How to Prune a Bonsai Plant
Bonsai plants require pruning to keep up the miniature size, as well as the stylized shape. Taking your time while pruning a bonsai gives you a well-shaped plant with just the correct amount of branching to seem natural. Bonsai plants mimic nature in scenery and form, making pruning essential to keeping the plant’s aesthetic value. Pruning and thinning aids in maintaining the plant’s overall health and longevity. When and how you prune is dependent upon the type of bonsai.
Prepare bonsai scissors and concave cutters made for pruning bonsai by cleaning them with a solution of nine parts water to one part bleach. Dry the scissors thoroughly. Re-clean the tools after every bonsai and once you make any reductions on diseased branches.
Prune deciduous bonsai in early spring. Prune evergreens, like spruce and pine, in mid spring and species like juniper in the first half of the summer. Later pruning might be required since the bonsai grows and sends out new shoots. Remove any diseased and damaged branches as required throughout the growing seasons.
Pinch off straggly needle foliage on evergreen bonsai together with your fingers to shape the tree. Using scissors on conifers to trim the foliage growth results in brown strategies and abnormal shaping. Use concave cutters when you eliminate any larger branches, like limbs growing from the back. Use the scissors for trimming and thinning deciduous trees.
Go back leggy branches that stretch beyond the basic shape of this bonsai. Hold the branch with one hand and lift it gently to see where to make the cut. Always cut just above a leaf for aesthetic value. Plan to eliminate about half of the new growth annually to keep up the size of this plant and also a balance with the origins.
Cut off vertical branches on deciduous trees like maple. Slim busy branches to permit light to achieve all parts of this bonsai. Remove branches that grow directly across from one another to create symmetry. Cut any branch off that rubs or interferes with the growth of some other limb.