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Bonsai Pruning -  How To Groom And Shape Your Tree


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Pruning is the removal or reduction of parts of a plant, tree, or vine that are not required for growth or production...
Basic bonsai care is mainly about grooming, shaping, and pruning your miniature tree. Of course, the ultimate look of your bonsai is totally up to you, but the need to prune your bonsai should be taken into consideration no matter what shape you seek. For an in depth look at bonsai pruning, a book on bonsai methods is recommended, but we can touch on some bonsai pruning basics here as well.

The key to bonsai pruning is maintaining balance:  Prune the roots at the same time you prune the branches. One end should not be heavier than the other. A top heavy bonsai can strain the roots. At the other extreme, less up top can can fool the roots into supplying less nutrients than are actually needed. Suffice it to say, you will encounter problems, if there is too little or too much foliage in relation to the roots. It is best to prune them both at the same time.

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The first step to bonsai pruning is to start with the branches. This results will guide you on how much of the roots to prune. Get rid of any branches that are not necessary to your design. For if you do not need them, why keep them? If it is not going to flow with the design that you are attempting, get rid of it.

The next step would be to prune in a way to promote desired growth. What does that mean, you ask? Pruning one area will often promote growth in another area; if your design calls for growth elsewhere, prune an area that will spark that growth. This may take some trial and error and a more subtle understanding of the species you are working with, but you will learn this technique and be delighted with it. Finally, using some finger or leaf pruning will complete the pruning project. This is merely the process of using your forefinger and thumb to twist and remove the unwanted growth one leaf at a time.

How do you know which branches to prune? The obvious branches to remove are the ones that are not going anywhere in your overall design. Next would be to remove the ones that cross the trunk, these are usually useless in most designs. Then get rid of the growth that comes towards you - these branches are considered distracting. Once you have pruned what you think is enough, let the plant sit for a few days and then come back and decide if you need to do any further bonsai pruning.

Finally, prune back the roots to match the general amount of banches you removed.

Bonsai pruning is not a hard task and should not be approached as such. It is all about what you want and your vision, so you cannot go wrong. Prune the unwanted and unnecessary branches and all will be well!


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