The bonsai Smurf forest and hardening trees

A short while ago I was involved in a funny television programme here in Denmark. The host is a well known Danish comedian named Heino Hansen who made a good laugh out of my answers. He ended up mentioning a forest as a Smurf forest.

All of a sudden a Smurf showed up op in the Japanese maple forest. Like out of nowhere.* Maybe I now have to live with that little fellow wandering around protecting the forest?

A small Smurf has entered the forest. πŸ˜‰


Maybe I better invite the little man inside, because it’s getting colder for a few days. Still some deciduous haven’t dropped their leaves yet and I am awaiting a little freezing to harden the trees before they are set in the storage room for the winter.

Trees need some cold to help them into dormancy. Changing the hormones and sugars from growth to witter protection.

I let some of the coniferous bonsai stay out longer than the deciduous because they still will benefit from the light and cope with more cold. They need more cold for a period to stay healthy.

When cold and wet weather is continued all trees are protected one way or the other. The Shohin have a top priority of caretaking because the small amount of soil freezes fast, and roots are more delicate and fragile than at bigger bonsai.

A cold frame of any kind will do. The deciduous demands no light, but the coniferous needs a minimum of light to stay healthy.

Cork bark Elm still has leaves on. Waiting for the cold to harden it off for the winter.

Hardening trees

Hardening is important when we deal with native trees, or trees adapted to your climate. If they are not exposed to their natural yearly cycles they will slowly weaken. Overprotecting is maybe not deadly on the short run, but over time trees will weaken and lose strength. Making them vulnerable and less tolerant when grown in a container, being wired, pruned and repotted.

Therefore it’s important to let them stay out for a bit of cold and freezing, to push them into dormancy and harden them up. When that is said it is as important to place bonsai in a more protected environment just above the freezing point during winter. We deal with that in the monthly seasonal caretaking you can watch at Kisetsu-en Online Bonsai.

  • Back to the Smurf. It was a good friend of mine who laughed long and hard when he watched the TV programme, who then when out and bought a Smurf to put in the forest. It might appear there now and then. With our without my knowledge.


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