Friday, January 30, 2009

Something more about pruning

In my last post I forgot to mention an important point that was reminded to me by a friend. It is about sealing the wound left after pruning. 

Although you don't need to seal the cuts of small branches. But when it comes to a large branch cut we do need to seal it so that the bacteria does not infect the tree by entering through the cut, thus resulting in rotting. There are many types of cut pastes available in the market. But for those who are either unable to find one or can't afford, can make a paste of their own. What you can do is you can use plasticine, I bet everyone of you has played with it when you were kids ;). Mix it with some vegetable oil so that it stays soft and use it as a sealing agent. 

Another option would be to use enamel paint also available in wooden color to seal the wound. Enamel paint has the property of being able to keep moisture from escaping and also keeps the bacteria out. Although it will wear off after sometime. You can either replace it or if you see that the wound has heal enough then you can leave it as it is. I myself haven't used plasticine but have been using enamel paint with good result for quite sometime.  

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Basic Guide to Prunning

Today I am going to discuss one of the important aspects of bonsai. If you think that by keeping  a bonsai potted in a small pot will keep it small than its a great misunderstanding.  In order to develop it into  a tree that conforms in all aspects to a normal tree we need to Prune, pinch back new growth and wire its branches. I will eventually be discussing all the techniques involved in making a bonsai. 
   Since I have said before in an earlier post that its late winter in Pakistan and spring is less than a month away. The trees are still dormant and according to some Bonsai specialist; its the best time to do some major branch prunning and wiring. So first I will discuss Prunning  i.e what prunning is what are the rules that should be kept in mind.

Now lets start with it. Our goal is to make bonsai appear old and natural. Therefore the branches that do not work towards this goal would need to be removed. This is called prunning. 

But unfortunately prunning branches especially larger ones put the tree at risk of having big unattractive wounds. I will come back later to this point in order to tackle this problem. For now we need to know which branches should be trimmed. As said earlier any branch that makes our bonsai look unnatural should be removed. This includes branches that cross each other, growing back sharply toward the trunk or from the underside of the main branches.                                 

(I'll try to keep things simple but for more comprehensive information check out

You will observe this when type of branch structue when you end up with a cluttered or messy appearance that takes away from the artistic line of the tree.  So you need to remove all these type of branches. There is a saying that you should have open spaces betweens the branches to let the birds fly through. I think you got my point. For more detailed information do check the link above. It has a more detailed explaination and it would be pointless for me to put useless effort into rewriting something thats already present in a great form. 

So you got some basic information on prunning. But now the problem is you dont have proper tools to do the job. Remember concave cutter is recommended to prune medium to large branches as it leaves minimum to no visual scars on the trunk (for more detail click the above mentioned link).  But there is an alternative to it. The purpose of concave cutter to bite into the tree and leave a dimple which heals better. This can also be achieved by using a normal cutter. The thing is you first cut the branch that you want to remove and then make the wound deeper by means of some sharp object. It can be a knife etc. But make the cut in an oval shape as shown in the picture on the right. Because sap flows upwards and this shape allows better healing of the wound and doesnt leaves a bump on the trunk.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Best Time for Pruning

        I am back! So we are in the mid-January and the weather is still quite cold here in Islamabad. Some of the trees have started to show signs of new growth. But most of the Bonsai trees wont start budding until the late February. 
        This is the best time to  do any major pruning of your bonsai like cutting some major branch etc since the trees are still dormant. If you wait till the growing season starts, then the tree will see this pruning as a danger to its survival (i.e. loosing a huge amount of foliage) and result in drastic production of growth which in turn weakens the overall tree.

Sunday, January 18, 2009



     I have started this blog for quite a few reasons. The first one is that I have been studying bonsai literature  for past two year. You can see that I am quite a beginner myself. The thing is that I haven't been able to find any kind of material on bonsai growth and training in Pakistan. I had faced many problems trying to find things out. Because most of the (what I call bonsai tech) things required for bonsai are not available in my city. So I had to look for alternatives for these. I tried different things and failed a lot of times though succeeded a few times too ;) . So I am here to share what I learned and would like to request all the bonsai enthusiastic especially from Pakistan to share there knowledge here too. 

    I need to warn you guys that I have very little practical knowledge. So I will be looking forward to the feedback of experts out there. 

    By the way I will also be adding articles regarding basic bonsai training techniques.  I am a great fan of Junipers as they are in my opinion the best trees which can be made into a bonsai of any style and look most similar to a real tree. So my most focus would be on the junipers though I will also be adding information on other trees too.