I’ve set a simple goal for a group of cutting-grown plums: avoid straight growth. The idea is to produce trunks with undulating movement. Each year these plums produce new shoots in spring. I typically wire these shoots in summer and then shorten them in fall. If I find anything straight, I shorten it or wire […]
Bonsai Development Series
The Bonsai Development Series is a group of posts describing techniques for creating quality pre-bonsai or bonsai stock.
I’d like to say that every pine I start from seed grows into a winner, but that isn’t the case. To avoid investing time in trees with flaws that are difficult to correct, I periodically evaluate all of my bonsai and cull out any that don’t make the cut. Doing this frees up time in […]
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. Sacrifice branch Future trunk If I had reduced the sacrifice branch a year or two ago, it would have grown less but […]
For my young trees in development, I tend to focus on a single question during the growing season: do I prune now or wait until fall? Chinese quince – four years old from seed The goal at this stage is to develop the trunk as fast as possible. Because the sacrifice branches are well-positioned, I’ll […]
When developing material for bonsai, it’s best to avoid creating straight trunks and branches. Many varieties, however, naturally produce straight growth. This gives us two options: cut or wire. Cutting is often preferable to wiring as cuts can be used to create taper and angular movement. Wiring has its place too as it’s a quick […]