Basic Guide to Create Bonsai

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Prepare Your Plants For Bonsai Tree

Juniperus procumbens nana lends itself to all styles of bonsai. Do not accept only the manner in which the tree has been grown at the nursery. Wiring allows you to wire a trunk into one of the upright styles, or to create a trunk in cascade, semi-cascade, or windswept style.

Take the tree out of the pot by gently tapping the bottom of the pot and sliding the tree out with the root ball intact. To avoid root damage, do not pull the tree out. Turn the empty pot over and place the root ball on the upturned pot. This allows you to look into the heart of the material. Make sure that enough of the trunk at the base of the soil is exposed. This can be done by removing the soil around the trunk with tweezers or gently with your fingers.

bonsai preparation
Bonsai Preparation

Where is The Best View of Your Bonsai

Turn the tree to view it on all side, so you can determine which is the best view of first the front, then the sides, and finally the back. Continue turning your tree, looking for the best view of the trunk. That view is where the trunk looks the strongest and gives you a feel for the overall design of the tree. The best view of the trunk will become the tree’s front. Place a marker in the root ball to remind you where the front is.

Now that you have determined the tree’s front, clear out all debris within the tree. Remove dead and broken branches, crossing branches, and branches growing inward toward the trunk. Remember that all growth should flow out from the trunk. Cut out young, thin branches growing below what you have chosen as your lowest, heaviest branch. Remove the same kind of growth if it obscures the view of the trunk. Also remove anything growing straight down or straight up from the main branches. Eliminating these signs of youth will expose the older wood.

Continuing this pruning will reveal the clear, clean lines of your chosen design. With the size and design of your tree decided, now give your attention to potting the tree before the roots dry out. Keep the roots moist by wrapping them, but pot the tree as soon as possible.

Rake Down the Soil from Plant

The next step is to rake down the soil from around the trunk and all sides of the root system, with a rake, chopstick, or tweezers. Do this with a gentle raking action, not by pulling and tearing at the root system. More soil should be loosened from the bottom of the root ball than from the sides, as the root system must be shallow enough to fit into a bonsai container. When one-third to one-half of the old soil is removed and many roots are exposed, it is time to root prune. When pruning roots, use sharp scissors and make clean cuts. Do not tear the root.

Remove heavy roots, especially those with few fibrous feeding roots. Also remove any corkscrew or wiry roots that will not allow the root ball to sit flat in the bonsai container. The inner root ball, directly under the trunk, should be compact, with many loose, fine roots all around. When placed in the container, the root should gently spread out on all sides to receive the new soil. When potting your tree, always use fresh soil mix and be sure to discard the used soil.
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