COMPILATION of TIPS & TRICKS for BONSAI

TIPS & TRICKS for BONSAI
Design:
1) Thick wrightia / ficus branches can be bent by notching them in a ‘V’ shape in the direction of the bend, matching the cambium along the edges on bending and by fixing the bend with a screw inserted at an angle. The wound should be covered with cut-paste to stop the drying of cut edges. (Tip by Yong Yap Chong at International Bonsai Art & Culture Biennale 2014, Yogyakarta, Indonesia in Oct 2014)
2) Live veins of junipers form ridging (raising of the live vein) and can be seen to continue along the branch or area which they feed. Shari can be formed once the live veins are found, by carving along the length adjacent to and parallel to the live veins as far as possible. (Tip by Mauro Stemberger at International Bonsai Art & Culture Biennale 2014, Yogyakarta, Indonesia in Oct 2014)

Growing Tips:
1) Bucida Spinosa (Bahama Black Olive) likes water & can be kept in pots w/o drainage (Drenching/wetting a pot before potting is also good for bucida (Tip by Robert Sevens at International Bonsai Art & Culture Biennale 2014, Yogyakarta, Indonesia in Oct 2014)
2) Bucida Spinosa also does not like root-pruning; in case root-pruning is necessitated in an emergency, the plant should be defoliated and its roots should be sub-merged in water for some days to aid recovery. It also likes alkaline water. (Tip by Pedro Morales of Puerto Rico)
3) Podocarpus do not like air-layers and will sulk if air-layered. (Tip by Ratna Dave, my teacher and eminent bonsai artist of Mumbai, India)
4) Bougainvillea should be defoliated to induce better branching during the growing period.
5) Ficus will be induced to put out aerial roots faster if their pots are placed in a bigger pot filled with humid material or gravel, etc. (from self-experience)
6) Some plants varieties, especially conifers do not bud on bare branches, but sometimes snapping a branch half-way will induce budding underneath the cut. This has been tried successfully on some ficus varieties which are prone to die-back. (from self-experience)
7) Jades & adeniums should be allowed one rain shower in the monsoons after which they should be sprayed with urea mixed in water (proportion: ½ tsp per 5 liters) and then kept under an overhang to avoid heavy rains. (from self-experience)
8) Banyans should be fertilized with nitrogen every 15 days to induce good branching. (Tip by Veer Choudhary, bonsai artist, India)
9) To develop the girth of the trunk, the roots of ficus can be lead into the ground; aerial roots can also be lead into the soil through tubes filled with moist growing material for faster thickening and also to ensure that they do not dry out before they reach the soil level. (observed in Indonesian Nurseries)

Flowering Tips:
1] For profuse flowering in Boganvillas (Recipe by Shrikrishna Gadgil, bonsai artist, Mumbai, India)
Step 1: Do not water subject plant for 2 days
Step 2: Feed with Vitamin B Complex on the 3rd day
Step 3: Feed liquid cow-dung slurry 1 week after 3rd day
Step 4: Feed with Urea (Nitrogen) 1 week after step 3
Step 5: Feed with Suffala (Super Phosphates) every week, 1 week after step 4 and continue till
flowers set
Once flowers are set in boganvillas, removal of leaves will lead to full flowering (from self-experience)
2] Wrightia can be defoliated completely which will induce profuse flowering one month after defoliation (from gardening experience)
3] Adeniums, in order to flower well, need weekly fertilizing. (Tip by Arun Ashar, Apoorva Nursery, Pune, India)
4] For most tropical flowering and fruiting plants, 2/3 weekly doses of Phosphorus dominant fertilizers about a month before the flowering /fruiting season of the species will induce better and sustained flowering.

Miscellaneous
1) To tie plants in shallow pots or on a rock – make a loop of the wire and place the bent end of the loop touching the surface of the pot or rock at the spot where the plant is to be located; put epoxy adhesive on the wire loop at the spot which touches the surface of the pot or rock and sprinkle some baking powder over it. Hold the wire in position for a couple of minutes; the tie-wire will be fixed permanently to the selected spot. (From: Bonsai Bark post, Stone Lantern and also Pedro Morales during a demo)
2] Possible method of correction of one-sided rootage (especially for tropicals): To induce rooting on sides bare of roots, first scar the side bare of roots and tie the base of the plant to the pot rather tightly in such a way that it will not move. Tie a guy wire at about 2/3rd the height of the trunk of the plant and exert a pull and tie the other end of the wire to the pot so that its base is stressed at the side without roots. Due to the stress at the base in the direction opposite the lean, the plant will be induced to send out roots at the point of stress. (From experience)
3] Branches which require back budding on lanky growth but which will not bud back on bare branches should not be pruned bare; the branch should be cut half way through just above the area which needs budding and then bent at the point of partial cut, snapping but not separating it. Care should be taken not to cut off the branch completely. Adventitious buds will eventually form between the trunk and the snapped point, as the flow of nutrition is disrupted but not completely stopped. (From experience)
4) While wiring branches, anchoring of the wire can be achieved as follows: Build a small spiral loop at the end of a sufficiently thick wire; hold the loop about two inches above the branch to be wired, bring the wire down to the branch to be wired and execute the first turn around the branch and complete the wiring around the branch in the normal way. Now, holding the looped end against the trunk with one hand, bend the wired branch downwards. If the wire is of sufficient strength, its tension against the trunk will hold the branch in place. (As shown by Pedro Morales of Puerto Rico, original technique by Sensei Mashahiko Kumura, Japan)
(My comments: the loop can be positioned even under the branch and held against the trunk in the same way)
5) The Brazilian Raintree will do really well if it is planted in soil containing 95% sand. It can take drastic pruning without any die-back provided there is no root disturbance while potting/repotting. (Tip by Nacho Marin of Venezuela as conveyed by Sanjay Dham, Delhi)
6) For bending thick branches: the branch should be wrapped with jute rope (close, continuous windings). This should be wrapped with electrical insulating tape. The bound portion can then be wound with thick wire and then bent as desired. (As demonstrated by Marc Neolanders in a workshop in Mumbai)
7) For Twin Trunk bonsai: Start shaping the smaller trunk first; change the potting angle if the trunks appear to go in opposite directions. (by Marc Neolanders in a workshop in Mumbai)
8) Simple tip to test suitable thickness of wire: hold the wire about 4/5 inches away from the loose end and press the loose end against the portion that is to be wired; if the wire bends then it is not of sufficient strength and a thicker wire is needed. (by Marc Neolanders in a workshop in Mumbai)
9) Bending a wired portion of the trunk/branch in the direction of the wire turns can tighten the wire; bending against the direction of the wire turns may loosen the wire. This has to be taken into account while wiring any portion of the bonsai (From various sources and self-experience)
10) Extreme bends can be achieved by turning three or more lengths of wire along the desired branch/trunk close together (almost to the extent that the bark is not visible and then bending the portion in the direction of the wire turns (by Neli Stoyanova during the Baroda Convention 2015)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.