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What to Do With Bonsai Trees for Beginners?

    Choosing a Tree

    • This is the first step in bonsai gardening. One of the most important tips is to learn about the tree you are growing. You must understand the species to be able to water and feed it properly. Get to know some of the basic categories.

      Tropical/subtropical trees are grown indoors. Some species available include ficus, Fukien tea, brush chess and dwarf umbrella, plus some elms.

      Deciduous trees are for outdoor growing. They shed their leaves during winter months and go into a dormancy state. This makes growing indoors difficult. Some examples of deciduous trees are maple, larch, crabapple, apricot and ginkgo.

      Evergreens can be indoor or outdoor trees. If you are picking an evergreen, choose carefully. Some do require winter dormancy periods and will not grow well indoors. Jade trees are evergreens that are easy to maintain and do well inside.

    Basic Supplies

    • Now you need to pick up some basic supplies. To cut foliage, small branches and roots, you will need two pair of scissors. Dull scissors might harm your tree, so pick out some that you will be able to keep sharpened. Next, you will need a concave cutter for trimming larger branches. Removing branches properly requires that you cut a small indention into the truck, to promote healing. Finally, chopsticks help work the new soil and remove air pockets.


    • In bonsai, you train your tree by manipulating the growth pattern so it maintains a particular size and shape. One way to accomplish this is with pruning. Good pruning habits will make training your tree easier. Here are some practices you should follow. Prune around the base of the tree, removing branches and foliage about one fourth of the way up. Prune on the main branches, close to the trunk. Alternate branches from left to right, so there are never branches on both sides at the same level. Prune branches that point straight down or straight up; only keep branches that point outward from the trunk.


    • Wiring is another way to train your tree. Most wire used for bonsai is anodized aluminum or copper. The purpose of wiring is to manipulate branches to grow the direction you want by attaching them to another branch or to the trunk. It's important to remove the wire after a couple of months, before the branches grow around it. Otherwise, you will end up with marks left on your tree. To remove, use wire cutters. Unwinding the wire might break delicate branches.


    • Repotting your tree every couple of years will help control the growth. In other words, your tree will grow into the pot you place it. This also allows you to prune the roots and maintain the healthy ones. When you choose your pots, make sure to use ceramic. Some mass-produced bonsai trees are potted in plastic, but ceramic promotes the best growth.

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