Tip of the Week     #6

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

If your topic is chosen, 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.

In the last two articles I wrote about trimming Japanese Maples and Chinese Elms.   This week I'd like to discuss conifers.  As the name indicates, they are trees that produce cones.   We often think of conifers as evergreens, but trees such as Dawn Redwood and Bald Cypress (among others) are cone producing trees that lose their needles in winter.

With trees such as pines, the best time to trim is during periods of growth.  When pines go into periods of growth, they produce "candles", which are tight bundles of the new, unformed needles.  To keep a pine bonsai compact and keep the needles small, allow the candles to grow to about 1-1/2 to 2 inches.  At this point, grasp them at about the middle of the candle between the thumb and index finger of both hands and snap each candle in half.  When the needles form, they will be much shorter then needles of the same tree that were not broken in half.

Trees such as Juniper and False Cypress (among MANY others) produce new growth from their tips and also from old wood.  the new growth is soft, and when cut with a scissors, the tips will turn brown and be unsightly.  The way around this is to cut the woody branches with a concave branch cutter or scissors, being careful not to cut through the soft needles.   The outer tips tend to be all soft needles.  To trim these, grasp the growth to be trimmed about an inch or two from where you want to trim it.  Grasp it with the part of your hand where the thumb and index finger connect.  Squeeze the fingers lightly and slide upward, stopping just before the part you want to trim.  Tighten the grip slightly, then with the other hand, tear the tips off.  This sounds like rough treatment, but when you get the knack of doing it, it will result in cleanly trimmed tips that will not brown.  As with the previous two installments, It is important to trim often in order to achieve fullness.  Above all else, have fun, and don't be afraid to trim heavily, and frequently.

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)

#5-Trimming Chinese Elms (And other trees with alternating Buds)

#7-Improving Your Bonsai Skills

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