Category: Bonsai Tips and Techniques

Bending Thick Branches

By Chris Pogliano

Raffia and wire

This is a standard procedure found in just about every method of major bending of branches. Wrapping the raffia in one direction and the wire in the opposite direction creates a mesh-like pattern around the branch, preventing separation.

Bud Pinching – Maples

By Terry Davis

It is said that trident maples don’t get denser by bud-pinching. Now really, the effect on the elongating shoot may not be big, but the release of the oppressed buds back along the branch is pretty clearly operative. And in my experience, it does restrain shoot elongation.

Re-Potting a Black Pine

by Dale Krueger

Step by step repotting of a Black Pine slide show. Click the green circle to view full screen.

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Field grown Black Pine acquired in June of 2015.
Field grown Black Pine acquired in June of 2015.
Tree in February of 2016, prior to repotting. Some basic needle plucking work and fertilization done to balance energy of tree between branches.
Tree in February of 2016, prior to repotting. Some basic needle plucking work and fertilization done to balance energy of tree between branches.
Wired into growing container. Grown in pumice and lava to induce root growth
Wired into growing container. Grown in pumice and lava to induce root growth
Tree wired to keep stable and secure in grow box.
Tree wired to keep stable and secure in grow box.
Use sickle around perimeter of pot, drawing straight up to cut roots loose from side of container.
Use sickle around perimeter of pot, drawing straight up to cut roots loose from side of container.
Beginning on surface, remove old compacted soil to determine where the roots are.
Beginning on surface, remove old compacted soil to determine where the roots are.
Remove old moss from base of tree to avoid rotting of wood and to keep trunk clean.
Remove old moss from base of tree to avoid rotting of wood and to keep trunk clean.
Stop when you encounter good roots.
Stop when you encounter good roots.
Remove soil on base to establish a flat planting angle for new pot.
Remove soil on base to establish a flat planting angle for new pot.
Prepare pot using screening over holes and galvanized steel wire.
Prepare pot using screening over holes and galvanized steel wire.
Place a single layer of larger soil on the bottom of pot.
Place a single layer of larger soil on the bottom of pot.
Cover with a single layer of finer soil over the larger mix. Finish with a dome of soil in center of pot to settle tree into.
Cover with a single layer of finer soil over the larger mix. Finish with a dome of soil in center of pot to settle tree into.
Dome allows you to settle tree into pot and set at correct angle and position.
Dome allows you to settle tree into pot and set at correct angle and position.
After setting tree in pot at correct position, determine where you will anchor tree.
After setting tree in pot at correct position, determine where you will anchor tree.
Protect roots with bamboo stakes.
Protect roots with bamboo stakes.
Alternatively, a screw can put a trunk or a large root, preferably below soil line, to anchor wire tie down to.
Alternatively, a screw can put a trunk or a large root, preferably below soil line, to anchor wire tie down to.
Insert chopstick into soil and work soil into all cavities.
Insert chopstick into soil and work soil into all cavities.
Make sure to settle soil in around perimeter of pot too.
Make sure to settle soil in around perimeter of pot too.
After filling pot with soil, cut off any roots sticking out.
After filling pot with soil, cut off any roots sticking out.
Taper soil from base of tree to edge of pot, leaving a lip of about 1/4" around the lip to allow water to stop at edge of pot and not wash soil out when watering.
Taper soil from base of tree to edge of pot, leaving a lip of about 1/4" around the lip to allow water to stop at edge of pot and not wash soil out when watering.
Pot ready for top dressing, edge prepared with soil tamper.
Pot ready for top dressing, edge prepared with soil tamper.
Bad picture, but adding top dressing to pot (center & bottom, top dressed, top right soil not.)
Bad picture, but adding top dressing to pot (center & bottom, top dressed, top right soil not.)
Completely cover surface of soil.
Completely cover surface of soil.
Thoroughly mist surface with water to lock top dressing into soil to keep it from washing off when watering tree after potting.
Thoroughly mist surface with water to lock top dressing into soil to keep it from washing off when watering tree after potting.
Tree ready for a good soaking.
Tree ready for a good soaking.
Close up of tree in pot.
Close up of tree in pot.
Tree fully watered until water runs clear from bottom of drain holes.
Tree fully watered until water runs clear from bottom of drain holes.
Tree needs further development and ramification.
Tree needs further development and ramification.
Pruning and needle plucking will allow energy to be redirected from strongest branches to weaker ones, encouraging an even distribution of resources to achieve a balanced growth.
Pruning and needle plucking will allow energy to be redirected from strongest branches to weaker ones, encouraging an even distribution of resources to achieve a balanced growth.
Growth is out too far out on tips. Fertilizing, candle pruning and needle plucking will encourage back budding.
Growth is out too far out on tips. Fertilizing, candle pruning and needle plucking will encourage back budding.
Some branched are more developed and ramified than others.
Some branched are more developed and ramified than others.
Wiring out branches to allow light on to each branch also encourages more buds.
Wiring out branches to allow light on to each branch also encourages more buds.
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