Bonsai stages

akhater

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I have read somewhere in the past about the stages of a bonsai but i dont remember where

All i remember is that the last stage is the ramification of branches but what is the first ?

Nebari or trunk thickening?

I also have a huge pyracantha in my garden that is very tempting, should i start working a branch and then layer it in a few years or it should be layered first?

Thanks
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Bottom -> Up, Inside -> Out. Fix the nebari first so it will grow outward properly at a uniform height while you're growing the trunk. Once you have your trunk, start to add branches. Once your branches are where you want them, start on ramification.
 

Bill S

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Again you want roots so layer it, get roots growing. It would suck to grow a tree then kill it trying a layer.
Add to that you want things growing in an orientation as if it were growing in the ground, rather than say branches growing at odd angles to reach to the sun.
 

akhater

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Thank you guys

So will start by layering it this year then !

Just to make sure I got it right

1. I decide on the style
2. I decide on the diameter of the trunk (if yes how do you decide on this one :) )
3. I layer based on decisions 1 and 2
4. Nebari
5. Taper (also if you have any links on this one )
6. branches
7. ramifications
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Basically, this is correct. Photos will help answer your questions about trunk size. Generally speaking, every 6"-8" of height the tree has will require 1" of trunk diameter to look convincing as bonsai. If you want a 24" tall tree, a 3"-4" wide base will look convincing. Exceptions abound, but that's a good general rule.

On taper/movement, read this: http://bonsaibark.com/2009/05/27/field-growing-7-clip-grow-technique/
 

akhater

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Thanks again for sharing the knowledge !

Is there any ratio on when to do the cuts ? something maybe like first cut at 1/3 of the total length or something like that ?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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No...just when it looks right, but each section should be a little thinner and shorter than the one below it.

Getting too formulaic can take the naturalness out. Remember, we want to make our bonsai look like trees, not make our trees look like bonsai.
 

akhater

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Thank you guys !

A LONG road awaits me :)

Basically you do first your cut when the trunk is a thick as desired or less since it still have years to grow till the tree is done?

Will this also work with shohin or just with larger bonsais?
 

Brian Van Fleet

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Thank you guys !

A LONG road awaits me :)

Basically you do first your cut when the trunk is a thick as desired or less since it still have years to grow till the tree is done?

Will this also work with shohin or just with larger bonsais?
Long road...yes, hopefully!

Chop the trunk when it's almost as thick as you want it, but it will thicken more as you add sections.

This works for ALL sizes of trees, the process is the same, just the scale changes.

Clyde referred you to Brent's website...you can spend days on it; great stuff, and he has great material as well.
 
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