A sacrifice branch is any branch that assists in the development of a tree, but will not be part of the final design. Sacrifice branches are most commonly used to thicken the trunk. When the trunk reaches the desired size, the branch is removed. Some bonsai are developed with one sacrifice branch at a time. […]
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.
One of the top goals of developing black pine bonsai is to encourage balanced growth. Because pines are apically dominant, they naturally produce strong growth near the apex and at the tips of branches. We expect to see smaller shoots on the lower branches and in the tree’s interior. Refined pine bonsai can produce shoots […]
The last two posts featured shohin black pines that were strong enough to decandle (see post one and post two for details). Here’s what to do when the lower branches are weak. The new growth on the lower branches looks good on the tree below, but the shoots are short and the buds are small […]
The pine below is getting close to its final shape. Japanese black pine – 15 years old from seed As you can see from the photo, there is a large gap in vigor between the sacrifice branch and the lower branches. After decandling and thinning needles on the lower branches – standard work for pines […]
Decandling time is a good opportunity to balance vigor between sacrifice branches and the rest of the tree. This is especially true for pines nearing the end of the development phase. Last year I let the sacrifice branches grow on several pines while decandling the lower branches. As a result, the sacrifice branches became overly […]