The concept of Japanese bonsai is an art that creates dwarf trees from regular, fully growing trees. It is considered one of the most beautiful art forms. The creation of a Japanese bonsai is a combination of artistic skills, a good eye for details and patience. If someone asked “How to make a bonsai?” It would be a little difficult to answer him. It’s not just about making a bonsai, but creating an art that has been developed for centuries. The word bonsai does not come from the tree you want to grow, but from the way you will grow it . The talent, skills and passion of a bonsai master allow him to make a variety of bonsai. A bonsai is also a form of relaxation and meditation. You will find that working bonsai will help you calm down. And with these instructions, you will be able to learn the basics of creating Japanese bonsai. It’s up to you to perfect your skills as a bonsai and passionate breeder.
What you need for Japanese bonsai
Gather together all the items you will need to create your Japanese bonsai tree. You must have all the tools at hand. It is also important to use quality tools and materials.
• A Japanese bonsai plant
Bonsai plants or bonsai are available in most nurseries and also in online stores. There is a variety of trees that can be turned into bonsai. The key is to understand how these trees grow but also how to care for them.
• A pot of Japanese bonsai
You need the right kind of pot to grow your bonsai. Traditional pots can be simple, circular, triangular or rectangular. It must have adequate drainage to remove excess water and fertilizer to drain away from the roots.
• Floor adapted to Japanese Bonsai
The soil that is perfect for growing Japanese bonsai is available in garden stores and online. It is usually a soil that has good nutrient and water absorption properties. You need a soil with good aeration that can retain water and nutrients.
• Aggregates for Japanese bonsai
You must improve the drainage and aeration properties of your soil by using aggregates. These are small pieces of rocks and other materials that are placed at the bottom of the pot. They will allow excess water to flow and oxygen to enter the soil. You can also buy them from local gardeners or bonsai nurseries. • Water for Japanese Bonsai You must use clean water on your bonsai plants. You can use rainwater or tap water, provided that it is clean water that will not pose a risk to your plants. Have your water quality tested before watering your bonsai. • Balanced Japanese Bonsai Fertilizer Your bonsai should be fed with a balanced fertilizer recovered. On the other hand, some trees need specific fertilizer formulas. You can buy this type of fertilizer from bonsai nurseries, gardening stores and garden centers. • Japanese bonsai pruning shears Secateurs will allow you to cut and shape your bonsai according to the style you want to achieve. There are many types of pruners, but always use clean or disinfected shears to stop the spread of disease or mold from one area of the plant to another. • Wire You need an ideal wire for the maintenance of your bonsai. These yarns come in many varieties but only two are used for bonsai: aluminum and annealed copper. Aluminum wires are for bonsai with young branches while heavily annealed copper is for branches and trunks older and thicker. The wires are also available in different sizes as thin as 1 mm to 4 mm thick. • Clamps You need a good pair of pliers to cut the thread and remove it once the workout is complete. A good pair of pliers is also needed to cut roots, branches and hard trunks, especially on mature trees.
Step by step instructions for raising a Japanese Bonsai
1) Select the tree you want to turn into Japanese bonsai
You can not plant a tree and make a bonsai. You need good skills and a lot of patience to plant and grow a bonsai. Although almost all trees can be turned into bonsai, you should choose the right one for your skill level and the environment you are in. If you are new to bonsai growing, there are some easy-to-grow trees. The environment you are in also indicates the type of tree you need to choose. Consider that some trees grow well in a cooler environment while some are tropical trees. There are two ways to find the right specimen:
• Take a tree from your area
Choose the type of tree from those growing in your area. In this way, your trees will have the growth specifications to grow successfully in your climate. There are bonsai growers who persist in growing bonsai from trees that are not grown locally. The disadvantage is that you will have to use the rooting hormone.
• Buy the tree in a local nursery
This is considered the best option especially for novice growers. In the local store there will be a large selection of different specimens. All you will need is to look at them and choose what fits the bonsai design you want to choose.
2) Take care of your Japanese bonsai
Now that you have your bonsai in a small pot, you need to be vigilant with its maintenance. One of the most important things you need to know is that bonsai grow in a small pot with a small amount of soil. As a result, bonsais get a limited amount of nutrients. This is one of the reasons why you need to replant your plant more often. With such a small root system, the tree can easily and quickly suffer from underwatering. Some bonsai tips you must remember:
• Look for the best blend of organic nutrients for your species.
You must research bonsai species for specific irrigation, feeding and transplanting requirements. They must then be adapted to maintain the best watering regime for your bonsai. • Find the perfect place You can place your bonsai inside or outside to see what is the right amount of light specific to the species. • Use the best soil to grow bonsai. Most growers use loamy sandy soil. This type of soil is perfect for growing most plants because it can hold nutrients and the water can drain excess soil and water. The sandy loam soil can also improve aeration so that oxygen travels through the soil to the roots. • Add a layer of aggregates to properly empty your soil. Aggregates can be sand, pebbles or any other small natural material that can improve aeration and drainage of the soil. They should be placed inside the pot as the first layer followed by bonsai soil. • Water your plants according to their water needs. You should never water when the soil is wet to risk developing root rot or mold growth in the roots. Water only with clean water. • Replant your bonsai according to the ideal potting schedule for the chosen tree. In general, fast-growing trees must be replanted at least once a year to compensate for root growth. Slow growing trees should be replanted at least two to three years. • Replace bonsai soil when replanting. Never reuse the same soil when replanting. Use new soil with fresh nutrients.
• Look for the ideal fertilizer.
The ideal fertilizer for most bonsais is a balanced fertilizer. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the most important nutrients that plants need. There are different APP formulations in a variety of fertilizers. You must identify the right combination of APP that suits your type of tree.
3) Prune your Japanese bonsai
There is a wide range of techniques to shape your bonsai so that it looks like what you want. If you want to make a traditional Japanese bonsai, keep in mind rule number one: do not display any human intervention. Bonsai should look completely natural. So, if you have a cable branch, make sure to hide it. • Pruning branches and roots of Japanese bonsai Pruning techniques include branch and root size, leaf size, cabling and grafting. Pruning branches and roots is important because it defines the shape of your tree. Cutting the branches will encourage new growth so you can shape it accordingly. On the other hand, pruning the root will remove the diseased roots, form the root to fit a container and improve the absorption of nutrients and water. Pruning the roots and branches requires years of practice, but no doubt it is feasible. • Prune bonsai leaves The size of the leaves guarantees the ideal shape of your tree. It also promotes the growth of leaves and buds. The structure of the leaf is very important if you want to reach a variety of shapes and styles. An example would be a windswept style where leaf plumes grow only on one side of the tree. This form is achieved by carefully pruning the leaves until you reach the ideal shape. Basically, you will need to cut all the large leaves and branches that are very large to form your tree to the ideal shape. When cutting your branches, do your best to cut them near the main trunk of the tree so that the cut is as natural as possible. • Wiring and tightening your bonsai Once your tree is healthy and well adapted to its new life, you must start forming the branches. A traditional method is to make sure the tree is not symmetrical. To achieve this rule, you must wire and tighten your tree. During these procedures, you must protect your tree from damage. You can use a fabric or cardboard as a protective material. This will allow you to avoid a scar or a deep mark on the limb.
• Types of yarn used for Japanese bonsai
Bonsai cabling is done with copper or aluminum wire. The wire must be at least 1/3 of the diameter of the branch or trunk. Certainly, copper wire is more durable than aluminum. However it can damage the branches and the trunk if they are not watched carefully. If you use copper wire, you should regularly monitor the growth and condition of the wired branches and trunk. Aluminum wire is easier to use and handle. It may not be as strong as copper wire, but will not harm the branches. It’s better especially for cable retailers. Aluminum will require monitoring every two weeks.
• When is the right time to wire your Japanese bonsai?
Wiring should be done when the tree is young and healthy for best results. It is performed when the plant has been replanted. Choosing the right time to wire depends on the type of plant. The right time to wire is different for hardwoods and conifers. Hardwood trees should be wired in early spring. The wiring is done when there are new buds. It will give the tree a better appearance of the trunk and branches before the leaves appear. At this point, you will be able to structure the tree clearly and wire it without the embarrassment of new leaves and branches. Conifers must be wired in late fall or early winter. That’s when conifers renew their foliage. The wiring is done when the sap is very little and the branches are more flexible. Caution: Do not wire a tree when it is sick. Do not wire weak branches because they could break. Provide a well-balanced fertilizer to the tree and improve its strength before starting with the metal wires. Avoid cabling when plants are freshly watered as this will be difficult to do. The branches are more flexible when they are a bit dehydrated.
• How to wire Japanese bonsai
You need a young and healthy plant and wire. Do not be in a hurry because it’s a delicate job. When applying the thread, hold the branch with both hands. Bend the wire to the branch and not the branch to the wire to avoid any damage. Always start with the trunk, then go from the thickest branches to the thinnest ones. The key is to bend the trunk wire and outward on the branches or trunk at the end. When you start wiring, move into a comfortable position to give you maximum control over your bonsai. Wrap the wire around the branches of the tree at a 45-degree angle. The wire should form the branch and guide it according to the style you have chosen. Never over-tighten the branches of your bonsai because the plant is growing and needs space to grow. The threads will guide the growth of the tree. • Removing the wire Once the wire has reached its goal, it can be removed. This is usually done in the same season in which it was applied, which is the most common practice for moderately growing trees. The thread should also be removed if it begins to be inside the plant. When removing the wires, cut the wire after the turn with wire cutters. Do not unwind the branch wire or reuse the wire. This will cause damage to the plant and even break the branch. Cut the wire at every turn so that you can pull out the wire without hurting your bonsai tree.
4) Japanese bonsai as a hobby of a lifetime
Growing a bonsai could later become a hobby of a lifetime. It’s basically something that will eventually happen because some bonsais will even survive their growers! There are bonsai species that can grow and survive for up to 500 years and, of course, this is only possible when the grower takes good care of his trees. As a breeder, you have a lot of responsibilities on your plants. You must improve your skills to take care of them. There are exhibitions, trade shows and other bonsai-related events that you can attend to help you improve your knowledge. You can also connect with other people who also love bonsai to learn and share techniques with them. Growing bonsai from regular trees is possible when you have the right skills and tools. You must also be patient with your plants as they need time to develop. All this will help you take care of your bonsai in the best way possible.