Home & Garden Gardening

How To Choose A Shape For Your Future Bonsai Tree

The shape or 'style' that you will choose for your bonsai will say as much about the artist(you!) as it does about the plant.
First step in choosing the best suited style for your bonsai is to know the main caracteristics of the existing styles; after you know all of these you must know for which style is best suited the plant; you must first evaluate the tree's strengths and weaknesses.
The selection of a style is based on a series of compromises that are intended to emphasize a tree's features and minimize its defects.
The choice of style may change as a tree matures over time.
There are several questions that you should answer before starting: Trunk shape - is the trunk thick and upright? Does it undulate in gentle curves? Is it very twisted and crooked? Does it taper from a thick base to a thin tip or is it thin enough to bend to introduce new curves or remove undesirable ones? Cascade styles are frequently developed from trees that offer little interest in curve or taper, but are thin enough to be shaped with wire into cascading curves.
Forests can be created from almost any material, so it is a very logical choice for trees that have numerous scars, little trunk taper or defects in the root system.
Later, as wounds heal, tops are replaced, taper develops and surface roots mature, the trees can be separated and stand on their own as bonsai.
Is the root system well developed? Do roots emerge at all points in a nice radial fashion, or is the root system one sided? Frequently in container stock there is a second root system that emerges just beneath the first as a result of uppotting from liner stock.
This second root system might be better formed or more appropriate for the style in question.
In general, the Formal upright style requires a well developed, radial root system.
Trees selected for this style should have excellent roots, or be adaptable to their development.
Styles like Cascade, semi cascade, or in particular forest styles are very acceptable of ss-than-perfect rootage.
Two trees of the same species and variety with onesided root systems can be grouped together to form a twin trunk that will eventually knit together to form a single bonsai with the best characteristics of both.
Observations: - Consideration should definitely be given to the species of tree, and a style appropriate to that species.
; not all plants are suited for all shaping styles.

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