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Vol#6 Doing Bonsai: Is It Difficult?

Vol #6   Written by Yusuke Ogawa

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Do you think bonsai is easy or difficult? If you are actually growing bonsai or interested in this world you will have a clear answer. But I think that there are many people who generally have the image that practicing bonsai is difficult, and the threshold is high. It is the same in Japan, where bonsai is a tradition. But it's often not familiar, especially to the younger generation, so that’s why.

Do you think bonsai is easy or difficult?

Is it really difficult to care for bonsai? It is true that trees that are hundreds of years old, the so-called "famous trees," require skill, knowledge, and experience to maintain and manage them. In addition, if you have a ton of different types of bonsai, or a little bonsai nursery, you need to constantly maintain them.

However, it does not require much technique to make several young trees and seedlings. In addition, they might even not need to be watered more than 2-3 times a year depending on the tree.

In fact, even a bonsai artist who owns many trees only takes care of the same tree a couple of times per year. And wire hooking is only done about once every few years.

The goal is to grow the tree vigorously!

The most important thing for bonsai is "to grow trees vigorously" as bonsai masters say. If the tree is not healthy, it cannot be pruned, replanted, or shaped. If you do so when the tree is not prepared, it will make it even weaker. It is important to keep the tree healthy by daily watering, seasonal fertilization, and disinfection (if applicable).

The basis of watering is to pour plenty of water when the topsoil is dry. However, this process changes depending on the growing environment and sunlight, and I think it could be complicated if you are not able to always see the bonsai on a constant basis. Therefore, decide on a routine such as once every morning in spring and autumn, twice in the morning and evening in summer, and once every other morning in winter. The tree will then adapt to that cycle.

Commercially available gardening fertilizers and disinfectants are sufficient. From March to June and from September to November, set a fertilizer change and disinfection day once a month.

Why don't you start by incorporating watering, disinfection, and fertilization as a routine to energize your trees? And once you get used to it, I think it's a good idea to try some difficult maintenance such as wire shaping and pruning. That way it won’t be difficult to have bonsai at all!

Have a wonderful bonsai experience!

Mr. Ogawa (owner of reBonsai, collaborator of Wazakura Japan)


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