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Formation of bonsai from willow and pine

The art of bonsai came to us from Japan and China, now it is becoming more and more popular. I have always wondered how bonsai are made from ficus, pine, dwarf birches, etc. It turned out that everything is quite feasible ...

Willow bonsai

When I go abroad, I always pay attention to the plants with which they adorn not only gardens and streets, but also hotel halls, courtyards and houses. Several years ago, I was sitting in a chair near a flowerpot with a plant with a very strange trunk. On closer inspection, it turned out to be Benjamin's ficus. It was not one, but as many as five plants with thin braided trunks and already densely grown together. The trees seemed to be very stable and were in good condition, their intertwined stems did not affect their well-being in any way.

Willow bonsai, summer

One day the day came when I remembered this ficus, and I decided to repeat this experience in my garden. Of course, it was unthinkable to use ficus outdoors in our climate, so we decided to find a tree that is well adapted in our area near St. Petersburg. Willows from the nearest forest became such plants.

Willow bonsai, spring

In the spring, they dug four thin twigs. We planted them very close to each other - the willows took root very well, began to grow, and released their leaves. The next spring, it was necessary to hurry up to work with the willows, as the trunks quickly thickened and hardened. She braided them in a "pigtail" until the first branching of the branches, secured them with a thick plait and left them for a year.

As a harness, I used an old electrical wire, soft and not bright enough so that local thieves would not cut off in winter. A year later, the next spring, she removed the lower branches, braided the trunks even higher, and lifted the tourniquet to the very branches.

This was repeated for several years, until she thought that the interlacing of the trunks was already high enough.

Last and this spring, I cut off all the branches that grew inside the crown of the trees, leaving only the extreme ones, and trimmed the upper shoots, giving them the shape of an oval.

The shape of the trees can be whatever you like, and the height too. But it should be comfortable for work and haircuts, according to your height. In the photographs, willows are shown from both sides, in the spring and summer of 2011, they are 6 years old.

Pine bonsai

Knowing my interest in this topic, many years ago my family gave me the book Bonsai from European Forest Trees, by Wolfgang Kohlhepp. I read everything, as they say, "from cover to cover", especially the sections: "Bonsai grown from plants purchased in a nursery" and "Bonsai taken from nature, yamadori". Later I found many articles on the Internet and advice from experienced amateurs, and decided to grow my pine bonsai in the garden.

To carry out our plan, it was necessary to pick up a plant. There are magnificent trees in nature, which, despite their age, are excellent for formation. Often, in the garden, it becomes necessary to thin out the trees planted often. These plants are ideal material for bonsai.

Walking along a quarry near a dacha in Beloostrov near St. Petersburg, we found a small lopsided pine tree. On its trunk, a little thicker than a pencil, three branches grew, she was 40 cm tall. In order to dig out such a tree, it is necessary to cut its roots in a certain way. Carefully dug up and brought into the garden.

We planted a pine tree according to all the bonsai rules: the roots were shortened and placed in a container that was slightly larger than the roots. The container was made from a plastic container.

Since the container plant cannot be left in the garden for the winter, we dug it in to a shallow depth. In the spring of the next year, the pine began to stretch, and it was possible to start shaping.

A lot has been written about the formation of plants in the bonsai style, I will not repeat myself. I just want to dwell on the features that I encountered.

To begin with, in this case, it is usually recommended to use special wire, but we decided to use electrical wires that turned out to be unnecessary, thick and soft enough so as not to spoil the branches.

According to the rules, it is necessary to tightly wrap the trunk and, wrapping the branch, attract it, creating a certain shape. Of course, experience does not come immediately. What shape should be given? We got the following:

Pine bonsaiPine bonsai

Sometimes it was necessary to remove a branch after it was very lignified, since it did not look in the silhouette of the tree.

Pine bonsai

If you want to form strongly curved branches, then you need to apply the wire the next year after planting.

If you do not notice in time that the wire is tightly tightened and cut into the trunk, then scars are obtained after its removal.

Pine bonsaiPine bonsai

Later, more trees from the nursery and from the forest were added to this pine. Scots pine is a very hardy species and has a beautiful rough bark. Mountain pine, which can be purchased at the nursery, also has smaller, frequent needles.

In the formation of the next bonsai, there were already fewer mistakes, experience appeared.

Starting from the third year, the trees were planted from containers directly into the ground, they grow freely, but they retain their bonsai shape.

Now the first pine tree is 8 years old:

Pine bonsaiPine bonsai

Other pines are 5-6 years old:

Pine bonsaiPine bonsai

Despite their age, they are not tall, from one to one and a half meters high. Their age is given only by rather thick trunks.

Bonsai maintenance is not difficult. Every spring "candles" appear on the pines - young shoots. They must be cut in half to obtain a dense and compact crown. When young shoots are strongly thickened, they must be thinned out, leaving two or three of the most beautiful branches. And of course, top dressing, disease and pest control.