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Secrets from my Garden Fairies

Bonsai Fairie Secrets

We had an in depth conversion on rules the last few days. The fairies are a little bored being in the house with all this wet weather I guess. As I was sitting and studying different bonsai books they asked, "Do you think if you read all the best bonsai books and obey all the rules you'll create a masterpiece? As usual they went on to share that rules are just guidelines. Often they say, when a tree is very mechanical and unexciting, it is because the rules have been followed with precision. The tree is "rule-book correct" but boring.

bonsai fairieBe a maverick with some decisions. The best bonsai inspire us to imagine an aged tree in miniature, rather than reminding us that what we are looking at is a created bonsai. A tree should reflect one's artistic interpretation of a piece of living sculptural. The also have opinion on watering, branch pruning and placement, fertilizer OH MY.

I said "Oh, I only prune when the tree is dormant or in the early spring when the buds start to swell. Cutting a branch during the season when the sap is flowing will cause the branch to 'bleed' excessively and die. The whole tree itself may die."

After a brief chuckle they told me I could trim branches at any time. Most of the carnage should occur during the very early spring period but I may continue the assault at a slower rate throughout the year. Be sure to use sealer or cut paste on the wounds, even smaller sized cuts. I of course said that would be a pain to seal every little cut. They then laughed and said I already seal every cut. It seems when I prune bonsai fairiesmaller branches I moisten my finger with saliva, dip it in the soil, and then rub it on the wound.

Cut paste, Kiyonal (contains a fungicide) or Elmer's Glue should be used to seal larger cuts. The cambium is less likely to die back and callus formation is faster if larger wounds are sealed. Elmerís Glue (wood glue, beige color) used on pines may seal better as it dries faster and harmonizes with the wood. Also leave a slight stump and come back the following year and remove completely or jin if desired.

They then reminded me that trees in nature are not mortally wounded each time a squirrel or porcupine bites a branch or wind removes a limb. There would be no forests if trees were so easily damaged nor would the entire bonsai hobby be feasible if plants responded to common injuries by dying.

bonsai fairieWe then discussed the removal of branches on the lower 1/3rd of the trunk when styling bonsai. This statement is generally true. Most mature trees in nature have no branches on the lower third of their trunk. However, some of the finest examples of bonsai art have branches lower than the celebrated one third rule allows. An ordinary tree can sometimes be made spectacular by keeping a very low but dramatic branch intact. Remember too that most of our trees are not finished bonsai and, as such, need to bet heavier and larger. If we slavishly, cut branches off the lowest third of each tree, years later these same trees still have skinny trunks that do not taper! If you wish bonsai to have a tapering trunk, don't remove the lower branches until the desired taper is achieved. Pines, especially, do not thicken their trunks unless their lower branches are retained. They said they wished more bonsai lecturers and writers would stress this concept so that neophyte enthusiasts would not spoil their trees' future development. The tree would also be easier for them to climb.

Bonsai Fairie Secrets

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