Article by Peter Meredith
USE THE RIGHT TOOLS FOR THE JOB!
My Dad always says; “The difference between doing a job as a professional and a job as an amateur, is using the right tools!”
This is certainly true when it comes to bonsai, so investing a little on the essential bonsai tools will allow you to get a much better result when pruning and shaping your bonsai.
Using poor quality tools as general scissors or household secateurs can damage and permanently scar your tree, or worse.
Tools should be kept sharp to make clean cuts and not compress the bark when removing branches etc, and tools should be regularly cleaned and sterilized to avoid transferring disease from tree to tree.
Although there are many tools available in a variety of sizes and quality. When it comes to bonsai tools I think you get what you pay for. Spending a little more for better quality tools will usually guarantee longer lasting, reliable tools.ESSENTIAL BONSAI TOOLSBelow I have outlined the essential bonsai tools I think you need to get you started with your first few trees at least.
CONCAVE OR BRANCH CUTTERSUsed for removing branches of the tree and leaves a concave cut, (an inward curve) which will allow the scar to heal flush (level) with the rest of the bark, rather than leaving a stub which will heal over leaving a lump or unsightly scar.
PRUNING SCISSORSUsed for pruning foliage and small branches. Trying to remove heavier branches may cause then to bend out of shape, so use your branch cutters whenever possible.
WIRE CUTTERSUsed for cutting wire to length as well as for removing wire from your tree once the limb has set, or before wire begins to cut into your tree. Trying to unwind the wire from a branch may cause damage to the bark or breaking of the branch so cutting the wire off with wire cutters is a much safer option. ROOT RAKEThe root rake is used to gently rake out the soil and tease out the roots before root pruning, or potting into you bonsai container.
CHOP STICKUse your chopstick to gently push soil in and around the roots of your newly potted bonsai, to remove any air pockets around the roots.
Although you can spend a small fortune on lots of bright shiny tools available on the market, buying only the essential bonsai tools is probably best for a beginner.
Each tools has a specific purpose and not using the right tool for the job can sometimes be detrimental to your bonsai and or the tool you use as a substitute, in the way of damage to you tree or bending and blunting of your expensive tools.
Using the essential bonsai tools on hand makes the job of pruning, shaping and re-potting a lot less stressful and can even speed up the job, especially if you have a big collection.
So do the job as a professional, not an amateur with the right tools for the job.
About the Author
Peter Meredith writes articles and blogs on all things bonsai!
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