Bonsai Tree Care Feeding Watering Pruning Position

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Bonsai tree care is often considered the most important aspect in the Art of Bonsai.
It is not the display in isolation that is an art form.
Without a top quality tree specimen, the display will not meet required expectations and therefor not considered suitable as Bonsai art.
Bonsai care and maintenance is essential.
Looking after your Bonsai Penjing tree is not as difficult as most believe and with the correct Bonsai tree care tools anything is possible.

There are 4 main areas of Bonsai tree care

1. Watering

Watering your Bonsai tree does depend a lot on it’s position, is it in the garden or in the home?
A general rule of thumb is just like any other plant, the soil should be ‘just’ moist.
But this simple explanation is not always the way, it also depends on the species of your tree.
Some tree’s like plenty of water – Willow for instance, whilst some require less.

Monitor your Bonsai tree carefully and water it if the soil is slightly dry.

2. Feeding your Bonsai tree

Bonsai trees are normally in small pots so regular feeding – fertilizing is needed in order to replenish nutrients that are leached away through watering.
Food is also essential for a healthy Bonsai tree.
There are proprietary Bonsai Fertilisers on the market and these are often the best solution for the novice as they provide clear instruction.
Be very careful not to use too much, less is more in this case.
Little and often is best.
Follow the instructions to the letter on the packet.
bonsai tree care

3. Pruning your Bonsai tree

This is the area that, by a mile, is the most important in terms of condition and display attractiveness.
This is not something that is easily conveyed in words.
Take your time and explore the Web for examples, Have a look here for my Bonsai Tree pruning. or video of Leaf pruning a bonsai in stages or a Bonsai tree pruning by a Chinese bonsai nurseryman or a Bonsai Tree pruning 1961 Vintage Film

I suggest you visit a Bonsai nursery or display area, a Bonsai show or join a club and try to glean Bonsai Tree pruning first hand from those doing it.

4. Positioning your Bonsai Penjing display

Most importantly, the temperature and the sunlight levels need careful consideration.
Winter sun is cooler, thereby influencing the temperature around your Bonsai Tree.
Deciding on the position of your Bonsai Penjing display is often critical for the overall health of the living tree.
Depending on the Genus used it follows that tender indoor trees are placed in the warmer environment.
On the other hand, hardy outdoor Bonsai trees generally tolerate much lower temperatures and as you would expect, place them outside.
Once again, as a general rule of thumb, most species of Bonsai or Penjing trees prefer a bright spot, with a degree of direct sunlight.

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Pruning a Bonsai – Training by Chinese Bonsai Nurseryman

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Instructions on pruning a Bonsai Tree from a Chinese Bonsai Nurseryman.

The video below was taken in China.

It features a Chinese Bonsai Nurseryman demonstrating how to prune a fast growing Bonsai Tree.(Ficus).

As you will see he starts off to one side and slowly and methodically works inwards taking care not to take too much off in one go, sometimes first taking of the tip (to get a better view) then cutting again to a point he is satisfied with.

He states that once cut there will be new growth sprouting from the bud points along the branch or stem.

He also mentions that this should be done 2 or 3 times a year and that the compost should be kept on the dry side (avoid over watering)

Towards the end the shot pans away to see over some of the surrounding bonsai nursery area.

This video is taken of the actual Chinese Bonsai Nursery where the Bonsai Tree pruning above took place.

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Bonsai Tree Care Repotting

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Taking care of your Bonsai Tree – Repotting

The activities that are involved in taking care of a pot plant or indoor plant are the same activities involved with  Bonsai tree care.

Making sure that it has well developed and healthy fibrous roots is vital for the sustained good health of your Bonsai tree and one way of aiding this process is by repotting your Bonsai tree.

The frequency of repotting a young Bonsai tree is generally once a year.  Although repotting can be done as infrequently as once every five years for less productive growers or older trees.
During late winter or early spring when the buds just begin to swell is the best time for carrying out your Bonsai repotting.

Bonsai tree care – Repotting

You should take seriously the method of repotting when carrying out your Bonsai tree care by following these simple directions:

  • The first thing to do is to make sure that the tree is neatly shaped by cautiously clipping off any unwanted, long branches.
  • Also, if your tree is an outdoor Bonsai, make sure that the soil is relatively dry, sometimes after over wintering the soil can become quite moist so by ensuring that the tree has been under a protected area for a few weeks and out of direct contact with the elements should ensure better control.
  • You will be able to observe if your tree really needs to be repotted the moment you remove it from its pot.
  • You should repot it if it is root bound.
  • If the roots are matted or have become so vigorous and strong to actually lift the tree from the container.
  • Also if you notice the roots continuously spiralling around themselves in a way that looks like they have been searching for a way out. Then re potting is needed.
  • However, you can carefully put the tree back in its original pot if there are extra few inches of space for the roots to grow a little longer.

Either by hand or by using a fairly stiff bristled brush, surface soil from the roots should be removed.
You should do this by brushing away from the trunk and at the same time making sure that the roots will not get damaged.
By getting rid of the loose soil around the roots you will have a chance to carefully investigate for any signs of weak root growth or disease damage.

There are plenty of specialist Bonsai Tools on the market, one is a Forked instrument and is used to comb out the roots from underneath.  After this process then trim up to about a third of the roots by means of a pair of Bonsai clippers or scissors.
Now you are ready to replace in the pot, at the bottom of the pot, add a layer of grit and then add your preferred Bonsai compost.
Place your Bonsai tree in the pot and slowly and carefully add the new soil around the roots, making sure there are no air pockets. Carefully push a little more soil into the difficult to get at places.

Once the tree is firm in the pot and the desired soil level is reached, normally around one centimetre down from the brim, water in well and place in a shady area, out of direct sunlight for a few days, whilst always making sure to not let the soil dry out.

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