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This plant is a Spruce, a Picea. I bought it in a garden center for about US$15-20. In this movie I’ll show you how to create a bonsai from this plant. After pruning, wiring and repotting, this was the result. Right now, it’s just a bush. So there’s no tree to be found in here just yet. But the plant does have a trunk in there, it’s just hidden by a lot of branches.
Today we’ll start revealing the trunk more and more Pruning branches, adding some wire as well on the branches so that we can shape them And start making this plant look more like a bonsai tree.
Today’s just the first styling. It’s fall right now, so that’s a good time to do this kind of work BBut the tree will need at least another 2 or 3 years Before it really starts looking more and more like a bonsai First step, I’ll take it out of the pot and dig away some of the soil So that we can also see where the first roots appear, and start revealing the trunk. The tools we use include wire, a wire cutter, and a twig shear.
When pruning larger branches, we’ll use a concave cutter. All these are available at specialized bonsai nurseries or on our website. If you’re just starting out though, feel free to use any standard pruning shears instead. Revealing the surface roots by removing the top layer of soil Is an important factor in deciding on the front of the tree. And deciding of the front will help us to make decisions on which branches to prune later on. Any dead branches, dangling growth, or dead foliage Is carefully removed using scissors.
This basic cleaning will reveal the structure of the plant A factor which is important when deciding on the front. Also remove any dead branches on the interior of the tree. Now that we have cleaned the tree and can see where the main roots appear We can decide on the best front of the tree. We also take into consideration the shape and taper of the trunk And the position of the main branches. So first branch was taken off And that helps us to also be able to look into the plant
And start making more and more decisions. So what you can see here is that there is one trunk And then it splits into a few sub-trunks And that’s where we have to make a few decisions as well. So there’s a few really growing upwards And pretty parallel to each other, so I’ll start removing a few of those. Alright, that again cleans up the tree, and we start looking more and more into the tree.
The new front will be more or less like this. So we’ll tilt it. And that also makes that this branch is not something we can use So I’ll also remove this one. I will work from here, and also start doing some more pruning And then eventually wiring a few of the branches To bend them downwards as well. Alright. Deciding on the design of a bonsai isn’t always easy Especially when a tree is as full and overgrown as this plant.
Try to apply the pruning guidelines we just mentioned to your own trees. And if you are interested to learn more about these techniques Consider enrolling in one of our online bonsai courses. Here, expert teachers explain the relevant techniques And you can ask them questions.
For a free lesson, go to: bonsaiempire.com/courses Next we wire the main branches Starting with the lower branches and slowly working our way up to the apex. Try to wire two branches with one piece of wire. Between these two branches make sure to wrap the wire at least once around the trunk for stability. We aim to apply the wire at an angle of 45 degrees. The wire should be thick enough to hold the branch in the desired shape once we bend it. A rule of thumb is to use a wire of about 1/3 to 1/2 the thickness of the branch you are wiring.
Alright, so finished wiring, pruning And what you see right now is a very strange two-dimensional plant, but that’s going to change All the branches have been wired, but we haven’t set them yet. So you’re looking more or less at the front from here. Which means that this section is very empty.
Since we wired these branches we can set them in position, fill up this gap And make it a more three-dimensional tree. So that’s the next step, setting those branches in position. Once you finish wiring the branches you can start shaping them Moving your way up the trunk towards the apex of the tree.
The next step is repotting. We carefully remove the tree from its pot And untangle the roots carefully using a chopstick. Work your way from the bottom to the sides of the root mass. Using scissors we prune long roots. We can prune up to about 1/3 of the roots if needed. Okay, so we took a lot of the soil off And also pruned the roots a little bit. And then I have two options for pots.
One is a bit wider but more shallow And this pot is quite deep, so a much bigger pot. It’s also a matter of taste, but also a matter of what you think is good and healthy for a tree. But if I look at this pot, there is more than enough space for the tree. And if I would take this pot then the roots would have much more room to develop. That could be an advantage, but I do think that this pot Really looks a lot better on the tree So I’ve selected this pot to use. So the next step is to prepare the pot And we already mixed our soils.
So this is the pot that we selected. The substrate we use is a mix of Akadama, Pumice and Lavarock in equal parts. This is the standard mix we recommend for Bonsai trees As it drains excess water very well. A bonsai pot should have at least one drainage hole.
We attach a mesh to cover this hole with a short piece of wire. We also prepare a long wire, in this case through both drainage holes Which will be used to attach the tree to the pot. If you are trying these techniques out for the first time It might be safer to wait with repotting until the next early spring.
This will allow the tree to recover from the pruning and wiring And ensure it regains vigor and stays healthy. Next we add some soil in the pot. Place the tree slightly off-center in the pot Keeping in mind its front and the most beautiful angle for displaying it. Once you are satisfied with the placement Attach the tree to the pot using the wire we prepared earlier.
Now we add more soil. Use chopsticks to make sure all air-pockets are filled with soil. The final step is to water your tree. Keep a close eye on the branches As the wires might create ugly marks on the branches as they grow thicker. Usually wires need to be removed in about 3-4 months’ time. The tree will be fertilized but we do not prune it for at least the next six months.
I expect we can give this tree a second styling in one year from now. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel So you can see the progress of this tree over time. Learn how to create your own bonsai trees By enrolling in one of our online bonsai courses. We explain techniques like pruning, wiring and repotting And you can ask questions to the teachers. For the curriculums and free lessons, go to: bonsaiempire.com/courses