Tip of the Week     #5

Welcome to our next installment of  “Tips Of The Week”.

This feature is for the benefit of visitors to this site, I would be happy to hear from you if there is something you would like to see covered here in future weeks. Please direct your E-mail to Paul@bonsaiofbrooklyn.com let me know if I should include your first name, last name, city, E-mail address or no acknowledgement.

Interested in past articles? There's a list at the bottom of the page.

Last week I wrote about trimming Japanese Maples as an example of trees with opposing buds, meaning that the new leaves grow side by side. This week I'd like to share a few pointers on trimming trees with alternating buds. That is where the leaves grow left right, left right on the branch. A good example of this type of tree is the Chinese Elm. It shares a few characteristics with many other trees. First & foremost is the need for frequent trimming during periods of growth. Most beginners shy away from trimming because they want fullness. The result is diametrically opposed to the goal. When a tree of this type is trimmed every 2 to 3 weeks, new leaves representing another level of twigs and leaves will grow. They will be progressively smaller. The tree will get fuller at an astounding rate. Without regular trimming, each new leave will be larger than its predecessor. after 8 or 10 leaves, the inner leaves will begin to yellow and drop resulting in a hollow inner portion of the tree. Aside from butchering the tree and giving it a radical restructuring, nothing will help. If a person is hesitant to trim regularly the odds are slim that they will ever do the type of trimming that is required to return an out of shape tree to the right path. It is much easier to set a schedule of trimming that will give you a full, tiny leafed bonsai. The steps are easy and not terribly time consuming if done regularly. First, follow each branch or twig back to it's point of origin (the trunk or the branch it comes out of). Cut off anything past the 3rd leaf. In a short time, a new shoot will grow from the base of each leaf. As noted earlier they will be smaller & smaller. Second, decide what you want the outer profile of tree to be and trim off any growth that goes beyond. As with any bonsai, frequent and well planned maintenance will pay HUGH dividends. I'll never forget my first visit to the home of Maryann Gorman who worked with me at Bonsai of Brooklyn. I had given her a couple of bonsai, and she had purchased a bunch more. They were all small to medium, and in the early stages of development. Her collection went back three or four years, so I wasn't prepared for what I saw. Every bonsai had undergone an unbelievable metamorphosis from a beginner to an established, beautifully detailed bonsai. This was the result of weekly trimming, regular fertilization, and Super Thrive vitamins in all water. In addition, she learned from every leaf or needle she cut. She cut a lot, she learned a lot. No one who sees her collection can believe the relatively short time that she has had each bonsai. If you show the determination and respect for each bonsai that Maryann has shown for her collection over the years, you will be rewarded as she was. Believe me, it's worth the effort.

Interested in past articles? Click for your choice below.

#1-Things to do in the spring

#2-Forest Plantings

#3-Planning a trimming schedule

#4-Trimming Japanese Maples (And other trees with opposing Buds)

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