Monday, June 6, 2011

professional maple pruning

These are Japanese maple KIOHIME, the small leaved variety. They are very good for shohin bonsai i.e. very small trees. One can acquire them with trunks of pencil thickness. The best thing is to let the tree grow freely for a year. Then it develops a wide crown. Most amateurs are happy with this and prune just a little, many don't prune at all now. They continue to do so for several years. The result is a tree with a comparatively thin trunk and a very wide crown. Some think it is cool. Well, in my opinion it is just out of proportion.

To overcome this one has to prune drastically after the first year. As one can see Walter first prunes back to the ideal silhouette. It looks nice and well proportioned. But then he continues and prunes well below the ideal silhouette. The result is a kind of ugly broom. Why this? Because it is important to leave room for new growth. If you prune back to the ideal silhouette the tree will outgrow it in the following years and will be out of proportion again.
If your wife says 'you ruined the tree, it looked much better before.' you have done the right thing.

See the second tree. It is in it's third year of development. Two years ago it was pruned drastically. It now has a nice crown which seems to be in good proportion. Next year it may well be pruned back much more again.

Only with this regime over many years one obtains very small trees with nice crowns and very good ramification.