Bonsai Tree Pruning
So we have covered what needs to pruned and why on your bonsai in a general sense. Lets have a look at what we are doing to the bonsai top when we prune it.
There are essentially two main reasons for pruning your Japanese bonsai, these are very closely related.
1) What you can call structural pruning
2) Also shaping and maintenance
By structural pruning we mean cutting the stock down, the trunk of the bonsai to make it shorter, and removing branches to give us the basic shape we desire for our little bonsai tree.
The other reason is general shaping and maintenance of the Japanese bonsai to give the required look that we are after.
The tools you use for this pruning can be normal garden tools and household scissors, especially for the beginner as this keeps the cost down. It is however more advisable to use dedicated bonsai tools as they are sized and shaped to perform any pruning by creating the least amount of damage and leaving the bonsai with the correct shape and minimal scaring.
For structural pruning if you are growing you own Bonsai you will need to select your bonsai plant and cut the trunk down to the required dimensions. The actual size depends on the variety, in the case of the Japanese maple bonsai you need a trunk about 4” diameter at the base. When you remove branches be sure to use a sealant to help the bonsai recover this serves two purposes.
- Helps heal the bonsai and reduce scaring
- Prevents disease entering the plant
Look out for new buds growing around any removed branches and just rub these off. Unless one is a new branch growing in a position you desire.
After pruning it best to feed your bonsai tree to make sure it recovers as quick as possible.
The shaping of your bonsai tree is usually related to the formal Japanese Bonsai style you are trying to achieve. But if you are not following a formal style you can shape your tree as you please. A good tip is to remove the growth from the inside of branches and trunk this helps achieve the defined shape of the classic Japanese bonsai tree.
Your bonsai will need pruning during the growing season to remove new growth and buds etc that detract from the profile you are trying to achieve.
The shaping of bonsai trees is not a quick process and can take years from start to finish, a bonsai tree can be left to grow for ten years without the shaping even beginning. When it is shaped it will still need maintenance, however the rewards of having the perfect natural looking bonsai tree can be very satisfying.