Bonsai Tips with Justin Case ~ Early Summer Pruning   1 comment

For me I get the chance to prune many times early in the season before half the US is out from under the deep freeze. Being able to prune many times a year is not all its cracked up to be. It means that most of the year, bonsai is work rather than relaxation. I grow only a few species, the ones that thrive here. Maples, juniper, elm, hornbeam, boxwood, olives, pyracantha and pines. Unfortunately, most of these species are very hard growing, meaning that it is pruning everyday at least five or six just to keep up.

Elms are very fast growers. They will grow shoots six inches long almost daily. Yesterday I was able to prune a couple in my collection. This first one is a tree that has been beaten and battered. The pruning I do is to expose the structure and then allow the new leaves to fill in around the structure. If I am able to attend to it almost daily it will become so tight and compact that water will not penetrate the canopy.


This corkbark elm has been pruned up and is ready to grow some more. Currently I am working the canopy very slowly to build good branches and size before allowing it to fill out.


This is a kind of virtual I would like to see in a year or two.

elm virt

This pyracantha has undergone drastic pruning in an effort to reduce the canopy. All upward growing shoots have been removed and the branches have all been cut back and large stub ends reduced or removed. As soon as the buds appear, which takes about 14 days, all the rest of the leaves will be removed. The canopy will have a new look and be extremely fine and look beautiful. Sometimes you have to make them ugly to get them beautiful.


This trident maple stump has been transformed into a semi cascade. The structure is starting to get there and now I am working on finer branches to give separation between the clouds. It was recently pruned a few days ago, and now all the new leaves are coming out. These are the leaves that I now have to stay up with. A week of neglect will ruin the whole years ramification and have to start over.


Now that the new leaves have opened I can cut off those that I left on to keep the tree growing. The tree will then be only the small fine growth. this is the third pruning on the tree so this growth will be the summer growth. It will stay pretty small and the tree has stressed all I want to do until Sept when it buds again. The big leaves are about the size of a nickel and the new ones are about the size of a corn kernel.




This pyracantha was dug about two years ago March. It was reduced from a bush the size of a Volkswagon bus.


Over the last week I was able to work on the tree some more. It goes thru periods of grow out for 5 to 6 months and then I come back and cut it all off leaving the parts that add to my plan. Some new carving was done on the upper left trunk to help reduce the blunt end of the trunk that was left from collection.


Here is a virtual of where I would like to see this tree in a year or so. Just takes time to get it all filled in.


This pine was purchased from George Muranaka in 2013. The tree was started by his Father, Kanemi about 30 years ago.


Over the last two years most of the work has been just cutting out branches that will serve no purpose in the final design.




This was the last drastic removal of branches and bending that was done to the tree.


This colored photo shows the major changes in the shape of the tree. The two branches circled in red are the two current bottom branches on the tree. the large branch circled in blue was a branch removed a year ago. several other small branches have been removed.


Currently the tree looks like this as all the candles are still not all the way out. This tree will only receive small candle prunings on the right side of the tree. The rest will grow on for next year.


Continue taking pictures of your work, Justin Case.




One response to “Bonsai Tips with Justin Case ~ Early Summer Pruning

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  1. Reblogged this on Bindi Bonsai.

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