Although I typically wait until May or June to start working on deciduous bonsai, there are a few jobs that I try to do sooner rather than later. One of these is removing unnecessary root sprouts. Root sprouts, or root suckers, are shoots that emerge directly from the roots. As you can see from the […]
Bonsai Development Series
The Bonsai Development Series is a group of posts describing techniques for creating quality pre-bonsai.
For an overview of the complete bonsai development process, see "How to grow bonsai from seed or cutting."
Not all sacrifice branches need to be big. Small sacrifice branches are a good way to thicken the trunk and close wounds on trees even when most of the branch work is complete. Here’s an example. Shohin black pine – 7″ (16″ with sacrifice branch) The tree above is fifteen years old from seed. I’d […]
The basic approach to developing material for bonsai is to first create the trunk and then focus on the branches. In between these two stages, it’s common to split the focus between the trunk and the branches. When focusing on the branches, the idea is to slow the tree down to produce fine growth. When […]
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 […]
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 […]