Sat Dec 16, 2017 @ 666,611 unique visits
Event Calendar

Merry Christmas
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31            
Legend:
Normal Day: 
Event Day: 
Today: 
No events.
blank.gif blank.gif
User Log
bullet.gif Guests On: 14
bullet.gif Members On: 0
bullet.gif Registered: 20
bullet.gif Newest: Roger
UserLast Login

Webmaster  Webmaster
Joined
08/29/16
3 days Offline

  Roger
Joined
11/08/17
1 week Offline

Mr Mann  Mr Mann
Joined
04/30/17
1 week Offline

TJ Barnes  TJ Barnes
Joined
11/19/16
1 week Offline

Adam Smith  Adam Smith
Joined
06/20/17
1 week Offline

  Steven He...
Joined
11/11/16
2 weeks Offline


  More Users 
blank.gif blank.gif
Site User Pages

New Site User Pages

jerry sorenson
WeeTree
Steven Hendricks
Mr Mann
TJ Barnes


Most Visited Pages

Webmaster[211]
TJ Barnes[167]
WeeTree[122]
Mr Mann[121]
Steven Hendricks[117]
blank.gif blank.gif
Subscriptions
System Newsletter

Site Members Only

blank.gif blank.gif
Using Principles of Growth to Manipulate Plants for Bonsai
Growing plants for bonsai means developing a nursery plant to the point of final styling and placing it in a pot. These plants have a variety of names, i.e. pre- trained or pre-bonsai, etc.

The idea is to grow a plant specifically for bonsai rather than landscape. Since our ends are very much different than landscapers the techniques are also very much different.

Some plants, such as pines need special attention from the very beginning to become good bonsai, others such as most deciduous trees are much more forgiving and may still be used after achieving some size, but without any previous bonsai training.

The approach that I would like to take is that of explaining and applying plant growth principles so that you may apply these principles and concepts to your particular situation.

Once understood, these principles are a very powerful tool for manipulating plant growth. And bonsai is probably the epitome of plant growth manipulation.


Principle 1: Leaves (needles) increase the size of the woody parts of the plant and the size of the roots.

Well, that seems obvious. But most of us fail to use this concept to its maximum advantage. If you want a really large trunk, don't prune your plant. The removal of leaves will only slow it down. This is of course over- simplified but nonetheless true. If you root prune a plant, leave as many leaves as the roots can support to generate new roots as quickly as possible. If you do this while a deciduous plant has its leaves, you must reduce the foliage comparably to prevent overtaxing the root's ability to supply water. It is imperative to keep the plant cool while new roots are being regenerated.

Leaving the entire stem of deciduous plants works particularly well for bare-root plants or severely root-pruned dormant deciduous plants. The remaining roots will only stimulate as many buds as they can support, so do not top prune the plant. (See the article "Root Pruning Bare Root Seedlings")

Principle 2: Leaves manufacture plant food, roots store plant food.

OK, obvious again, but what are the ramifications? Top pruning a plant at the end of the season (fall or winter) leaves all of the food intact to stimulate new growth in the spring. A full complement of food with no where to go will stimulate new buds and the new growth will be explosive and coarse, some deciduous plants may send out an eight foot sprout one inch thick in a single season (or more!). Severely top pruning a plant just after it leafs out in the spring uses up most of the stored food because the roots must send out a second burst of food to stimulate even more buds. This depletion will cause very weak new growth and will slow the plant down.

Not pruning a plant in winter or spring leaves the maximum number of buds to be stimulated into flowers and leaves and twigs, this taxes the roots to the fullest and will produce the smallest leaves, and the closest internodes (spaces between the leaves) on the new stems. Confining roots, as in a bonsai pot, limits their ability to store food, which in turn will diminish the leaves and internodes even further. This is the basic mechanism for dwarfing a plant in bonsai.

Principle 3: Small twiggy growth will always remain small and twiggy.

This principle is not so obvious and is in fact frequently overlooked by bonsai folk. What I mean is that, when a small twiggy branch appears as the result of restricted growing conditions it will always keep this character, even if the plant is rejuvenated by repotting or planting in the earth. New growth will be coarse and vigorous with long internodes and large leaves, but the twiggy branch will be unaffected. Thus you can grow a bunch of nice small branches low on the tree, plant it in the ground and grow a sacrifice branch or leader to increase trunk size enormously, come back and cut off the sacrifice branch and have a big trunked tree with nice small branches. However this will only work if you do not allow buds from the small branches to break into a water sprout or coarse growth. The branch will remain twiggy but its diameter will increase until it is unusable.

And finally:

These few principles may sound simplistic, but they are the entire basis for manipulating plant growth in bonsai. You will need to think about them carefully to be able to apply them effectively. To see how their application can work for leaf and stem reduction see the article ("How to Reduce the Size of Leaves")


Article Courtesy of Brent Walston         

purple-btm-left.png purple-btm-right.png
Latest Active Forum Threads
  Thread Views Replies Last Post
How to style different bons...
Styling Principles & Procedures
278 0 Webmaster
September 29, 2017
Fort Worth Bonsai Society Club
Club Membership
224 0 Webmaster
September 29, 2017
Beginnings
Questions & Answers About Bonsai
2546 5 WeeTree
July 09, 2017
purple-btm-left.png purple-btm-right.png
Fort Worth Bonsai Society Meeting Location Map
Club Meeting Location Map
Fort Worth Botanic Garden Conservatory
3220 Botanic Garden Drive North (off University Dr)
Fort Worth, Texas 76107

Fort Worth Botanic Gardens
purple-btm-left.png purple-btm-right.png
center-left.png center-right.png
centerb-left.png centerb-right.png