Shaping Bonsai Trees

July 1, 2012 by  
Filed under DIY Gardening Projects

Every home can benefit from the beauty created when shaping trees to add character and distinction to a garden. Creating specific forms and training trees to grow in predetermined patterns has been an art form for the last several hundred years and is also known as Pooktre.

The ultimate Pooktre artist Peter Cook created his own living garden chair. For the beginner, there are a few basic building blocks with which to start. Determining the shape of the tree and the type of tree which will best support this growth pattern are the two main objectives.

Shaping Bonsai Trees

Shaping Bonsai Trees

Determining the Shape of the Tree

The shape of the tree is an artistic decision based upon pleasing the eye and suiting the surrounding area. Bear in mind, with patience a tree can be trained to grow in almost any shape. Would the garden be conducive to a living archway or gazebo? A tree can be grown into a banister, chair, fence, ladder, braided trunk, basket, geometric shapes, people, numeric shapes, or abstract art shapes. Would the tree be merely artistic or would it have a purpose or a function? Tree shaping is limited only by the imagination and creative ability of the artist.

Patience, patience and more patience is necessary when shaping trees. As the tree grows, trim and prune it to ensure it will grow in the manner desires. Plastic tubing can be used to help guide the trees growth. A series of small bends can be used to ensure the tree will not break while it is growing. It is very important to consider how fast the type of tree grows. If the tree grows quickly, then adjusting its growth to the pattern determined can be done very quickly. Above all, water, fertilize and protect your tree from disease to ensure it stays healthy.

Determine Which Type of Tree to Use

Now it is time to determine which type of tree will best support the desired shape. It is generally advisable to create a list of trees common to the area. A tree that is common to the area will be easier to grow and generally healthier. In addition, the specific type of tree chosen should have few known diseases and insect issues. Some of the most common trees used are: Teak, Weeping Willow, Oak, Elder, Maple, Ash, Fig, Cherry, Pine, Apple, Sycamore, Eucalyptus, Birch, and Poplar. When considering which type of tree to use, bear in mind the difference in color of the bark and foliage. Also, the tree’s appearance will change as the seasons change throughout the year.

Now that the shape and the type of tree have been determined the fun begins. Plant the tree where it will receive the appropriate amount of light, the necessary drainage and be positioned artistically in the garden. It is generally recommended to start with a young sapling that is pliable. Use stakes and rope to guide the tree along its predetermined shape. Put a small protective fence around the tree to protect it from unwanted visitors such as dogs or rodents. Given the climate, it may be advisable to have plastic sheeting available to protect the tree from harsh elements. With the right amount of nurture and patience the tree will grow into a beautiful addition to the garden.

Sources:
Wikipedia
BonsaiTreeGardener.net
Bonsai Style: The Secrets Of Shaping
BonsaiSite

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