Basics to Training your Bonsai Tree
In recent years, it has become more and more common to find Bonsai trees decorating homes, gardens and offices. These tiny trees make a wonderful therapeutic hobby and people are increasingly interested in the art of bonsai.
Getting your miniature tree that authentic bonsai tree look does take some time and mending, but with a few small tricks you’ll be able to shape your tree to a perfect bonsai.
Pruning has an essential role in shaping your Bonsai tree and allowing it to grow strong and healthy. The pruning process involves removing small, weak and older leaves to help the tree produce larger and healthier vegetation. Every plant grows with its leaves aiming for the top, where they can get the most sunlight. When regularly pruning your tree, you essentially manipulate it making sure the leaves will grow strong, healthy and in the direction you shaped it to.
Wire manipulation is important for shaping your tree and getting the desired bonsai look. It involves bending the branches with an anodized aluminium or annealed copper wire (to be able to shape and mold the metal wire as you desire). Wire thickness should be anywhere between 1mm to 4mm. The thicker the wire is the stronger it will hold the branch in its new shape. The thicker the branch is, the thicker the wire should be.
Start by picturing how you want your Bonsai tree to look. Then start by wiring the trunk (spiral moves) and move up to the main branches. Then continue wiring the thinner inferior branches. There is no 1 right way to shape or wire your tree as long as you don’t bend it too hard or harm it.
Once you wired all parts of the tree start by slowly and gently shaping it, making sure not to split or damage the tree. When done, it’s recommended to add another wire for stronger hold of the shape.
Once the primary taproot appears and is visible, it’s recommended to start pruning the tertiary roots (these are the smallest roots that grows from the primary root). You should be careful when cutting the thinner roots and not harm your primary taproot as it might damage the tree and kill it. You should wait until the root looks thick and healthy enough and then perform this step.
Re-potting can be a bit dirty, so make sure you prepare your workspace. To remove your plant from the pot, place your hand over the soil and turn it upside down, gently supporting the root of the tree by spreading your fingers out so that the trunk is between them. Using your other hand, gently press on the sides of the pot and pat on the bottom to loosen up the dirt. Your Bonsai tree should easily slide out with the root ball attached. DO NOT yank or pull at the trunk as it could damage the taproot. Place some soil inside your new empty pot and place your Bonsai tree in it. Add soil as needed to cover the space in the new pot.
Rejuvenating a damaged or weak Bonsai tree
If you have taken all the steps to prune, wire and replant your Bonsai tree and you see the tree may look weak, you might need to go back and check the basics.
Check that you are providing it with enough water and sunlight. Add nutrients to the soil, fertilizers as needed.
Check out our Blog for more posts on signs of a sick plant and how to mend to a weak or sick tree.