Article by Richard Besson
The thought of pruning a Bonsai tree will make most new owners a little apprehensive. Don’t worry, pruning a Bonsai is really quite a simple process if you adhere to a few straight forward principles. Lets look at some of the fundamentals of pruning and help your Bonsai flourish.
The ObjectiveHalf the battle of pruning a Bonsai is knowing where to start. Most Bonsai trees are already a couple of years old before they are sold to the general public, and most will have a definite shape or silhouette. Before you start the process of pruning, it is always a good idea to step back and take a good look at your tree from various angles. The art of Bonsai is to mimic nature in miniature, so prune accordingly, following the natural silhouette of your tree.
Pruning FoliageWhen pruning the foliage on your tree always use good quality Bonsai secateurs, a clean cut is necessary to minimize damage and infection. New shoots will have a tendency to grow out or up, and will be clearly visible outside the silhouette of your tree, remove these shoots so your plant retains its shape. Try and keep any new growth simple and defined, with Bonsai, less is more. Removing excessive leaf growth can be done by pinching the leaves off with your fingers. A good tip is to look at some expertly grown Bonsai trees, Bonsai nurseries or good quality pictures are good reference points. A great deal can be learned from good observation.
Pruning RootsAnother important part of pruning a Bonsai is pruning the roots. This is generally done once every couple of years or when repotting your plant. The roots are the most important part of your tree, supplying vital nutrients and water, and although not done very often, pruning them is an essential part of keeping your Bonsai healthy. After removing your tree from its pot, gently rake away the majority of the soil to expose the roots. Carefully prune roughly 25% of the roots, including some of the larger ones. Pruning the roots will encourage vitality and new growth in your tree. Once done, repot your tree using a good quality Bonsai soil.
About the Author
Training your tree to grow to a specific shape, repotting and all the finer points of Bonsai care are all things that can be gone into in great detail, but these pruning guidelines will keep your Bonsai tree in all round good health. At Caring For A Bonsai Tree you will find more tips on keeping your tree healthy, and a more in depth guide to the art of Bonsai care.
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