Watering Bonsai

Watering a Bonsai is one of the fundamental tasks to carry out to look after your Bonsai successfully.

It seems like quite a simple thing to do but, in the Bonsai world, watering is a skill that can take years to master with confidence.

Each tree has different requirements, and watering them all at the same time with the same frequency is not a good practice. If you are going for a holiday, it may be wiser to ask a friend or family member to look after your trees while you are away rather than rely on an automatic watering system. Other options are available. For example, if you are part of a Bonsai club, ask another member to look after your plants—the members usually look after one another’s trees when required—or you could use a Bonsai-sitter service from a professional nursery.

Many trees can be killed by over-watering or allowing them to go bone dry for an excessive period. If your Bonsai is left in a soaking wet environment for too long, the roots will rot. On the other hand, if you let it dry up for too long, your Bonsai will suffer from dehydration and will die quite quickly.

These scenarios make it quite necessary for us to understand the needs of our trees for the sake of their health. Nowadays, it’s quite easy to retain information about the specific care for each species we hold in our collections, and this should give you a good hint about how to approach your Bonsai.

Part of your daily routine should be to check your tree and estimate if it requires water. This can be done by rubbing the soil’s surface or plunging a wooden stick dip down to the bottom of the pot. If the surface of the soil or the stick are wet, then the tree doesn’t need to be watered. If they are damp, then you can water it, and when its dry, you must water.

Watering is best practised early morning or late afternoon (in the summertime, you can water both or even three times a day). This task can be handled with watering cans, hoses, and lances, and all of them should be fitted with a very fine rose pointing upward.

Gently water your pot by moving the spout up and down to allow the soil to first absorb water, then go down the pot, and finally, fill it up.

cropped-asamidori_Order-_FO2ADE56DE45_KZ00A_R07BAn-01-1-1.png

Bonsai size

The Bonsai world has gifted us with a great number of tree species to let us enjoy our hobby, which as previously described, intends to reproduce a miniature specimen of the original tree found in nature by showing specific characteristics.

Bonsai are displayed in different sizes divided into four main categories: mini (mame), small (shohin), medium (kifu), and large (daiza). These categories are related to how many hands are needed to carry the tree. For instance, the trees that can be held within the fingers would be in the mame category while trees that can be carried with one hand would be in the shohin category, those that need two hands would be in the kifu, and the rest that need more than two hands would be classified as daiza. These four groups also have subcategories and are further classified.

A bonsai can be as small as around five centimetres, and such as bonsai are usually classified as shito. A bonsai big enough to reach about two meters is classified as imperial.

The mame bonsai category contains keshi-tsubu, and shito. The first category goes up to around two to two and a half centimetres, and the second up to seven. These bonsai are very small and quite challenging, and they may require a more experienced carer.

The shohin bonsai are the small category, which includes komono, gafu, and myabi. These categories go up to eighteen, twenty, and twenty-five centimetres, respectively. Shohin are becoming more and more popular because they require very little space and suit those people with a little living area very well.

The medium size (kifu) has two subcategories: katade-mochi (my favourite size of tree) reaches a rough maximum height of forty centimetres, and chiu goes up to sixty centimetres.

Last but not least is the large category (daiza). At the top of the list, we find the previously mentioned imperial bonsai—the tallest of its category. Included in this classification, we also find omono and hachi-uye in order from smaller to taller before the imperial bonsai. Those two subcategories go up to one hundred twenty centimetres and one hundred fifty centimetres, respectively.

Bonsai trees are beautiful living organisms, and no matter the size, they all require love and care.

Enjoy bonsai!

cropped-asamidori_Order-_FO2ADE56DE45_KZ00A_R07BAn-01-1-1.png

Bonsai Style

In Nature, there are various tree species and each kind has developed different ways to adapt to climatic and environmental conditions to which they are subjected.

guillermo-riquelme-33825-unsplashTrees can live by rivers, cliff rocks, and forests for example, or be affected by heavy wind and snow to mention some climatic conditions that obviously will determine what sort of adjustment the tree will need in order to survive.

The result of this phase of adaptation is visible in the shape of the trunk and branches which will assume some specific characteristic to cope.

For instance, a tree influenced by a high wind will tend to go in same direction of it in order to reduce its profile, otherwise the wind pressure given would snap the branches or even the trunk.

In the ancient Chinese, and then Japanese, art of Bonsai those qualities and characteristics of the trees to survive and adapt were reproduced and coded in specific style.

The most well-known styles are:  formal upright, informal upright, slanting, windswept, semi cascade, & cascade.

But they are not the only ones, in fact there are many other styles for the Bonsai practitioner to work on such as: Literati, broom, forest, raft and so forth to mention some more.

In order to be quite successful in this practice – just in my opinion – it is important to understand which style is most suitable for the kind of tree you work on.

For example, a redwood (the tallest tree in the world) may be more suitable for an upright style based on its growing habits, while for a windswept, slanting, or coiled style conifers could be the best material to work on for their natural flexibility. Both scenarios reflect what you usually find in nature.

In addition, it may be worth letting the trees whisper to you what style suits them the best rather than trying to force something on it that may look artificial.

Styles can be very useful to give you ideas of what you could potentially achieve with your Bonsai but shouldn’t be seen as strict rules to follow; as we previously highlight, Bonsai is also an artistic expression and therefore quite subjective.,

Now bond with your tree and enjoy the Bonsai practice!!!

cropped-asamidori_Order-_FO2ADE56DE45_KZ00A_R07BAn-01-1-1.png

 

 

 

 

 

What is a Bonsai

Bonsai is the miniaturized replica of the classic tree which you can find in parks, forests, mountains or anywhere else in nature.

The main purpose is to reproduce a miniature specimen which gives the impression that the tree is very old and so has those specific characteristics which define a mature tree – one full of character and able to transmit to the viewer a great sense of emotion. This also depends on the kind of tree and its style – and is as subjective as when you look at a painting.

Branch ramifications, thickness of the trunk, taper and root flare are the main features that give to the tree a sense of age.

  • Branch ramification: a well-proportioned number of primary branches nicely distributed and well ramified, where each branch shows a great number of secondary, tertiary and so forth number of branches moving downward will transmit a sensation of age.
  • Trunk: tree trunks thicken with time – the thicker the trunk, the older it is perceived to be by the viewer.
  • Taper: taper is the difference is in size between the base of the trunk (which should be thicker) and the top of the tree (that should be thinner). In many cases taper is also accompanied by trunk movement which adds interesting elements to the tree.
  • Root flare or so called “Nebari”: this is an important characteristic for a quality bonsai as give a great sense of stability and a considerable perception of age.

These elements in Bonsai can be created with specific techniques and knowledge in arboricultural principles.

The main methods used on Bonsai to obtain such results are:

  1. Wire application: technique that has the purpose of positioning the branches in the desired direction
  2. Pruning: removing unwanted branches or cutting part of it with the intent to give direction and ramification. This practice is also used to promote taper and movement to the trunk
  3. Sacrificial branch or planting in open space: the first method allows a specific branch to grow freely and promotes the trunk part below to thicken faster. The second technique permits the whole tree to grow for a determinate period in an open space (the ground) rather than in a restricted pot, which should result in the fastest growth of the tree.
  4. Repotting: this is an essential operation in Bonsai for several reasons but in relation to our topic it promotes great Nebari and is obtained with specific pruning techniques which are performed during the repotting phase.

Hope you find this article interesting and will visit us for the coming posts!!!

cropped-asamidori_Order-_FO2ADE56DE45_KZ00A_R07BAn-01-1-1.png

Bonsai meaning & History

The Japanese word Bonsai is featured by two words fuse together: BON which translate into pot or container and SAI that means tree.

In very simplistic words the word Bonsai is than interpreted as tree in a pot even if the true meaning of Bonsai is way much deeper and more articulated, since philosophy, religions and spirituality is involved in the core of a true Bonsai and not only the artistic element or the horticultural skills.

This ancient spiritual and artistic form find his roots in China more than 1000 year ago were the relationships between nature and mankind was expressed in two thinking philosophy or representations.

The first PUN-SAI which was the antecedent term to the Japanese word Bonsai and so the meaning “tree in a pot” and the second PENZAI today well known as Penjing a landscape representation made by tree, rocks and water on a tray to recreate a sort of three-dimensional painting.

In Japan this miniaturization practice of the tree arrived after many years from China.

The tree is seen as object of meditation and so deserve to be the main element of attention.

Based on this concept the tree is display on his own in a pot usually on a Tokonoma (Japanese specific Bonsai display surface) along with accent plants and scrolls to enable the viewer to fully enjoy the beauty of the tree and his great spirituality.

Bonsai arrived in Europe many centuries after this practice was fully embrace in Japan.

The first appearance of Bonsai in Europe was in 1878 at the Paris International Exhibition. From this event took many more years for Bonsai to be fully established as practice out of Japan but today seem to be a flourishing hobby approached by many enthusiasts all over the world.

cropped-asamidori_Order-_FO2ADE56DE45_KZ00A_R07BAn-01-1-1.png