Growing a Bonsai tree is such a wonderful and exciting experience, but creating the look and shape you want is definitely a challenge. Pruning is absolutely necessary for the health and the silhouette of your miniature tree. Incorrectly trimming, or cutting off too many leaves is likely to kill your Bonsai. So you’ll have to be very careful and follow a consistent regiment in order to keep your plant lush.
Thinning Your Bonsai
As the shoots begin to thrive and produce more leaves, your Bonsai becomes fuller and lusher. While this is what we want, the foliage on the tree does need to be maintained from time to time. Think about the hair on your head, of course you want long strong locks, but if you don’t trim it often enough, it starts to look unkempt and maybe even a bit damaged. The same thing happens with your Bonsai tree, the lower leaves lose oxygen and light if the upper section becomes too full. Pick out the branches and shoots that appear to be the smallest or weakest, and remove them with your scissors or branch cutters. As your Bonsai tree gets stronger, you may not be able to make clean cuts with your scissors, so branch cutters may become necessary as the tree matures.
Pruning for Conifers
Deciduous trees are categorized by their soft, green leaves. Conifers on the other hand grow pines and needles, and these need to be pruned as well. Thankfully, this particular task doesn’t require shears. You can easily use your fingers to pinch off pines the same way you would with a deciduous tree. The needles will grow in small chunks, so branches with six to ten nodes will need to be cut down to three to four chunks. No matter what kind of tree you have, just remember that your branches are going to grow in the direction that you allow leaves to be produced. Sure, you’ll eventually use wire to train your Bonsai, but the foliage definitely matters if you want a healthy plant.
Pay Attention to Weak Roots Too
Don’t neglect your Bonsai’s roots, as it gets bigger you’ll start to notice roots that are bruised or scrawnier than the others. If they aren’t removed, your tree will have to work much harder to receive nutrients and create oxygen. You don’t have to use root shears for this, but it’s highly recommended as your tree will release sap once cut. Root shears provide a smoother cut than a pair of scissors, helping your plant to heal faster.
Each time you prune your tree, it is imperative to be consistent with watering and sunlight exposure. Try not to overdo it, a Bonsai that doesn’t have enough leaves or roots to support it will surely die. Always prune your tree in moderation!