One of the most interesting and inspiring parts of growing a bonsai tree is the trimming and pruning stage – this is when you see your tree design starting to take shape!
Of course, the whole point of growing a beautiful bonsai is so you can personalize it and make it exactly how you want, and pruning and trimming are the techniques you need to learn to create the appearance you desire.
Summer and spring are the two best times for trimming and pruning your bonsai tree, because these are the main growing seasons, and therefore you can much more effectively shape your tree during this time, compared to winter, when growth is slower.
The whole point of trimming your bonsai tree is to decrease how bushy the tree becomes, and therefore you are stopping it from turning into a regular tree. Remember, bonsai trees aren’t grown from special seeds for bonsai, they are regular trees which are trained and manipulated.
If you fail to trim and prune your bonsai effectively, it is going to lose its shape quite quickly, and you’ll probably lose interest in it just as fast – a crying shame!
If you want to check out a little more information on the trimming of bonsai, or generally anything to do with these wonderfully decorative little trees, check out Balcony Bonsai for videos and further information.
Pinching and pruning is basically the technique you need to learn, because this is how you push growth away from where you don’t want it, and send it to where you do. This in turn controls where the density of the branches is located, and keeps your tree healthy overall.
It’s really not as difficult as it sounds, but let’s break it down.
There are two types of pruning, namely maintenance and structural. Basically, maintenance pruning is about removing any dead ends or brown branches, whereas structural pruning is about keeping the shape you are looking for, or creating it in the first place.
Pruning is best done during the spring and summer period, as we mentioned, because this is when growth is at a premium. In order to prune you need a small pair of shears.
When pinching, you literally don’t need any tools, unless you have a lot of trimming to do, and in that case you may need a small pair of scissors. Pinching is basically when you use your thumb and your finger to pinch the tips of shoots and pull them away gently, without damaging the branch of surrounding structures.
This helps to increase the growth and volume where you want it to be, rather than allowing it to simply grow wherever it pleases. It’s also a good guideline to trim back new shoots when they are around the length of 1-2 cm.
If your tree is showing any signs of sickness, don’t prune it until it has recovered completely.
This is because whilst your tree is fighting illness of any kind, it will need every bit of strength it has, and if you cut away new shoots, you’re basically zapping its energy – think of it as cutting off Rapunzel’s hair!
It’s vitally important to master the art of trimming your bonsai tree, because this is the only way you will maintain and help encourage the shape and design you want to achieve. You can prune during the winter season, but it’s likely that you won’t see major changes very fast.
On the other hand spring and summer, as we mentioned, will give you bigger and faster rewards, because you are targeting change when the tree is strong and growing, therefore boosting the chances of your tree taking the shape and design you are looking for.
Bonsai trees are not difficult to look after, but it is important to get as much advice and information before you start. If you make a wrong move, you are going to set back the growth of your tree by quite a long time, and that could mean that you simply don’t see the whole process through; this is a crying shame, because bonsai trees have a certain mysticism and magic about them, which no other tree or house plant can rival.
Do your research, take your time, put in the effort, and your bonsai tree will certainly give you plenty of rewards with its beautiful appearance, and the pride you will take in its growth.