Well in this article I will show you various aspects of pruning a bonsai. We would need to master pruning techiques in order to give a beautiful shape to our bonsai trees.
There are basically two aspects of pruning namely branch pruning and root pruning.
Branch pruning is the activity of cutting down leaves, branches of the bonsai in order to give them the desired shape.
Root pruning involves cutting down excessive root growth of the bonsai plant.
Branch Bonsai Pruning
It is very important to understand as to what to cut while carrying out the branch pruning exercise. Here is a list of guidelines you could use to carry out your branch pruning exercise.
Cut down the branches that are cluttered and are disfiguring the bonsai plant. Branches can be removed for giving shape to your bonsai plant as well as to promote new growth.
Leaf pruning should be carried out to remove foliage off the plant in order to give it a proper shape. Ensure that you remove all the dead and damaged leaves.
For deciduous plants with larger leaves you might consider trimming down the size of the leaves to make it smaller.
You could either remove all the leaves in one session or do it in three to four sessions spaced in an interval of couple of weeks.
Finger pruning is also popular for coniferous trees. The main difference is that you would use your own fingers to prune the bonsai plant instead of using tools like scissors. The main reason for using finger pruning is that using tools generally make cut marks in the leaves and branches. This disfigures the bonsai plant.
Bonsai Roots Pruning
Root pruning is of paramount importance in bonsai maintenance. It ensures that the bonsai grows in the restricted area of the pot, and yet looks like a full grown outdoor tree.
The general question that comes to people’s mind is how often should I root prune my plant?
Well to answer this question you would need to have the following things in mind
Bonsai Species Certain species grow pretty fast and there for require comparatively more pruning to be done.
Container Size You would need to do less frequent root pruning if the size of the pot is large, but the downside is, it would then become difficult for you to control the growth of the bonsai plant.
Climatic Conditions This affects the growth of the plant and there by will also decide the frequency of pruning to be done.
Generally lack of growth and loss of vigor in the bonsai plant can be considered as a precursor for carrying out the root pruning exercise.
Root pruning should generally be carried out during the dormant season of the plant so as to minimize the stress on the bonsai tree.
For plants which grow well in moderate climates you should consider root pruning during the early spring season or during late spring. Bonsai species which do well in tropical climate should be root pruned during the period of slow growth.
Just as word of caution: bonsai pruning has far reaching effects on the general well being of the bonsai plant so if not done properly; you could end up doing more harm than good to your tree. Hence do ensure that you understand the pros and cons thoroughly while carrying out bonsai pruning.