Hard Pruning Bonsai Tree Care

I did some hard pruning to many of my trees this year, let’s have a look at the results and see how they are doing!
I’m also updating many of the bonsai that I started from seed and more!

To see previous videos of my Portulacaria afra forest, click on the playlist here….

To see previous videos of my Baobab trees, click on the playlist here…

To see previous videos of my Fusion Ficus, click on the playlist here…

Very enjoyable walk around. Everything looks fantastic. Unfortunately summer is coming to an end. Now I’m looking forward to seeing you work in the plant room. Keep growing. Thanks

Video Transcript

hi everyone nigel saunders here it has been exactly one month since i hard pruned down my porcula carry afroforced let’s see what it looks like now one month later here it is today it’s coming in nice and green and i really like the proportions of the trees they’re starting to look like the giant african baobabs which i’m kind of styling them to look like here’s a look at the main tree up close and you can see almost everywhere where i cut the tree back hard it sprouted new growth so that’s really good here’s a tree that wasn’t quite so successful i cut this main trunk off here and i have no new growth around this area i do have growth on the other branch here which is good so in the future i have two choices i can wait for something to develop on this trunk and i found sometimes nothing does develop they just kind of sit there dormant so i could uh i could prune it off flush and just grow this is my new leader i’ve got some buds developing in here so the tree will live no problem it’s just might need a bit of restyling let’s go in now up close and you can see the development of each tree so we’ll start with the main tree here you can see all the shoots in here all over the tree it’s looking really good it’s coming back really nicely i’m really pleased i was worried about this cut here this major trunk here i cut it off and i thought oh what if nothing grows what if it’s like the stump over here where nothing happens because that’s kind of a major trunk line but i did i got a shoot each side of that which is really good so i’ll have the one trunk dividing into two and generally over time these new shoots will blend in with this trunk they tend to develop quite quickly so that’s good that’s what happened last time i hard pruned this tree most of the other trees have done really well too this tree i did a hard prune here and here it’s recovered really nicely this one there’s a stump out front here that didn’t really grow anything but i have lots of growth out the back so again i can either you know wait for something to develop on this side some people say try re-cutting it and maybe to something will sprout so i can try that if not i can restyle the tree using the side branches my new apex all the little cuttings i planted are doing well there’s another tree here i hard pruned this one nothing came out on that but there’s lots of other growth and this one developed really nicely over here a nice crown on the tree so i’m very pleased with the results i’m glad i did it uh the night after i hard pruned it i i went to bed and i thought oh my goodness what did i do these trees are all so old and i hard prune them back and what if they don’t respond what if they just die or something but they didn’t they recovered and once again just like last time i’ve hard pruned the trees i’m really happy i did it because it’s getting the nice baobab proportions a great big thick trunk on it tiny tree with a nice upper branch structure something as i said i can develop into the future and just try and go for better and better proportions to create that look of a giant african baobab tree up until last year i’d never tried growing real baba trees everything i read online said they’re really hard to grow hard to germinate hard to care for in the winter some articles said you’ve got to pull the tree out of the pot hang it upside down in a dry area and overwinter it upside down with the roots exposed to the air and so i never tried it i thought i won’t be successful because i’ve tried bonsai adeniums or desert roses and haven’t had much success so i never tried growing a bab until last year and so far i i’ve had good luck with them they’ve over wintered fine they lose their leaves i don’t water them in the winter i keep them indoors in the plant room and once the new leaves come out in spring i start slowly increasing the water when it’s nice and hot and sunny out in the summer you give it lots of water you water it like a regular tree and i found so far they’ve been doing really well so let’s go have a look at them now i’ve got some that i started this year and some from last year we’re starting into the cool weather at nights now last night got down to 12 degrees celsius and tonight we’re going even lower to 8 degrees celsius which is getting pretty cool for baobab uh everything i’ve read recommends you keep them at 15 degrees celsius or above which is you know fairly warm so i’ve moved my baobabs into the greenhouse here so here they are so the back ones these back to here those are the ones i started last summer so they’re my tallest they’re growing really strongly at least the one the other ones stayed quite short and these are the ones from this year i’ve got one in a pot by itself here and i’ve got another one here and this one is the first tree to get a branch you can see it dividing here there’s a branch off to the side so really cool as the baobab trees mature they will eventually get a compound leaf similar to that of a chef flare i’ll show you the leaf on the schafflera here’s my chafflera here my australian umbrella tree so you can see the compound leaf how it has five on this one but they can get more here’s one with three six on that one so that’s what the baobab leaf will look like in the future you’ll get that kind of leaf cluster at the end or a compound leaf like that kind of exciting so my babe abs here are developing fairly slowly there was a viewer who planted his baobab tree at about the same time i did and his was like taller than his head it was huge and it had a big trunk on it my older ones here are starting to get a nice woody trunk on them so this winter i’ll probably separate them once the leaves have fallen off i’ll separate them i probably won’t do any root pruning if i do i’ll pull them out of the pot and let the roots dry for a bit before i replant it in fairly dry soil for the winter i want to separate these two trees get them in probably a larger pot i’ve gotta look at the root system first i don’t want it too big a pot because then the soil stays moist for too long and it could rot the roots so that’s the plan anyways to maybe just check on the root system this winter on them my cyrissa here continues to do well it’s uh looking kind of cool i like it in the new pot i’ll be turning the heat on in the greenhouse tonight i’ve got a little heater and it’ll keep it it doesn’t keep it too warm but it’ll keep it at probably around 15 degrees celsius tonight with the heater running in here and that’ll keep my babs here warm and you know everything i’ve recently repotted it’ll stay warm and growing rather than going dormant here’s my ficus religiosa that i repotted recently and you can see some of the older leaves have gone yellow and they’ll be falling off soon but all the newer leaves are still green it’s looking good there’s a nice green bud on it so i i think it’ll survive no problem my little one down here still no results from that yet but that that’ll probably take a while i mean i totally defoliated it pruned it back hard and prune the roots back fairly hard so i just keep misting it hopefully in the future little buds will form on it and it’ll start growing again the other little ficus religiosa and isabella’s pot is doing really well the winter jade here still has one green leaf on it it’s looking good in the new pot the lithops are doing really well i think they’re getting taller some of them i don’t know if you can see that in there it’s kind of getting taller still looking really nice and colorful really healthy isabella brought me some new plants there the aloe and the succulent they’re doing really well my little tiny pencil cactus is looking really good there too happy with that really cool i’ve got a lot of cuttings in here i’ve got my almond tree i’ve got a lot of ficus religiosa cuttings in here some climbing aloe cuttings what else do i have i think there’s some french lilac cuttings in there portugal carry afro cuttings in here uh i’ve got these trees these were from todd’s tropicals i forget what they are but they’re growing really well so i’ve got those and then i’ve got over here i’ve these were the seed trays that had the horn beams in and nothing came up so i started planting cuttings in here so i think i have the gardenia cuttings ficus cuttings which are doing really well they’re starting to grow these are the benjamina cuttings i’ve got all my mystery trees uh someone wanted a close-up of them to try and identify them so it’s a heart-shaped leaf kind of shiny on top underneath not as shiny as the top but it’s still kind of shiny underneath and then at each division there’s kind of little little leaflets growing or something you can see how it grows up top and yeah and that’s how they’re growing you can see the rest of them here the leaves are getting quite large on them so i don’t know the jerusalem thorn trees are doing quite well yeah they’re growing well for me i’m quite happy to get those the frank yi jades here the cork bark jades doing really well i’ve noticed new growth on these cuttings now so that means i’ve got almost all of the cuttings are surviving there’s only i think the one here that might die out of all those cuttings i got so that’s really good i’m so pleased yeah that’s going really well uh my ficus lorata cutting back here i’ve noticed some more green leaves up top on it so it’s doing really well i think that’ll have a lot of green leaves on it soon the two ficus benjamin is the two little leaf one and the other one in there if you can see in there did really really well after the repotting they just they’re just starting to grow now and they’re growing really exploding in growth almost so that’s good they don’t need to be in the greenhouse here anymore but i’m just keeping them in here to baby them i guess until they get firmly established yeah i’ve got some brazilian raintree cuttings back here for bonsai jay he’ll be visiting uh in september so that’ll be exciting so i might he can take some of these mystery trees some jerusalem thorns um maybe some ficus religiosa cuttings portulacary aphra i think he has those trees i think this is a coral berry tree in here too yeah so i’m going to have to really give away a lot of stuff because i’m really worried that i won’t be able to fit all these tropical trees inside the plant room and the basement this winter i’m quite worried oh dear what have i done i’ve also got my guava tree in the greenhouse here and it’s growing really tall i’ve uh here’s the base of it way down here so it’s getting quite thick it’s about the thickness of my baby finger now and this is growing from a seed by young in our club and he gave it to me i think it was two years old when he gave it to me and i’ve had it probably three or four years now so it’s getting up there it’s got this nice bark that it full exfoliates on it kind of cool so i’ve let it grow for the entire summer and now that summer is coming to a close i’ll prune it back hard before i bring it into the plant room and the reason i have it in the greenhouse here is that it’s grown so tall that when the wind blows it tips the pot over so that’s why it’s in the greenhouse it’s just having a spa day in here just to save it from the wind the bougainvillea this is a cutting off julian’s one is still flowering really nicely beautiful color flowers on it i really like those kind of pale purple colors pinkish purple really cool and my other one that flowered all summer is beginning to flower again getting flowers all over it here here here back here so that’s pretty cool too solar powered fans have just turned off i guess i’m standing in front of the solar panels too much they were on when i came in here but it’s getting dark out now so yeah the sun will be setting soon so even though it gets really cool at night time it’s still very warm in the daytime we had 25 degrees celsius today so i still have to keep watering all my trees they dry out at the end of each day so i’ve just finished watering them all so they’re all good for tonight and tomorrow morning and they’re all doing quite well this crown of thorns just keeps flowering the entire summer amazing fantastic plant for bonsai there’s the lychee tree the leaves are starting to come out more now and they’re starting to be more of a compound leaf in the early stages they were just sort of you know a couple of leaves at the end of each you know petiole and now i’m getting sets of compound leaves on them which is really cool so i think you know this is going to get a fairly big canopy by the end of summer and that’ll be pretty cool it’ll grow fast once it gets all that foliage up top very exciting my mulberry seedling that i just dug up from the yard here has done really well i gave it a root pruning before i planted it i gave it a top pruning and it’s recovered nicely and it’s growing in really well so that’s going to make a nice bonsai in the future and it was free which is pretty cool and i’ve always wanted a mulberry i’ve just never come across one and they’re right in my yard right by the bonsai area a little see seedling grew so that’s cool we do have a mulberry tree in the backyard it’s quite a large one here’s the front of my austrian pine it’s really thick it’s well developed all the needles very dense that’s the word i’m looking for the roots are keep getting better on this tree really happy with the root base on it it’s pretty cool i think this tree you know as it gets older in the future it’ll become better and better i hope i guess it is now but it’s still got a long way to go before it’s you know really spectacular tree but hopefully it’ll get there over here is my ficus benjamina the franken ficus or fusion ficus where i planted a cutting one of the cuttings off this tree on top of the trunk because the whole top of the tree died off in the cold so i’m trying to restore it to its original glory and it’s done really well this summer i’ll show you a photograph of it i think i did it in december the hard pruning anyway it was last winter so i’ll show you a picture of that now or a little video of it and you can compare it to what it looks like now which is incredible that it’s the same tree i’m back here behind the camera looking at the tree now and to me it’s looking really beautiful it’s uh it’s getting a nice branch structure it’s sort of it gives me a real banyan feel to it and i think you know once the foliage fills in i can get the tree a little shorter up top get some front growth coming i think it’s going to look really good i’m uh i’m really pleased i think you know from a tree that you know didn’t have much hope there when the top dried off of it and i was left with kind of a trunk with a few branches and yeah it was looking pretty grim then but it’s been resurrected as the franken ficus and i i i’m so pleased with it i i think i think it’s coming along really nicely you can see on some of those upright uh branches where i prune them off how it’s starting to get a bit of a curve to the inside corner of the bend now it’s starting trices tend to smooth out as they grow older so any 90 degree corners they start to blend in and become smoother so yeah it’s then this tree slowly slowly becomes smoother and it’s got a long way to go but it’s i’m happy with its development i think it’s making good progress yeah so there’s the tree today now getting a fantastic root system on it looking really good the cutting there is starting to fuse in with the original trunk and that fusion will just get better as the tree gets older and it’s just got tons of new growth on it just unbelievable so it just shows you know if you have a strong root system on your tree it’s nice and healthy you can cut them back hard usually all my hard prunings were successful except for my ficus root over temple so it’s not dead but it’s very weak so let’s have a look at that now here it is here so you can see i cut it back hard and everything died off on the top this one branch out front lived and it got a lot of new growth on it but it hasn’t grown vigorously over the summer not like my other ones so i’m kind of worried i’m looking behind here there is a section up the back here that rotted but now it’s starting to heal so you can see there’s dead wood coming up here so there’s only a fairly thin live vein on it that’s alive so as long as that stabilizes which i think it is now and starts growing with vigor it’ll eventually repair itself this tree and i can carve away all the dead wood on it and hopefully restore it because that’s the branch i wanted to live was the one coming forward because in the past the apex was back here and it was kind of going away from you so yeah so that’s a hard pruning that wasn’t that successful but i haven’t given up on the tree yet i’m hoping it continues to recover and get better as it gets older my asparagus fern is doing really well in the winter time i had it up against a wall and nothing grew on the one side of the tree so this time over the summer i had this side facing the sun and everything’s growing in quite evenly now and it’ll be ready for a pruning soon and to make it more tree-like because right now it kind of well kind of looks like my hair doesn’t it it’s a sprawling mess so that’ll need pruning to get it looking like a tree again my royal oaks or my english oaks here are doing really well you can see they’re still pushing out a bit of new growth on it you can see the red part there yeah i’ve uh had to pick you know suckers off the trunk a couple of times to keep the trunks nice and clean and develop you know a clean looking trunk line um yeah they’re doing really well i i can’t complain you know these are young trees and i think they have all the potential in the world to grow up into fine bonsai here’s a look at my mars project and you can see that the aloe in here is doing really well this is the main aloe plant pup that i planted in there and it’s got all kinds of new branches or trunks growing out of the soil the martian simulant so i’m just looking oh we’re starting to get a bit of algae on the soil now on some of the soil particles so at first the soil just i think it was very toxic but now you know with fertilizer and water i think it’s starting to support life well you can see the aloe’s doing really well in it so that’s kind of good just shows you can grow plants in martian simulant or martian soil jonathan gave me a whole bunch of the black spruce seedlings last year and they overwintered quite well and i planted that bog forest with them and i kept a bunch of them just in case my bug force some of them didn’t survive the route pruning and repotting but they all did so that was good i gave away some to the community gardens for their edible forest because you can eat spruce tips some are planned for the first nations garden and i gave away some to isabella and to connor who visited so i’m down to one tree left now and i think i’ll grow this one as a a single tree as sort of a specimen tree uh develop into a bigger one than the bog forest those will be kept quite small so just see what i can turn it into my nightshade vine is doing really well it’s kind of glowing in the sun right now yeah still has the berries back here growing really well the trunk is thickening up on it slowly yeah i’m very happy with it i hope it goes through this winter fine this will be it’s if it makes it through this winter it’ll be going into its third growing season which is pretty exciting and i have no idea how long you can keep these vines alive for and we’ll find out if it over winter is fine we’ll give it another season of growth my scots pine root over rock has done really well this summer i uh i hard pruned it back kind of late spring hoping i might get another flush of growth this year but i didn’t they are a single flush species which means they only push out growth once a year but i was hoping because all the vigor i had in it maybe it would put out a second flush but it didn’t they will in some climates but i think our season’s too short here it does however have tons of buds all over it everywhere everywhere where i pruned it there’s new buds coming out and it’ll be quite exciting to see it in spring with all the new growth on it i think it’ll look quite nice and quite dense i think my cathedral style fuji occidentalis or eastern white cedar has done really well this year you can see there’s some good strong growth up top a bit of a rocket branch there yeah it’s doing quite well lots of foliage so i’ll have to prune it back again once it goes dormant get it ready for the spring season but yeah i really like this tree it’s exciting growing this and like i said this is this was a collected tree but i basically stripped all the lower branches off of it and totally restyle it for me kind of a low spreading tree to more of an upright old growth style and so i’m even though it’s collected i’m growing most of the tree and it’ll take many years before it starts to look really good but i really really like the tree my wife has a mulberry tree that she started two years ago was it two years ago and you can see how tall it is it’s growing really well so yeah she’s going to prune it to keep it a small tree so you can reach all the berries from the ground or at least you know a small ladder maybe she doesn’t want to grow too tall or it shades everything out here so she’ll have to learn some bonsai techniques to keep that prune back and under control here’s a close-up look at all the mulberries that are forming on it they’re pretty green right now but they’ll turn into a nice berry eventually and they’re one of my favorite small berries i love them in my wife’s greenhouse here she has finally gotten some fine looking grapes so in the corner here you can see all the grapes she’s got growing she has to grow them inside here or all the squirrels and birds and that tend to pick them all off so that’s why she grows everything in a screen house or a greenhouse her peach tree back here has done really well this summer you can’t see much of it because there’s a big squash growing up in its way but it’s doing really well so she’s going to prune it back a little shorter once it’s dormant for the winter here’s a look at the footings for my new glass greenhouse dried nicely no problems so the next step i think will be to dig out the soil in the middle put plastic down and i’ll put a nice bed of gravel in there eventually for the floor of the greenhouse it’s getting quite cool out so i’m going to go in and turn the heat on in the greenhouse now keep it nice and warm for tonight [Music] okay the heat is on so let me just check the temperature now so i’m at about 16 or 17 degrees celsius which is ah it’s about 62 degrees fahrenheit so we’ll keep track of what’s going on we’ll come back out here later tonight and have a look and check on the temperature the sun has set and it’s quite cool out now i’m just going to go in the greenhouse and check what temperature it’s holding in there i’ve got my grow lights on so i can see the thermometer it is that’s about 16 degrees celsius or about 51 or 52 fahrenheit so not bad in here phil’s feels nice in here well it’s definitely night time now let’s go in and check on the temperature of the greenhouse which is now a purple house and see how warm it is okay i meant oh it feels nice in here oh it’s really nice let me check the temperature so the temperature in here is about 14 degrees celsius or 59 degrees fahrenheit so quite pleasant it’s actually really nice in here what a beautiful evening out here but it is going down to eight degrees celsius tonight that’s pretty cold it’s just a beautiful quiet evening out tonight and that’s all for today i’m nigel saunders thanks for joining me in the bonsai zone [Music]

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