I’ve been working on the black pine below for twenty years. Every year, near the end of May or the beginning of June, I remove the spring growth and reduce the number of old needles. Japanese black pine I typically begin the work by removing the spring shoots (decandling) before reducing the number needles on […]
Bonsai Development posts form the heart of Bonsai Tonight. Learn about varieties like Black Pine, Shimpaku and Japanese Maple, techniques like Decandling and Grafting and Air Layering, and bonsai features like Deadwood.
After fifteen years of branch development, my Korean hornbeam has slowed down considerably. When I started working on the branches, I’d often see new shoots with ten-to-twenty new leaves all over the tree. Now I can expect between two-to-five new leaves on all but the strongest branches. Korean hornbeam This slowed growth rate simplifies spring […]
The pine below, grown from seed by Eric Schrader, is in the early stages of branch development. The major sacrifice branch came off a couple of years ago, and the tree has been decandled at least one or two times before. Japanese black pine – 13 years from seed Lower trunk (tachiagari) and surface root […]
A common approach to developing bonsai from scratch is to focus on trunk development first and branch refinement second. When we focus on developing the trunk, we generally encourage rapid growth until the trunk reaches the desired size. Much slower growth is useful when focusing on branch ramification. Between these two stages of development is […]
Spring is a good time for managing vigor on deciduous species. We can fully defoliate our strongest trees, and partially defoliate less vigorous bonsai. An alternative to defoliation for species with larger leaves is leaf pruning. Leaf pruning works best when you want more light to reach the tree’s interior but you don’t want to […]