy and have ample roots. I typically let redwoods grow freely for a year or two before cutback to make sure they’re strong enough to produce lots of new shoots.
The shohin-sized coast redwood below was growing well when I pruned it during a presentation for the Bonsai Society of San Francisco earlier this month. Here’s the tree before and after cutback.
I left a few branches long to help them thicken quickly. I’ll shorten them once they reach the desired thickness.
After wiring – 5″ tall
The process is the same for larger trees: keep branches you want to thicken and reduce the rest.
And here’s the tree after pruning and wiring the first two branches on the right.
After pruning and wiring
The next step will be to pinch the new growth at the desired internode length. I’ll say more about that in a future post.
Submission period for the Pacific Bonsai Expo closes this Saturday, April 30th!
Eric Schrader and I have been overwhelmed by the quality of submissions for this fall’s Expo. If you’re still thinking about submitting, you have until this Saturday at midnight!
Feel free to let either of us know if you have any questions about submitting. To learn more about the process, see the Call for Entries.
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