in spring or early summer
in early winter
Bud pruning must be done immediately after the new buds appear. The
key to this work is to find time to carefully pinch every new bud. You only
need to pinch the apical buds to stop or slow the growth of the branches. In
doing so you can also add small branches and evenly growing leaves. The
details of bud pruning are similar to other kinds of pruning. You need to
prune the well developed parts of the tree such as the upper portion, and
you should not prune the less developed lower part so much. You should
also keep an eye on the length of the entire tree and make sure the leaves
grow in consistent size. In general, for conifer trees such as the Japanese
black pine, you should not prune the well developed buds altogether lest the
tree will wither.
Bud pruning can damage the tree, so you must provide the tree with
plenty fertilizer and water before and after bud pruning. You should monitor
the tree's health and make adjustments accordingly in the extent of pruning.
In particular, if the plant appears to be weak just like what would be observed
after repotting, then the buds are not growing healthily and you should keep
away from bud pruning. In case you want the branches and the trunk to
grow thicker, you should exercise control in bud pruning.
Almost all trees bud in spring, so bud pruning is generally conducted
during this season. However, plants such as Zelkova, Acer (Maple), Shimpaku
Juniper, Needle Juniper, and Cedar will continue to bud until autumn, so you
should pay special attention to the budding of these plants in this period.
Bud pruning (pinching) and leaf pruning both aim to develop small
branches and leaves. These methods have the same effect as branch
pruning. They are applicable when branch pruning may not apply, such as
when the bonsai trees have completed shapes, or when you only want to
suppress the overlong branches on the tree without pruning them. For
example, you can apply these methods to deciduous trees that have beautiful
branches and leaves, such as Acer (Maple), Zelkova, Beech, and Hornbeam.
In addition, bud pruning is applied to trees whose branches have been
pruned but their lateral buds are not growing well. Bud pruning is also used
for conifer trees such as pine trees because leaf pruning may damage the
plant and cause it to wither or tend to develop leaves of poor shapes.
Bud pruning (pinching) is to pinch by hand (Me Tsumi) or to prune with
scissors (Me Kiri) the apical buds that grow out one after another. The
overgrown apical buds disturb the healthy development of a bonsai tree's
shape. You can prune the apical buds with scissors or pinch them by hand
before they grow out. For some tree species, such as the Japanese black
pine, pruning with scissors could cause the pruned parts to wither.
For Your Reference
Pruning like this
How to create a pine bonsai with small, neat and
graceful branches and leaves?
Such pine bonsai as Japanese Black Pine, Japanese Red Pine, Corkbark
Pine, and Five Needle Pine are extraordinary beauties with small size and neat
branches and leaves. How can you create this kind of bonsai?
You need to apply bud pruning twice when making a pine bonsai. New
buds will grow after bud pruning in spring. If you do not control their
growth, the leaves will overgrow. So you need to apply another bud pruning
in early summer. Although more buds still develop after the second bud
pruning, the new buds will stop growing in autumn. In this way you can
develop small leaves by reducing their growth period.
Generally speaking, when making a Five Needle Pine bonsai, the second
bud pruning is applied in the same way as the first one, and both aim to
adjust the size of the entire plant. You mostly pinch the well-grown buds
and pinch some or none of the poorly-developed buds.
On the other hand, during the second bud pruning of Japanese Black
Pine, Japanese Red Pine, or Corkbark Pine, you should first pinch all the
poorly-developed buds and then prune the well-developed buds in a week or
two. This gives more time for the less developed parts to grow so the young
buds will have uniform size. New buds will keep emerging after the second
bud pruning in summer. If between four to six buds have developed by the
fall, you should prune them and leave only two buds in autumn. You should
leave small buds on the well-grown branches and large buds on the
In addition, you should also apply leaf pruning to improve the sunshine
and ventilation and stimulate the growth of new buds.
The branches and leaves of the Five Needle Pine will grow very dense in
early summer when the new buds develop. So you need to prune in summer
and autumn the old leaves that have been growing since the year before last.
Similarly, when bud-pruning Japanese Black Pine, Japanese Red Pine, or
Corkbark Pine in spring or early summer, you need to prune some leaves
from last year. You should prune more leaves on the well-developed
branches and less on the less-developed branches.
In addition, you should prune all the leaves from the year before last if there
is any, and you should prune all the leaves from last year in early winter.
In case the leaves significantly lesson after pruning, you need to reduce the
amount of watering and fertilizer right after pruning.
You most often apply the second bud pruning to the vital Japanese Black
Pine. But pruning the buds every year is a heavy burden to the tree, so it
needs a respite every few years. The Japanese Red Pine typically needs a
second bud pruning every other year. The Corkbark Pine is rather weak, so it
is better to prune the buds only once if applicable. One bud pruning is
enough for Five Needle Pine to achieve the desired effect, and you only need
a second bud pruning when the buds grow exceptionally outwards.
To prepare for bud pruning, in the previous winter you need to prune most
of the leaves on the well-grown buds and leave more leaves on the
poorly-developed buds. In this way you can level the growth condition of the
buds. However, you must not prune all the leaves on the well-grown buds at
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- Japanese Black Pine
- Japanese Red Pine
- Corkbark Pine
in the previous winter
4. Branch Pruning
|A Guide to Bonsai Basics
How to Make a Bonsai
|BONSAI STYLE----SECRET OF SHAPING
SECRET OF SHAPING
Bud pruning ―Acer
--Article: From Bonsai Primer
--Article: From WWW.Bonsai 4Me.Com
--Article: From WWW.Bonsai 4Me.Com