The wrong bonsai answer

I have very often been asked about bonsai care. I try my best to answer as correct as possible. But I am also trying to tell that the truth comes in more than one version; depending on the aim of the technique described. FAQ  answers are differently answered depending on the task. Is the aim daily care or exhibition preparation? Is the tree in good health or is it weak? Is it in the growing period, or the dormant season? And so on.

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For example, you can cut the tips of the longest needles at a Japanese black pine, to equal the length of the needles (the longest needles are shortened to the same length as the medium ones in the same bunch). Brown tips are avoided by spraying thoroughly with water right after, and watering the tree. But this is for exhibition trimming only, and should never be done on a regularly basis. That is important, and therefore you have to know what the answer aims at.

At a local bonsai meeting experiences are exchanged.

At a local bonsai meeting experiences are exchanged.

As described in an earlier article about not pinching soft needle Junipers (Shimpaku and chinensis), this is about daily care. Getting closer to exhibition, you might need to to trim the needles ends to perfection and in some spots it is necessary to pinch some tips back to get the form precise and right. This will not harm the tree, but if you do it at a daily basis it will weaken the tree and eventually destroy it. For exhibition purpose okay, but for daily care a clear no go.

Always read informations with common sense, and know that there might be more than one truth to your questions, depending on where in the world you live, exactly what kind of tree we are talking about, and none the least what the purpose is .

Pinching old needles at a Black pine for the purpose of getting new growth.

Pinching old needles at a Black pine for the purpose of getting new growth.

Myths are hard lived, and difficult to get writh of in the common gardeners world. A habit that thrives in bonsai communities too. Often misinformation is spread and when corrected many hesitate to believe it. Because the misinformation has been around for so long, that it is difficult to kill. Even experienced bonsai growers have picked up wrong informations that are lively spreaded. Been there, done that. But when corrected it meets resistance, probably because we are reluctant to admit mistakes. But only by adding new knowledge we move forward.

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