Thursday, September 13, 2012

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How to Prune the Bonsai Trees

The most important tool for making cuts is pruners, which should be sharp and clean. If pruning is a new experience for you, get plenty of practice before beginning to work on your bonsai. For practice, prune outdoor shrubs of branches collected from the woods. If the pruners were a Christmas gift, you can get a lot of useful experience by practicing on a discarded Christmas tree. When you are pruning, keep in mind an image of the tree you desire.
Pruning the Bonsai
Pruning the Bonsai

To remove a branch, place a pair of concave pruners close against the trunk, and make a sharp, flush cut. Do not tear the branch.

Shorten the Branch with Pruning


To shorten a branch, make a cut just above the fork of the branch. Whenever it’s possible, make the cut toward the back so the cut will not show.  When shortening a branch, you can very often choose the direction of new growth that will occur on the branch. If you want the new growth to follow a line on the left of the branch, prune above the bud on that side.

Pruning above the bud will allow the bud to break, resulting in new growth where you want it. Prune as close as possible to avoid leaving unsightly stub, but do not press so close that you can injure the bud. Make sure you practice finding the bud and pruning near it without injuring it. As you get used to pruning, you are bound to gain confidence.


Pruning begins the process of changing a tree in a pretty container into a bonsai. Pruning also makes your tree healthier, allowing light to fall on all its parts. If a dark area is apparent, especially an area that is difficult to see, correct the problem at once, as the area will become weak over time due to lack of light. Wire and reposition branches from dark areas into light areas.

Severe pruning is usually not done in the fall. To survive the winter, trees store energy and food in their various parts. Do not change that balance by unnecessary pruning. Indoor tropical bonsai, which go through a moderate dormant period, may be pinched and pruned when they send out new growth.

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