Five Steps to Pruning a Bonsai Tree

While the Bonsai tree makes a great addition to any backyard, it does require some pruning. Whether you do this from an aesthetic standpoint or just to make sure that the plant doesn’t overgrow, it’s a crucial step that needs to be done right the first time around. Check out the five steps to pruning a Bonsai Tree:

Bonsai Tree Pruning Supplies:

  • Bonsai Tree
  • Twig Sheers

Bonsai Tree Pruning Steps

Step 1: Get rid of weeds

Weeds are one of the most common problems that gardeners are faced with, and for owners of the Bonsai tree, this is no different. Every now and then, weeds will start to grow around your Bonsai tree, especially when you first plant it. That’s why as soon as you start noticing the weeds sprouting out, it’s time to remove them. You don’t want to damage the Bonsai’s roots in the process, though, so carefully uproot the weeds.

Step 2: Decide on the canopy size

Before you start pruning a bonsai tree, have an idea of how big you want your tree’s canopy to be. Then, with twig sheers, begin pruning any outgrown branches or shoots that you come across. This will help the Bonsai tree not only keep its shape but stay healthy. Don’t worry about pruning areas at the top of the tree, since this will ensure that it grows evenly.

Step 3: Prune the crown

A lot of times the tree’s crown needs to be cut because it’s blocking light from reaching the branches on the bottom. If this is the case for you, thin out the crown by taking out small branches that are growing alongside the shoots. 

Step 4: Defoliate the tree

A Bonsai tree with old, long leaves is never appealing. That’s why it’s important that you defoliate your tree, so that smaller, healthier looking leaves can grow instead. Typically, this is done by cutting off each leaf at their base. We recommend you use extreme caution during this step, because if it’s not done right, your tree may never fully recover into what it once was.

Step 5: Do what you feel is best

At the end of the day, this is your Bonsai tree, so you have the final say on what it looks like. For instance, if you think a branch is too thick, cut it. Maybe a branch has a twist going on that you’re not a fan of, remove it. Bend and shape the Bonsai tree as you see fit.

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