How to Improve Your Bonsai Skills

How to Improve Your Bonsai Skills


Today started out quite warm it was plus one degree in the morning but it’s cooling down throughout the day and it’s going to get quite cold tonight i’ve got all the big cedars out of the greenhouse here on the bench and i’m packing all the trees with snow around them you can see the maple forest there and the forest over here has snow all around the base so when we do get some warmer weather the snow will melt and kind of water the trees here’s a look at all the cedars i packed the bases with snow i’ll finish up the job by getting snow around the base of all the trees so you just collect it from the bench and then i pack it around the trees that should do [Music] so some of these trees i’ll be working on over the winter so i’ll be taking them from this greenhouse into the warmer greenhouse to work on them and then they’ll go back into the cool here after the work’s done i finished putting the snow on all the trees in here you can see it looks like a winter wonderland so i’ll bring in the big cedar trees now into the aisle way close the greenhouse up and wait for spring all right all right that’s done i’m in the glass greenhouse now today i’m going to be working on my small leaf linden tree or tilia cordetta here’s a look at my small leaf line i did some work last year i took some major branches off this area this is kind of a big clump growing out there i kind of this branch here is too too angled this one here is too straight if there was a branch growing up between them it would be ideal but there isn’t so i’ve got to create a branch in there what i’m going to do is prune back the vertical one quite hard and then see if something comes off of it there is a bud kind of facing the right direction there so i’ve got to redirect that branch so it’s not quite so straight or it’s not actually it leans in towards the center of the tree a bit and then you know once i get a good branch going there i can probably either remove the one to the side or just make it kind of a branch instead of a trunk line yeah that’s the plan uh the so what i want the tree to look like eventually is sort of an asymmetrical triangle so i’ve got my cascading branch here my apex up at the top here and then kind of the other part of the triangle let me see if i can get both hands in here kind of that shape like that kind of so that’s my goal on the more vertical trunk line there’s a bud right there there’s another one here so i just i was thinking of pruning it off halfway between these two buds right here and then trying to get that to develop so here i go a big cut coming up i’m going to use the ratcheting pruners just looking for other buds there’s one at the back here so i might i don’t think i want to include that i’m going to prune below that one so right about here so here i go just like that this other trunk line here i want to make it more of a branch so i’m going to prune the tall top off of it this could be a new leader here or you know maybe this one so i’m going to take it off just above this chute here so here i go like that i’m going to leave a stub there let that dry back and keep these shoots alive if possible i will take the top off this branch here like that do a little trimming on this one and a little trimming on this one i think that’s it for now it’s a dead stub i can take off there yeah i think that’s about it for now i’ve got a lot of branches coming off to the side here so i want to keep just one of them and i’ve got to decide which one to keep i think i want to keep this one coming out the front so i’ll remove everything else like that i’ve got the right hand side of the tree pruned up so now it’s time to start working on the left hand side all right here i go on the pruning of this branch here so it’s got to be kind of triangular shape so maybe a little higher towards the center i think this is a dead branch here yes i’m going to prune that right out last year i let the tree flower and it looks beautiful in flower and then i left the flowers on and they turned to berries and the tree didn’t grow at all as soon as i removed the berries it started growing again so this year i’m going to let it flower in spring and then once the flowers have faded away they’ll all get pruned off so the tree can just grow for the rest of the summer see i think it’s even killed off these branches yeah this tip is alive but everything else here died off this one’s dead okay so i’m going to prune the tip off here tip here off this is growing strongly but i will remove the tip dead bit here a dead bit here i think i’ll take the tip off there like that this vigorous tip here okay on this branch here i’m going to take it right back to here on this one right back to here tips off that one on the tip off here tip off here here removing that butt at the tip of the branch stimulates back butting and gives vigor to these buds that are further back the smaller buds so it’s a good idea to remove the tip off some of your branches and this one let me have a look yeah there’s no buds kind of facing the outside here this branch kind of goes in towards the center i don’t think i need that branch i could develop the little shoot down below maybe so i’ll do that i’ll just prune the upright part of the branch off like that branch there this one looks dead yeah so the branches are all kind of reaching upwards they’re not too flat i think i’ve got to get them to gain vigor and then maybe do some hard pruning on them in the future this buds forming all over the trunk line here which is good yeah i think that is going to be it for today let me stand back and have a look at the tree i’m looking at the tree from the front now i think you know i need to reduce that profile of this branch but this branch is kind of weak there’s no buds anywhere further down on it so i’ll wait until the vigor builds up and then later on prune it back and this will grow out so i’ll get that asymmetrical triangular form which should look pretty good on this tree i’ve been struggling with the styling of this tree for a long time this was the back at one time i’ll show you the other side i’ll rotate the tree around so here i go so there’s quite a wound here which is closing up really nicely now here comes the back and you can see all the dead wood here that’s kind of rotting away it’s healing over nicely there is you know good calluses rolling over the dead wood so yeah it’s the whole top of this tree died off at one time and so i kind of joined up some scars here in one video yeah it’s an interesting tree there’s a close-up of the section with all the dead wood there’s a look at the tree we got some sunshine this afternoon that’s great that’ll be shining in the plant room also so the tree is looking pretty good so we’ll just let it uh grow in spring i’ll let it flower and then i’ll remove all the flowers and well i’ll concentrate on growing the vigor back in the tree there’s all the cold weather blowing in today when it was above freezing this morning i managed to get enough water from my cube i closed the valve let it fill up i got enough water to fill the barrel in my plant room so that’s good that’ll take me through january and maybe even to february with water i didn’t expect the sun to come out at all today so it’s kind of nice to see it oh it just disappeared that’s all for today i’m nigel saunders thanks for joining me in the bonsai zone [Music]

I’m pruning my small leaf Linden bonsai (Tilia cordata) to get it ready for spring. I’m also packing snow around the trees in the poly-house.

To see previous videos of the small leaf Linden, click on the playlist here…


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