How to prune a bonsai

How to prune a bonsai

If you like plants, surely on some occasion you have had, or have, a bonsai at home. The fact that there are cheap specimens allows you to treat yourself to one of them (both those in supermarkets and those that are cheap in specialized bonsai stores). But One of the care that is least provided due to ignorance is pruning. Do you know how to prune a bonsai?

If you want to learn how to prune bonsai successfully, know when you should do it and what are the tools and steps you should take, then we leave it to you.

When to prune a bonsai

When are bonsai pruned?

When are bonsai pruned?

As you know, there are many types of bonsai and each one has its “peculiarities. That is, there will be some that you can prune at one time and others at another.

Normally, for drastic pruning or stronger ones, there are two periods: autumn and spring. Does this mean you can prune twice? No, depending on the trees, you can prune in autumn or wait for the cold weather to pass and do it in early spring.

In fact, at first it was done in autumn, but many bonsai trees could not stand the cold and the wounds caused by pruning caused them to get sick and die, in such a way that they did not sprout in spring. So the experts began to recommend that the pruning be done after the winter so that there would be more chances that it would sprout. It also makes sense, especially since bonsai are plants that do not tolerate cold very well (at least during the first year, after that they adapt much better). In this way, we recommend that, if you have bonsai, and it is the first year, you do not prune them until spring; and if they take longer, depending on where you have it, you could choose to prune in autumn or spring.

Why do you have to prune a bonsai?

Imagine you have a boy or a girl. And that you decide that you are never going to cut his hair. Over the years, your hair would grow and grow (normally 1-2 centimeters a month). Which implies that he had a mane. But would it look strong, cared for and healthy? Maybe yes, but it could also be flimsy, thin and break easily.

That would happen to a bonsai that you don’t prune. Each of the branches absorbs part of the force of the tree in such a way that the more branches and the longer they are, the more energy they will need.

If it is not pruned, that energy ends up being worn out if it is not replenished, but also by consuming so much to supply all the branches, the tree ages much faster and will cause it to develop weak branches, to grow in a “wild” way, etc.

Therefore, pruning is done not only to give the bonsai a homogeneous shape, but also to clean it up and make the energy flow throughout the tree properly, strengthening the branches, making it oxygenate (because the light reaches the interior of the tree, that there are no entangled branches or that they become hindered, etc.).

For you to understand how a bonsai works, you should know that its growth causes it to concentrate its energies above all on the upper part and on the outer edges. They do this because they have in their “genes” a mechanism by which they have to grow tall to prevent other trees from “taking” the sun away from them. Hence, the branches tend to lengthen a lot, because they go in search of that sun.

Types of pruning a bonsai

We can say that there is two types of pruning of a bonsai: maintenance, which is also called pinching; and training pruning or pruning itself.

Maintenance pruning

pruning bonsai maintenance

pruning maintenance bonsai

Maintenance pruning can be done throughout the year, although normally concentrates on the growing months of the tree, which are in spring and summer. It is also known as “pinching” and consists of cutting the branches that have grown too longitudinally, leaving the foliage that you want to maintain (in the way you have given the bonsai). In this way, when “cutting”, what you do is that the tree better redistributes its energy to have a more general growth (and not only in a part of the tree).

What kind of branches will we cut? Those that get out of the formation, that hinder other branches or prevent the bonsai from “breathing”especially inside it.

Formation pruning

bonsai training pruning

bonsai formation pruning

It is the proper pruning of a bonsai, which is done at the beginning of spring (or in some cases at the end of autumn). To do this, the first thing to do is remove the dead branches from the tree and observe it to decide what kind of shape it is going to be given (rounded, V-shaped, cascading, etc.).

once you know, You have to prune it to get that shape. And at that moment it is possible to use wire to lead the branches to where we want them to go.

There are some rules that must be followed, and that can help you:

  • If you have two branches that are born at the same height, cut one and leave the other.
  • Do not leave vertical or thick branches that do not bend.
  • Remove branches with twists or turns.
  • Remove branches that hinder the front of the trunk.
  • And cut the very thick branches in the apical area (the upper area).

What to do after pruning

Once you have finished the pruning, the bonsai needs minimal care to get it to de-stress and get ahead. What are those?

  • Apply sealing paste. It is a sealant that is placed on the thickest cuts to prevent the plant from losing sap and to help it heal better. It is also a defense against diseases and pests that could enter the interior of the tree through that area.
  • Water the bonsai. A deep watering is recommended the first time and then, for a week, maintain a light and short watering per day (just enough to keep the soil moist).
  • Apply fertilizer. This will help stimulate the growth of the tree. You can use it in granules (for large bonsai) or in liquid (for medium and small).

Have you pruned any bonsai? How was the experience?

How to prune a bonsai

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