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The Art of Bonsai

Written by Jessica on February 21st, 2011

Bonsai means tray grown, and is the art of creating balance between a dwarfed tree and its tray. The art of bonsai originated in China over a thousand years ago as pun-sai. Pun-sai was a very primitive form compared to modern bonsai. It began evolving into the bonsai known today when it arrived in Japan. New techniques were explored for shaping, and keeping the plant small. For people living in small apartments or those seeking a relaxing hobby bonsai is perfect. Caring for and creating bonsai can bring the beauty of nature into anyone’s home.

Caring for Bonsai

The art of bonsai is more than simply planting a tree in a pot and letting it grow. It takes care and time to prune and shape a bonsai into a masterpiece of nature.

Soil: The soil chosen for the bonsai is very dependent on what type of plant is being dwarfed. A common rule is that for deciduous bonsai a potting soil made of 70% sand and 30% compost works well. For evergreen and needle bonsai 70% compost and 30$ sand works best.

Water: Like most potted plants, bonsai tend to like evenly moist soil. If the soil is moist to the touch the plant does not need watering. For bonsai kept outside, frequent watering is needed during hot weather and dry spells.

Pruning: Pruning is needed to keep the plant small. Both the crown and the root system should be pruned from time to time. It is recommended to prune no more than 1/3 of the crown or root system at a time. When pruning the roots leave most of the small feeder roots intact, and trim the thicker roots. This helps to stunt the plant’s growth.

Shaping: Shaping bonsai is key to the art of bonsai. There are a number of styles used when shaping bonsai. The formal upright bonsai has a perfectly straight trunk. The informal upright has a trunk that bends to the left or right. Finally, the slanting style is formed with a trunk that evenly slants in one direction. Other styles are used, but these are the basics.

Different methods of shaping the tree to these style exist. Wiring can be used to force the trunk into shape. Wiring is meant to be temporary. When the branches and trunk have settled into their new shape the wiring should be removed. Pruning the roots in different ways can also be used to help shape a tree.


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