bonsai tips and suggestions

Maintenance and training of bonsai trees

This blog post was inspired by an article in an old edition of the Bonsai Today magazine. In this post, which I will be adding to over time I will share many tips and suggestions on growing bonsai; how to maintain, style, wire, feed and much more. The topic, written in plain English aided by detailed photographs explains the fundamentals of bonsai in an easy to follow manner.
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wiring technique bonsai trees

5 Wiring Tips for your bonsai trees

Being able to wire is a fundamental technique which must be practiced by the bonsai enthusiast. Without good wiring technique it is not possible to achieve the bends or shaping of your tree as you would like. These simple, concise tips are here to help you.
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wiring and styling a kotobuki japanese black pine

Styling a Dwarf: Working on a Kotobuki Black Pine

Follow the finer details of styling as Terry Erasmus needle plucks, thins and wires this Kotobuki Japanese Black Pine from Japan. Lots of photographs aid in the understanding of the process.

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Bonsai activities in autumn

5 Things you should be doing with your bonsai in Autumn

Every season, we need to be aware of what tasks are required on or around our bonsai trees. Here are 5 simple tips to ensure you get the basics covered.

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Field grown chinese elm bonsai tree

Progression of a Field Grown Chinese Elm over 6 years

Bonsai progressions are always fun to look at. It shows in a few short paragraphs of text and some images, the work and changes a bonsai tree has undergone over a number of years. What makes it fun though is that our art is as much about trees as it is about patience, so seeing all these changes condensed is like pressing fast forward on the remote.

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Japanese black pine makeover

Japanese Black Pine Makeover

Following in the same trend as my post of last week, I will continue with the tree makeover theme. In this post you will read about the 2 1/2 years of development of a Japanese Black Pine. The importance of working on strong, healthy trees is key and ensures satisfactory response to wiring, decandling and the other techniques commonly used on pines. 

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japanese zelkova bonsai tree

Japanese Zelkova, Broom Style - from humble beginnings

This is a story about a Japanese Zelkova with a humble beginning - a story I am sure you all have one similar to. Started from a little cutting a few years ago, this tree brings me a lot of pleasure although it is still some years away from being of a standard I would consider exhibiting it at.

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japanese black pine styling

Initial styling of a Japanese Black Pine

In this blog post I write about the first styling of a Japanese Black Pine imported from Japan late 2013. You will get insights into the wiring of pine branches, using raffia for doing bends, removing candles and more.

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chinese maple bonsai defoliation

2nd Defoliation of a Chinese Maple

A few weeks ago I defoliated this maple and it was featured in a blog post on this site along with some other Chinese maples. It has now recovered and so we are able to defoliate once again and work on the tree some more.

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Chinese elm makeover

Makeover of a Chinese Elm

This Chinese elm was purchased from a nursery, where it was originally imported from China. It was grown very quickly and displayed many faults. However the basic trunkline and structure was pleasing and over the course of 8 or so years it was remade. It was recently worked on by Francois Jeker, who gave it an extra nudge in the right direction. Read in this blog post about the process used to get it to what you see today.

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chinese maple bonsai techniques

Maple Sextet, basic styling of Chinese maple bonsai trees

Chinese maples are my favorite bonsai material. They are suitable for both beginner and professional alike and are one of the species most suitable for bonsai cultivation. In this post I will use six Chinese maples as examples to apply leaf defoliation; show you how to wire branches to form basic branch structure; describe how to deal with cut scars, share some tips on root and approach grafting and show you how you can recreate an apex.

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Terry Erasmus works on a chinese elm

Bush to Bonsai Chinese Elm

This Chinese elm started out as a bag tree from a local nursery. After field growing it and developing the trunk for some years I finally lifted and began styling it in 2013. The tree is now at the stage where branch structure is being developed. In this blog post we will defoliate the elm, trim the excessive growth and style the branches with wire.

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