Care of the Bonsai: How to prune?

With the term pruning we want to indicate all operations that include the removal of both small and large branches. We use pruning to give the bonsai the desired shape, to remove unnecessary branches and to make room between the leaves so that sunlight can reach any point, or almost.

When to prune?

It is necessary to distinguish pruning into two types: formation pruning and maintenance pruning.

Formation pruning is used to give our tree the desired shape, to eliminate excess and defective branches. Usually, parallel, opposite and wagon-wheel branches are removed.

Being an important pruning, which allows us to eliminate large branches, it is to be done during the vegetative rest; a generally good period for all species is January-February, if we have to prune a tree with deciduous leaves, we must however wait for the complete fall of the leaves.

The maintenance pruning must be done while our bonsai are in the vegetative phase, must be very accurate and meticulous as it will give the right setting to the tree and to maintain the shape. Most of the results depend on the species and the state of health of the plant, the method of execution and the climate. The aims of this pruning are different but all equally useful and important: reduce the size of the leaves, make the green more compact, maintain the shape set, balance the vegetative development and air and illuminate the inner areas.

How to prune?

It is important to use well-sharpened scissors, a clean cut favours rapid healing and limits damage to the tree. If you cut a fairly large branch, it is a good idea to apply a healing paste at the point of cutting, so as to promote healing and protect the plant. Over time, the healing paste will be removed by itself.

During maintenance pruning, it is essential for the growth of the bud after pruning to have the point of cut; the new bud will always grow on the side of the last leaf. Knowing this information we can cut so that the bud and the next sprig grow in the direction we want.